Leadership training yields fruit  

Ezéchiel is passionate about student ministry – he likens the student training offered through IFES in Francophone Africa to “a workshop that transforms lives”.  

He should know. Ezéchiel sees the difference it’s making in his native Chad and he’s experienced its life-changing impact for himself. Once a student leader in a polytechnic small group, Ezéchiel is now the General Secretary of his national movement, Union des Jeunes Chrétiens (UJC). 

In IFES, we sometimes express the importance of developing leaders as “investing today to impact tomorrow”. Ezéchiel’s story is a compelling testimony to that. Over the course of 15 years, he received investment that is today bearing a fruitful return. This is how he describes that journey: 

Through the student groups ‘Groupes Bibliques Universitaires’ (GBU), God opened my eyes to life in Christ. I was born and raised in a Christian family, yet led a life without regard for God. But, thanks to a missions conference held by GBUAF (the IFES movements in French-speaking Africa) and the Bible teaching given there, I came to realize my need to let the Holy Spirit take the lead in my life! I repented and started a new adventure with the Lord. Even though there have been some struggles along the way, I’m seeking to live God’s way and remain committed and determined to serve him.  

While studying at the Université Polytechnique in the Eastern Central part of my country, Chad, I restarted a UJC small group. Today, with various groups on campus and among graduates, we can speak of the UJC in Mongo – it’s no longer just one small group.  

When I returned to the capital city, N’Djaména, I was asked to be a staff worker. This enabled me to benefit from training at different levels: with our national movements, sub-regional gatherings (missions conference of Central Africa), regional gatherings (IFES Francophone Africa), and international gatherings (IFES). The training initiative that has perhaps had the greatest impact is the African Centre for Contemporary Christianity (CACC). The guidance and teaching helped me personally – and have been a great blessing to the movement because, since April 2023, I have been its General Secretary.  

At the CACC, I realized my potential and developed many skills, including: communicating effectively, developing a ministry plan, equipping students, implementing creative thinking, working in a team, using the Bible to teach, adopting efficient working methods, mobilizing resources, and learning independently.  

I thank God for GBU student ministry – not only as a setting for studying the Word of God, evangelism, mission, and prayer, but also as a place for training and transformation.  

Ezéchiel Baroum Kongdi, General Secretary of UJC Chad 

Throughout December, IFES is raising support for three regional leadership development initiatives, including a training program in Francophone Africa. We all want to see more stories like Ezéchiel’s. Find out more here.

Let’s pray for Ezéchiel, UJC, and a good response to the leadership development appeal: 

  • Give thanks for Ezéchiel and for God’s work in raising him up to be General Secretary for UJC Chad. Pray that he will continue to grow with godly wisdom as he leads the movement through two major initiatives: the formulation of a new strategic plan for UJC and the construction of their headquarters.  
  • Pray for training programmes across Francophone Africa, such as the Common Minimum Program which provides student leaders with foundational skills in evangelism and discipleship. Ask God to provide the resources needed so that leaders like Ezéchiel can be formed. 
  • Ask the Lord to use this month’s Growing Godly Leaders appeal to meet the needs of strategic training projects in Francophone Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. 

If you’d like to give to the Growing Godly Leaders appeal, click here

Tackling student mental health with theology and the sciences

Depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety about relationships, academic work, and finances were some of the issues that Nina, a PhD student in Côte D’Ivoire, identified among students. Her findings are part of a mental health project she launched a year ago in partnership with GBUCI, her national movement. While these issues may sound familiar to many students, in Côte D’Ivoire, such challenges are aggravated by poverty, unemployment, and experiences of violence and human rights violations.

“Mental health has taken its toll on students in my country yet there is little awareness about it,” observes Nina. Worldwide, the mental health crisis among young people has been flagged by the World Health Organizaton, as well as IFES in its Global Trends Report.

Nina’s call to action followed from her involvement with the Logos and Cosmos Initiative (LCI). Through this IFES program, she has received training, mentoring, and funding to design and implement a project drawing together biblical and scientific perspectives to promote good mental health among students.

Over the last year, Nina has conducted research and surveys to better understand the situation; organized awareness-raising conferences for students and churches; and partnered with local mental health NGOs to provide free counselling and mental health support to students at her university.

