Africa Overland Mission Updates

Dear Friends, Family and Supporters

 Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

 I trust all is well with you.

 We are having a very successful and (as it seems) effective time of ministry here in Malawi.

 Malawi

We crossed the border into Malawi from Mozambique early this week and we headed for Zomba where we camped at a secluded and beautiful campsite at the top of Zomba Mountain. We arrived at 19h30.

 Refreshing Rest

This was literally a “breath of fresh air” to us after the long days of travel in the heat and frustrations of Mozambique. The atmosphere and climate here on the top of the mountain was really refreshing and much cooler than down below in the valley.

 We stayed at this campsite for one day in order to catch up on some much needed rest (as we had no ‘Sabbath’ rest). I did some repairs on the trailer electrical system and Renee did some laundry.

 Ministry

We have had a very busy week of ministry with a full schedule from early in the morning till often late at night after showing the ‘Jesus’ film.

 We conducted a 2-day Biblical Worldview Seminar with approximately 40 youth that had gathered specifically for this purpose. We dealt with issues such as Do not be Deceived, Body Piercing and Tattoos, Abortion, Aids, and Pornography.

 We also conducted a 2-day Great Commission Seminar with the Church leaders, pastors, evangelists and some congregation members.

 We have showed the ‘Jesus’ film in two different areas.

 On Easter Sunday, I had the privilege of preaching in the EBCM cathedral. I preached on the Faltering Faith of Christ’s Disciples. The service started at 10h30 and continued until 14h30.

 Up-coming Plans

Please pray for us as we will soon be going to a Muslim stronghold area where we will hold a Muslim Evangelism Workshop and encourage the persecuted Christians in this area.

 Hospitality 

We have had many great opportunities to fellowship with some of our hosts by inviting them into our tent and sharing a cup of tea/coffee or even a meal at times.

 A Diligent Effective Team Mate

Renee has also had various opportunities to minister to women, children, and the youth. It is really a blessing to have my wife with me on this mission. She is thoroughly enjoying it and has settled very well into travelling life. She prepares amazing meals from limited supplies, she washes our clothes by hand and even seems to enjoy it, and she has succeeded with a smile to make do with rural lavatories.

 Please visit our Facebook page: Watson’s Missions and “like” it. We have posted some pictures of our ministry there.

 Thank you for all your prayers and support!

 May God continue to lead you and provide all your needs.

 In His service – and loving it!

 Michael Watson

Missionary Field Worker

Frontline Fellowship

South Africa

Satellite Phone:               +88 163 168 8577

Malawi Mobile               +265 99 611 8616

South Africa Mobile:     +27 74 887 0211

South Africa Office:       +2721 689 4480

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Africa Overland Mission Update 13 April 2013

Dear Friends, Family and Supporters

 

Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

 

I trust all is well with you.

 

Much has happened since our last update and I am sure you are all waiting in anticipation to hear more from us about our Mission activities here in Malawi.

Ministry Overview

We have traveled more than 8400km on this Africa Overland Mission, we are in the second of 11 countries to be visited, and we have completed the first month of 7 months that we have planned to be away on this Mission.

 

In Mozambique we held 12 meetings including 1 Great Commission Seminar, 4 devotions and 5 lectures. In Malawi so far we have held 48 meetings including 1 Biblical Worldview Seminar, 3 Great Commission Seminars and 1 Muslim Evangelism Workshop.

Dr David Livingstone

As many of you know, this year marks 200 years since the birth of Dr David Livingstone, the best friend that Africa ever had. We have the amazing privilege to “walk a mile” in his footsteps and have been commissioned by Frontline Fellowship to trace some of the historic sites which dot the African continent.

 

Malawi is rich with the history of Dr David Livingstone as he spent a considerable time here and is directly responsible for the birth of Christianity in this country. We have visited a few magnificent cathedrals, hospitals and schools that trace their roots to this great hero.

 

We were privileged to stand in the shade of the enormous fig tree dubbed “Dr Livingstone’s Tree” where he sat more than 150 years ago negotiating with the local chiefs to sign a treaty to stop the slave trade. What giant footsteps he leaves behind for us to fill!

 

Renee successfully presented the motivational presentation of the life of Dr David Livingstone during some seminars.

Ministry

We have had many opportunities for ministry, some planned and others more unexpected but we thank God for every opportunity granted to us that we can share with others the Light that has been given to us.

 

We have been able to show the Jesus film on four occasions and in different areas, each time preceded by Evangelistic preaching urging those present to realize that they are lost and in desperate need of a Saviour.

Literature Distribution

We have distributed a number of Discipleship books and English Bibles to those who are able to read English as well as Chichewa Gospel tracts to all the pastors, evangelists and church leaders. We also made a stop at the Bible Society in Blantyre where we purchased a number of Chichewa Bibles for distribution where the need was greatest.

 

Generally, I insisted that those who were in need of a Bible should earn themselves a Bible by reciting the 10 Commandments in order. Those who wanted an English Bible needed to recite the 10 Commandments in English so that we could ensure that they were able to actually read the English Bible.

Muslim Stronghold

In our previous update we asked that you remember us in prayer as we were soon to enter a Muslim Stronghold where we were going to do some ministry. Thank you for remembering us in your prayers! It was a very successful time of ministry where we were able to do a Great Commission Seminar and a Muslim Evangelism Workshop for the pastors, evangelists and church leaders as well as show the Jesus film two nights in a row!

Muslims Respond to the Gospel

Many responded to the Gospel and we were told that many of those who raised their hands in response to the Gospel were in fact Muslims! We praise God for the work He is doing there.

 

We urge you to continue to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are making a stand for Him there against overwhelming odds.

Muslim Fear

After the first night that we were in this Muslim stronghold area, we were told in the morning that many of the Muslims were kept up the whole night phoning and warning each other to keep watch over their mosques. They were afraid that we had come to burn down their mosques and had therefore posted guards to keep watch. Praise God that the enemy shudders at His presence!

Upcoming

Tomorrow I am to preach at a Church here in Malawi then on Monday we head to a Bible College where we will conduct a 3-day Great Commission Seminar.

