Plant Churches and Fight Ebola

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I always find it encouraging when I hear a good report from the mission field. Unless you have been under a rock, you will be at least a little familiar with the happenings in West Africa concerning Ebola. Today I wanted to share with you all a report from a church in Tennessee intimately connected to that part of the world.

Several years ago, First Baptist Church in Humbolt, TN adopted the Susu people group in West Africa. The Susu are an unreached people group and staunchly Muslim. The spiritual soil is hard indeed. However, through obedience to the Great Commission, God has used this church to do miracles in West Africa.

The following update briefly discusses their missions strategy and its effectiveness. In addition, the villages where they worked to plant church are the same villages reeling with Ebola. Yet, God is working miracles in his church in this area. Read and see what it looks like for a church to roll up their sleeves and get involved in a specific area.

But more importantly, read and be encouraged that our God heals the sick!

Only God knew the ramifications for our family of faith at Humboldt First Baptist Church to adopt the Susu, an unreached people group in West Africa. In partnership with the Susu strategic team of the International Mission Board, we committed to engage the Susu in Sierra Leone, where there were no IMB personnel. Over the past six years, we sent 8 strategic church planting teams, 55 team members including two Journeymen, and had over 550 prayer warriors specifically praying for the Susu work.

Over 100 Susu people were baptized with 3 new church starts in 3 villages including 4 new believers in the ”K” village. In “S” village, FBC’s hub for church planting work, the first church building was erected and the Susu church launched a preschool and primary school.  Vital tools used to share the Gospel were Gospel-based community development, the Jesus Film, Creation to Christ story (panoramic view of the Bible that is easily memorized and retold time and again), and personal testimonies of Christ from His followers.

Shortly, after our February team returns to the States, the news comes about the terrible Ebola virus hitting this part of the world. Due to the quarantine areas, we postponed two mission teams while staying in close communication with our Susu and IMB partners. FBC has a team on hold ready to go when clearance is given.

During Thanksgiving week, we were challenged to pray for miracles among the Susu during this crisis. A recoreded phone message from Mohamed, our Susu evangelist, revealed that two Susu church members were placed in the Ebola Quarantine Center and five of the preschool children and their families are very sick.

On December 8th, good news of miracles arrives. The two church members are miraculously healed and are dismissed from the Quarantine Center. The families of the preschoolers do not have Ebola. Yusef, the first Susu believer in this area, was one of those church members. His immunity to the disease, background in pharmacy and most importantly, his zeal for Jesus drives him to remain at the Center to help other Ebola victims.

What better time to receive such wonderful news than the season of the greatest miracle ever. With hearts of gratitude and wonderment over the healing among the Susu, may His church rise up, fearlessly, to meet the temporal challenges this world offers with the eternal Good News of a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

– written by Dottie Babcock, FBC Humboldt

Pray with First Baptist for the Susu people. That God will use these church plants to bring the gospel to a lost people and that the Lord will continue to bring healing to West Africa.

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Keelan Cook Administrator
Senior Church Consultant
Keelan leads the Peoples Next Door project and is a Senior Church Consultant with the Union Baptist Association in Houston, TX. He is working on a PhD in Missiology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In previous years, he spent time as a church planter in West Africa with the IMB and doing ethno-graphic research in Washington, DC with NAMB.
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