“This project is not only about mental health promotion,” explains Nina. “It is also based on the salvation and freedom that the Lord Jesus Christ gives us through his death on the cross. We want this project to be both a civic and theological commitment for us to take part in God’s purpose of binding all things together in him.”

This project is not only about mental health promotion… We want this project to be both a civic and theological commitment for us to take part in God’s purpose of binding all things together in him.

Nina, LCI Catalyst in Côte D’Ivoire

In October, GBUCI students, together with General Secretary Mathieu Guei, refurbished a room at Nina’s university to use as a “listening space.” In November and December, the transformed room was used for counselling sessions delivered by a professional psychologist.

“Students reported finding peace in their relationships, inner peace, and a change of self-perspective,” Nina says.

Alongside professional mental health support, Nina trained Christian students to provide peer support, while also equipping volunteers to lead Bible studies and public debates about mental health.

In one Bible study, titled A depressed and suicidal hero, students considered the story of the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 18-19 and learned about some of the internal and external factors around depression and biblical ways to handle it.

“Students have realised that God cares about their mental health,” Nina says. “They have learned that they can turn to him and that he responds to our situations of distress and disorder.”

Nina is one of 18 participants in 15 countries across Francophone Africa and Latin America who have led Logos and Cosmos Initiative projects over the last year. The LCI equips graduate students and young academics – known as “Catalysts” – to lead theology and the sciences projects, many of which tackle pressing issues such as climate change, poverty, violence, and injustice.

Many Catalysts like Nina have now applied to scale up and expand their projects in Year Three of the LCI program, beginning in April. Meanwhile, the LCI’s cohort of “Tier One” Catalysts, after finishing a year of training in theology and the sciences, have submitted project proposals for funding consideration and implementation from April onwards. Next month the LCI will also welcome a fresh cohort of Catalysts for a year of training and development.

For more on LCI projects, view a photo gallery of highlights, read summaries, and watch videos here. You can also subscribe to the LCI’s quarterly newsletter.

Let’s pray for Nina and the Logos and Cosmos Initiative:

  • Pray for restoration and hope for students struggling with mental health issues.
  • Pray for wisdom for LCI selection committees as they decide which projects and Catalysts to accept into Year Three.
  • Pray that the new or expanded LCI projects starting in April will help bring gospel-centred change to universities and wider communities.

Nina Ble Toualy became interested in her project topic while studying for a PhD in criminology; read more about her journey in the 2021 Prayerline story.

PANAF: Francophone Africa’s vision conference

This August marked an important moment – the return of the Panafricaine conference, or PANAF. This triennial conference welcomed 300 students and graduates from the 19 national movements of the Francophone Africa region, also known as GBUAF. This year, the conference met so that students could share experiences, build community, and gain the necessary skills to be effective witnesses on their campuses.

To celebrate, to envision, to refocus

Eric Makon, from the GBUAF regional staff team, explains how important the PANAF is. “It’s our main meeting,” he says, “bringing together people from different nations and experiences to pray and share the realities of ministry in their contexts. The teaching and workshops give perspective for the next years of ministry in this part of the continent. Everyone goes back to their countries with new structures to implement, and many new ideas. PANAF is a visionary meeting.”

Emmanuel Bagumako is from Burundi, the country in which this year’s PANAF was hosted by the IFES national movement, UGBB. He is also part of the regional team. He explains that “this is a celebration of the fact that IFES is present in 19 countries in Francophone Africa. We gather to celebrate God, to share fellowship together, and to recenter our focus. We discuss our strengths, our challenges, and we dream together. We spend a whole week listening to God and preparing ourselves for the future.”

In this video, James, a volunteer in North Kivu province for GBU, the national movement in the DR Congo, shares his perspective on what being part of the PANAF is actually like.

One of the highlights was the beautiful worship, sung in the Kirundi language of Burundi. Odette is a student from GBEEN Niger. “Even though I couldn’t understand it,” she shares, “it gives us a taste of what it’s going to be like in heaven. There will be so many different tribes worshipping God together.” At other times, it was moving to be among hundreds of participants singing the same songs familiar to each from their regular student meetings, even though they had never met, coming from different countries.