Border Crossings

Within the next two weeks we will be crossing the border into Tanzania and we request your fervent prayer regarding this matter. Please pray that the officials will be favourable to us and that they will not concern themselves with the valuable cargo that we are carrying. Also pray for the upcoming ministry in Tanzania that it may be blessed and that the Gospel seed will fall into good ground will fall on good soil.

Thank You

We greatly appreciate and desperately need your prayers. Thank you for taking the time to remember us in your prayers. I do believe that it is due to your prayers that we have seen great effectiveness in the ministry and unusual favour at road blocks. Please continue to pray.

 

Thank you also to those of you who have deposited money into our bank accounts. Your support enables us to fulfill our calling.

 

In His service – and loving it!

 

Michael Watson

Missionary Field Worker

Frontline Fellowship

South Africa

Satellite Phone:               +88 163 168 8577

Malawi Mobile               +265 99 611 8616

South Africa Mobile:     +27 74 887 0211

South Africa Office:       +2721 689 4480

 Africa Overland Mission Update 01 May 2013

Dear Friends, Family and Supporters

 

Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

 

We trust all is well with you.

 

We had a very effective, busy and appreciated time of ministry in Malawi, the warm heart of Africa. Our schedule was packed, our free time was scarce, adventures were plenteous and the scenery was breath-taking!

Mission Overview

We have now been on this Africa Overland Mission for almost two months. We have driven more than 10500km, and we are in the third of eleven countries that we plan to visit. We have conducted 12 meetings in Mozambique, 60 meetings in Malawi, and 5 in Tanzania.

Sola Scriptura

It was such a blessing for us to visit the Sola Scriptura Bible College in Mzuzu, where we met with Oom Peet Erasmus, the founder of the college (whom we had previously met at Sola Scriptura in Mozambique). At this College we were able to run a 3-day Great Commission Seminar which was much appreciated by the students as well as the founder.

Renee also used her culinary skills to bless Oom Peet and his ministry-companion with 3 cooked meals a day, which they appreciated very much after a long time of only eating out of tins.

 

We showed the Jesus film on 2 separate nights in neighbouring towns.

Picturesque Livingstonia

We had a scheduled stop-over at a town called Livingstonia where we hoped to find out more about the history of Dr. David Livingstone. This town is situated high up on a mountainous plateau, 1386m above sea level, which can only be reached by a very precarious winding road. We took time to explore the Livingstonia Mission where we learnt much about the history and were impressed by the stained glass window in the cathedral which depicted scenes from the life of Dr. David Livingstone. We found a picturesque camp-site near the top of the mountain where we could stay for the weekend. The view was incredible!

Border Crossing

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers as we crossed the border into Tanzania. The officials probingly opened almost every door of the vehicle and trailer, inspecting our load with stern faces and even requesting that we open some of the boxes. We were expecting the worst. However, it went much better than we expected. God had granted us favour in the eyes of the officials who praised us for our missionary endeavours, refrained from charging us any income tax, and wished us well on our journey.

 

With joyful hearts we praised the Lord as we drove through into Tanzania.

Stuck in the mud

We were exhausted travellers when we arrived in the dark at our first appointment after a long, tiresome, 13-hour day of driving over rough, slippery, pot-holed roads at an average speed of 15 km/hour. Whilst we were reversing the trailer under the mango tree where we were to set up camp, to our intense horror, the ground gave way beneath one of the trailer’s wheels! The ground which seemed to be perfectly solid swallowed up the entire wheel and the trailer sank down onto its belly at a horrific angle! Michael valiantly tackled the laborious task of freeing the trailer from the clutches of the muddy monster.

Mutiny in the Mud!

After an hour of digging, wrestling and pulling, the trailer emerged from the sticky mud trap which had held it so defiantly. Before we had a chance to breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate, the back wheel of the bakkie disappeared into another invisible sink-hole! Michael bravely took on the new challenge and worked at releasing this new victim from the mutinous mud.

 

Eventually, after an exhaustive struggle for more than an hour and a half, both bakkie and trailer were victoriously perched on solid ground. We then carefully selected a spot on a slab of cement where we could safely camp for the night.

Risky Rough Roads

Tanzania has proved to be a dangerous challenge for travel. Most of our journey has been along rough, bumpy, gravel, dirt roads that have suffered much damage from the plenteous rains which have turned them into slippery, muddy, perilous tracks. We often slipped and slid precariously passed unfortunate vehicles that had themselves skidded off the narrow mud tracks and were thus half-blocking what was left of the risky road.

Wrecked Reminders

The tar roads present dangers of its own as kamikaze busses whizz past us at recklessly high speeds. Frequent wreckages along the road are a constant reminder to us of our deep dependence on God for His protection over us and the vehicle.

Ministry in Tanzania

Michael had the opportunity to minister at a mid-week meeting held at the church where we got stuck in the mud, as well as speak to the students of the Sola Scriptura Bible College in Tanzania. We had two opportunities to show the Jesus film in neighbouring towns, of which one occasion rained out. Michael also had the opportunity to do open-air preaching in one of the villages where hundreds of villagers gathered around to listen intently.

Shattered Hopes

Thus far, here in Tanzania, we have not had as many ministry opportunities as we had hoped and planned for and we have been sorely disappointed with the arrangements made for ministry by the contacts we visited. We hope and trust that we will be rewarded with more opportunities as we travel further north.

Coming Up…

We have some promising ministry planned for the next few weeks which we believe will keep us busy. Please pray that we may be effective in our attempts of fulfilling the Great Commission.

 

Thank you very much to each of you who have been praying for us. We desperately need, desire, and covet your prayers. Thank you also to those of you who have deposited money into our bank account, your support enables us to be more effective in fulfilling our calling.

 

May God bless you (and us) with greater effectiveness in fulfilling the Great Commission.

 

In His service – and loving it!

 

Michael and Renee Watson

Frontline Fellowship

mike@frontline.org.za

renee@frontline.org.za

Tanzania Mobile            +255 76 967 5392

South Africa Office:       +27   21 689 4480

 

Africa Overland Mission Update 07 June 2013

Dear Friends and Family

 

Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

 

I trust that you are all well.

