“What Is Your Bon Confession?” A report from Abidjan. 


In most of our churches, before we baptize people, we ask them a question, “What is your good confession?” Here is a short video clip of a young man being asked that very question before his baptism. This was at a worship service in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. 

What happened after his baptism doesn’t happen in all our churches (but perhaps it should). The second video clip shows our new brother being congratulated and welcomed into the family with singing and dancing. The Bible states that the angels rejoice when a sinner is saved. Why shouldn’t the church rejoice as well? 

This was a joyful moment that brought a big smile to my face. I hope it brightens your day as well. 

Worship in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Psalm 150 

Psalms 150 (NIV, 2011)
The Psalmist encourages the reader to praise the Lord “with timbrel and dancing.” The disciples in Abidjan do just that. Enjoy this short clip from a worship service in Abidjan. Then throughout the day, live your life as a psalm of worship to the Lord. 

Happy Thanksgiving


Psalm 100 (NIV, 2011)

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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Today is Thanksgiving Day in the States. Thanksgiving Day is typically commemorated by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, gathering together family and friends to enjoy a meal of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, pecan pie, and by watching football. Also, many people get ready for Black Friday, the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season. 

On this Thanksgiving Day, let’s all pause a moment (or several moments) and give thanks to God the Father who spoke the world into existence, God the Son who redeemed the world through his death on the cross, and God the Spirit who is our constant traveling companion on this journey we call life. 

Let’s take a moment and mention to God all the ways we are grateful and mention by name every person and every thing for which we are grateful. 

Let’s also remember those who are less fortunate than we are. Let’s remember the poor who may find nothing to eat today, the sick who cannot afford proper medical treatment, families that have been torn apart by divorce or abuse, people who are enslaved to various addictions, those who live in battle zones who wince every time a rifle is fired, and those who will be alone today because they are alone, without family or friends. 

Let’s also remember that for the disciple of Jesus, Thanksgiving Day is every day, and each and every day we should express gratitude to God with our words, our thoughts, our actions, and our lives. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I pray you have a blessed day. 

Abidjan Disciples-Guy Bavahe and family

Guy, Gosee, and Bithia Bavahe


Say hello to your brother from Abidjan, Guy Bavahe. Guy (pronounced Ge) is a prospective teacher in the ministry in Abidjan. I’ve been working with Guy for a few years now, and he’s an amazing brother with a great heart for God, the church, and the teaching ministry. 

Guy is one the leaders of the Central Sector in Abidjan. He is married and his wife is named Gosee. They have one daughter Bithia who is seven. Guy has been on the paid ministry staff for 16 years. 

Guy became a disciple on the 19th of March 1996. Since that time, he says his greatest victory in Christ has occurred over the past three years in several different ways. His sector reached the goal of being 200 disciples. He also just completed a 40 day study on the books of James which he is distributing to members of the church in Abidjan. His family is doing really well. He is having the best time ever with his wife. Guy is encouraged that God has given him these victories. 

I asked Guy what he thinks is the greatest challenge for the church in Abidjan at present. He answered:

The greatest challenge for the disciples in Abidjan is twofold: (1) For 10 years the church has been around 2,000 disciples. We want to grow to 2,500 and keep growing. (2) we want to grow the ministry staff. We understand the importance of having more people on staff. Please pray for these goals. 

I asked Guy about his personal goals. 

My personal goal is to become a teacher. I want to work on my heart and my skills so that I can be the best teacher and evangelist possible. I want to grow year by year and bring glory to God. 

What message do you have for the New York disciples?

To the NY disciples, I want to send words of encouragement for you to keep growing. You are a great inspiration to the church in Abidjan. Thank you for all your sacrifice over the years for the church in Abidjan and for the work in French Africa. God bless you. 

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Let’s pray for Guy and his family. Let’s pray for the church in Abidjan for the churches across French West Africa. 

War Stories from Abidgan

Immanuel. Lead evangelist in the Abidjan church.


In the United States, when we someone says, “let me hear your war stories,” the answers that follow usually have to do with an argument at work, a hard fought football game, or a battle over a toy on Black Friday. However when I asked a car filled with staff members from the church in Abidjan to let me hear their war stories, their answers were different. That’s because they literally lived through a war that shook their city apart. They immediately became sober and somber. The request hit them off guard and emotions flooded over them. 

Daniel spoke first. Daniel leads a region in the Abidjan church. He said, “The war was intense. When it broke out, my house was in the middle of the contended area. We heard rifles firing all day and all night. We never knew if the bullets were headed toward our house or not. I’m part of a minority tribe, so my family wasn’t safe on either side of the opposition. If either side learned my surname, they would have killed me. My extended family lives outside of Abidjan. They warned me to flee the city and come back to my home village. But I couldn’t flee and leave the other disciples behind. They are my brothers and sisters. What kind of shepherd would I have been if I fled the sheep? ”

Michael, the church administer was penned down in the church office for a week. He couldn’t leave because the battle was all around him. I asked him what he ate? He said, “Food was the furthest thing from my mind. I was praying to survive.”

Michael, the church administrator

Daniel added, “If you got one meal a day during that time, then you were blessed. Some days we didn’t even think about eating. Plus we had no money and most of the stores had no food.”

Daniel told a story about Michael. “Michael, was heroic,” Daniel said. “When he was able to leave the church building, the first thing he did was run from bank to bank to see if he could get money for the disciples.”

“At one point,” Michael said, “a big, angry military officer stopped me and asked me what I was doing. I thought for sure that he was going to kill me. I wasn’t suppose to be on the streets. I had money in my pockets. I thought for sure that I was dead. But, for some reason, he let me go.”

