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Posts tagged ‘Liberia’

Nigeria’s foreign policy in 100 years.


Diplomatic and bilateral ties which Nigeria had as a colony were mostly dominated by Britain.

Before the amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914, agricultural commodities were exported to Europe and totally controlled by the British Empire. This showed the level of foreign bilateral trade between the colony and the outside world, where cocoa, groundnuts, palm oil and palm kernels were exported and chemicals, machines, transportation equipment and other manufactured products were imported. This level of bilateral trade extended until the 1950s.

The dual mandate adopted by the Europeans, whereby African countries will receive Europe’s civilization in exchange for unrestricted access to the continent resources prevailed during that era.

British stood as Nigeria’s major trading partner, even as 70 percent of her exports, as late as 1955 went to Britain and another 47 percent of import came from that country to Nigeria.

However, this bilateral trade changed from 1976, when British dominance of Nigeria’s economy began to wane. The United States then took over as Nigeria leading trade partner. By this time, exports to Britain dropped to 38 percent while import from the country to Nigeria dropped to 32 percent.

At post independence and for decades, Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust remained consistent with catering for the interests of African countries. However, the change in policy focus was brought about as government sort to arrest the declining economic setbacks. The end of apartheid in South Africa brought to a climax the Afrocentric position Nigeria’s foreign policy. Hence, in the country’s 1999 Constitution the policy shift revolved around economic diplomacy. This became a useful tool for promoting and protecting the country’s national interest in its bilateral ties with other countries.

Each regime during and after the country’s independence in 1960, took to formulating its own course of action to manipulate and propel national interest within the international community; with the purpose of forging a unique identity for their governments. There was a welter of dynamic and conservative foreign policies that went a long way towards how governments of the country actively or passively influenced the country’s interests on the international scene.

While the governments of Tafawa Balewa, Yakubu Gowon and Shehu Shagari were seen as conservative by foreign policy analysts, those of late Muritala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo (during the military era of 1976-79) operated dynamic foreign policies. However, observers of Nigeria’s foreign policy especially in her interaction with the international community may have confused radicalism for dynamism, hence, faulting this conceptualisation as a virile tool for measuring an effective policy. The erstwhileAction Group shadow Foreign Minister, late Anthony Enahoro was attributed as being a proponent of dynamic foreign policy.

He is reported to having moved a motion and prompted the country’s first post independence legislative house, arguing that the August 20, 1960 foreign policy adopted by the House of Representatives lacked dynamism and regretted that the Tafawa Balewa government’s interpretation and conduct of foreign policy lacked all ingredients of activism.

The August 20, 1960 official statement of Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa at the Federal House of Representatives, stated that Nigeria is “adopting clear and practical policies with regard to Africa; it will be our aim to assist any country to find solution to its problem”. Nevertheless, observers and analysts are of the view that the country’s foreign policy then lacked any definite direction.

Nigeria’s Afrocentric policy

By adopting an Afrocentric policy, in the wake of the country’s independence Nigeria aimed to engage the international community through Africa’s interests and issues that tended to be of benefits to the continent. Nigerian’s first Foreign Minister, Jaja Wachukwu threw more perspectives to this Afrocentricism posture, when he said; “Charity begins at home and therefore any Nigerian foreign policy that does not take into consideration the peculiar position of Africa is unrealistic”. Nigeria under this policy framework contributed immensely in the struggles that led to the independence of Angola, Mozambique, and Namibia and participated in the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa. Nigeria also played a crucial role in the establishment of continental and regional organisations. For example, Nigeria was pivotal to the establishment of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. Nigeria was also instrumental in ensuring that it attained the two major objectives that included the quick decolonization of colonies in Africa and the rapid socio-economic growth and development of African countries.

Similarly, the creation of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) on May 28, 1975 saw Nigeria taking a fundamental role in spearheading the integration of neighbouring countries’ resources to enhance regional prosperity. Under the leadership of ex-General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria led the formation of the 16-member regional body that signed the treaty establishing ECOWAS.

Nigeria further played a significant role in military peacekeeping operations on the continent. It contributed both financial and human resources in the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping operations in Liberia, Sierra LeChad and several others.

New policy thrust in citizen diplomacy

The interventions to restore peace in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the fight against apartheid in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Angola among other missions of mediating in conflict prone countries like Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso especially after coup d’états, signified the apogee in foreign interventions in the past decades. Of recent, the country’s foreign relations has become tamed, mainly due to internal problems and politics associated with getting a proper footing for our nascent democracy amid pressing economic problems.

The military regime of ex- Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda conceptualised a new face to Nigeria’s foreign policy, where economic diplomacy would enhance the promotion of export trade, investment and financial assistance from friendly countries. The then Foreign Affairs Minister, ex-Gen Ike Nwachukwu in June 1988, said that “it is the responsibility of our foreign policy apparatus to advance the course of our national economic recovery.”

It was during the democratically elected government of President Olusegun Obasanjo that the country’s foreign policy was refocused to de-emphasise an explicitly African bias. While appointing ambassadors in 1999, his administration admonished that “Nigeria’s foreign policy today extends, however, far beyond our concern for the well being of our continent, Africa”. In addition, Obasanjo, pointed out that “The debt burden, for instance, is not an exclusively African predicament. Many countries in Asia, the Caribbean and South America were facing similar problems.

It is imperative; therefore, that these regions harmonise their efforts in the search for a fairer deal from the industrialised nations of the west; and this requires of us a more global approach to world affairs than was previously the case.

Last year, the President Jonathan administration paved a new path for the country’s foreign policy thrust, by embracing an agenda that promotes growth and national development. In this new policy, both private partnership and foreign missions will be utilised as new vanguards in economic diplomacy. Hence, the collapsing of both economic and citizen diplomacy by the current administration, that is geared towards attaining national economic development and growth where the citizens at home and abroad are used as agents towards achieving policy goals.

Bilateral relations with members of the developing eight countries for economic cooperation (D8) have been a centre piece for the country’s economic diplomacy. In this regard, the foreign ministry has engaged in various economic activities of the D8, especially since it assumed leadership of the group in 2010.

Using the economic diplomacy policy to source and promote trade between Nigeria and D8 members, the foreign ministry has rectified three of its important legal documents: The D-8 preferential Trade Agreement, Multilateral Agreement on administrative assistance in Customs Matters and the Simplification of VISA procedures for businessmen of D8 member countries.

Former Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, while expatiating on the new paradigm shift, said that: “We will redress existing imbalances and forge a strong partnership with OPS to assist economic growth. Consequently, members of OPS will frequently constitute part of any bilateral discussions between our governments and other foreign delegations, so that Nigeria can benefit from visits to and from other countries.”

