Online to On-The-Ground Connections
Eric is one of our great volunteers in English-speaking Africa. When I was leading this division of our ministry, I took note of of him as someone who consistently answered his own mail and led his team well. I eventually elevated him to lead Africa’s entire Southern and Eastern region (almost 100 volunteers). One of the key factors in this decision was the testimony he gave in his profile.
I thought I’d share it with you all this month as a way to explain about a new development in our technology and partnership structure: our “On The Ground Connections” module, due to be released in the fall.
Eric was depressed over his dying father. God used Eric’s love for his dad as a way to draw him into a closer relationship with Jesus. With what he intended to be his last 10%, Eric’s father donated enough to build a local church, and when the building was dedicated, they asked Eric to be present. The pastor prayed for Eric and asked him to seek God. When Eric began to obey, he visited one of our sites and was connected with Cindy, one of our Online Missionaries. Cindy prayed for Eric’s dad, (who did recover, although he lost both legs to diabetes), and discipled him for a year.
In that year, she gave him assurance of salvation, gave him clear teaching about the Holy Spirit and got him connected with a local church. He quickly entered training to be a deacon and pursued theological education through Campus Crusade’s International School of Theology in Nairobi.
“Eric took it on his own to go back to the School in Nairobi, as I suggested, and begin to take courses to work his way through. I knew he had orphans, besides his own children, that he was putting through school, but I could not help him financially. He did not let it deter him. I also suggested he begin working with GMO, since he loved the Bible so much and wanted to tell others about Christ. He had already demonstrated that by sharing the Four Laws.
From there, Eric is a self-motivating machine! He went far beyond where I thought he was going, showing me he truly does have a heart for ministry.”
— Online Missionary Cindy
Eric’s story shows the synergy of working with other International and local ministries. We have great local relationships in some areas of the world (like Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana), and none in others. Cindy had been Campus Crusade staff from 1971-1981 and used her understanding and connections to help Eric find the local resources he needed for his growth.
Not every Online Missionary has such a background to leverage in order to help prepare a leader like Eric. But we’ve always striven to foster on-the-ground connections in our ministry. Our system is built to capitalize onanonymity and the availability of inexpensive mobile devices worldwide. So encouraging local connections hasn’t been that simple. That’s why our upcoming system release is so important. Partner organizations, such as missions agencies and local church planting movements, will have a way to register with us so as to be identifiable with a region. They will then show up on a list of local connections, and a spiritually sensitive Online Missionary can request personal contact information from his evangelistic contact. This contact information can be a Skype address, a telephone number, email or even Facebook.
As you might imagine, proper training for this will be a key to the development of this sensitivity, as well as the understanding of how the technology works. In Eric, we have a memorable story of how well it can work. Please join us in prayer that we can make this a part of our ministry culture, and grow our outreach exponentially!
Love, in Christ,
One Day Closer!