By Dr. Frank R. Parrish
1 trip / 2 months /19 flights / 33,600 miles /
8 countries /13 border crossings /1,500+ pastors /
15 language groups /160+ hours of teaching
In the fall of 2015, I was blessed to travel to Africa and India for World MAP Spiritual Renewal and Equipping Seminars. At each seminar we encountered intense spiritual hunger for God’s Word and His touch, and were humbled to witness the pastors’ unswerving commitment to serve the Lord regardless of personal cost, persecution and extreme hardship.
Beginning in September, World MAP partnered with GateBreaker Ministries to conduct four seminars in three African nations – ministering to at least a dozen language groups!
Though each seminar was unique, a common characteristic stood out in them all: A sense of urgency or of vital necessity. Scriptures would often come to my mind, “I must be about My Father’s business” (Lk 2:49); “do business till I come” (Lk 19:13) and “the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).
I could not escape the sense that the Lord is moving swiftly and powerfully, as if great change is on the horizon. Indeed, changes are already upon us. Doors once open to the Gospel are now closing, and there is a significant rise of vicious assaults by the forces of darkness in an attempt to oppose the greatest wave of salvations in the history of the Church!
With certainty, I feel we must urgently be about the Father’s business in these days. For World MAP, that means an all-out effort to equip, encourage and strengthen pastors while it is yet day.
Zimbabwe: It was clear that we were to exhort and encourage the pastors to look to the Lord as their source for everything – only to learn that Zimbabwe’s economy is near collapse. The ministry times were also very personal as we prayed individually with many pastors.
Maasailand: Maasai pastors are marked by their courage and bold zeal for God. More than 300 attended; most walked long distances to be with us. These statuesque leaders rejoiced in the teaching of the Word, and freshly received the Holy Spirit’s touch. It was a privilege to experience the beauty of their worship and dance.
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: The area is heavily Muslim, and resistance was real in the spiritual atmosphere. But the Spirit of God broke through and we shared a strong time with the leaders there. The pastors made clear their strong desire for us to return.
Mombasa, Kenya: This seminar was marked by great rejoicing throughout, and gratitude for what was received. Many pastors expressed that the kind of teaching we brought was rare, but exactly what they needed to hear. Our God is faithful!
From Africa, I traveled on to India for two more pastors’ seminars. I was joined in ministry by Pastor Vic Torres, who is a longtime friend and World MAP Board member and the pastor of Reach Out Church.
Siliguri, India: Our first seminar was in the far north of India. The strategy was to bring pastors down from hard to reach places in Nepal and Bhutan. That very week, serious political unrest resulted in the border between India and Nepal being closed. But praise God, with much prayer on the part of many (including World MAP’s devoted Prayer Corps), the roads opened the day before the seminar was to start!
More than 175 pastors traveled down from Nepal for the seminar, to join the hundreds more from India. We quickly discovered a deep need in that region for even the most basic Bible teaching – which only added to the joy and effectiveness of the seminar.
As I wrapped up the last session of our very fruitful time with the pastors, several brothers stood and shouted something in Nepali – followed by other pastors cheering and shouting. I was not sure what was happening until my translator let me know, “They are asking when you will come to Nepal, and the others are shouting, ‘come to Nepal, come to Nepal’!” Pray with me that the Lord will allow this to happen soon.
Kazipet, India: Dr. Vic and I enjoyed another great week with more than 400 pastors and evangelists in this part of India. We found them so very hungry for the things of God.
Pastors in India often suffer persecution, poverty and many other great challenges. Yet they serve the Lord so willingly, regardless of the cost. We were humbled and inspired by their desire for Bible teaching to lay a foundation for God-honoring and fruitful ministry.
FROM MY HEART
I am often overcome with emotion and gratitude for the privilege of serving the precious pastors in developing nations. The life-changing World MAP seminars of which I get to be a part – and the distribution of The Shepherd’s Staff to thousands each year – are only possible because of what you give in prayer and resource.
After fellowshipping with pastors in these nations, I can again testify to the impact of what the World MAP family so generously provides. On their behalf, and from my own heart, thank you for all that you do for the saints around the world. To God be the glory!