Sunday, Nov. 3, we had the ordination ceremony for Jonah Kaipa, our outgoing student who has been chosen to serve as a pastor at our church in Nasedegu.
Jonah came to our “Tom Gentry Bible Training Centre” since November 2018 and he received all the necessary training he needed to serve his people in this capacity. Of course, no amount of training has any value if the man of God does not have a call from God, and I am happy to say that Jonah expressed his desire to serve as a pastor, desire which comes from God’s calling upon his life.
His appointment as a pastor took place the previous Sunday, on the 27th of October, almost 2 full years after the work in Nasedegu first started.
Sep. 24, 2017 marked my very first Sunday in the village of Nasedegu, day when I introduced myself to a handful of people and told them who I am, what I want, what I preach and what I want to do in the village. Back then I told them this: I want to preach the Gospel, proclaim the truth, make disciples of Christ and edify the believers. I told them about the Great Comission on my life and how it is the main reason I arrived in a village like this one.
Oct. 13, 2018 was the day when we first started to dig the foundation for our church. The work in Nasedegu has been going well, of course not without its challenges. We’ve had the Jesus movie shown, we’ve had Evangelistic Camps and we’ve done several door-to-door visits. Every Sunday we would meet under a tree with all those interested to come and the church of God in Nasedegu slowly, but surely, grew.
July 2, 2019 was the day when we’ve finished building the church building in Nasedegu, again, not without many challenges.
July 21, 2019 is when we had the Official Opening and Dedication of Hope Baptist Church in Nasedegu. It was a great day of celebration for the entire village.
August 2019 is when I first started a series of studies about the office of a pastor. Every Sunday we went through 1 Tim. 3:1-7, verse by verse and qualification by qualification. I knew some men wanted to be pastors already but I wanted the church to know what to look for in a pastor and also those men to judge themselves (1 Cor. 11:31). You see, many want to be pastors here because of the position, power and pennies. On their end, the people in the churches usually choose pastors based on pretty much the same things: How successful they are, how powerful they are, how important they are, etc. I’ve seen many churches destroyed by these worldly principles of choosing their leadership and I wanted our church in Nasedegu to be different, to be Biblical.
Oct. 27, 2019 – or two Sundays ago – Jonah Kaipa was officially announced as a pastor before the whole church. Following the example of missionary Paul, who preached the Gospel, planted churches and left local leaders in every place (Acts 14:21-23), I, as the founding missionary of this church, left Jonah Kaipa as an elder-pastor. Soon several other men will be appointed in different other roles and they will help Jonah to reach more people for Christ.
Nov. 3, 2019 was the day when Jonah was ordained as a pastor. Several pastors we work with were invited, as well as some choirs from other churches. It was a day of celebration which marked a new beginning for Hope Baptist Church in Nasedegu.
Last Sunday also marked a new chapter in my life, as a missionary to Nasedegu. It was a great day but filled with mixed emotions. I was happy beyond measure for the progress of the work in Nasedegu but, at the same time, I realized my work here is going to be different from now on. I love, love, love what I do and I love planting churches in villages like Nasedegu but there comes a time when those churches have to be turned over to the nationals. It’s the normal way and the Biblical way but it is still very hard. I personally went through emotions like these ones several times in our last 11 years of ministry and it never gets easier. In many ways, I feel like one of my precious children has grown and left the home. Even though, experience has taught me that God, who is Sovereign, has another plan for me and that plan is always better than I could’ve ever dreamed.
Jonah is the first student from our Bible School to be appointed a pastor and serve the Lord in this capacity. 99 more to go!!! As you know, our vision is to train 100 pastors and I am happy to tell you that 2 more students will be pastors soon after graduation but I will write about them in a separate article.