Helping students pursue their calling

The PANAF encourages students to understand where God is calling them. Innocent is a UGBB Burundi volunteer, as well as Tier 1 Coordinator for the IFES Logos and Cosmos Initiative. The most valuable outcome for him was the chance to meet others working in science. They gave him the challenge not only to excel in scientific understanding, but also to think about that might connect with theology, as well as with societal problems. “It made me question”, he says, “‘How can research serve society in the best way to glorify God?’ So I commit to learn humbly, to be inspired and grow in what we are learning here, so that I can learn how I can be useful to the movement here, to the church and society in Burundi particularly, in other African contexts and the world in general.”

As well as constituting a new introduction to IFES, for student leaders the PANAF was a much-needed chance to receive encouragement, refreshment, and fellowship. Odette is a student leader who has felt lonely. “Sometimes it feels like we are the only ones in the world doing this”, she says. “But the most important thing I learnt is that I am not alone. It strengthens my faith to know that we are family working together. For other participants the conference was as enlightening as it was encouraging. “I understand that my life is not compartmentalized”, shares Lucien, who is from GBEEG, the national movement in Guinea. “The divine calling has resonated in my heart. I am committed to living for the Lord at university, the church, and society.”

For one another and for the world

The experience of the PANAF also helps each national movement to grow organisationally, connecting with other movements. “It is really helpful when we hear how others are doing and what initiatives are working that can be translated into another context,” Emmanuel says. Hosting the PANAF has also changed the way that UGBB is viewed by local government officials. “They used to see us as very simple and insignificant”, says Emmanuel. “But, with the presence of representatives from 19 countries, and the content of what we are doing, they understand. They see the importance of the ministry for Burundi in general.”

The PANAF is also helping the region to engage with one another in order to face their biggest challenges. According to Armand Dzadu, General Secretary of the GBU in Togo, “the whole challenge is how to be effective in raising up students who understand the issues and impact society. We say that the church in Africa is large, but not big. We have many churches and fellowships, but we are sensing that there is not a real impact, in government and marketplaces. The church is spreading, but it is not always solid.  We are hoping that this kind of conference could help raise and engage pastors, as well as engage our universities academically, which will lead to transforming communities.”

On the regional level, the impact of PANAF reverberates in a different way. The PANAF builds networks among staff workers and students from around the continent. This year, it also helped to boost graduate support for the ministry, as graduates from different countries had an opportunity to network and think together about what they can do in their various spheres of influence – churches, governments, and other organisations. This is good news for the student movements, as Emmanuel explains; “we’re currently seeing a move of graduates coming back. The support from graduates had really dropped off, but now they are so interested in reconnecting and supporting the movement. We are so thankful for this conference.”

Indeed, dialogue across generations can only have an enriching effect across the board. One of those graduates who attended the conference in 2019 was Professor Abel Ndjerareou, of UJC, the movement in Chad, who shared the following:

“Every time I find myself in a GBU meeting, I feel rejuvenated. Firstly, because it reminds me of my youth … second, because the energy of young people is very contagious. Finally, because they give me hope that this great work that is the GBU will continue even after we leave.”

The vision of the Francophone Africa region, wherein many students, thriving as communities of disciples, impact the university, the church, and society for God’s glory, did not originate at this year’s PANAF. But with each opportunity to gather and worship, to share, pray, sing, and learn from one another, it does become easier to see.

You can watch the webinar, broadcast live from PANAF’22 especially for supporters of IFES/USA, here.

To learn more about the 19 national movements represented at the PANAF conference, you can see the region in figures on GBUAF’s website here.

I discovered God in all his splendour

God can do wonderful things in our lives by just showing us more of who he really is.  

This is exactly what he did at the recent student camp held by GBUST, the national movement in Togo. After two years without large face-to-face meetings, the camp revived GBUST activities by bringing together 250 students and graduates. It was not a slow start to a new, in-person ministry. Many students made a renewed commitment to live for Jesus, in an unexpected surge of refreshed faith and joy.  

