by Eric McCaughren, with Emmanuel Kaloma and John Lanchina Seidu
Mentoring and discipleship are sometimes regarded as modern evangelical buzzwords, but the process is both biblical and essential. Paul had a passionate vision for teaching and training those who would continue the work (2 Tim. 2:2). When my wife, Margaret, and I went first to Angola and then to Zambia, it was a wonderful privilege for me to have the opportunity to teach groups of young men most weekdays over several years. As we studied the Scriptures together, they were given notes and questions for each study to keep and use in the future. Equipped with willing hearts, a solid understanding of the Bible and with much prayer, these young believers show that the Lord’s work can prosper.
Emmanuel, a young male nurse and an active member of the Bible study group at Kitwe School of Nursing, was posted to a remote rural district. He began looking for opportunities to witness and soon had a group of young men meeting under a tree for Bible study. He travelled long distances, at first by bicycle and then by motorbike, to preach the gospel in outlying villages and to teach believers in small groups. They are now making burnt blocks to build a new hall as a more permanent meeting place. In the meantime, they meet in a school room.
Emmanuel writes: ‘I come from a Christian background. My parents and siblings were committed born-again believers, so my way of life conformed with Christian values. Generally, I was considered a good child even though I was a non-believer. I attended church to please my parents and maintain a good reputation but the more I was exposed to the gospel, the more I realised that I was a sinner deserving eternal condemnation.
‘In April 2008, I heard the gospel preached from Ezekiel 35-36 by our church elder, Nelson Shebele, who is now with the Lord. After months of inner battles, I finally surrendered to the Giver of Life. A year later, I was baptised and started serving the Lord as a Sunday school teacher and in evangelism.
‘In 2014 the Lord made it possible to go to college to study at Kitwe School of Nursing in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia. There I met the team from Kitwe Chapel, which included ‘Uncle’ Eric and ‘Aunt’ Margaret, who held weekly Bible studies with the students. During the four years I spent there, I was introduced to biblical Christianity. Alongside study Bibles, commentaries, and other Christian books given to me, the teaching greatly nourished my spiritual life and ministry.
‘In 2017 I was employed in a remote district of Northern Zambia. I was unsure of what to expect but I remembered Eric’s counsel: ‘Wherever you are posted just know God wants you to go out there and serve Him.’ So I travelled to the north. When I reached the village, I quickly mobilised students from a nearby school and started weekly Bible studies. My nearest local church was 11 miles away, so I started cycling there for fellowship. I was humbled that the church leaders regularly offered me opportunities to preach and teach. Other neighbouring assemblies started inviting me to share the gospel with them. However, I was failing to reach all these local churches because of the distance and the terrible roads. In November 2019, the Lord wonderfully provided a motorbike through interested believers in the UK, which made travelling much easier. By God’s grace we started a local church at Shapi village, where I have been serving as a leader. We have been meeting in a classroom, but the Lord has enabled us to acquire a piece of land and we have made many bricks. We wish to proceed with the building project in 2021 after the rainy season. Pray for the Lord’s help to mobilise students and workmates to study the Bible. Pray for God’s grace to continue serving the Lord with my future wife after our marriage.’
He travelled long distances, at first by bicycle and then by motorbike, to preach the gospel in outlying villages and to teach believers in small groups.
John Lanchina Seidu
Another student, John Lanchina Seidu, faithfully attended our weekly Bible studies at Kitwe School of Nursing while doing a three-year degree course at a local Bible college. He was a lovely, bright, enthusiastic but serious student. Only after some time did I discover that he is a former Muslim from an area of Ghana where Islam is less radical. He refused an opportunity to do a master’s degree, determined to return and tell his own people the wonder of salvation. He did so and has been witnessing faithfully, especially to many children, some of whom are his relatives. His older relations said that they could never abandon Islam, but they would not hinder him from teaching their children.
John writes: ‘I was born in 1985 in a village called Loggu, a suburb of Wa in the upper west region of Ghana, the youngest of five boys and two girls. I am married to Freda and the Lord has blessed us with two boys. I never met my grandfather before he died, but I grew up with the remnants of his idols, spiritual amulets and gods. I ate chicken that was sacrificed to these idols and did not want to reject those practices.’
‘However, on 22 April 1999 I gave my life to Christ at a youth camp. After hearing the preaching, I surrendered my life to Christ to redeem me from the bondage of sin and I was baptised in 2005. I wanted to serve God and that desire grew while I was in high school. As the senior prefect, I was given opportunities to preach to the students and staff during morning assemblies. I used that position to minister and create opportunities for others who desired to serve the Lord. After school I applied to be a teacher in a junior high school. At first I was zealous, but the call of God was so strong that I resigned to go to Bible school. I believe God has called me to preach the gospel, plant churches and be a father to the fatherless.
‘When I graduated from the Bible school in Ghana, the Lord opened the door for me to attend a Bible college in Kitwe, Zambia. I wanted to share God’s Word with young people. At Kitwe chapel I met a brother in the Lord, Crispin Chomba, who introduced me to a college study group where I met ‘Uncle’ Eric, our Bible teacher. I learned a lot of Bible truths in Eric’s teachings. I admired his zeal in ministry and loved having Bible studies in smaller groups. The Lord placed a burden in my heart to return to Ghana and start small group Bible studies there.
‘When I arrived back in Ghana in December 2012, I started teaching God’s Word to college students and began a home Bible study group. Eight years later, that fellowship has grown into a local church in a prominent area of our town. Two more churches have been planted, one in Diesi and another in Katchau. Many souls have been saved and so far God has called three men from these local churches to His service. We have been reaching out to other towns with the Jesus film and gospel materials. In an environment where about 44% are Muslim and 29% adhere to traditional beliefs, we hope to utilise weekly radio broadcasts to reach Muslims with God’s Word. The Lord burdened my heart to help orphaned children and, through God’s grace, 32 orphans have been helped since 2013. We cannot house these orphans, so they live with relatives while we work to meet their needs. A centre has been created to teach dressmaking. These children have access to Bible-teaching churches and are sent to Christian camps to help them grow in Christ.’
A Worthwhile Investment
It is encouraging to hear from John, Emmanuel and others like them, who are now qualified and scattered. Many whom I have had the privilege of teaching have moved on, taking the gospel message and studies with them. Some young believers profess faith in Christ but receive no encouragement. They may face a culture of increasing materialism or one that draws them back into their former beliefs. We must fulfil our biblical mandate to disciple and mentor new believers. It is worthwhile to invest in these young believers and a joy to see them go out and serve the Lord. Pray for their spiritual growth and participation in local churches as they go on to disciple others.