“Our envoys will be directed to drive this new focus of our foreign policy by spending more time and effort on attracting foreign investments to Nigeria. Simply put, our ambassadors will be the foot-soldiers in this new approach for the purpose of achieving our Vision 20:2020 while bringing economic benefits to Nigeria.”

When contacted, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, told National Mirror, that any country’s foreign policy should be for the benefits of the people.

“I will say Nigeria’s foreign policy is not really doing badly and not getting worse. Though, sometimes we may not be getting it right and in other times we do get it right. The people must come first, so Nigerians at home and those in Diaspora should be the centre of our policy thrust.

Nigeria was faced with huge challenge during the military era where her public image was relegated. The country’s foreign policy could not stand as imperative tool for image building, especially, where dictatorial rule and clampdowns on human rights were strongly opposed by the western world.”

Nigeria played a prominent role in the Congo crisis of 1960-1965. It sent military peacekeeping troops.

In addition, during the Cold War era, Nigeria adopted a non-aligned stance; where it refused to align with any of the power blocs.

Another significant development in Nigeria foreign relations after the country’s independence was the protest of Nigerian students against the signing of agreement by the then new Tafawa Balewa’s government with the British government. The Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact entered by the government then meant that British military could maintain bases and presence in Kano. The Nigerian student’s protest made Tafawa Balewa’s government to back down from the intended deal. The message of the student then was that Britain was to be kept at arm’s length.

The foreign relations between Nigeria and Britain experienced some challenging moment, especially during the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo where the Nigerian government nationalized the British Petroleum’s (BP( interest in the country, as a measure to arm-twist the UK government into withdrawing its sanctions and to restore British authority in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). This was after the white supremacist in that country hijacked power. This created a scene at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Lusaka in 1978. When the British Prime Minister challenged the Nigerian Foreign Minister, General Adefowope, he told Margret Thatcher, “Madam Prime Minister that is Act 1, Scene 1, many more will follow if you don’t play ball on Zimbabwe”. Thatcher had no choice than to relent and began process that enabled Zimbabwe have a free and fair elections.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigeria’s Retrogressive Anti-Gay Law By Abiodun Ladepo.


By Abiodun Ladepo

This past Wednesday, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan elevated crassness and primitiveness to the highest level imaginable by signing into law a bill banning homosexuality in Nigeria.  I deliberately crafted the previous sentence so unambiguously.  He did not just ban homosexual marriage; he banned homosexuality as a whole!  Perhaps if the law had only stopped at “persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison,” one might not feel so much outrage.  But it went on to state that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”!  In essence, only heterosexuals are allowed to hold hands in public, sit on each other’s lap, hump each other while dancing in clubs or kiss publicly.  What, in the name of God, just happened to Nigeria?

Let me state upfront that I am a Straight (heterosexual) guy who is happily married to a beautiful woman.  So, this write-up is not about me or my sexual preference.  It is about Nigeria’s lack of originality and lack of creative instincts.  We the people, along with our leaders, fail to do the deep thinking, the due diligence, in many respects that will take our country farther and more quickly than we have hitherto done.  Lethargy is irredeemably ingrained in our psyche.  Otherwise, how does being openly gay draw our country back?  We already have thousands of gay people in our midst!  How does their gayness prevent those of us who are not gay from going about our businesses?

This law assumes that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community just arrived in Nigeria yesterday.  No, the LGBT has been with us since, at least, when I was a young boy over 50 years ago.  I recall growing up in (yes) Zaria, Kaduna State, of all places, and going to watch evening dances of members of the LGBT.  We used to call them “Dandaudu.”  We, the kids, used to marvel at their public display of amorous acts.  This was in the early 60s.  They were not hidden behind the walls of any clubs in the middle of the night; they danced in open spaces and in early evenings.  I have also personally witnessed “Dandaudus” doing their dances in Bukuru, Jos, Bauchi and Maiduguri in the 70s.  And if you lived in the hostel during your secondary school years, don’t tell me that you did not catch a few of your guy friends “doing it.”  I have heard from some of my secondary school female friends of the sexual trysts that went on in their hostel.  Let’s not even talk about what happens in the dorms of our universities.  So, why are we just now finding out that their presence in our midst is anathema and antithetical to our moral fiber?

Reuben Abati, that formerly celebrated anti-bad government champion, who is now a turncoat and who I now detest with so much passion, defended the law with the pedestrian argument that since 90 percent of Nigerians were opposed to same-sex marriage, “…the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs.”   Ninety percent?  First, how did we come up with that percentage?  When did we poll the country to ascertain that 90 percent of our people oppose same-sex marriage?  And even if they do, what right does the majority have to trample on the basic right of the minority – the fundamental human right to freedom of association?  What right does the majority have to deprive the minority of having sex with whomever it wants as long as it is consensual?  The worst that the Nigerian government should have been able to do should have been the denial of official recognition of such a union. But to criminalize it is akin to despotism, especially in a democratic dispensation.

And by the way, since when has this government or any past Nigerian government taken a decision in favor of an issue perceived to have received the support of the majority of Nigerians?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the removal or Stella Oduah as Aviation minister, Diezani Madueke as Petroleum minister and Reuben Abati as adviser?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the banning of government officials, especially the President, from seeking medical attention abroad until our medical facilities and personnel are of the same standard as those they use when they go abroad?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the supply of 24/7 uninterrupted electricity to all corners of Nigeria?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the revamping, rejuvenating and reinvigorating of the EFCC so it can better fight corruption?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support a massive overhaul of our educational infrastructures from elementary all the way to university systems?  Don’t 90 percent of our people oppose the blocking of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by mega-churches and mega-mosques?  Have our lawmakers crafted any laws that criminalize the failure by government to do the things mentioned above?  No.  But these nosey people are eager to get into the bedrooms of Nigerians.

I find this homophobic inclination that is so rampant in our country as yet another example of religious zealotry and self-righteousness that have been the bane of our society.  Everybody is stampeding and trampling each other today in their quest to out-do one another as they condemn homosexuality.  But we will find out one day – tomorrow maybe –  just as we have found out in Europe and America that even family members of influential government officials can be (and are indeed) gay!  In fact, we will soon find out that membership in the LGBT community cuts across all spectra of our society – from the ranks of elected politicians, to traditional rulers, military officers, police officers, teachers, technocrats, pastors, imams, babalawos, traders and what not.  And what are we going to do when we find out that one of these influential people whom we had thought was heterosexual was indeed bisexual?  Would we throw OBJ or IBB or GEJ or Mama Iyabo or Dame Patience or any of their children into 14 years of prison terms if any of them turns out to be gay? What would we do when we discover that Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye or his wife, Folu do engage in homosexual acts (with other partners, of course)?  What about Sheik Muhammad Yahaya Sanni and his many wives?  Are we going to give them immunity against prosecution?