 

We are all in good health and the morale of our team is still in good shape.

 

In this last month we have had some amazing and contrasting experiences as we ministered God’s Word across the equator, travelled through the majestically magnificent Rift Valley, had some near death experiences, and shared the Gospel with remote people groups.

 

“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Zechariah 4:6

Mission Overview

We have now been on the road for more than 3 months, we have driven more than 14500km, we have conducted more than 170 meetings, and we are currently ministering in the fourth of eleven countries which we plan to visit. We have conducted 12 meetings in Mozambique, 60 meetings in Malawi, 37 meetings in Tanzania, and 61 meetings in Kenya thus far.

 

We have been very busy with various ministry opportunities here in Kenya; we have hardly had time to take a breath of fresh air (or write this update – which is desperately over-due). Time has become one of our most valued resources!

 

It is really good to have our team joined by Daniel who really is a big help to our team.

Tanzania Terror

In our last update we mentioned how we had some terrific and terrible experiences in some difficult areas in Tanzania. Since then, there has been a terror bombing in a church at Arusha. Fortunately we were nowhere near this at the time, but we did pass through that area later.

Multiplied Ministry Opportunities

Our host in Tabora and Shinyanga did a superb job of arranging a very busy schedule for us and we enjoyed an effective and appreciated time of ministry in these areas. We were kept busy every day for 8 days with a Biblical Worldview Seminar.

Ngorongoro Crater

We had the privilege of being invited to do ministry among the Maasai people of the world renowned Ngorongoro Conservation Area where we had a precious time of ministry. It was precious in three ways. Firstly, it was extremely expensive to enter into this conservation area; secondly, it was exciting to see God at work among the Maasai who seldom get outside missionaries visiting them; thirdly, there is a wealth of intriguing wildlife in this area.

Daylight Robbery

It seriously felt as if I were getting robbed as I paid our $100 camping fee and $300 entrance fee into this conservation area. Our host, who invited us and who works within the conservation area, was not able to succeed in his attempts to have the price reduced for us who were missionaries coming, not as tourists, but to minister to the remote people within its borders. The conservation authorities insisted upon first meeting us and seeing that we were indeed legitimate before agreeing to waiver any future fees.

Maasai Marvel at the Master

We had the privilege of ministering to the Maasai in a particular village where we preached the Gospel and showed the Jesus film in Swahili. It was great to see these colourful people gather to watch the life story of our Lord and Master for the very first time. They were thrilled and desperately requested that we stay longer and show this story of this amazing Man to other villages. We were blessed to see many Maasai trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.

Wildlife for Africa

Whilst we were within the Conservation Area, we were taken by a guide down into the Ngorongoro Crater, which is a massive old extinct volcano crater which is home to thousands of wild animals. I was astounded at the intense density of wildlife living among each other within the steep walls of this lush crater. There is a constant supply of fresh water and enough vegetation to satisfy thousands of herbivores and this obviously is a welcome invitation for predators. We saw almost all of the big 5 with the exception of the leopard.

Near Death Experience

Renee, who is the best team mate I have ever had on any Mission, had started complaining about abdominal pains which we tried to curb with pain-killers. The pain was soon accompanied by a stubborn fever which drove us to visit the clinic where she was diagnosed with an UT infection and given antibiotics.

Situation Intensifies

Because we were out in a rural area with limited medical facilities, we started doubting the diagnosis of this medical practitioner when after 3 days of taking the prescribed medication there was no improvement, but on the contrary, the pain and fever was intensifying. We therefore started to be concerned that it might be lethal appendicitis.

Hospital Rush

While we were showing the Jesus film in Karatu the pain was so intense and the fever incessantly stubborn, that I decided to rush Renee to the nearest Hospital which was 3 hours’ drive to Arusha. We arrived in Arusha at 02h30 and we found very good medical assistance at a Lutheran Hospital.

 

We praise God for good medicine and doctors who were able to help Renee to feel better.

 

Into Kenya

In the two-and-half weeks that we have been in Kenya we have been blessed to have conducted more than 60 meetings in seven different areas.

 

In Kenya we have conducted 7 Great Commission FIRE Seminars where we have ministered to more than 200 pastors and Church leaders lecturing on the Greatness of the Great Commission, Reformation FIRE, and A Call for Discernment. We taught on Church History drawing attention to the Greatest Century of Reformation and highlighting the desperate need that our churches have for Reformation today.

Disappointments of God Appointments

We have come upon various disappointments in Nairobi and were somewhat confused and frustrated at times until later we realized that God was at work setting up some very valuable appointments for us. Most of these appointments have come as a result of the delays in acquiring Daniel’s visa for South Sudan.

Desperate Visa Application

Daniel arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday evening and would therefore only be able to apply for his visa for South Sudan on Thursday and only be able to collect it on Monday the following week because it takes two days to clear. I was very busy running a seminar in Nairobi so I sent Renee and Daniel to the South Sudan Embassy with instruction to plead for a rushed visa because we were to leave for Western Kenya on Saturday.

Failed Visa Application

I had been running a seminar the whole day and was quite anxiously awaiting news with regard to the visa application. We would be in a very difficult predicament if we could not get that visa on Friday. I was very disappointed when around sunset the team returned with sad news – they had not reached the embassy in time due to atrocious traffic jams. They had missed the deadline by only 2 minutes even after Daniel had abandoned the traffic-bound vehicle and run ahead on foot. Despite desperate attempts to plead and negotiate with the officials, they had not even been able to make application. This meant that the only next time we could apply would be Monday and only get the visa on Wednesday. This would be a major setback costing us valuable time which we did not have!

Trinity Baptist Church

In my attempts to try and find a solution to this visa problem, I was put in touch with a pastor in Nairobi who turned out to be a brother (kindred spirit) indeed. He is the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church and we were able to have great fellowship as we discussed ideas on how to solve the visa application problem. This was a very valuable contact to have made here in the city of Nairobi and we praise God for the troubles that we faced that had thrust us together. We were able to donate some valuable Reformation literature and DVD’s to his ministry which was deeply appreciated.

