[notice]Megan Whatley, Editorial Assistant to African Enterprise founder Michael Cassidy reflects on his ministry of more than 50 years and talks to him about the current search for a new SA Team Leader to take AE into its next chapter of evangelising the cities of Africa.[/notice]
Fifty four years ago, while walking along a beach in Liberia, a young student, Michael Cassidy, impulsively drew a vast outline of the continent of Africa in the sand. Inside the outline he inscribed the words “Claimed for Jesus Christ.” As he did so he walked 50 paces in the sand with the heartfelt cry to the Lord for “50 years of ministry in Africa- a year for every footprint in the sand!” Soon after this, African Enterprise (AE) was started by Cassidy and some student friends in a small office in California with the financial backing of just $1, as given by his roommate!
Since those early days the ministry has grown and today AE has 10 teams across the continent of Africa in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, DRC, Ghana and Ethiopia, as well as a number of support offices around the world. African Enterprise is a non-racial, inter-denominational and Pan-African organisation existing “to evangelise the cities of Africa through word and deed in partnership with the Church.”
In addition to preaching the Gospel, AE’s peacemaking and reconciliatory work has been ongoing in formerly violence-wracked countries such as Rwanda, Burundi and DRC since the mid 1990’s. Amongst the most remarkable contributions was in South Africa in 1994, when Cassidy, with other key players including the Kenyan diplomat, Dr Washington Okumu, contributed significantly to the political breakthrough which averted near-certain civil war in the run up to South Africa’s first democratic elections. AE has also been involved since its early years in mounting some of the most major ecumenical and inter-denominational congresses on mission and evangelism, for example PACLA (Pan African Christian Leadership Assembly) in Nairobi in 1976, SACLA (South African Christian Leadership Assembly) in 1979 with 6000 South African leaders present and SACLA II in 2003.
AE shares the Gospel in schools, universities, prisons, marketplaces, businesses, leadership, diplomatic and political circles, as well as in churches and city-wide missions, but always works in partnership with local Christian groups and churches. AE also has wide and extensive ministries through books and writings, radio, training, social development and prayer amongst other things.
At the end of 2012 AESA went through financial difficulties and the team had to be dramatically reduced by a process of retrenchment including its leader. Michael Cassidy was invited to lead the team once again and has done so ever since. “This”, notes Michael, “was always a temporary measure, and my priority aim was to get AESA back on its feet both in terms of getting the engine of mission running again more effectively and in terms of finances. On both these fronts the Lord has blessed and really come through for us. But it is only right and proper, given my age plus some health challenges, to pass this exciting and responsible role on to a younger leader. Hence our now putting out our advertisement for this position. Clearly a successful applicant would need to be a capable leader and someone full of courage and adventure with a passionate heart for advancing the Gospel in our very needy country at this time.”
AE news and prayer items
Michael continues: “It’s always a privilege to share something with readers of Gateway News and I hope you’ve found this article on African Enterprise both instructive and encouraging. May I be so bold as to ask you to consider coming on our African Enterprise mailing list and receiving news and prayer items from us, for we really do need the prayers and support of the Lord’s people in this country as our ministry moves into a new season of rich and exciting opportunities and potential. Also pray with us very specifically about finding and securing a new AE South Africa Team Leader to take over the ministry from me in the near future. It is a very exciting and challenging role which opens up endless doors of possibility for wide ranging ministries and Christian service. Tell us if you know of any possible candidates. Might you even be one!?”
If you would like to receive Michael Cassidy’s personal email news/prayer letter, plus the African Enterprise newsletter, please send your full name, telephone number, and email and postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the African Enterprise website: www.africanenterprise.com