This is why I stated earlier that our leaders did not subject this law to a rigorous and intellectual discuss before allowing their emotion, religion and communal bandwagon mentality to overtake their sense of reason.  Before the bill was adopted by the Senate in 2011, a few Nigerian members of the LGBT community, supported by some civil rights activists, appeared before the Senate to argue against enacting such a law.  The lawmakers and religious zealots in the chambers of the Senate booed and heckled these gay folks till they cried and left in disgrace.  Among the booing and heckling crowd were men who maintain two, three, four or more wives – wives who are subjugated, mentally and are physically abused.  Among this crowd were women who cheat on their husbands with their pastors and imams to the extent of making babies out-of-wedlock while their husbands thought the babies were theirs.  These people, in my opinion, lack the moral right to tell a gay man or woman whom to love and whom to cavort with in public.

Believe me, gays are the least of Nigeria’s problems.  Graft in high places, greed in high places, hired assassination, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, neglect of rural areas, neglect of urban areas, lack of functioning basic amenities like electricity, water, hospitals, education, transportation, youth unemployment – all take precedence over what my neighbor is doing in his/her bedroom.  I am ashamed that my leaders do not see this.

And I get it. I get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  Even if I wonder how truly religious we are when we watch our religious leaders steal from the religious houses and sexually abuse the laity; even if I sometimes wonder why our religious leaders live in obscene opulence while they watch their followers wallow in abject poverty, I still get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  It is the reason why an issue such as gay rights should have been thoroughly debated intellectually.  I hope the passing of this primitive and retrogressive law begins the rigorous discussion of how we allow members of the LGBT to bask in their rightful sense of belonging.  We should lead Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia out of the comity of nations still wedded to the archaic tradition of segregating their own people on the basis of sexual preferences.

We should join South Africa, Zaire, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali (yes, Chad, Niger and Mali), Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau in the comity of nations that embrace the diversity of their people’s sexual preferences and have legislated to protect the rights of their LGBT people.

By Abiodun Ladepo

Los Angeles, California, USA

Oluyole2@yahoo.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

On The Purported Slight Of Nigeria At Madiba’s Funeral By Pius Adesanmi.


Pius Adesanmi
Columnist:

Pius Adesanmi

“Fellow Liberians: As I speak to you today, I am most gratified by the caliber of the delegations of our own African Governments, Foreign Governments, partners and local partners as well, who have come to join us to celebrate this triumph of democracy in our country. I am particularly touched by those you see – our dear brothers, the delegation from the United States, headed by the wife of President Bush and my friend, our mediator, who has been with us so long and brought us to this day. We pay homage to all of you. We respect you.

We welcome you. Bien vene a tous. My dear Brothers and Sisters of West Africa: You have died for us; you have given refuge to thousands of our citizens; you have denied yourselves by utilizing your scarce resources to assist us; you have agonized for us, and you have prayed for us. We thank you, and may God bless you for your support to Liberia as well as for your continuing commitment to promote peace, security, stability, and bilateral cooperation within our sub-region – and beyond.” President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (excerpts from inauguration speech)

Shortly after inauguration, she was on a thank you visit to the United States and addressed a joint session of Congress thus:

“But our ties greatly exceed the historical connection. I stand before you today, as the first woman elected to lead an African nation, thanks to the grace of Almighty God; thanks to the courage of the Liberian people, who chose their future over fear; thanks to the people of west Africa and of Africa generally, who continued to give hope to my people. Thanks also to President Bush whose strong resolve and public condemnation and appropriate action forced a tyrant into exile and thanks to you – the members of this august body – who spurred the international effort that brought blessed peace to our nation.”

——————————————————–

…which brings me to my point. This was the Liberian President in 2006 giving credit on two occasions to George Bush in particular and the United States in general for services rendered to her country mainly by Nigeria. For who does not know that ECOMOG is a synonym for Nigeria’s petrobillions and Nigerian limbs? Yet, in both speeches, one could barely make out the silhouette of Nigeria, lost in broad remarks about West Africa and Africa. Before Liberia, you could possibly count fifty something other ungrateful lepers across the continent who, at various points in Africa’s postcolonial trajectory, have been beneficiaries of the bottomless pit of petrobillions of Abuja, only to run to Washington, London, Paris, or Lisbon to give thanks upon being healed. At least one of the ten lepers returned in the Bible to give thanks to his healer. In Africa, Jesus heals them and they run to render thanks unto Caesar.

I am therefore “maniacally bewildered” (apologies to Patrick Obahiagbon) that, upon the latest insult by South Africa, Nigerians are behaving like they’ve only just discovered this fact today. From Abakaliki to Zungeru, the din of our outrage is threatening to invade my second ear. South Africa, folks claim correctly, seems to have forgotten the source of the petrobillions that funded the struggle in the 70s and the 80s and has given the funeral oration stage to those who put Madiba and the ANC on terror watchlists while money that should have been invested in our roads and other infrastructure went to buy ammunition for Umkhonto we Sizwe and to provide Federal Government scholarships for thousands of black South Africans to study free in Nigerian Universities. All of this is true. But why are we behaving like it has only just started to happen? Nigerians have this irritating habit of going to bed every night with indignity for decades only to wake up one day in the middle of the afternoon and scream: “Mr. Indignity, what the heck are you doing in my bed? How did you get here?”

It means that those who are screaming today about the insult from the South Africans aren’t even aware of the previous insult from the Liberians. In short, they do not know when, where, and how the rain began to beat us. All these cries of insult remind me of Tortoise who fell into a pit latrine and was there for seven years. Then one day, his neighbours discovered where he was whereupon Tortoise began to scream, asking them to get him out quickly lest the stench killed him. Folks, we have been in this stench of Africa’s ingratitude for our incurable habit of Santa Clausing our petrobillions for a very long time.

The point is not to scream outrage today. Your responsibility is to think very critically about why and how we got here. Are there any connections between this state of affairs and the quality of Nigeria’s leadership, especially since 1999? If we had leaders who could think and deploy critical intelligence, would this be happening to us? What is your own role in canonizing mediocre and intellectually inferior semi-gods in our political process? Are you contributing directly or indirectly to this state of affairs when you display a programmatic hostility to any criticism – no matter how justifiable – of the quality of service and leadership of your canonized political gods? Perhaps in 2015, you should vote in folks with enough brain power to understand that you cannot buy love and respect with petrobillions? Perhaps you should vote for those who understand that if your citizens are healthy and well fed and gainfully employed, if your infrastructure is world class, if your Universities in 2013 don’t look like the University of Timbuktu in the 12th century, respect and global esteem shall be added unto you? There are connections between things. Let us think urgently about all these connections and make something constructive of today’s insult. I salute you.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

World Court dismisses Charles Taylor’s appeal, upholds 50-year jail term.