Trailer Trash

As we were hitching up the trailer we noticed that the tow-hitch was loose and upon further inspection I found that one of the crucial brackets was broken and would not only need to be welded but also reinforced. We nursed the trailer back to Nairobi where we were to search out an engineering workshop that might be able to help us with the repair work.

God Appointment

We had some business to take care of at the SIM offices in Nairobi, so we thought to ask them where the best place would be to have the trailer repaired. They directed us to AIC Diguna which is a German Mission Base and assured us that we would be helped there. And we were not disappointed!

German Ingenuity

We were overwhelmed with the helpfulness of these German missionaries who went above and beyond the call of duty and worked with precision and effectiveness till way after sunset to ensure that our trailer would last through Sudan.

Valuable Advice

We were greatly surprised to find out that there were two missionaries from this mission who had recently returned from Sudan on the very roads on which we were about to travel to the very area from which they had just returned. This was an amazing and most helpful opportunity to meet and discuss with them and learn from their very recent experiences. I soaked in loads of helpful information as we looked over and studied our maps together.

 

We thanked God that night as we realized that it was the very fact that the trailer had broken which had resulted in us having this very valuable encounter with these missionaries who had so effectively and generously helped us in many various ways.

Dangerous Drive

As we travelled on bumpy rough gravel roads to a remote area to do ministry among a tribe that seldom gets missionaries due to harsh terrain and warring tribes, we had to pass through an ‘ambush alley’. We were stopped at a police roadblock and told that we could not proceed without an escort as the road ahead is a hotspot for hijackers and bandits who ambush and attack travelers. We could not afford to pay for the police escort and opted to go ahead without one trusting God for Divine protection. My heart was pounding in my chest and we were tossed about within the vehicle as we drove faster than the rough bumpy roads would allow. I did not want to give potential attackers any advantage or opportunity to stop our rapidly moving rig. We breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God as we arrived at our host’s village compound long after the sun had set.

 

DESPERATE Prayer Request

We would like you to specifically pray for God’s protection as we continue to travel in very dangerous areas. Some of the roads on which we will travel lead us through areas where rebels, bandits, and tribal warriors have recently killed many travellers for selfish gain. This continues to be a very real threat, but we trust that God will carry us through these dangers in answer to your prayers.

 

Appreciation

Thank you for your continued prayer support – we cannot do this without you. Thank you also to each one of you who has put financial support into my bank account. Your support is enabling us to continue on this Mission. There have been times when your contribution came in at a time of desperate need. Thank you very much, and may God richly reward your faithful generosity.

 

In His service – and loving it!

 

Michael Watson

Missionary Field Worker

Frontline Fellowship

South Africa

Satellite Phone:               +88 163 168 8577

Kenya Mobile                  +254 700 306 316

South Africa Mobile:     +27   74 887 0211

South Africa Office:       +27   21 689 4480

 

 Africa Overland Mission Update 05 July 2013

Dear Friends and Family

Greetings in the precious and wonderful Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

 

I hope and pray that all is well with you at home.

 

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11

Mission Overview

We are now into our 5th month of ministry on this Africa Overland Mission and we are currently ministering in South Sudan which is the 5th country out of the 11 which we plan to visit. We have travelled more than 17500km and have had to wade through a ‘truckload’ of challenges and obstacles. We have conducted a total of 210 meetings of which 71 were in Kenya and 25 in South Sudan thus far.

Border Crossing

We had a very interesting border crossing as we crossed into the South Sudan side. The first thing which becomes very obvious is the fact that everybody drives on the wrong side of the road – they drive on the right-hand side of the road in South Sudan. Secondly, the customs officials were the most thorough that I have ever witnessed in all my travels in Africa. They off-loaded and opened almost every single box, trunk, and bag that we had in our rig; they wanted to see every book, CD, and DVD – even going to the extent of inserting the discs into their computers to investigate the content. After the Customs officials were satisfied that we were not carrying any contraband, the officer in charge of the border post came out and insisted that we be left to proceed without any further delays or inconveniences because “you can see that they are Christian missionaries” pointing to the Christian flag that we had mounted on the front of our vehicle. We were congratulated for the work that we were doing as missionaries and all taxes were waivered and we were sent on our way with their blessing.

Praise God

God has been very good to us so far. Thank you for your fervent prayers for us. God has taken us through some very scary situations, tough challenges, severe breakdowns, and He has given us multiplied effective ministry opportunities.

Desperate Prayer Request

Our last update to you ended with us urging you to pray for our protection as we were about to travel through some pretty dangerous areas. Now that we have travelled through this treacherous gauntlet I can with gratitude report on how God has answered your fervent prayers.

Wrapping up in Kenya

In Turkana we were able to screen the Jesus film 4 times and we conducted 11 meetings including 1 Great Commission Seminar and 4 outreaches. After concluding the ministry in Kenya, we found ourselves in Lokichogio where we were hosted at the AIC mission base.

The Treacherous Gauntlet

Our research had informed us that we were on the verge of entering a very dangerous leg of our journey and that is why we had requested your urgent prayers. Whilst in Lokichogio our fears were confirmed as the local missionaries told us of the terror that lay ahead of us.

Dangerous Area ONE

There were 3 particularly dangerous areas through which we would need to drive. The first was a 45km section of very rough road still inside Kenya between Lokichogio and the border town of Nadapal. This is an area where bandits take advantage of the slow-moving vehicles, shooting at and robbing the occupants.

Armed Escorts

We were strongly advised to take armed escorts with us in the vehicle as we travelled from Lokichogio to Nadapal which we did. As we drove slowly over the bumpy road our armed escorts with their automatic rifles loaded and ready, their alert eyes searching the shrubbery told us how bad the problem actually was. “Yesterday someone was killed over there” one of them said. “Do you see those ditches there? That’s where they normally lie in ambush” said the other “I have seen many dead people here”. Broken windshield glass and debris lay on the ground as testimony to the terror of which we were told. We were sure glad to have the armed guards with us and were somewhat relieved when we arrived without incident at the border post of Nadapal.

