God, the Promise Keeper


Our team mission statement says, “Our team is called by God to plant and mature indigenous churches, founded on His will, among the Aja. We want to be used by God to initiate a movement sustained by Him through equipped Aja leadership.”


God is using us and going beyond us.  Every goal that the team has set, God has surpassed.  I have been telling the Aja Christians that God keeps His promises.  “He will do more than we could imagine or think.”  I am growing in my own trust that He keeps His promises.


In twelve months of preaching and teaching we have seen the birth of seven congregations and more than one hundred and fifty souls.  Our goal is to plant thirteen new congregations in the next twelve months.  That would bring the total to twenty congregations and more than four hundred members.  I will not be surprised if the Lord has even greater plans.


The newest of the congregations is in the village of Dekpo (DECK-po).  It has been a thrill to watch God work in this village.  We had only been preaching once a week for two months when it was time for the revival meeting of all of the congregations in Aja.  There were no Christians at Dekpo, but I asked them to come to the three day meeting and hear some more of God’s word.  At the end of that meeting seven of them were born again.  That was the beginning of the congregation.  For the next three weeks we took them to Sunday meeting at Dandjihoue (don-JEE-hwey) so they could see how the Christians worshipped there.  On the fourth Sunday, they worshipped and took the Lord’s Supper before their fellow villagers.  At the end of the meeting twenty-six people were baptized.  Dekpo is now the second largest congregation.


The very first time we preached in Dekpo, one of the men, Jean, asked “Are you going to continue to come here?  There is no one here to teach us God’s word and we want to hear more.” 


“If people continue to come and listen, I will come and teach,” I said.  “But, God has promised that if people in this village begin to follow Him, He will make some of you teachers of His word.” 


Well, guess what?  Not only were twenty-six people baptized after the first Sunday meeting at Dekpo, but also Jean gave one of the best lessons I have heard in the language of the Aja.  He has taught at every meeting since.   A couple days a week another brother, Gregoire, teaches the young people songs and memory verses.  Their worship times are very inspiring.  Simon, had only been a Christian four weeks when he baptized twenty-six of his fellow villagers.  Just this past Monday, with Maurice Rhinehart sitting next to him, Mathew prayed publicly for the first time. 


The Aja people are used to making promises to the gods.  They tell a god, “if you protect me on this trip, I will sacrifice a chicken to you when I return.”  The gods never make promises to them.  It is astonishing to them that the Creator and Lord of the Universe makes promises to them.  And, he keeps them.    


--- Richard Chowning

             March 13, 1999