 

Charles-Taylor

Former President Charles Taylor of Liberia will spend 50 years in jail after the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) today rendered a historic final judgment in his case, dismissing the appeal he lodged following his conviction by the Trial Chamber.

Taylor, 65, came under the hammer for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone‘s decade-long civil war.

The African Press Organization (APO) quotes Special Court Prosecutor Brenda J. Hollis as welcoming to the judgment, saying: “This final decision affirms Mr. Taylor’s criminal responsibility for grave crimes which caused untold suffering to many thousands, if not tens of thousands, of victims in Sierra Leone. Today’s judgment brings some measure of justice to those victims who suffered so horribly because of Charles Taylor.

 

“The Appeals Chamber today confirmed what the Trial Chamber made clear, that Heads of State will be held to account for war crimes and other international crimes. No person, no matter how powerful, is above the law. Today’s judgment affirms that with leadership comes not just power and authority, but also responsibility and accountability.

“We welcome the Appeals Chamber’s decision to uphold Mr. Taylor’s sentence to 50 years, which reflects the seriousness of his crimes. This sentence makes it clear that those responsible for criminal conduct on a massive scale will be severely punished. No sentence less than 50 years would be enough to achieve retribution and deterrence, the primary goals of sentencing for international crimes.

“The Appeals Chamber agreed with the Trial Chamber and the Prosecution that the evidence proved that Mr. Taylor aided and abetted, and planned, the crimes charged in the Indictment. Today’s judgment affirms the critical role that Mr. Taylor played in inflicting great misery on the people of Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor spun a vast web of crimes which victimized the entire civilian population of Sierra Leone.

“I commend those brave witnesses who came forward to testify. I also commend the people of Sierra Leone. Without their commitment to justice this trial would not have taken place; indeed this Court would not have existed. Their resilience and courage gives us all great hope for a future of continued peace, justice and progress in Sierra Leone.”

Charles Taylor is the first former Head of State to be convicted for war crimes by an international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg in 1946. The Appeals Chamber upheld Mr. Taylor’s convictions on all 11 grounds of the Indictment with one minor modification, and agreed with the Trial Chamber’s decision sentencing Mr. Taylor to 50 years in prison.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone came into existence because the people of Sierra Leone demanded accountability for the crimes committed during the conflict. With this judicial pronouncement accountability has been adjudged at the very highest level for the crimes committed.

The Special Court will close its doors before the end of 2013, and will be immediately replaced by the Residual Special Court. A primary function of the Residual Special Court will be the continued protection and support of Special Court witnesses and individuals at risk on account of testimony.

The Residual Special Court will respond robustly and effectively to any reports of interference with, or harassment of, witnesses.

“The Special Court will soon close,” said Hollis, “but the courage of the witnesses and the people of Sierra Leone will never be forgotten, nor should it be.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Leadership, Race and Evangelism in the 21st Century.


kyle-searcy

Kyle Searcy

Kyle Searcy, pastor of Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery, Ala., has a passion for developing a new generation of leaders in the church. He is a recognized and highly respected pastor, author and leader of a growing media ministry.

Searcy’s multiracial, multigenerational and international congregation is launching a new campus in Norcross, Ga., just outside Atlanta. But if that isn’t enough, he also leads a network of 10 churches in the United States and more than 230 in Africa, including countries like Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana.

Searcy recently talked with filmmaker and media consultant Phil Cooke about everything from how the church is impacting culture to the Trayvon Martin case to what it will take to make a difference for the gospel in the 21st century. Here’s what happened:

Phil Cooke: Do you remember the moment you decided to become a pastor? Tell me about it.

Kyle Searcy: It was in 1993. I wish I could tell you I had an angelic visitation and prophetic confirmation. But I still remember it vividly.

I had been a member of a church for five years when I received an invitation to be the senior pastor. Immediately, fear gripped me to the point that my knees were literally knocking together! I was in my 20s—too young, in my mind, and way too inexperienced to ever feel “ready” to become a senior pastor. But I remembered a principle I had learned: Where there is no fear, courage is not needed. The Lord challenged me to embrace courage and accept the assignment. I have never looked back or regretted my decision.

Cooke: You’ve always been known for innovative thinking. Wasn’t your current church building a former nightclub in Birmingham?

Searcy: This may sound unusual for a church, but it was a blessing in our case. We had been meeting in a building with a small sanctuary area. Our church grew so rapidly, we had to do four services each Sunday. Our tradition at that time was to have time to wait on God, plenty of time for the messages and response, unlimited time for worship. The Sunday schedule became an endurance test for our team. And the only way we would be able to grow any further was to create yet a fifth service.

We had plans to build a facility large enough for our entire congregation to meet together in one service. But God had different plans. As we were raising funds for our new building, a property became available that was the center of discos, nightclubs, and had been a front for illegal activity.

In a few weeks, we purchased the 2,200 seat auditorium and 374 acres of land for just $1.7 million and transformed it into our current sanctuary. We now serve Communion on the same counter where different kinds of “spirits” were sold and served.

Cooke: Pastors and church leaders have a million responsibilities today. Why does the issue of leadership stand out for you?

Searcy: I experienced a leadership crisis that taught me a lesson I will not soon forget. In the early days of my pastorate, I thought the way you grew a church was by prayer alone. So we prayed. I personally prayed three to five hours per day, and at one point our church had 17 prayer meetings per week.

After several years of intense energy toward prayer, I came to the realization we were not growing numerically. In fact, some years we lost more members than we gained. I took time to meditate on what the problem was, saying to the Lord, “God, this is not working. Either something is wrong with You or something is wrong with me—and I think it’s me.”

The Lord showed me that my church had not grown because I had not grown. Church is a spiritual institution but also a human one, and people require leadership. I began to study systems and patterns, human behavior and development. I still prayed, but now I did more than pray.

The result—growth for me and for the church. We instantly began to grow to the point we doubled and then tripled in membership. I realized firsthand the truth of John Maxwell’s statement that everything rises and falls on leadership—even the church. When I grew, my church grew. This experience taught me that the best way to impact the future is to impact leadership.