Dangerous Area TWO

The second area we were warned about was an area in South Sudan between Kapoeta and Torit called ‘Camp 15’. This is an area where armed rebels led by a man called Yau Yau from the Murle tribe have recently been causing havoc and the SPLA soldiers have been trying to drive them northwards towards Ethiopia. We were warned emphatically of the dangers of this area.

Break-down in the ‘Red’ Zone

After entering into South Sudan we had two punctures before we reached Kapoeta. After having our tires repaired in Kapoeta we cautiously proceeded towards the notorious ‘Camp 15’. After sunset while it was still dusk, as we approached ‘Camp 15’ I started hearing a scratching noise coming from one of the rear wheels. Surrounded by drunks and suspicious-looking locals armed with AK-47s, I stopped to inspect the noise at a nearby village (which turned out to be ‘Camp 15’). We soon attracted a crowd of inquisitive on-lookers who were giving us the ‘stare’, so I decided to proceed to a safer area even though my inspection had informed me that the trailer’s wheel-bearing had disintegrated. We drove on slowly, nursing the increasingly noisy bearing, for another 30km until we found a safer place to stop for the night and erect our tents.

Searching for Spares

It took us more than four days to repair the damage caused by the inferior bearing. A replacement axle had to be purchased – and there was none to be found in the ‘red’ zone. I searched through Torit and Juba for three days before I found a suitable (but ruthlessly over-priced) axle. Then I still had to modify the wheel-nuts and acquire all the necessary fittings. All this time, Daniel was left alone looking after our trailer in the ‘red’ zone and I was anxious to get him out of there.

Dodging Bullets

When we finally got back to the trailer after sunset, I was relieved to find that all was still OK. We started immediately to change the axles. There were some drunken men arguing with each other nearby as we worked. Most men in this area carry an automatic rifle and these men were no exception. Whilst we were hurriedly trying to complete the repair work, these drunkards started shooting at each other! Some of the bullets came real close to us as we heard them striking tin cans nearby. We quickly took cover behind the vehicle until things quieted down and then cautiously came out from our cover and completed the repair as fast as we could. We breathed a sigh of relief and gave thanks to God as we drove out from there heading towards Torit just before 22h00.

Dangerous Area THREE

The third area we were warned about is on the last stretch between Juba from Torit. This is an area where bandits and robbers stop vehicles by shooting at them and then rob the occupants. There were reports that within the previous 3 weeks 19 people had been killed by bandits on this road.

Incidentally, in order to get spares from Juba, we had to drive through this area two times before finally crossing in again the third time with our trailer following closely behind (naturally).

Almost Targeted

As we cautiously drove through this ‘ambush alley’, we saw evidences of other vehicles that had been recently shot-up and still lay derelict in the middle of the road. Soon after a mini-bus (which was approaching from the opposite direction) had passed us, we heard gunfire and as I looked in my rear-view mirror, I could see that the mini-bus had been stopped and the passengers were franticly disembarking from the vehicle. We gave thanks to God as we realized that we had passed through that ambush unharmed.

Juba at Last!

We were very happy to have arrived in Juba and our anxious host was just as happy to receive us. We were put up in the ECS Guesthouse where we were well taken care of. We had the privilege of conducting a 2-day Great Commission Seminar at an inter-denominational church called Revival and Fire Prayer Ministry where almost 200 people attended.

Moru Printing Project

We headed for Yei where we met with the diligent staff of Sudan Literacy Center and discussed the progress of new Moru Hymnbook which Frontline Fellowship is in the process of printing as a gift to Moruland. We were very happy to see the progress but were disappointed that it would not be completed in time for us to distribute these valuable books whilst we would be up here in South Sudan. This project will only be finished when we conduct another mission to South Sudan in the future.

Rough Roads

The roads in South Sudan are mostly very rough with potholes often so large that huge trucks and lorries get stuck in them. On our way to Rumbek, we encountered some severe mechanical failures that forced us to turn back to Mundri in order to take dominion over these problems and start the repair process.

Repairs and Opportunities

The trailer’s chassis was cracked right through in two places and the pick-up’s prop-shaft center-bearing (carrier-bearing) was on its way out and was starting to make a terrible noise. This forced us to go back to Juba to have the necessary repairs done. Once again, Daniel stayed with the trailer and had a very effective time of ministry at various schools and a Bible college in Mundri while Renee and I were away in Juba forcing our way to the top of these mechanical challenges that were trying to bog us down.

Financial Aid

As you can imagine, these numerous unexpected mechanical challenges cost us a lot more than we had initially budgeted for and were threatening to cut our mission short in South Sudan because our limited financial resources were almost depleted. God graciously supplied our need through the hands of generous sponsors who deposited funds into our bank account and we were able to do the necessary repairs and continue on our mission as planned.

Military Mission

We were very blessed to have been able to conduct Chaplains Training for more than 40 SPLA Chaplains in the Division HQ. Some of the chaplains who were present were those who had been trained by Dr Peter Hammond in 1996 and they still had their Chaplains Handbooks and Chaplains Prayerbooks! We also had the privilege of preaching to the entire Division at the general parade. This was certainly the highlight of our time in South Sudan so far.

Thank You

Thank you to each and every one of you who remember to pray for us and who contribute of your limited and valuable financial resources to make our work here possible. We would not be able to do this without generous supporters like you who give of your time and money.

The Top Team

I am also particularly grateful for my amazing team that I have with me out here in these harsh conditions. Renee and Daniel are doing a great work and our team is functioning very effectively with each member fulfilling their role with great efficiency. Renee is, no doubt, the best team mate that I have ever had out in the mission field – and the most beautiful! Daniel and I enjoy amazingly tasty meals that Renee is able to make from sometimes limited resources. Daniel is a great help in the ministry as he has such a fiery passion for the Gospel and is immensely effective in assisting us to convey the message of the Great Commission during our seminars. Please pray for us that we will continue to enjoy good health and that we may continue to work well together.

