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Blog

The Preface to My Book: Growing Missionaries Biblically

Posted on July 7, 2012 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (97)

This blog will be used purposely to teach and discuss the issues of missions, culture, and the missionary.   My goal is to bring every culture under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.   I proposed in my new book: Growing Missionaries Biblically: A Fresh Look at Missions in an African Context,  a call for a bicultural missionary as the answer to the twenty-first century missions outreach.  In the Preface of my book, as seen below, I discussed my motivation about missions which resulted to the writing of this book.  I pray that it will be a paradigm shift for missions in this century.  Below is my spiritual autobiography and call to missions.


Preface

"The desire to write this book stems from my background in African Traditional Religion: I am a native of Liberia, West Africa, and hailed from Nimba County from the Gbee and Dor-wudu District. My father was the leader of the Fahn-yah tribe within the Gbee Chiefdom.  I was born into an animistic society, and was committed to it during my youth. Animism is a belief that natural things around us are infused with conscious life. Tribe members regard hills, valleys, waterways and rocks as spiritual beings, as are all plants and animals. As I was growing up, I remember us worshipping a creek called, Nay-wodo, in the Gbee language of Liberia with sacrifices. It was believed that every child born in that town came from Nay-wodo. Our techniques were to deal with the fear of displeasing the spirits. This was the religion of my people, yet God called me from that darkness to His glorious light in Christ.
       "The year I was born – 1948 − in Zarwulugbo Town, Nimba County, the Republic of Liberia, was the very year that far-away Israel was prophetically re-born as a nation. Dad was a tribal leader and a big game hunter for the Fayn-yah ethnic group. Though he was not a Christian, Dad was a good-natured person – very generous, with a deep love for people.  He had many wives.  My mom, Qualie-non-nun, was his head wife.  She was the only woman allowed to sleep in Dad’s Fetish Hut.
Dad wanted me to succeed him; therefore, he began to train me during my youth.  I was allowed to sleep in the Fetish Hut along with my parents. His spiritual powers were stored in this hut.  It was built with mud, then thatched, and fenced in. Inside the fence was Dad’s rock-throne (surrounded by tribal elders) where he usually sat to decide family matters and also to perform rituals.        
        "Dad’s vision for my education.  One of the motivating factors to the writing of this book is my father’s vision for my education. A major turn came in the entire ethnic group when Dad traveled to Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia and stayed for two months. When he returned home, he offered a suggestion to my mother for me to go to school. He discerned that the future of the country would be in the hands of educated people. Mom rejected this proposal on the grounds that I was next in rank to succeed my father. How could I leave them? But because God was working out everything for my good, she reluctantly agreed. I was sent to Glahn Town public school, then the Chiefdom headquarters. The Mid-Baptist Mission had a church in that town and worked jointly with the school. The mission’s pastor, the late Joe Mein, heard about my enrollment, and he appealed to my father to let me live in the parsonage with his family, promising to do everything to make sure I attended school daily. Dad agreed. 
       "Going to school was great, but I had a serious problem attending church services. It was boring and foreign to me. Every weekend I would come home to see my parents to sleep in the Fetish Hut, and then go back to the mission on Sundays. I reluctantly attended church services occasionally to avoid hurting Pastor Mein and suspension from the school. Pastor Mein and his members continued to pray for my salvation.  In 1962 I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ.
       "Family crisis. But my faith in Christ resulted in a major family crisis. I avoided sleeping in the Fetish Hut, by deliberately not coming home as usual to spend time with my parents.  I shared this struggle with Pastor Mein, and the congregation prayed for me. 
       "After several weeks at school finally I went home. Mom was very happy to see me. But I was determined to tell my parents about my faith in Christ, and that I wouldn’t sleep in the Fetish Hut anymore. I told her upfront about my new faith in Christ, and announced, “I will not sleep in the Fetish Hut anymore.” She was shocked. She warned me not to tell my father this.  But later when he came home from the farm, I bravely told Dad.  He stood, tongue-tied, not speaking for some time, and then demanded, “What did you say?” I repeated my declaration. “Dad, where you sent me, I met someone called Jesus Christ. He is the Savior of the world, and because He is now in my life I just cannot sleep in the idol hut anymore.” Angrily he said, “Are you going out of your mind?” I held my peace when I saw his disappointment, but I was praying in my heart that he would not order me to sleep in the hut. Then he added, “I did not send you to school to dash to the ground the hope of your people for the sake of this Christ!” But at last I was given a room in one of his modern houses. Often he would talk to me about the importance of the tribal leadership, but I continually said no to it.