“It was a miracle,” said Daniel.  “In fact, it was a miracle that not a single disciple died during the war. Some brothers and sisters called one night and said they were in a certain village. I told them to get out of that village. I had a bad feeling about that village. The next day the report came that the soldiers overran the village and killed everyone in it. Thank God, the disciples left the night before.” 

This was life for our brothers and sisters in Abidjan during the days of the war. Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters in Abidjan. Let’s pray for their safety. Let’s pray for a lasting peace so they can freely do what they love to do–spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus. 

The worship team in a region of the Abidjan church

Haiti Hurricane Relief

(Published from and article on DiscipleToday.com)

Help Request for Haiti

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. — Galatians 6:10

WHO: North American and Caribbean church leaders

WHAT: Request for help with the relief efforts to rebuild houses for disciples and their neighbors in Haiti.

WHEN: December donation; January-February 2017 relief and rebuilding

ACTION: If you choose to participate, please:

Schedule a collection for December and inform your disciples and their friends. Show HotNews video (links at right).

Notify Wade Cook that your church is participating: wade.cook@hopeww.org

Checks should be made out to: HOPE worldwide and marked “Haiti Relief”

Please send checks to the new HOPEww office:  

4231 Balboa Ave. #330, San Diego, CA, 92117

Summary:

RESPONSE PHASE: On October 3, 2016, category 4 Hurricane Matthew struck the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere still recovering from the devastating earthquake with wind gusts up to 185 mph and about 40 inches of rain leaving over a thousand dead and multitudes homeless. HOPE worldwide was immediately on the scene providing humanitarian assistance while looking for ways to help the community and the hundreds of disciples affected. 

RELIEF AND REBUILDING PHASE: HOPEww needs help to send relief and to rebuild homes of disciples. Their careful and thorough needs assessment has been reviewed by the ICOC HOPEww and Benevolence Service Team and the ICOC Chairmen Service Team. Both groups highly recommend that the churches in North America and the Caribbean join in this urgent effort to help our those affected by Hurricane Matthew.

For more details, see below.

Disaster Relief: Phase 1

FIRST MONTH

Immediately after the storm, we communicated with HOPEww in Haiti and the ICOC leader there (Lesly Cadet, who oversees 14 churches and over 1000 disciples). HOPEww made a quick decision to send $5000 to help the disciples and their neighbors for life-saving needs of food, water, medicines, and shelter. 

HOPEww dispatched Charles Ham our International Disaster response coordinator and Wade Cook, our U.S. Vice President, to go to Haiti to evaluate and assess the needs and capacity of Haiti as well as HOPE personnel in Haiti.

Currently, the disciples are safe, and we are providing food support, at least for another month. HOPEww has received about $37k donations from individuals. One-third was spent to support the first month’s work’s.

A staff person will be hired for next three months as relief coordinator for the work there and to help fundraise.

Wade Cook continues to monitor the situation in Haiti.

Rebuilding: Phase 2

CURRENT NEEDS

We are looking to repair 44 houses at an average cost of $2500 per home. One of those homes will be for our senior ministry couple in Le Cayes.  

The current funds at HOPEww will only be sufficient for food and emergency support for the next 3 months.

The needs of the communities surrounding the members of the church may expand exponentially as expected.

The situation in Haiti may very well become worse as water and food scarcity may easily reach emergency levels once again. Haiti’s infrastructure is extremely fragile and may not be able to sustain its population. HOPEww is working on long term solutions for rebuilding and sustainable solutions.

The Request
The North American and Caribbean ICOC churches take up a “Regional” collection for “Haiti Relief” to help our members and their community rebuild. 

We recommend this collection be taken in December. We plan on sending rebuilding support teams of volunteers starting in January.

We recommend that this be a “free will” offering, meaning that it not have a specific goal.

In order to help the disciples with the above mentioned needs, we need to raise funds for the 44 houses for repair and rebuild ($95k).

Additional funds raised will be used to help the community with additonal needs.

For details on how to collect and submit your donations, see the specific ACTION items at the top of this page.


Special note: The houses previously built by HOPE worldwide endured the hurricane virtually unscathed (see above).

Abidjan Disciples- Michael

Michael Koutouan, Church Administrator
Our good brother Michael has been a disciple of Jesus for 17 years, has been on the church staff for 15 years, and has been the administrator in Abidjan and French West Africa for 2 year. He graduated from Hetec Abidjan College with a degree in accounting and human resources. 

His wife is named Joceline. And his two girls are Yedidya (11) and Marie-Emmanuelle (6). 

I asked Michael a few questions:

What do you enjoy most about being being a disciple of Jesus? 

I enjoy meeting people who have the same dream as me, which is to achieve Jesus’ goal of reaching the world with the gospel. 

Would you like to say anything to your Sisters and brothers in NY? 

To my brothers and sisters, I thank you for your love, your support, your help, and for the dream you have to help every nation to receive the gospel of Christ. 

What was your biggest challenge in becoming a disciple of Jesus? 

My biggest challenge was that my parents went to a different church than me. They did not like me coming out to church. At the beginning, they rejected me. They told me that if I became a part of the church, then I was deciding that I did not want to be in their family. Over time, they began to see that my choice to follow Jesus was the best choice. At first, it was very difficult. 

What is the greatest challenge for disciples in Abidjan?

Some have the same challenge I had with my family not accepting the church. However, for many the greatest challenge is poverty. There is so much corruption here. When you become a disciple, you have to say no to corruption. You have to say no to getting ahead by cheating other people. You have tell the truth, not cheat other people, and be honest in school. This is a real challenge here. 

What do you appreciate the most about the Abidjan church? 

I appreciate the love of the church. The love of the church is like the love of a family. In my small family group we are very close to each other. We rejoice with those who rejoice and we grieve with those who grieve. We are family. 

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Please pray for Michael and his family. Pray for the church in Abidjan.