Please continue to pray for us as we go out to the frontline to minister to soldiers. We are still traveling in areas where there are many insecurity issues.

May God continue to be your joy and strength.

In His service – and loving it!

 

Michael Watson

Missionary Field Worker

Frontline Fellowship

South Africa

Satellite Phone:               +88 163 168 8577

  1. Sudan Mobile 1:         +211 95 446 9016
  2. Sudan Mobile 2:         +211 91 283 0082

South Africa Office:       +27   21 689 4480

 Africa Overland Mission Update 05 August 2013

Dear Friends and Family

Greetings in the precious and powerful Name of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ!

 

I trust that God has been taking care of you back home in the same way as He has been taking care of us out here in the field.

 

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Proverbs 3:5, 6, 27

Mission Overview

We have been away from our home for 5 months and are now into our 6th month of ministry on this Africa Overland Mission and we have wrapped up our ministry in South Sudan and are now doing ministry in Uganda which is the 6th country out of the 11 which we plan to visit. We have travelled more than 20 000km and have had many great opportunities to minister to soldiers who protect South Sudan’s northern borders, train and equip army chaplains, and conduct seminars with pastors, evangelists, and lay leaders. We have conducted a total of 335 meetings of which 71 were in Kenya and 150 in South Sudan.

Bumpy Start in South Sudan

As we entered into South Sudan about two months ago, we encountered excessive mechanical complications which slowed us down considerably and detrimentally stole almost two weeks from our planned time of ministry. Nevertheless, we have been able to make up for lost time and had an effective and busy time of ministry accomplishing all but one of our planned objectives.

Newest Country in Africa

South Sudan is the newest country in the world and we were privileged to be able to celebrate Idependence Day here with the South Sudanese people as they celebrated their second year of freedom from the arab north.

State of Insecurity

South Sudan has 10 states of which 9 have insecurity issues; only Western Equatoria is considered to be withouth security problems. We have conducted ministry in states of Eastern Equatoria, Central Equatoria, Lakes, Western Bahr el Ghazaal, and Western Equatoria. We praise God for protecting us as we travelled through this country in tourmoil.

Military Ministry

One of the many highlights of this mission has been the great opportunity that we have had to minister to the soldiers, officers, and chaplains of the SPLA army. This was obviously one of the main focuses and goals of this Africa Overland Mission that we have been delighted to see being accomplished. We distributed Bibles, Leadership books, Discipleship books, Gospel literature, screened the ‘Jesus’ film, and conducted Great Commission Seminars among the soldiers and chaplains of 5 military barracks.

Seeds Bearing Fruit

One of the chaplains that had arranged our ministry among the soldiers at the brigade headquarters at the frontline and who was our host in Raja was one of the first chaplains that had been trained by Frontline Fellowship during the war in 1996. He is most certainly a dynamic and productive man who has made a great impact for the Kingdom of God in the area where he is responsible. He has planted 6 churches and has trained many others to preach the Gospel and has sent them out as evangelists in the frontline. It was good to see the fruit of the work that had been done 16 years ago.

Fertile Western Equatoria

Driving through the lush rainforests of Western Equatoria was indeed a magnificently exhilarating experience. Even though South Sudan has not received much rainfall this rainy season, the extravagant green growth is brilliantly obvious which makes this former fact hard to believe. This State is certainly a fertile land, but in more ways than just one. The rich vegetation which envelops the churches and parishes seems to be a relative indication as to the spiritual hunger and fervour which the Christians of Western Equatoria have.

Productive Ministry Opportunities

We have been privileged to have conducted effective ministry in schools, churches, military barracks, on radio, and productive Great Commission Seminars, in Yambio, Maridi, Farakasika, Bahr Olo, Mundri, and Lui. The seminars were lavishly well-attended, the church services were abundantly packed, and the schools were eagerly excited and desperately attentive as we shared with them. These folk of Western Equatoria certainly have an appetite for the things of God.

Daniel

We have been privileged to have had Daniel join us for these past two-and-a-half months and somewhat sad to see him go back to the USA to continue with his studies. Daniel is an energetic young man with a passion for missions and a fire burning in him for the Kingdom of God. He has been a great help to us and has been effective in the ministry and in assisting with many of the practical chores that life on the road demands. We will definitely miss him and we pray that God will bless his studies at college, use him wherever he goes, and bring him back to Africa in the near future.

Grateful Appreciation

Thank you very much to all of our supporters who have contributed financially to make this mission a success. We desperately appreciate your generous support and continually covet your persistent prayers for us.

Please visit our Facebook page to see pictures and to follow our progress. Watson’s Missions

 

In His service – and loving it!

An unworthy servant,

Michael Watson

Missionary Field Worker

Frontline Fellowship

www.frontline.org.za

mike@frontline.org.za

South Africa Office:       +27   21 689 4480

admin@frontline.org.za

 

Africa Overland Mission Update 04 September 2013

 

Dear Friends and Family

Greetings in the precious and wonderful Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

 

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Romans 10:13-14

 

We are so excited to be out here on this Africa mission field energized and empowered by your prayers and support. The countryside offers the most spectacular views and sights that I have ever seen; the people are beautiful, interesting, and hospitable; the ministry has been effective, appreciated, and rewarding. Yet we are also looking forward to getting back home to see our friends and family, to enjoy a home-cooked meal, our own bed, and a washing machine.

 

We have now been on the road for more than 6 months and there is one more month to go. We are currently doing ministry in Burundi which is the 9th country out of the 11 which we have planned to visit. We have travelled more than 22,000km and we have conducted more than 370 meetings.

 

We appreciate your constant prayers for us as we continue to minister.

“Send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any tie, but the ties that bind me to Your service and to your heart.”

—David Livingstone

Unshakeable Generation

We have had a very successful and effective time of ministry in Lira, Uganda at the Bridge of Hope Ministries where we had the privilege of being guest speakers at their annual ‘Unshakeable Generation’ church conference where we preached at 8 meetings. This was a wonderful opportunity to speak about Enduring Faith and True and False conversions; ‘The Way of the Master’ proved to be an very effective topic.

