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Powerful Testimonies from the Field

May 2016

We receive testimonies of life transformation regularly. In this report, we have included seven testimonies from leaders who have gone through one of our long-term ConneXions programs, a two-week Intensive Training, or a short-term Building Healthy Leaders training.

A short story about one of the participants in our current nine-month ConneXions program in Asia:

One of the participants in this year’s ConneXions program is a local businessman. He is very wealthy and owns all of the buildings on the entire city street where our program is located. When he initially expressed interest in joining the program, we told him it was being run by young people. He is in his forties and we thought he would be put off by the age of the program leaders. He said, "I know it is. I know these people. I’ve watched their lives; they’re really strong. I really want to learn from them. I really want to build a strong foundation in my life."

Even though he has a luxurious penthouse apartment, he insisted on living in a dorm at the church with several other male participants. He wanted to experience all of the depth of the program that he could.

One afternoon, the young men in the group were sharing, with tears, about how they have been put down by their own fathers. They were told that they would never amount to anything. Their fathers were very negative, demanding, and gave them no affirmation. They spent a long time weeping about this and the effect it had on them.

As soon as the businessman saw this, he immediately ran home and, in tears, apologized to his own son who is in his twenties. He saw that he was bringing up his own son in a way similar to what the young men had experienced. He said, "I tell him that he knows nothing and he will never do anything." There was a great reconciliation between the businessman and his son!

One of our teachers recently spoke to a group of Asian leaders about Creation. This was the experience of two of the participants:

Jim Brenneman, one of our teachers, was talking about how, during Creation, God divided the light from the darkness. At that moment, a young sister in the group was thrown to the floor by an evil spirit. The entire group called on the Lord and in a minute or two she was back to normal. Later that evening, Jim and an Asian team member prayed and encouraged the sister. God gave her peace and freedom from anxiety and inferiority. They affirmed their love for her and also reassured her that she was not evil because she was being attacked.

It is through our weakness and affliction that God is glorified! They assured her that God would use this as a display of His great glory. She told us that for the first time she felt peace, and the tension, stress, and anxiety had been lifted from her. Jim and our team member found out that the sister’s mother was also there at the training. The mother shared that she had also struggled with worry and anxiety throughout her life. Her daughter, who had just experienced deliverance, took it upon herself to pray for her mother to have peace. The formerly shamed and embarrassed young girl was ministering out of her own weakness to someone else.

The young sister began kissing and hugging her mother and telling her mother how much she loved her. She told us afterward that this was the first time that she can ever remember telling her mother that she loved her! She had hated her mother before and thought her mother hated her. But now, for the first time, she really knew that her mom had been broken on her behalf all of these years.

Personal testimony from a church leader who attended a BHL in India:

"I was part of the Building Healthy Leaders (BHL) training in Vellore, India and it was transformational. I have been a church leader for the last 17 years. Despite working very hard, there seemed to be no fruit. My father pointed out to me the fact that there must be something wrong if there was no fruit. I tried many things. Even though I had completed my theological education, I was a failure. I had thought knowledge meant successful ministry. I was wrong. After attending the BHL, I learned the keys to successful ministry, and my ministry has begun to evidence fruit. We began a fast in January 2016. My church, which had just 10 members, now has 80 members.

During the BHL, God enabled me to realize my calling and the need to have a clear goal for my life and ministry. God has given me clear direction as a result of my petition to Him. My relationship with Him has been strengthened. A grandmother recently told me she prayed that her son would take after me. That was the biggest compliment I could receive!

I am currently mentoring three leaders. I observe their passion for ministry growing. My preaching has been based only on the 5Cs for the past two-and-a-half months. I can give witness to the significant results. Earlier, because of my young age, deacons wouldn’t come near me, but now they encourage me and come alongside to share the ministry. They have taken charge of four to five village churches. God is truly blessing the church through the use of the ConneXions Model."

A report from Bill Frisbie, our West Africa Director, as he was training in Senegal:

While Bill was training in Senegal, he had a morning consultation with a leader. Last year Bill had led the Servanthood Learning Experience, based on the ConneXions Model, for the students and leadership of the school. Both leaders of the school have participated twice in past Building Healthy Leaders seminars.

Bill was very pleased to hear the several ways they have begun adopting and applying healthy leader development principles to a program with curriculum that is designed to focus on academics. In this setting, the students, who come from many different local churches, are only together on Saturdays and have assignments to do throughout the week.

Now when they come together, they have individual devotional time, another time to share needs and pray for one another, and a period given to intense worship. A few years ago, one big challenge was to get the local congregations to give their students responsibilities so they could put into practice what they were learning. One pastor has since painstakingly built the necessary relationships so that now him and the other pastors have regular communication so they can work together for the student's growth and well-being.

This has resulted in the students having opportunities to lead in the congregations from which they are members. Bill spent time discussing simple additions to strengthen their use of the 4Ds in the overall program. As we continue to walk alongside this school, it will be exciting to see their results.

Update on the Muslim man in Burkina Faso who had lost the use of his legs to polio but had miraculously gotten saved:

This has resulted in the students having opportunities to lead in the congregations from which they are members. Bill spent time discussing simple additions to strengthen their use of the 4Ds in the overall program. As we continue to walk alongside this school, it will be exciting to see their results.

I heard from Pastor Francois, who played a key role in the crusade that since that time, he has been baptized and is doing well in the Lord. He is actively participating in the life of a small Assemblies of God church in his home town, not far from his work stand, where currently he repairs bicycles until he has enough capital to pursue his specialty in repairing motorcycles. We were able to visit him briefly. When we greeted him as "Musa," the first thing he did, with a smile, was to correct us: "I am no longer Musa but Moïse." Both names translate as "Moses" in English, but "Musa" comes from the Koran and "Moïse" comes from the Bible.
We spent only a short time with him, greeting him and letting him know we and others continue to pray for him. It was especially encouraging for me because from the first moment he caught my attention the night at the crusade, I felt a burden for him and sensed his great spiritual hunger. While I was thrilled at his immersive introduction to the family of God, admittedly it was hard to leave, knowing his path forward in this context could be very difficult. So I count this opportunity as a real gift from the Lord! Pastor Francois will be going past Moïse's place again in ten days and will spend more time with him then as a reinforcement of what he is already receiving in his local church.