Cooke: Your church’s hometown of Montgomery, Ala., has a fascinating history. It’s the birthplace of the civil rights movement, and its neighboring city, Birmingham, is where Dr. Martin Luther King wrote the famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail” in April 1963. The letter was a powerful defense of his strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism and became a key text for the American civil rights movement. How does living in the shadow of those events inspire your own personal leadership style?

Searcy: Dr. King’s philosophy of leadership was influenced largely by the teachings of Scripture. Although he feasted on the table of others like Gandhi, Jesus had the greatest impact on his philosophy of nonviolent resistance. Living in the shadow of these events has shaped my leadership by motivating me. It is Dr. King’s life that has become a testament to me of how one person’s life can impact the world. His legacy emboldens me to shun excuses and maximize moments for greatest impact.

Cooke: After the recent George Zimmerman verdict, I noticed the Montgomery media sought out your opinion. What did you tell them, and what’s your outlook for America when it comes to racism today?

Searcy: Although much progress has been made, racism still exists, but so does classism and sexism and more. The heart of racism is division, and the root of division is pride, and pride is a product of fallen humanity. Christ is the answer when it comes to redemption of our fallen humanity.

I shared with our city that when wronged, we must forgive. I told them that if in some way they feel justice was not done for Trayvon, then leave it to the ultimate judge to settle—God. Our job is to make sure we are delivered from every vestige of racism in our hearts. National issues often reveal personal biases. I used the issue to call people to repentance for whatever issues we may have that need fixing.

Cooke: What’s the state of leadership in the American church today?

Searcy: Leadership in the American church today is anemic, but I believe we are about to stop the bleeding. The primary training for pastors over the last few decades has been on pastoral care and some evangelism. There has been very little training in the area of leadership in the average seminary/Bible school. A leader of a church is more like a spiritual CEO of a “kingdom corporation” than simply a caregiver. The lack of training in leadership has hurt us.

Pastors can certainly be great leaders, and I believe leaders are not born but made, so every pastor can ascend the leadership ladder at will. There is a shift and growing awareness of our need to lead. Pastors are realizing—as I came to realize—that it takes much more than a few spiritual gifts to successfully navigate a church. It takes a leader. As a result, there is a growing emphasis on leadership and integrity in this hour, and the church will be better for it.

Cooke: Your own church, Fresh Anointing House of Worship, is expanding. Tell me about your new campus outside Atlanta and why you felt the need to try a multisite strategy.

Searcy: Twenty years ago, God prompted our hearts that we would someday begin a church in Atlanta, and we believe now is the time to fulfill that mission. There are 2.7 million people in the Atlanta area without a connection to God. We want to do our part in helping some of them get connected.

We officially launch the Fresh Anointing House of Worship Atlanta on Sept. 29 in Norcross High School at 9:00 a.m. We currently have a dynamic team on location that have been sowing seeds through prayer and networking. Together, we are very excited about the launch of Fresh Anointing Atlanta. We sense that when people come into the service, it will be like a breath of fresh air!

Cooke: Your new book, The Secrets of Biblical Wisdom: Unleashing the Power of Heavenly Insight in Your Life, has received a great reception. Why is actively seeking wisdom so important for a leader?

Searcy: Wisdom is insight onsite. It not only gives you the what of a situation but the who, when, where, how, and why. Scripture declares that wisdom is better than:

  • Strength (Eccl. 9:16)
  • Weapons of war (Eccl. 9:18)
  • Gold and silver (Prov. 16:16)
  • Jewels (Prov. 8:11)
  • Anything else, because nothing you desire can compare to it (Prov. 8:11)

If nothing we can possibly desire comes close to the value of wisdom, then we all need it—from the leader to those who are being led. But for leaders, wisdom is especially important because of the insight it provides in situations that affect multiple people.

King Solomon’s life is an example of this. Solomon is called the wisest man on earth from his time until the end of time. One of the ways Scripture describes the wisdom given to him is as the “breadth of mind.” As Solomon’s mind was broadened, he gained insight into the true nature of things. He began to understand concepts and information that he never studied: “He spoke of trees … animals and birds and creeping things and fish. Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (1 Kings 4:33-34, NASB). Solomon didn’t attend a zoological institute to learn about the animal kingdom. His mind was broadened, his intuition quickened and his understanding expanded in a moment.

That’s the power of wisdom. Wisdom sees beyond what the average person sees. It reveals the true nature of things, allowing you to understand what natural deduction and reasoning could not reveal. It sees what is hidden and discerns the obscure.

As you can see, this kind of insight is extremely valuable for all leaders. I still believe it’s the one who sees the clearest that can lead the farthest.

Cooke: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for Kyle Searcy?

Searcy: There are three things I will focus on for the next several years: 1) I will labor to see tens of thousands of people become born again through church planting (local and abroad) and strategic evangelism initiatives; 2) I will raise and train leaders, mentoring them so they can have the opportunity to arise to their full potential. This will strengthen the church as it expands throughout the earth; and 3) I will write books focused toward 1 and 2 above.

I want to share with nonbelievers and believers alike the incredible wealth of knowledge and experience that God has taught me through personal time with Him as well as from many people who have poured into my life. Some of these will be about issues many people face on a daily basis and others will be training tools.

Written by Phil Cooke

Leadership, Race and Evangelism in the 21st Century.


Kyle Searcy
Kyle Searcy

Kyle Searcy, pastor of Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery, Ala., has a passion for developing a new generation of leaders in the church. He is a recognized and highly respected pastor, author and leader of a growing media ministry.

Searcy’s multiracial, multigenerational and international congregation is launching a new campus in Norcross, Ga., just outside Atlanta. But if that isn’t enough, he also leads a network of 10 churches in the United States and more than 230 in Africa, including countries like Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana.

Searcy recently talked with filmmaker and media consultant Phil Cooke about everything from how the church is impacting culture to the Trayvon Martin case to what it will take to make a difference for the gospel in the 21st century. Here’s what happened:

Phil Cooke: Do you remember the moment you decided to become a pastor? Tell me about it.

Kyle Searcy: It was in 1993. I wish I could tell you I had an angelic visitation and prophetic confirmation. But I still remember it vividly.

I had been a member of a church for five years when I received an invitation to be the senior pastor. Immediately, fear gripped me to the point that my knees were literally knocking together! I was in my 20s—too young, in my mind, and way too inexperienced to ever feel “ready” to become a senior pastor. But I remembered a principle I had learned: Where there is no fear, courage is not needed. The Lord challenged me to embrace courage and accept the assignment. I have never looked back or regretted my decision.

Cooke: You’ve always been known for innovative thinking. Wasn’t your current church building a former nightclub in Birmingham?