For some students, this meant that theological truths that they had previously found difficult now shed new light on how to live God’s way. Sarah is a young student who attended the camp. She learnt for the first time that while God must be taken seriously, following him shouldn’t make us miserable. In fact, understanding the gravity and glory of who he really is gives us solid joy. “I discovered God in all his splendour”, she explains, “which gave me the balance I needed. God is not against the joy of life. Knowing him is joy.” 

Others brought their relational problems. At camp, Esther decided to forgive her mother after many disagreements. “I felt light”, she says. “Today I am free.”  

In worship and fellowship, another student discovered just how confident he could be in his identity in Jesus. “I learned that God has a plan for me”, says Serge. “I’m not on earth by chance. God has a role for me to play in carrying out his purposes.”  

Pray with us for GBUST and students in Togo: 

  • Pray that the Lord will water the seed he has planted, continuing the good work he has begun in their hearts to “bring it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). 
  • Pray that the new zeal the students have shown would have a lasting impact in schools and universities in Togo, and further afield in other parts of Francophone Africa. 

The Gospel Proclaimed at the Africa Cup of Nations  

At the beginning of February this year, the Senegalese football team took home the Africa Cup of Nations. And alongside all the furore and emotion of the 52 games of the tournament, students of GBEEC, the national movement in Cameroon, were proclaiming the gospel. 

Guy and Magloire are members of GBEEC. They took the opportunity to bring GBEEC into a partnership of more than 20 Christian organisations, led by Guy’s organisation Missionaires Sans Frontières, endeavouring to share the gospel at each game. Guy sent evangelism teams to each stadium to take advantage of the gathered crowds. On busy street corners and key strategic places, students spent the hour before kick-off playing Christian music, preaching a gospel message, and approaching people individually to tell them about the Lord. In this way, Magloire, whose organisation ‘Opération Jeunesse Précieuse’ was also present, shares, ‘over 3000 football supporters were reached with the gospel message’. 

It wasn’t easy. ‘We got a lot of hostility’, Magloire confesses. ‘People were insulting and mocking – but by the grace of God, some listened, some thought about it.’ 

And wonderfully, Magloire reports that around 500 people professed faith in Jesus for the first time. As they stepped out in faith, ‘many students were encouraged to continue preaching the gospel – and others decided to follow Jesus,’ even as they saw the care and boldness of their fellow students. 

Please pray with Magloire for the follow-up to the Cup of Nations evangelism, and the students of GBEEC: 

  • Thank God for the courage and care of everyone who made it possible to proclaim the gospel in this way. 
  • Pray that many more of the 3000 people who heard the gospel would accept Jesus as their personal Saviour and Lord. 
  • Pray that those who made a profession of faith would be well looked after by the team, beginning to be discipled. 
  • Pray that the Lord would provide funds so that leaflets can continue to be distributed.  
  • Pray that students would continue to be motivated to share the gospel, and that they would continue to love Jesus more, being salt and light at university. 

Remaining resilient

Wars. Viruses. Natural disasters. IFES movements have faced it all this year. These events have caused what GBU Goma calls “mutations” in society, disruptions that force movements to adapt in order to respond to the call of God.  

The movement in DR Congo has many “mutations” of their own. The disrupted academic calendar caused course programs to be so overloaded that GBU students do not have time to meet. New staff and leaders, while joyfully welcomed, face an overwhelming learning curve. GBU leaders have struggled with their own personal worries that distract from ministry. And even harsh weather conditions have made everyday life more complicated. 

It is a lot to juggle, but GBU Goma says they owe their resilience to their solid foundation. Through every problem, they have continued to train up student leaders, lead Bible studies, and disciple through the Bible Communication Center in DRC. They also participated in the national movement’s missionary conference, which was appropriately themed “Responding to the call of God in a context of deep mutation of society.” By equipping their staff and students, they have empowered them to continue serving through disruptions.  

“We glorify the Lord our God who has filled us with strength. Despite the disruptions and the COVID-19 crisis, GBU Goma has continued to function… [We have] seized these moments as opportunities to equip and strengthen the capacities of the members of the GBU. May God make these crises opportunities to stimulate the missionary passion in every person involved with GBU.” 

