- Category: Original
07 Feb 2014
- Written by Stephen Wigley III/Special to The New Tri-State Defender
My missionary journey to Africa was my third journey as a missionary on foreign soil.
My first two journeys were to the continent of Asia to the "Underground Church," where our main objective was to go and train pastors and other leaders on the fulfillment of "The Great Commission," the command that Jesus has given to all believers – to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Our secondary objective was to smuggle in bibles that were already translated into their native language to give to the people in the provinces while trying to remain undetected because Christianity is still under serious persecution in most parts of Asia.
I thank God for blessing both of those missions and returning us back to the USA and to our families safely.
In February of 2013, I was invited by Roy "Soup" Campbell, the founder and director of EIKON Ministries located in the Binghampton community of Memphis, to join him and another Memphis ministry, Downline Ministries, on a 20-man mission team embarking on a journey to share the Gospel in West Africa.
I was honored and accepted the invitation by faith and immediately began to sell my "famous homemade pot pies" to raise funds for the mission.
On January 3rd-19th, 2014, I joined the 19 other men on the missionary journey. We divided up into smaller groups to cover six regions in West Africa (Accra-Ghana, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Kumasi, Nkwanta and Sunyani). Some of us – after a 10-11 hour flight to West Africa – had to endure an 8-9 hour road trip to reach these regions because there were no airports. Yet, (we were) willing and eager to do this work for the Lord.
After teaching in Accra-Ghana for two days, I was reassigned, along with Ken Cascarella, to fly to Kumasi and lead the conference there. We taught about 40 pastors and leaders in the morning on topics such as The Great Commission, The Concept of Discipleship, Personal and Spiritual Disciplines, Persistent Prayer, Understanding 2Timothy 2:2, and How To Share Your Faith.
Then in the evenings, 200 people or more would travel from 16 surrounding villages for revival service, which logistically was a major undertaking. There is no infrastructure in the villages and the roads are so treacherous, especially at night.
But the people wanted to hear the Word of God. Cascarella, my fellow missionary, was lead to preach the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the second night of the revival and 75 to 100 men, women and children received the free gift of salvation that night. I have never experienced the Spirit of God move so powerfully as I did that night, especially in a region where demonic influences and the practice of witchcraft is so prevalent. God truly released people from strongholds during that conference.
Unlike the "underground Church" in Asia, I was encouraged to form relationships with the pastors and leaders and the people in the villages because Christianity is open without persecution in these regions. I have made a commitment to the people of Kumasi, West Africa, not only to come back, but to continue to build on the relationship via media, and to send them a steady flow of resources and teaching materials.
I will never forget my experiences in Africa. When my plane landed in Asia on those previous missions, I was eager to do the Lord's work but I still found it hard to believe that I was so far from home (USA). But when I landed in Africa, I was also eager to do the Lord's work and this time I knew I was home.
A humble servant of Christ, Stephen Wigley III