Celebrating God’s Beautiful Family
I left Kansas City for Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, via Lisbon on September 30.
I had a day for rest and visited with the family of Daniel Gomis, Africa Regional Director. His wife, Anélie, was in Canada helping their daughter, Sara, get settled in college. Her mother cooked a delicious dish from Cabo Verde!
On October 3-6, Regional Advisory Council and Regional Mission Team members met for three days of leadership meetings.
Daniel Gomis’ team includes many young, brilliant thinkers, and passionate ministers. For some, it was their first time to meet in person. Besides conducting business, the team enjoyed needed fellowship, corporate worship, and prayer.
Daniel reviewed the regional priorities: Expansion, Leadership and Discipleship Development, and Communication. He cast his vision to strengthen capacity, align regional vision and strategic operations, and better reflect unity in a holistic and relevant presence. The region has 145 districts and continues to expand while becoming stronger. Sadly, COVID-19 has claimed several pastors and district superintendents.
Côte d’Ivoire South District hosted an ordination on October 9 for eight elder candidates from the Benin Opkara, Côte d’Ivoire South, and Kenya Central Districts. Daniel Gomis preached a powerful holiness message on Sunday morning, and eleven young people responded.
From October 11 to 13, Strategy Coordinator Moïse Toumoudagou held training for district superintendents and district secretaries on the West Africa Francophone Field. Rev. Admirado Chaguala, assistant to the regional director, made his first presentation in English and did very well.
Moïse is gifted, visionary, humble, and a committed servant of God, who leads with passion and love, and many are following. Under the theme "Building His Church Together," he gave each participant a trowel and a stone as reminders of their commitment.
On Friday, I enjoyed a second visit to the Gomis’ apartment. The family is adjusting to life in Abidjan. The city has some of the best infrastructure in West Africa with modern banking, transportation, and communication. The Ivorians are hospitable, and local Nazarenes are capable.
I departed for Johannesburg on October 17. Due to delays obtaining his visa Daniel joined me later.
On Monday evening, Missionaries Roland and Sherry Miller, along with other missionaries, invited me for a meal and a time of fellowship. On October 21 and 22, Strategy Coordinator Solomon Ndlovu led training for South Field district superintendents. Leaders came from all over South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Botswana, eager to hear from and be with each other. Solomon is a wise and loving leader, respected by those with whom he serves.
Agape Gemeente Church of the Nazarene in Rustenburg hosted an ordination service on October 23, for 57 candidates from Southern Africa countries. This white church did an exceptional job of welcoming their black brothers and sisters — an expression of what the church can do to overcome the racial barriers that divide us.
On Sunday, Dr. Gomis and I left Johannesburg for Maputo. Rev. Admirado Chaguala drove us to the Seminário Nazareno de Moçambique for an ordination of 21 ministers.
Flight cancelations postponed our arrival in Luanda until October 28. The next day we flew to Lubango for a day of training and ordination of 52 elders.
The Church of the Nazarene is registered in 12 provinces in Angola and the ordination candidates came from seven of them. Missionaries Fontes and Sitoe are working hard to equip as many as possible for the mission, but some had waited for years to be ordained.
Field Strategy Coordinator Adérito Ferreira and I left for Praia, to be present for the 120th anniversary of the church in Cabo Verde.
Cabo Verde South District officially began the celebration on Sunday, November 7. Nazarenes from all churches in the capitol city attended, as did outgoing President of Cabo Verde, Dr. Jorge Carlos Fonseca, his wife, Dr. Ligia Fonseca, and a government representative. I encouraged all to remain faithful to our holiness calling.
On November 13, we joined Nazarenes in Brava to celebrate our heritage. Rev. Mário Lima presented on Cabo Verde’s Nazarene past. Rev. Austolino Levy shared thoughts on the beginning of the work on Brava island, and Dr. Gomis and Rev. Ferreira challenged us not to miss current opportunities. That evening, Dr. Gomis preached an inspired sermon, and many people responded to the challenge to follow God’s call.
More than 120 years ago, John Dias started the work on Brava island. Sunday morning, before I preached, Sister Lidia Neves Gonçalves, the granddaughter of one of Rev. Dias’ partners in ministry, shared her reminiscences. In the evening 6 ministers were ordained.
Tuesday, we flew from Praia to Mindelo for a pastors’ retreat, an evening service, and the dedication of the Cabo Verde North District Office. Wednesday, I visited three elderly Nazarenes and Sunday I preached at Praia Church.
I was honored with courtesy visits with the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Catholic Cardinal, and the new President of Cabo Verde. They each spoke about the contribution of the Church of the Nazarene in Cabo Verde.
Maria and I arrived at our Shawnee, Kansas home on November 29, thankful to be part of the beautiful family of God.
Eugénio Duarte is a general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene.
Holiness Today, May/June 2022