Omar, Staff Worker, GBU Goma

The central vision of IFES is to ensure students are equipped to serve and share the gospel, no matter what life brings. Praise God for this resolute GBU that is standing firm despite the “mutations” of their society and ministry. Let’s pray for GBU Goma this week. 

  • Pray that God will sustain GBU leaders at the city, provincial, and national levels so that they may continue to serve.  
  • Pray that God will give transformative impact to every activity that GBU Goma organizes. 
  • Pray for those who attended the Inter-generational Missionary Conference. This event, organized by GBU Goma, gathered every generation that has been a part of GBU Goma to re-vitalize a passion for missions.  

Frail shoulders, big God 

It was a big calling. Nina raised her head from her prayerful position.  

“No, Lord, that is too big for my frail shoulders.” 

But the idea didn’t go away. Instead, God is using a new IFES initiative to bless and propel the passion he has been nurturing in her.  

Nina has a vision for her country. When she looks around at the criminal justice system in Cote d’Ivoire, she sees so many problems – overcrowding, poor treatment, and poor rehabilitation processes. She knows there is a way to redeem this broken system using her studies in psycho-criminology and theological practices. 

“I seek to contribute to the development of Africa, to develop a network of criminologists who bring solutions and answers to the broken criminal justice system, particularly in Cote d’Ivoire, to be able to open an institute of criminological expertise which will serve the whole of West Africa, where prisons are a real misery. I have always wanted to achieve these objectives, and for that I have committed myself to scientific research.” 

The goal of Nina’s research is to highlight the link between prison overcrowding and criminal careers and to propose a method of in-custody treatment that will help prisoners reintegrate into society and reduce the numbers in prison.  After writing her research plan, Nina still felt that she lacked the mentorship to guide her research along biblical and theological lines. So, Nina applied to be a catalyst through the Logos and Cosmos Initiative. 

The Logos and Cosmos Initiative is a new program from IFES which equips students, staff, and academics in Latin America and Francophone Africa to fund and carry out projects in the university which foster dialogue between theology and the sciences.  Nina was selected for the first cohort and will have the opportunity to be a part of scholarly networks and conferences, curricula and training events for campus fellowships and to publish study guides and articles. Participants are called “catalysts” because of their unique potential to bring gospel-centred change to their societies and universities through their studies. 

Although Nina felt the calling was too big for her, the Logos and Cosmos Initiative is an answer to prayer. 

 “[It is a way to] show through my research… that the solution to the crisis of criminal justice is not found in the construction of bigger prisons, but in Jesus.”  

Nina hopes that through her time with the initiative she will learn how to better integrate theology into her studies, to speak coherently on issues relating to faith and science, and to be able to share the good news through literature and social development work. 

As Nina embarks on this project, she asks that we support her in prayer. 

  • Pray that God will give her an open mind and new understanding of who he is. 
  • Pray that she will gain a new perspective on her field and how she can use it to share hope. 
  • Pray that she will see hearts brought to the Lord through her research, her witness, and the project she will run at the university. 
  • Pray also for the other 35 catalysts who are also participating in the Logos and Cosmos Initiative this year.  

Right place, right time

Hosea was walking to class when bullets rained down around him. Out of nowhere a police officer grabbed him and threw him into a jeep. Bewildered, he soon found himself in the central prison where he spent roughly 100 days. He later learned that he had accidentally been rounded up with demonstrators when police were dispersing a peaceful protest. 

But being at the wrong place at the wrong time changed Hosea’s life. Worried and desperate in prison, he was captivated by the attitudes of two fellow prisoners who seemed completely at peace. Hosea wanted to know why. They told him that their secret was the regular meditation on the Word of God. These men were members of the GBU Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who had cultivated a deep love for Scripture from their student group. With their guidance, Hosea took his first steps in biblical studies, using New Testaments given to them from their GBU. He says the more they studied the Bible, the more he understood that God was in control. His frustrations and fears turned into joy and thanksgiving despite being in prison.  

After a long court process, Hosea was released from prison and immediately became a member of GBU DRC. Later, he went on to become a staff worker in the movement. His life was changed because GBU members were faithful to their witness, even in prison. 

