We arrived at São Tomé and were denied entry.
We did not have the name of the guest house in which we were to lodge. Christian had the phone number of the man he was staying with, but that would not satisfy the customs official. He told us to call him. Justin’s phone battery was dead. So, was Christians. Mine was low but I had “No Service.” The policeman I asked wouldn’t let me use his phone for a local call. So we stood there trusting the Lord for favor. Finally, the customs official told Christian to come with him. About 5 minutes later, they returned with the woman to pick us up, who is Nezey, Adilson’s wife. It turns out that Christian stayed in the same guest house with us, which is also Adilson’s home. Aside from having the gues house, Adilson is the head forest ranger in São Tomé.
São Tomé Principe has about 200,000 people on it. 7,000 of them are on Principe, the 2nd smaller Island, which Adilson tells me is mainly for tourism. About 25% of the remaining 193,000 live in the capital, São Tomé, on the island São Tomé, and the rest live scattered across the island.
We left for town shortly after putting our bags in our rooms, in order to exchange money. So many people in the market! The harvest is so ripe! We went from there to the phone store, to get Christian and Justin a local SIM card. As it would have it, a man parked his vehicle in T bone fashion behind, blocking us in. The Lord has taught me much about patience working in WACA,...and He continues to do so! 🤓
We finally were able to leave the phone store and went to visit a pastor friend of Christian’s, Ps Resh from the Assemblies of God Missionaria, which is from Brazil. He is the VP of the Alliance Association of Churches and said he would set up a meeting for us at 9am on Saturday, Feb. 23rd with the president of the Alliance Association. We leave on Monday evening; it became apparent that this trip was to develop relationships and hopefully get to speak to the Alliance pastors on Monday before we leave (and hopefully the AG Pentecost leadership).
Unfortunately, I haven’t had a translator straight from English to Portuguese. Justin has taken my English and translated it into French to someone else who can translate from French to Portuguese. Knowing that Justin could do this in his own and is intimately acquainted with Live School (he is overseeing the Central Africa portion of WACA for me), I asked him to talk so there would only need to be 1 translation done. I honestly can see the hand of God at work to do all He can to reach people. The harvest is ripe and the laborers few. May LS serve to multiply those laborers and shake dead religion off of the church, equipping and mobilizing the people, instead of living in OT priest and commoner, clergy and laity nonsense that hinders the body from doing what it is called to do. The five-fold ministry is to equip THE SAINTS for the work of service (Eph 4:12), which is more than passing the bulletin. It is being light and salt in the world, living to the glory of God!
Friday, Feb. 22, 2019:
As a result of our meetings being set for Saturday, today (Feb 22) was to be our day of rest. For me it ended up being the day to get organized and do administration that was backing up.
That evening we met with Ps Carlos, who is the Vice President is the AG Pentecost denomination and Adilson’s pastor. He is pastoring a church plant in a poor area. We went to the partially built church building off the dilapidated coastal road a block or two. I wish it had been light so I could take some pictures! I can see students if Live School in this place reaping the harvest “in tall cotton!” So many people wandering around, “like sheep without a shepherd!” May Live School make many disciples who make disciples here!
The church had about 10 candles on little saucers burning, set on some of the rough cut, seasoned wooden benches to give a little light to see. We walked back out of the church, down the sagging wooden steps, to speak with the pastor outside, but a woman was was at the corner, screaming incessantly at someone and wouldn’t stop. So, we got in Adilson’s car and backed up about a block and spoke to Ps Carlos from English to French to Portuguese. We showed him a small 5 minute video in Portuguese of a typical Live School. As we watched, the Lord must have been speaking to him. He said, “ We need this.” He will be with us and the pastor we met with last night, Resh, when we meet with the president of the Alliance Association. And then he asked us to come to his church in town on Sunday to meet with the head of his denomination, AG Pentecost, afterwards.
Afterwards, we went to eat at the Playa Gamboa again, with Adilson, his wife Nezey, and the 2 youngest of there 4 children.
Sunday, February 24, 2019:
AG Pentecost Church Service:
This morning we got up and went to Adilson’s church, the AG Pentecost church which is pastored by Carlos (the Carlos of the church in the poor area we met with two nights ago). He is the head pastor of this church, numbering in the thousands, but is humble and has compassion to reach his people, being the other night at the other church plant with his “work clothes on.” He obviously has the compassion of the Lord for the people here.
I pray that LS will be a tool he can use to multiply laborers, to turn many of the thousands that come here every Sunday to more than church attenders, but to disciples who make disciples, that all São Tomé may have the Gospel and come to know the Good Shepherd. The harvest field is ripe here in São Tomé, and this church is full of laborers. They just don’t know it yet. Oh, Lord, let Live School put the fire in them to cause your kingdom to overrun this entire island! Equip and mobilize your people in each of their worlds, and beyond...to their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost. Let Carlos see the people you have him overseeing as a vast army, with the potential of all they can be in Christ.