Searcy: This may sound unusual for a church, but it was a blessing in our case. We had been meeting in a building with a small sanctuary area. Our church grew so rapidly, we had to do four services each Sunday. Our tradition at that time was to have time to wait on God, plenty of time for the messages and response, unlimited time for worship. The Sunday schedule became an endurance test for our team. And the only way we would be able to grow any further was to create yet a fifth service.

We had plans to build a facility large enough for our entire congregation to meet together in one service. But God had different plans. As we were raising funds for our new building, a property became available that was the center of discos, nightclubs, and had been a front for illegal activity.

In a few weeks, we purchased the 2,200 seat auditorium and 374 acres of land for just $1.7 million and transformed it into our current sanctuary. We now serve Communion on the same counter where different kinds of “spirits” were sold and served.

Cooke: Pastors and church leaders have a million responsibilities today. Why does the issue of leadership stand out for you?

Searcy: I experienced a leadership crisis that taught me a lesson I will not soon forget. In the early days of my pastorate, I thought the way you grew a church was by prayer alone. So we prayed. I personally prayed three to five hours per day, and at one point our church had 17 prayer meetings per week.

After several years of intense energy toward prayer, I came to the realization we were not growing numerically. In fact, some years we lost more members than we gained. I took time to meditate on what the problem was, saying to the Lord, “God, this is not working. Either something is wrong with You or something is wrong with me—and I think it’s me.”

The Lord showed me that my church had not grown because I had not grown. Church is a spiritual institution but also a human one, and people require leadership. I began to study systems and patterns, human behavior and development. I still prayed, but now I did more than pray.

The result—growth for me and for the church. We instantly began to grow to the point we doubled and then tripled in membership. I realized firsthand the truth of John Maxwell’s statement that everything rises and falls on leadership—even the church. When I grew, my church grew. This experience taught me that the best way to impact the future is to impact leadership.

Cooke: Your church’s hometown of Montgomery, Ala., has a fascinating history. It’s the birthplace of the civil rights movement, and its neighboring city, Birmingham, is where Dr. Martin Luther King wrote the famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail” in April 1963. The letter was a powerful defense of his strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism and became a key text for the American civil rights movement. How does living in the shadow of those events inspire your own personal leadership style?

Searcy: Dr. King’s philosophy of leadership was influenced largely by the teachings of Scripture. Although he feasted on the table of others like Gandhi, Jesus had the greatest impact on his philosophy of nonviolent resistance. Living in the shadow of these events has shaped my leadership by motivating me. It is Dr. King’s life that has become a testament to me of how one person’s life can impact the world. His legacy emboldens me to shun excuses and maximize moments for greatest impact.

Cooke: After the recent George Zimmerman verdict, I noticed the Montgomery media sought out your opinion. What did you tell them, and what’s your outlook for America when it comes to racism today?

Searcy: Although much progress has been made, racism still exists, but so does classism and sexism and more. The heart of racism is division, and the root of division is pride, and pride is a product of fallen humanity. Christ is the answer when it comes to redemption of our fallen humanity.

I shared with our city that when wronged, we must forgive. I told them that if in some way they feel justice was not done for Trayvon, then leave it to the ultimate judge to settle—God. Our job is to make sure we are delivered from every vestige of racism in our hearts. National issues often reveal personal biases. I used the issue to call people to repentance for whatever issues we may have that need fixing.

Cooke: What’s the state of leadership in the American church today?

Searcy: Leadership in the American church today is anemic, but I believe we are about to stop the bleeding. The primary training for pastors over the last few decades has been on pastoral care and some evangelism. There has been very little training in the area of leadership in the average seminary/Bible school. A leader of a church is more like a spiritual CEO of a “kingdom corporation” than simply a caregiver. The lack of training in leadership has hurt us.

Pastors can certainly be great leaders, and I believe leaders are not born but made, so every pastor can ascend the leadership ladder at will. There is a shift and growing awareness of our need to lead. Pastors are realizing—as I came to realize—that it takes much more than a few spiritual gifts to successfully navigate a church. It takes a leader. As a result, there is a growing emphasis on leadership and integrity in this hour, and the church will be better for it.

Cooke: Your own church, Fresh Anointing House of Worship, is expanding. Tell me about your new campus outside Atlanta and why you felt the need to try a multisite strategy.

Searcy: Twenty years ago, God prompted our hearts that we would someday begin a church in Atlanta, and we believe now is the time to fulfill that mission. There are 2.7 million people in the Atlanta area without a connection to God. We want to do our part in helping some of them get connected.

We officially launch the Fresh Anointing House of Worship Atlanta on Sept. 29 in Norcross High School at 9:00 a.m. We currently have a dynamic team on location that have been sowing seeds through prayer and networking. Together, we are very excited about the launch of Fresh Anointing Atlanta. We sense that when people come into the service, it will be like a breath of fresh air!

Cooke: Your new book, The Secrets of Biblical Wisdom: Unleashing the Power of Heavenly Insight in Your Life, has received a great reception. Why is actively seeking wisdom so important for a leader?

Searcy: Wisdom is insight onsite. It not only gives you the what of a situation but the who, when, where, how, and why. Scripture declares that wisdom is better than:

  • Strength (Eccl. 9:16)
  • Weapons of war (Eccl. 9:18)
  • Gold and silver (Prov. 16:16)
  • Jewels (Prov. 8:11)
  • Anything else, because nothing you desire can compare to it (Prov. 8:11)

If nothing we can possibly desire comes close to the value of wisdom, then we all need it—from the leader to those who are being led. But for leaders, wisdom is especially important because of the insight it provides in situations that affect multiple people.

King Solomon’s life is an example of this. Solomon is called the wisest man on earth from his time until the end of time. One of the ways Scripture describes the wisdom given to him is as the “breadth of mind.” As Solomon’s mind was broadened, he gained insight into the true nature of things. He began to understand concepts and information that he never studied: “He spoke of trees … animals and birds and creeping things and fish. Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (1 Kings 4:33-34, NASB). Solomon didn’t attend a zoological institute to learn about the animal kingdom. His mind was broadened, his intuition quickened and his understanding expanded in a moment.

That’s the power of wisdom. Wisdom sees beyond what the average person sees. It reveals the true nature of things, allowing you to understand what natural deduction and reasoning could not reveal. It sees what is hidden and discerns the obscure.

As you can see, this kind of insight is extremely valuable for all leaders. I still believe it’s the one who sees the clearest that can lead the farthest.

Cooke: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for Kyle Searcy?