Much-Needed Rest

We have had an amazing opportunity to get some much-needed rest and recuperation at a lovely campsite next to the Nile River. We were blown away by the breathtaking views, tranquil atmosphere, and colourful sunsets. After 5 months in the field and 2 grueling months in the harsh conditions of South Sudan, this was a most welcome break!

Exhilarating Adrenaline Excitement

While enjoying the blissful serenity of the peace and tranquil at the Nile River Explorers campsite, our attention was captured and we were distracted by the loud and bold advertising board which read thus: “Whitewater rafting down the Mighty Nile River”. This was an opportunity not to be missed. And what a exhilarating experience it was! Being tossed about in a small inflatable raft we plummeted down steep rapids; being flipped upside-down by surging waves which hurled us into the raging waters – causing us to gasp for breath as we were churned under the water as if in a viscous washing machine. This was immense fun!

Mountains of the Moon

We then headed west towards Kasese which is near the Congo border where we conducted a week of intensely appreciated seminars. This is where Mount Rwenzori is located which the locals call ”the Mountain of the Moon” because of the snowcapped peak. Kasese is right at the foothills of this mountain. Our contact person here had attended the GCC in 2011 which was where I first met him. He arranged for us a very busy schedule which kept us on our toes from morning till late at night.

Grateful Repentance

We were almost literally blown away by the immense appreciation that was expressed for our ministry in Kasese. Pastors and community leaders were so eager for us to remain as their “personal missionaries” they offered us rooms, houses, and land. Some pastors confessed that they had been out of God’s will and declared their immediate repentance. “Kasese needs this message to be heard” they told us. “Please come back” they urged “please, don’t forget about us”.

Rolling Hills of Rwanda

Next we headed south for Rwanda which is a very hilly country with beautiful green trees covering the hills in some places and in most other areas rich agricultural lands cover the hills like a dense patchwork quilt. The roads wind through these hills, zigzagging around tight curves, up over the hills, and down into the valleys. Most of the roads are either in a very good condition or somebody’s there fixing it.

Kigali

Kigali is one of the most organized and cleanest cities that I have ever seen in all my travels in Africa. The traffic lights work and people obey them, both pedestrians and drivers! There are policemen, on what seems like, every street corner and they are helpful and effective. There is no litter anywhere to be seen – even in the poorer areas and taxi ranks.

Encourage and Equip

We met with one of the members of Christian Action Network who is in fact not from Rwanda as I had thought, but from neighbouring Congo. We spent some time with him and some of his church leaders, fellowshipping with and encouraging them in their ministry. We were also able to equip them with boxes of Gospel literature, Leadership and Discipleship training books, and valuable DVDs and audio CDs. I spoke to them about Christian Action Network’s bold new initiative called ‘Reformation FIRE’. They were thrilled to hear about this and excited to become a part of this noble effort.

The Work Goes On

Please continue to pay for us as we continue to minister in Burundi. We also have an incredible opportunity to minister in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Please pray that God will give us many effective opportunities and that He may continue to grant us the Grace and strength needed to fulfill our missionary calling – we will not be able to do anything good or worthwhile unless He enables us.

 

“Without Him I can do nothing”

Thank you

We are intensely grateful for every one of you who support us in prayer, finances, and encouragement. Thank you for posting encouraging comments on our Facebook page (Watson’s Missions), we appreciate your partnership in the Gospel.

 

If you would like to see some pictures of our ministry and follow us as we travel, please visit and ‘like’ our Facebook page: Watson’s Missions

 

“Be determined and confident. Do not be afraid of them. Your God, the LORD himself, will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 

In His service – and loving it!

 

Michael and Renee Watson

Missionary Field Worker

Frontline Fellowship

South Africa

Burundi Mobile: +257 763 444 10

Congo Mobile: +243977406576

South Africa Office:       +27   21 689 4480

 

 Africa Overland Mission Update 27 September 2013

Dear Friends and Family

Greetings in the precious and wonderful Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

 

“I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John 1:2

Mission Overview

This Africa Overland Mission has finally come to a successful completion after 7 months. We have travelled 29000km, crossed 14 international borders, travelled through and ministered in 12 countries, conducted more than 390 meetings, and distributed almost 3 tonnes of Gospel literature and Discipleship training material including Bibles, tracts, books, audio CDs, DVDs, posters, and MegaVoice solar-charged audio Bibles.

 

Last time you may have heard from us, we were just about to head into the Democratic Republic of Congo for an incredible ministry opportunity.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is located in Central Africa. It is the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa and with a population of over 75 million the DRC is the fourth most populous nation in Africa.

 

It also has the second-highest population of Christians in Africa making up about 95% of the population although 50% are Catholics. Evangelicals make up about 20% of the population.

Security Risks

Corruption has devastated this rich and fertile land and has frightened away potential visitors and investors. Whilst doing ministry in Western Uganda and in Rwanda, I continually heard reports about rebel groups in neighboring DRC seeking to take over the town of Goma in North Kivu, Eastern DRC. Some of our missionary colleagues and friends consistently and persistently warned us not to enter the DRC with our own vehicle for fear that it would be lost to corruption or commandeered by rebels.

Abandoning our Rig

So accepting the advice and warnings given, we found a safe place to store our rig (truck and trailer) in Burundi, packed our survival bags, and headed for the ominous DRC. It would be the first time that we were to be away from our rig for an extended period of time and I was anxious that we pack our gear-bags in such a way that we would be prepared for any unforeseen sinister circumstances.

DRC Ministry

What a blessed time of ministry we had with the El-Shaddai church in DRC! This is a vibrant and growing church with a vision and passion for evangelism and for extending the Kingdom of God. This church has a regular outreach programme where they go out into the community and share the love of Jesus to their neighbours. And they run a discipleship programme every morning in the church between 06h00 and 07h00 to teach new believers foundational doctrines of the Faith. We were privileged to conduct a Great Commission Seminar at this church teaching these eager Christians the effective techniques of The Way of the Master as they attentively took in all we had to share with them.