On this holy week approaching Easter, let’s celebrate how God continues to reach down into the darkest of places to redeem his children. We thank God for beautiful stories like Hosea’s, which display God’s great love and mercy towards us. Praise God with us for new life in Jesus and for students’ continued efforts to bring the gospel to even the deepest, darkest corners of the world.  

  • Pray for students in Francophone Africa to continue their witness even with persecution, societal pressures, and unrest.  
  • Pray for students whose families come from different religious backgrounds, that their faithful witness will make an impression on their loved ones over time.  
  • Pray for more funding and staff workers for student groups in the region.  

From Fear to Enthusiasm

Some of the most powerful work in IFES is also some of the least visible. The Indigenous Support Development program (ISD) is a key example. 

Every student movement requires many kinds of support, including funding, and there can be great joy in inviting others to participate in God’s work through IFES through their support. But many national movements have long relied on support from donors outside their countries, creating challenges to movement sustainability.  

Tackling this challenge means facing personal fears and cultural attitudes about money and fundraising, sharing solid biblical teaching about these topics, and providing practical tools and tips for how to effectively engage supporters in contextually sensitive ways. Through ISD, IFES provides training and resources to help national movements to embrace a biblical understanding of gospel partnership and give them the skills they need to find and develop partnerships they need for student ministry to thrive.   

These partnerships may involve prayer, resources, personnel and finance. They also serve to ground the student movement in the national and local context. As Director of ISD, Kehinde Ojo, says,  

“ISD is important because it helps national movements to move from dependence to interdependence thereby enabling them to equally participate in generosity.” 

The first ISD e-learning course, ‘Introduction to Indigenous Support Development,’ launched in September 2019 in English and French, with further releases in Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese throughout 2020. This is an important milestone in multiplying the impact of ISD, and many movements are already seeing the benefits. 

Three different Francophone African participants of the first online cohort have shared their reflections with us, remarking on cultivating relationships with donors, overcoming rejection and fear, and understanding the biblical basis of fundraising. Read their testimonies below.  

Bruno AKAKPO, GBU Morocco Friends, Movement Treasurer and Treasurer of Fundraising Committee 

The course allowed me to understand the biblical basis of fundraising for our work. What a relief and encouragement to know that God approves of this and is willing to walk with us! The course also addresses communication with donors and teaches how to formulate my approach to potential donors. Thus, I learned how to adapt my speech to the audience to communicate the same message: the vision of the GBU. This course also helped me understand how to deal with the fear of rejection. When I thought about the “no” of a potential donor, I felt paralyzed. But after this course, I understood that there are many forms of support (such as time, talents, and treasures) that we can receive from an individual. In fact, I also learned the reasons why people give. It helps me enormously to know how to approach people when I want to make a request.   

Within GBU Morocco, our partners are a bit scattered around the world. This course allows me to ensure a good approach to these partners from different cultures and social positions.  Now in fundraising for the movement, I know how to better adapt our approach. Our relationships with partners have greatly improved. Most importantly, our approach to mobilizing support has fundamentally changed.  

I plan to share this training with the movement’s fundraising team in the next fundraising campaign. My intention is to focus on our approach and communication with donors so that it is centered on the glory of God and the vision of the GBU.   

Jeanne Arline Simangoye, Bible Groups of Gabon, Treasurer of the Board 

The ISD training was a real “manna” for me, because it took place at the time when I was in charge of the national treasury, with all its challenges. I define this training as a reference tool that I use on a daily basis.  

At the level of the national movement, we have started to have better relations with partners after this course. They stopped seeing themselves as mere “taps,” but rather as servants of the Lord, workers like us. Now we understand that our role includes communication with partners, prayer for them, and helping them. We have added the nice touch of sending receipts to partners after they make a payment. In doing so, they feel understood and supported.   

We use the 3 T’s (time, talents and treasures) with pride and it works! We encourage and value all resources, even the “smallest” donations and services. Our great discovery is the enormous number of lost resources that our movement needed. 

During the pandemic we applied the principles learned in the ISD training to collect in-kind and cash donations and distribute them. This brought great joy to the partners, mobilizers, and those who received these donations.    