There was a predominant theme of Protocol in the service today. There is an order to things: the child, the wife, the husband, the Lord, the Father. We are all one in Christ, and the Lord has told us to walk in humility towards one another. Let us humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and let Him lift us up. It is His blessing that makes rich, and He adds NO SORROW to it. Demanding our “rights” may get us that, but it in the process it seems to be tearing us in pieces. Just look at what is happening in the USA.
Gal 5:14-15 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
Carlos’ sermon was very practical on Eph 5:18-6:9 about family and employee structure and living. I find that the church in the US doesn’t even mention how children are to honor and obey their parents, wives their husbands, employees their employers and fathers not provoking their children to anger. Instead, we seem to assume these things and go on to “the deeper things of the Lord.” When actually, the family unit and social structure in the US is falling apart at the seams, because no one is teaching the people how to live godly. It seems we have become “so spiritually minded that we are no earthly good.” We must apply the word we know to receive more. Let us not become hearers of the word only and not doers, who deceive themselves. O God, have mercy on us in the US and restore the foundations! Carlos is building foundations in his people.
We wonder why things are in disarray. It is because we have not taught our people or practice what we are to do... There is so much attention given to “our rights” that there is precious little attention given to “living right.”
There is power in the word...applied. The Word works. Carlos is sharing a chunk of Scripture and applying it in its context. No wonder this church is growing. Whereas many preachers lift a verse here and there and make it say what they want. We need the full counsel of Scripture. The Lord follows the preaching of the word with signs following. Let us renew our minds to the simplicity of the word and apply it to our lives and watch the blessing of the Lord follow.
He is even hitting the partiality many give those “dressed to the 9’s” and the wealthy (James 2:15) and how shepherds are supposed to be (1Pe 5:1-3). This is amazing in lieu of the way that many pastors “lord it over the sheep,” robbing them while they themselves live in luxury in Africa. And we in the US who are 90% + more wealthy than the rest of the world, is the plight of the poor conveniently “out of sight, out of mind” to us? Now, much “relief giving” is done for the pictured fly flying around the eye of the little poor child, but 90% of relief giving should be turned into “development giving,” instead. But “development,” teaching a man how to fish, requires us to roll up our sleeves and work, rather than throwing some coins in a bucket... The only way to fill “the black hole” is through developing the needy to prosper by following the practical rules of Christ. Make disciples, teaching them to obey everything I’ve taught you... Do we do this, or give to others to make converts for us? A disciple disciplines himself to obey the Lord, which motive is the great love that has been shown him.
Meeting with AG Pentecost president and VP:
After the service we met with the VP and the president of AG São Tomé. We had a good meeting. They work under Alliance, so when Justin comes here in April, they will be here. They have the island split into 6 districts, and each has 10 to 30 churches in it. The name of the president of AG Pentecost is . The name of the VP who interpreted from French to Portuguese is .
Adilson’s 3 hectares:
In the afternoon, we went to Adilson’s 3 hectares of land up in the mountains, next to a small village, which was a small colony in Portuguese days. The mountains are beautiful with so many bananas and other fruit too. He went there to load up the back of his pickup with bananas, coconuts and atanga (plum in French...I’m not sure if these are plums as we know them, but they are very tasty!). We then went to Adilson’s wife’s (Nezey) brothers family and they fed us escargot and more until I finally could not eat the last round.
Many of the houses here, even on the upland are on stilts. I was told that they build their houses this way, so that when the children grow up, they can finish out the bottom area as their home. Indeed Nezey’s brother’s house is already completed this way.
Meeting with Marilor Silva:
We left some of the fruit there and then dropped off most of it at another person’s home in another village. I assume they will sell it for Adilson. Then Adilson and Nezey dropped us off at a female pastors house & church. Marilor is young in the Lord, but very pure and passionate. Christian actually led her to the Lord maybe 6 years ago. I asked and she is single. When we got back to the guest house, I told Christian, “Marilor is single:)” He was like, “Oh, no...” On the day we flew here, Christian complained about there being no marriage candidates that match his calling. But it seems obvious to me. The Lord emphasized him going to Sao over and over, she has seen herself ministering all over, even in NY and Brazil. She wants to have an orphanage, and so does Christian. And she needs a man of God to help establish her and actually to have a way in the mostly men’s, ministry world in these parts. She is the only female pastor on São Tomé, and the effect is to be somewhat isolated from those who are her brothers in the Lord, the rest of the family of God here. Live School will greatly help her and her 6 or 7 disciples who were at the meeting. I told her that there are pastors with many bigger churches and many more people here (they have maybe 30 come now), but that not many pastors are making disciples, which is what the Lord called us to do. She was taking her 6 or 7 to the mountain for a night of prayer after meeting with us. I so had it in my heart to encourage her and give her a cup of fresh water. I also spoke to her about “γυνή - gune” in the Greek being the word for woman and wife, and that many of the translators missed it, especially in Paul’s writings, translating these scriptures to fit their own chauvinistic world view. Paul himself spoke of female ministers. If you take the English in his writing and but wife in place of woman in most of these Scriptures, it not only maintains context, but makes sense.