Searcy: There are three things I will focus on for the next several years: 1) I will labor to see tens of thousands of people become born again through church planting (local and abroad) and strategic evangelism initiatives; 2) I will raise and train leaders, mentoring them so they can have the opportunity to arise to their full potential. This will strengthen the church as it expands throughout the earth; and 3) I will write books focused toward 1 and 2 above.

I want to share with nonbelievers and believers alike the incredible wealth of knowledge and experience that God has taught me through personal time with Him as well as from many people who have poured into my life. Some of these will be about issues many people face on a daily basis and others will be training tools.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

PHIL COOKE

Combating Politicians With Questions By SOS/Sonala Olumhense.


Columnist:

Sonala Olumhense

In general, human societies that use the ballot to select a leader or a representative, seek the most qualified.

They look for a dignified and respectable achiever who is dedicated to the best interests of the society.  It is not an emotional decision, and the ideal is not always achievable.  What is most dangerous and must be avoided, however, is the trap at the other end of the spectrum: empowering the weakest.

In this area, Nigerians continue to get it wrong.  We enthrone the unmotivated, the compromised and the uncommitted, and then grumble about why nothing is going right.  Sometimes, we do not even bother to get involved: we refuse to vote, or even to register to do so, only to complain about bad leadership.

Our irresponsibility demonstrates itself in our dilapidated institutions and glorified scam establishments, from government agencies to political parties.   We would rather put an idiot in charge, especially if he is a relative, than someone whose abilities we know to be vastly superior.   A man we know to be a thief arrives with a bribe and we greedily grab it and give him our support.  He saunters into office and steals us blind, and we throw up our hands.

This is the soil in which our legislatures are planted and nourished, and it explains why the National Assembly has been in scandal mode since 1999 and has not changed.  It is difficult to argue that the average federal legislator is interested in better legislation, or even legislation.  The federal legislature, the world’s best paid, is not the world’s most patriotic or hardworking.  It is the world’s best paid because its members simply help themselves to the money.

There is a word for that: robbery.  But we do not call it that, especially when those involved are friends and relatives, or when we feel we can benefit.   We worship them.  We give them chieftaincy titles.  We beg them to marry our daughter who has been jobless for five years in the first place partly on account of legislative irresponsibility.

What we know of the executive is even more alarming, especially since they are fewer, and have more ways of helping themselves to the money.  Members of the executive branch do not ask, in the tradition of civil servants, “What is in for me?”  They simply take it.  They make very little attempt to disguise their brigandage as they build homes and buy bulletproof cars and private jets and travel the world.  We give them a great big Robin Hood cheer, as if we were not their very victims.

The truth is that we are responsible for where we have found ourselves.  That is why we do not need to be rescued.  We can rescue ourselves if we wish.

The first step is that we must resolve to be “victims” no longer.  Not to be hypocrites.  Not to be cowards.

And then we must learn to stand up straight and use the powerful tool each of us is already armed with: the power to question.  We must summon the courage to ask questions of those who run our affairs.

Think about it: we are governed not by aliens.  Not even by boys hiding inside starched khaki shirts pretending to be monsters.   We are governed by people we know; people who, in principle, we sent out ourselves through the ballot box.  We must be able to ask them what they are doing, and how.

The ability to ask questions is the most important weapon of a citizen in a democracy.  It permits and challenges the citizen to assert his place as the foundation of the political process by questioning an electoral candidate; by questioning the winner so he remembers he is responsible to those who elected him.

The citizen must question the official so he does not take his office for granted.  He must question the official about the principles that govern his work.  He must question him about the substance of his work.  The dog in the hunt hunts for itself especially in Nigeria’s public life; in the end, the hunter must recover the kill for the hunter.

A question does not have to be cynical, insulting or rude.  Indeed, the best questions are not; they are based on the simple understanding that the elected owes his position to those in whose name he says he speaks.

Actually, the office-holder usually understands this point very well; he just hopes that the electors do not so that he can present himself not as servant but as Master; not as a messenger but as all-knowing and all-powerful.

We have not just a right, but a responsibility, to question those who serve in our names, even if they rigged themselves into that position.  A critical part of the problem we have in our hands is that some of us, when we see a man who holds power, become star-struck and mute, as if the man manufactured the power.

We tremble and stutter not in amazement at how well they are serving the common weal, but at simply how powerful they are.  Even journalists align with the applauding and immobilized party faithful, forgetting that while anyone can quote what a politician said, fewer can ask or report what he actually accomplished, if anything.

With that said, it is clear that election year 2015 is critical for Nigeria.  It is a chance to stand up, speak up, and take responsibility for doing the right thing.  We can pay attention and seek workable solutions, or we can do what we have always done. You cannot present the clown as a prophet only to go home and then complain about how “bad” things are.

Things are not bad.  We are, and that is what must stop.  This is particularly important for Nigeria’s younger generations.  We can begin to negotiate change that will benefit our future when we are courageous enough to ask questions of those who seek our permission to dominate us.
And we must remember we have the right to say NO, to get angry when they think they mislead.  Democracy permits us to merge our outrage with the outrage of others who feel the same way as we do.

You die not when you speak up, but when you look away, in which case you die twice.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Nigeria Rated 8th Most Corrupt Nation- PM NEWS, Lagos.


Nigeria‘s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
By Daniels Ekugo

Anti-corruption nonprofit Transparency International, TI, has released its 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, which surveyed residents in 107 countries, ranking Nigeria, Zambia, Paraguay, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Venezula and Russia as the largest countries on the globe with active corruption indices with Liberia and Mongolia leading the table.

According to the report, the world’s corrupt nations differ in many ways. Four are located in Africa, three in Latin America and two in Asia. These nations also vary considerably in size and population. Mongolia has just 3.2 million residents, while Mexico, Nigeria and Russia are three of the largest countries on the globe, each with more than 100 million people.

In Nigeria, 84% of those surveyed by Transparency International claimed corruption had increased in the past two years, a higher percentage than almost any other country in the world.

Troublingly, 75% of those surveyed also said the government was, at best, ineffective at fighting corruption, worse than in all but 10 countries.
TI says Nigeria is heavily dependent on the oil industry, yet the government refuses to act on accusations that the oil companies are underreporting the value of the resources they extract and the tax they owe by billions of dollars.

The report adds that “certain transparency groups also blamed politicians for encouraging corruption. In 2012, Nigeria had just the 37th largest GDP in the world, despite having the world’s seventh largest population. In Liberia, the majority of Liberians surveyed said they believed the country was run either largely or entirely by a few entities acting in their own self interest.

