Frontline Fellowship husband and wife team, Michael and Renee Watson, joined by two other South African missionary field workers, Ryno and Frank, have completed a five month, six country Congo Overland Mission.
Ministering in Zambia, Tanzania, Burundi, the DR Congo, Malawi and South Africa, the team travelled over 20 000 km, conducted more than 360 meetings, services, outreaches and seminars, and distributed almost two tonnes of Bibles, discipleship books and audio-visual resources to pastors, teachers and evangelists. They screened the Jesus film 36 times, conducted 14 outreach campaigns, preached 38 open-air evangelistic messages, and preached 30 Sunday sermons.
Last year the couple spent seven months on an overland mission trip to 12 African nations including the young nation of South Sudan which split from the Muslim Republic of Sudan to the north in 2011 after enduring much persecution during years of war.
Commenting on this year’s mission, Michael Watson says: “We can report with joy that God granted us favour at all police roadblocks, as we were not harassed by even one corrupt official throughout these months of ministry and travel! This is truly God’s grace, as Africa is riddled with corrupt officials looking for a bribe. Although we travelled over a vast variety of rough, potholed, and corrugated road surfaces, we only suffered one puncture. We also praise God that our team was kept safe whilst we travelled through dangerous areas where rebels and bandits vigorously terrorise travellers and locals alike.”
Congo for Christ
“The main goal of this mission was to serve the suffering church in Congo, in an area that has been terrorised by a number of violent groups. This region of Congo is very remote and disconnected from the rest of the country, with little infrastructure and support from the government. With the generous help of our faithful supporters we were able to purchase and distribute a hundred French Bibles, three thousand Gospels of John and Romans in French, 11 000 World Missionary Press Gospel booklets in French, 660 Biblical Principles for Africa books in French, 300 Broad and Narrow Way posters, and almost a tonne of Gospel literature, discipleship books and evangelistic material to these needy believers who are on fire for God. This is a church that is thriving under difficult conditions and is making a positive difference in their community ,” says Michael.
“We conducted a Revival and Evangelism Camp about 2 hours’ drive outside the town, where about 70 members of various churches attended the week-long programme. After the camp we conducted an Evangelism Explosion week within the town where we held evangelism training sessions in the mornings. In the afternoons we went out into the streets for door-to-door evangelism. Many members of the church were energetically and joyfully involved.”
Reporting back on their experience in the other countries they visited, Michael says: “Burundi is a country of great need with a long history of political and tribal violence, as well as many religious distractions from the Truth. Ancestor worship is very big and the Catholic church is also a very strong presence as a consequence of Belgian rule. Witchcraft is a powerful force used by many and feared by most. There are many Evangelical and Pentecostal churches that gather in homes and small buildings, but the sad truth is most of these churches are ignoring the Gospel and are instead preaching and spreading a prosperity ‘gospel’ that is contradictory to the Scriptures.
The stark simplicity and power of basic Biblical teaching confounded and astonished many of the participants of our seminars who expressed ‘This is what our churches and our country needs!’”
Jesus film screenings
“As we travelled deeper into Tanzania we saw more and more signs of Islam’s insidious advance. Tanzania is about 35% Muslim, and their numbers are growing. We conducted Reformation FIRE Seminars in two churches. We screened the Jesus film almost each night we were there. On one particular night, the neighbouring mosque tried in vain to drown out the sound of our powerful speakers by singing and chanting on their own PA system at full blast — in fact after 2 hours their sound system burned out!
“We were blessed to see the spiritual growth in the church since our previous ministry in this area, as well as the hunger for sound Biblical teaching. Our host kept us busy each day with opportunities to speak at schools, a college, and at mid-week church meetings.”
“There is a desperate crisis unfolding in Malawi that will soon destroy this beautiful country, unless the Church takes its responsibility to fulfil the Great Commission seriously. Malawians are being gullibly enslaved to the religion of Islam and they don’t even know it. In fact, as did Esau, they are selling their souls for a morsel of food. During the ‘hunger season’; due to economic mismanagement, the subsistence farmers are not able to bring in sufficient grain to feed their families. People literally go without food for days, sometimes weeks.
Food for accepting Islam
“Years ago, Gadhafi sponsored numerous mosques to be built all over Malawi in his attempt to Islamise Africa. At that time, there were few converts in those mosques, but due to the ‘hunger season’ and the ignorance of the dangers of Islam, that is now changing. During the hunger season mosques are stocked with grain and supplied with ample meat. The Muslims offer this food to anyone who declares themselves a Muslim. In desperation, many people flock to the mosques, declaring themselves to be Muslim in order to obtain free food.
“We conducted Great Commission Seminars with a focus on Muslim Evangelism in seven regions where this is a problem. Often you would find that even churchgoers would convert to Islam for the sake of hunger relief. We conducted door-to-door outreaches in strong Muslim areas, challenging those who would hear us to answer this question: ‘How can you wash away your sin and your guilt?’ We found that even leaders in the church could not answer this simple question!
“We spent painstaking hours, often in the vicious heat, teaching the basic foundational truths of the Good News. This, you may find hard to believe, was a profound enlightenment to the whole church in most cases.
“We found Zambia to be a very Christian country in the sense that there are many churches and many shop names that display Christian influence. But the presence of casinos, night clubs, drunks and litter made us realise that the need is still great. The Church needs a lot of leadership training and discipleship training. We conducted three Reformation FIRE Seminars in different regions and also had ministry opportunity to speak in school classes and at one school assembly. We found many who expect to get into Heaven by good works.
“We were privileged to have had the opportunity to also conduct some rural ministry in the Wild Coast. This is an area that is underdeveloped and un-churched. There are no churches in this particular area and we spoke to a fair number of individuals who expressed a keen desire to have a church in their village where they could fellowship. We screened the Jesus film, preached the Gospel in school classrooms and at a school assembly. We distributed thousands of Gospel booklets and Broad and Narrow Way posters, and conducted door-to-door evangelism in the rural area.”
The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few
Michael says there is a desperate need and ready harvest of souls in many places but not enough workers to fulfil the need.
“I challenge all young Christian people to seriously consider participating in the Great Commission Camp in Cape Town this January 2015. You can make a difference in this world.”
More testimonies and pictures from the Congo Overland Mission and of the missionary work of Frontline Fellowship can be seen on the Frontline Fellowship Facebook page andwebsite ( www.frontline.org.za). They can be contacted at email@example.com or 021 689 4480.