Despite the difficulties related to the crisis, there is a real enthusiasm among many in our country, especially among people with small incomes. I have the impression that people have become even more generous, but in fact I think that we are the ones who have opened our eyes to the opportunities that already existed. It’s extraordinary! May all the glory go to our God! Amen.  

Abel YAMEOGO, IFES Francophone Africa, Partner Relations, Burkina Faso 

I learned many things that improved my relationship with the partners of the Jeribeth project, the project to build the GBUAF training center premises.  

First of all, the organization of the online ISD course is exceptional. It combines courses on the platform with Zoom meetings, which are real crucibles for sharing. The training in itself is rich because we have the opportunity to learn from each other.   

I also learned some very good mobilization principles from the Bible in very enriching Bible studies. The trainers prepared very well. We were amazed at the richness of the teachings. I was especially blessed on the topic of overcoming fear, following the Bible study from the case of Moses. This has been very beneficial for me and it serves me today in my efforts to mobilize partners for Jeribeth. Although I still feel fear from time to time, I now have the tools to deal with it effectively.   

Finally, I will say that the online course is an experience that we must promote and multiply for the benefit of all GBU members, as it reduces costs and distance. Since the end of the training course, I have deepened my relationships with the partners of the Jeribeth project. I have used what I learned to put them at ease, and as a result we have more and more partners who regularly give and honor their subscription to the project. For the year 2021, I already have important strategies in place that will certainly help to retain our current donors and recruit many more.   

I express my gratitude for this opportunity and these moments of training and equipment. I highly recommend this training to all GBU team members around the world.   

Many students may never know about the Indigenous Support Development program. And yet, as national movements have the convictions and tools that they need strengthen their support base, students will surely experience the benefits. More importantly, staff and supporters alike will grow in their confidence in, and worship of, a God who is able and willing to supply all that is needed for his work to continue. 

Would you like to learn more about the Indigenous Support Development e-course? Get in contact with us at hello@ifesworld.org. 

Transformational Education

Charles Habib Malik, a Lebanese academic, diplomat, and philosopher once said, “Change the university and you will change the world.” For Moustapha Ouedraogo, this quote has been a defining feature of his life.   

Moustapha grew up in a large polygamous family in a village in Burkina Faso. His father firmly resisted sending any of his children to school. But by what Moustapha calls a miracle, the director of the local elementary school convinced his father to enrol him. Education changed Moustapha’s life.  

He completed primary and secondary school, and then obtained a bachelor’s degree in theology, a master’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in project management. Desiring to share his knowledge with students, he became a full-time team member with UGBB. In that capacity he currently contributes to strategic development, coordinates a Breaking New Ground project, and assists Francophone Africa Regional Secretary Dr. Klaingar Ngarial, in the facilitation of courses at the African Center for Contemporary Christianity.

He completed primary and secondary school, and then obtained a bachelor’s degree in theology, a master’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in project management. Desiring to share his knowledge with students, he became a full-time team member with UGBB. In that capacity he currently contributes to strategic development, coordinates a Breaking New Ground project, assists Francophone Africa Regional Secretary Dr. Klaingar Ngarial, in the facilitation of courses at the African Center for Contemporary Christianity. 

But Moustapha’s days in academia are not finished. He is currently an IFES scholar, one of twenty staff chosen this year to receive partial funding for their studies. The scholarships are generously donated by two different trusts which create grants for those pursuing Christian ministry, leadership, and theology especially in the majority world. Applicants are recommended by their regional secretaries and must show that their course will help them in future ministry. Moustapha’s scholarship is funding his doctoral degree in transformational leadership. 

“My intention in doing these studies in transformational leadership is to be transformed myself and to develop the skills necessary to make my modest contribution to the development of ministry among students, which for me is very strategic in the development of the church.” 

This week pray for Moustapha as he continues to pursue his leadership studies. Pray also for the other twenty IFES scholars around the world who are currently pursuing studies in topics like global leadership, theology, and New Testament studies. 

  • Pray that the effects of the pandemic will not hinder their studies.  
  • Pray that their knowledge may be used effectively in their future and current ministry. 
  • Pray that their influence may raise up more leaders to widen the reach of the gospel in their context.