“A world-leading 86% of residents who spoke to Transparency International claimed their government had been either ineffective or very ineffective at fighting corruption, while 96% of residents claimed Liberia’s legislature was corrupt, also the highest percentage of any nation. A stunning 75% of residents surveyed claimed they had paid a bribe to secure some service, trailing only Sierra Leone.

“In all, 80% of the population had at one point been asked to pay a bribe. Recently, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf fired the country’s auditor general for corruption.Many of those surveyed in the highly corrupt countries also felt their governments were not holding up their end of the bargain.”

According to the report, “in seven of the nine countries, more than half of those questioned felt their government was ineffective at fighting corruption. In Liberia, 86% of residents surveyed said their government was ineffective at fighting the problem. This was the largest proportion of any of the 107 nations Transparency International surveyed. While corruption appears to affect every part of the public sector, certain segments were much worse than the rest.

“Globally, at least 60% of respondents claimed political parties and police were corrupt. Additionally, more than 50% of people stated their legislature, their public officials and their judiciary were corrupt.

In the world’s most corrupt nations, those institutions were, naturally, even worse. In Nigeria, 94% of people claimed their political parties were corrupt, the most in the world. Similarly, 96% of Liberians reported their legislature was corrupt, also the most in the world. In eight of the nine most corrupt nations, more than 80% of residents considered the police to be corrupt.”

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

7-Year-Old Says Jesus Told Her She Will Preach to Children in Africa.


African missions
(Reach Out Youth Solutions)

Since the launch of the Church of God World Missions Marcelly’s Dream project on November 11, 2012, the compelling story of Jesus appearing in a dream to a 7-year-old girl, telling her she would preach the gospel to children in Africa, has created a groundswell of ministry and support.

The dream has become a worldwide missions project focusing on providing support in four basic areas: the Word (Bibles to orphans, expanded to junior youth camps), water, walls, and wellness. (For more information, visit the World Missions website at www.marcellysdream.org.)

Church of God World Missions Director Tim Hill relates the day last summer when God revealed to him a coming time of multiplied harvest. He called it an “Amos 9:13 season.” It is described in the New Living Translation this way: “The time will come,” says the Lord, “when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine!”

The story and the vision spread quickly, creating momentum for world missions with immediate impact. Already the organization has provided support for Men and Women of Action for building and relief projects; partnered with People for Care and Learning in the Build a City project; and supported relief efforts of Operation Compassion for Oklahoma tornado victims.

To date, Marcelly’s Dream has had an initial impact on over 3,500 children in orphanages, placing a Bible into the hands of children in over a dozen countries and several junior stateside youth camps, provided training and support for caregivers in over two dozen orphanages, approving multiple water projects and building projects.

During the camp meeting season, several states announced initiatives for orphanages that can only be described as game-changers. When you have little or no electricity and limited water supply, making those provisions changes everything. When you are in limited facilities and provisions come to enlarge your capacity, it changes everything. When you are exasperated at the emotional challenges facing your children and counsel comes to assist and train, it changes everything. When you have never had a personal copy of the Scriptures and you have a beautiful “Fire Bible” placed in your hands, it changes everything.

Bishop Kenneth Bell of Pennsylvania announced an initiative to assist the El Shaddai Orphanage to relocate to a much larger facility in Igatpuri, India. Bishop Stephen Darnell announced the South Georgia Initiative to fund over $200,000 of projects for Phebe Grey Orphanage in Liberia, West Africa. This initiative includes a security wall, water projects, electrical generator, developing a transitional dorm for older children and renovating existing dorms.

Bishop Don Walker announced the Tennessee initiative as “Mercy on Five Continents.” The projects include a security wall and chapel at Casa Shalom; renovation and expansion of Pearl Orphanage in the Ukraine; expansion of Grace Orphanage in Uganda; completing a kitchen cafeteria and water project in Pandura, Sri Lanka; renovations of boys’ dorm at Love of Emmanuel Orphanage in Jakarta, Indonesia; and building dorms for orphans at Child of Purpose Orphanage in Haiti.

Each of these projects are vitally needed and are game-changers. Your support and prayers are truly making a difference for children and their caregivers around the world. Their pledge: 100 percent of the funds given go directly to the designated project.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

JOHN SWEET/CHURCH OF GOD WORLD MISSIONS


John Sweet is a consultant to orphanages with the Church of God World Missions.

For the original article, visit churchofgod.org.

1 in 5 Americans Have Read Whole Bible.


man reading Bible

You hear someone announce, “I just signed up for a marathon!” and your jaw instantly drops in awe for what they’re about to dive into.

Or maybe you’re the one who goes through the vigorous training required to cover all 26.2 miles of a marathon.

It’s a large feat, but staying the course and finishing the race is the best feeling. And it really brings people together.

Bible Pathway Ministries hosted another type of marathon that requires just as much commitment. But it has bonded believers in a unique way—both to each other and to the Lord.

The Bible Reading Marathon by Bible Pathway was held June 9-13 in several churches around the world. People took turns reading God’s Word aloud from Genesis to Revelation over 90 hours.

“People will say, ‘I don’t know if I can read 15 minutes,’ and then after 30 minutes you have to tap them on the shoulder and say, ‘Would you let somebody else read?’ Something happens when you read it out loud. It is really getting into our spirits, and it’s becoming living to us, so we see that people from all denominations come together,” says Karen Hawkins with Bible Pathway.

A recent study by The Barna Group shows that 20 percent of Americans have read the Bible cover-to-cover, and it’s not just Christians. In comparison, only 15 percent of Americans have read The Hobbit, and 12 percent have read Twilight.

Bible Pathway encourages a routine for reading the entire Bible in a year with just 15 minutes a day. Hawkins says, “Every time you read it, you’re in a different place spiritually. Sometimes those words just jump off the page and you go, ‘Wow, when did God put that there?’ Well, it’s been there all along. You may even have it highlighted. But that’s when it becomes ‘the sword.’ That’s what we use against the devil.”

Hawkins shares how simple Bible reading has had a huge impact for God across the world. “A pastor in Liberia started a church just by handing out daily devotions from Bible Pathway and saying, ‘Read this Bible.’ People said, ‘I don’t have one,’ and he’d say, ‘Come join me.’ He has now held Bible Reading Marathons in 7 of the 11 counties of Liberia.”

It also spans generations. People aged 7 to 87 came out to read God’s Word at the Bible Reading Marathons.

“It’s really important that we get young people into the Word because I heard a really shocking statistic just the other day: 98 percent of young people who have been in the  church drop out of church within two years after getting out of high school,” says Hawkins. “We have to get them so grounded in the Word.”

This article was originally posted on mnnonline.org.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

MISSION NETWORK NEWS

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