Workers for the Harvest

As you can probably imagine, in a church like this, it would not be all its members that are consistently getting involved in evangelism and reaching out to their neighbours, but only a core group of individuals. It was the desire of the pastor of this church to get his whole church involved in the outreaches and this was one of the goals of our visit to his church.

Outrageous Courage

Many of those who were not getting involved in the outreach team admitted that this was due to the fact that they were afraid, nervous, anxious, and apprehensive. After each day of lectures, presentations and teachings, we all went out on outreach in the afternoons to give these timid evangelists an opportunity to exercise their faith. After each outreach we had a feedback session where folk could share how the outreach went. It was incredibly encouraging to us to hear the testimony of some of these reluctant Christians who had once been crippled by fear but now emboldened by faith and courage through the Power of the Gospel joyfully sharing how God had helped them to overcome their fears and boldly approach strangers and speak to them about the Love of God through Jesus Christ!

Pray for DRC

Pray that the illegal forces would be disarmed and disbanded. These are personal armies of dangerous warlords, which inflict terror on innocent and helpless citizens who live far from the limited safety of government or international forces. Some of these rebel armies include Lord’s Resistance Army, Simba, Mai-Mai, and many others. Pray for these men to be convicted and disheartened with this life of violence and for those continuing to commit such violence to be stopped. Pray also for the Church to stand strong and be a positive influence in this land of corruption and confusion.

 

“The Christian Church is an essential entity for rebuilding the DRC. It remains the only viable national social structure to survive and retain some credibility. Its role in rebuilding the nation is crucial. Most hospitals, clinics and schools now operate with Christian initiative. Pray for Christian leaders of spiritual maturity and moral integrity to be raised up for ministry both in the Church and in society.” – Operation World

Burundi

We travelled through Burundi on the western side down from Rwanda. Burundi is a mountainous, fertile country on the northeast shore of Lake Tanganyika, south of Rwanda, and wedged between Tanzania on the east and DRC on the west. Burundi, like Rwanda, has a sad and violent history between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes which broke out into a nasty war in 1994. The situation is much better now between the two tribes.

 

About 90% of the population call themselves Christians of which 60% are Catholic and 30% are Evangelicals.

The Cries of a Child

After our ministry in DRC we were very happy to get back to our rig which is our home away from home. We then drove up into the hills which surround Bujumbura, the Capitol of Burundi where we visited some missionaries from America who are running an orphanage called The Cries of a Child. This is a very well-run Faith project and is making a great impact in the community. They started six years ago with very little, but God has provided amazingly for their needs and today they have 2 homes caring for more than 16 children. They are currently building a clinic to provide for the health needs for the community.

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

From Burundi we travelled down to Kigoma, Tanzania and the famous site of Ujiji where Stanley uttered the legendary words: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” when he met David Livingstone for the first time in October 1871.

Zambia Border

Crossing into Zambia from Tanzania was the most difficult border crossing that I have yet encountered. Besides the fact that it is a very busy commercial border, the Zambia border control requires more payments (at different offices with long queues) than any other border I have yet crossed. And the most expensive fees!

David Livingstone Memorial

Safely into Zambia after a four-hour border crossing, we headed for Chitambo’s Village where Dr. David Livingstone died. It was a humbling and awe-inspiring moment for me to be standing in the place where this great missionary came to his final earthly rest. There are two monuments, one where he was found breathless and without life, kneeling over his Bible in a posture of prayer, and the other is where his heart was buried nearby.

 

“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege.” – Dr. David Livingstone

Livingstone200

In the town of Livingstone we met up with our fellow missionary colleagues and together we made further preparations for the Livingstone 200 Missions Conference that will be held in November 13-18 2013. We also went to view the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls which at this time of year is in low season so we did not get to see its majestic rushing of water nor hear the roar of this thunderous spectacle. But the rainy season is about to start and hopefully by mid-November when we return for the Livingstone200 conference, there will be more excitement in this impressive waterfall.

Namibia Wildlife

We had a few days to spare whilst waiting for a ministry opportunity to materialize so we took the occasion to visit a game reserve in the Caprivi. There is a magnificent wealth of wildlife in this area and we got to see many elephants, impala, kudu, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, hippos, and crocodiles among many other animals. It was a privilege for me to spend this time together with my wife – it was like another honeymoon. We spent three nights in this game reserve in a tent as Dr. David Livingstone may have experienced it with the sounds of wild animals of the night surrounding our flimsy tent – lion’s roaring, elephants trumpeting, rumbling and breaking through nearby bushes, hippos grunting, and hyenas laughing…this all made for tense, prayerful dreams.

Radio Interview

In Windhoek on Kanaal 7 Radio, we had the privilege of being invited to be interviewed about our almost completed Africa Overland Mission. This was a good opportunity to encourage the listeners to be more mission-minded and encourage them to consider participating in the Great Commission Course next year in January.

Surprise Return

Due to the fact that one of our ministry opportunities in Namibia had not worked out, we were a few days ahead of schedule and would arrive at the office earlier than expected. And I decided not to inform the office of this change, but to surprise them. It gave me immense pleasure to see the confused smiles on their faces as we arrived back home three days ahead of schedule. It was good to be back with our family and friends.

Thank YOU

This Africa Overland Mission would not have been a success if it were not for you. Thank you to each one of you who supported us through prayer and financial support. Thank you for keeping in touch with us and encouraging us as we travelled through sometimes difficult situations.

 

“Blessed are you, (put your name here)! 

Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord?

He is your Shield and Helper and your glorious Sword.

Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights.” Deuteronomy 33:29

Pictures and Videos

Although I will compile an Africa Overland Mission Report with pictures, I do encourage you to visit our Watson’s Missions Facebook Page where we are still adding photos regularly and will soon add some videos. Hint: If you “like” our page, you will be notified each time we post a picture or video.

 

May God richly bless you and keep you safe in His strong hands.

In His service – and loving it!

Michael Watson

Missionary Field Worker

Frontline Fellowship

South Africa

Cell:     +2774 887 0211

Office +2721 689 4480

 

The End

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