      "The Gospel preached to my ethnic group.  Penetrating the Fahn-yah ethnic group with the Gospel is a story that needs global readership. In 1962, the Mission Church hosted their Annual Conference which brought together several Mid-Baptist Churches. During the last day of the conference, the moderator asked for a church that would host the next year’s conference.  I stood up and asked if the conference could be held in my father’s town. The leadership caucused and agreed. I went home exuberantly to inform Dad about the conference. Though he didn’t know what a conference was, I explained that the church people would assemble in his town for a week of Bible teaching, prayers, and worship unto God. Dad accepted this challenge and successfully hosted the conference in 1963. 
        "Dad’s blindness, salvation, and death. The salvation of my father who claimed to possess some super power motivated me to share the account of his salvation to the world. Several months after the conference, Dad was sitting on his rock-throne and suddenly he was struck blind! He heard a voice that told him not to consult any witch doctors or herbalists; he was also instructed to go to one Mother Mai-Jeane Gar-wudu in Grand Bassa County for prayer. There, accordingly to the voice, he would be healed.  In obedience to this divine guidance, the family carried him to Mother Gar-wudu for prayer. He was with her for one year. There he confessed his sins and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ – praise the Lord! The Lord restored his sight, and my father returned home rejoicing in the Lord. He indirectly abandoned his Fetish Hut too.  When the tribal elders asked why he was not sleeping in the Fetish Hut, he blamed it on his age, but in reality he could not serve two masters.
       "His death: Dad got sick and the entire ethnic group came together.  At this time I was residing in Monrovia the capital city of Liberia.  When I arrived, Dad called all the tribal elders and asked me to stand in their midst. I did, not knowing what he would do. He announced to everyone, “I am about to die, but this son of mine will take the tribal leadership’s mantle. Though he is young, God has selected him to lead the Fahn-yah people to Christ.” He then blessed me and said, “Son, the God you introduced to me will bless you wherever you go, and in everything you do. God will empower you and your wife, Esther, to lead the people. Just look up to God alone for everything. Don’t come back to this town until after four years.”  He insisted that I leave the town that very day with his youngest son, Plagbo because he knew the witchcraft society had planned to kill me during his funeral. Plagbo (who is also called Robertson) and I left that very day; we did not return home until four years after Dad’s death. Today, as a result of my leadership, 90 percent of the Fahn-yah people are saved. The Fetish Hut has been destroyed and a church has been built in Zarwulugbo Town planted by my wife, Esther B. Liberty.                  
       "Call to full-time ministry. The dramatic shift of my life from secular employment to full-time service for God is one of the motivating facts to publishing this book. Professionally, I am an accountant; God had blessed me to become chief accountant with a good salary and benefits for over ten years. Through my training, I was able to adequately handle the needs of my people. During those days I also served as an assistant pastor with the God of Mercy Church headed by The Reverend Joseph Kpee-you David. Things went well with me financially.
        "God called me to full-time ministry when I was serving as chief accountant with Liramco, a public corporation in 1980. As I sat in my office, consumed with the volumes of work on hand and the deadline for our report, I heard a voice in my inner-self, “Liberty, how old are you?’ I was shocked, but I knew it was the Lord.  I said, “Lord, you know I am 32 years old.” Then the Lord continued, “Subtract on your calculator the years you have lived from 70 years, and multiply the balance by 365.”  I did. I came up with so many thousands of days left. Then the Lord concluded, “Each day you live, subtract that day. I commission you today to be Chief Accountant for my people, for I am your God.” From that very day I started witnessing to everyone working with the company.  A few weeks later, instead of going to work I found myself preaching at the flea markets and doing house-to-house evangelism. Because of the strong anointing of God, I informed the manager my intention for full-time ministry. He was surprised, knowing I was the highest paid Liberian with the company. “How are you going to support your family when you resign?”  I replied, “He who called me is able to provide our needs.”  Finally, I resigned and began full-time ministry without any means of income. 
       "The news reached my people that I had left my job and was now preaching throughout the city. They were told that I was insane.  Accordingly, my family sent Abraham K. Zarwulugbo, my eldest brother, to take me home so that herbalists could work on me. He came and insisted that the family wanted to see me.  I did not refuse to go with him, but I asked him to pray for us about it.  After two days, Abraham came to me early in the morning with these words, “God told me last night in my dream not to take you home.”  I joyfully said, “Now, God has given you a message to the family; go and deliver it to them.”  The very brother that came to get me got saved and he is now preaching Christ everywhere.
      "Formation of ministries. On May 20, 1982, the Lord established the Church of the Believers through me.  From 1982 to 1999, my wife, Esther and I planted 19 churches, five of them through Esther’s tireless prayer ministry. Also, we started the Liberty Theological Seminary to train pastors and other church workers in Africa, the Fellowship of Christian Churches of Africa, an association of Christian churches, orphanages, and a Christian high school.       
       "Call to foreign missions. One of the key reasons for writing this book is to praise God for his faithfulness. He is fulfilling His promises about missions and my training.  The book in your hands is one of the fulfillments of God’s promises to me. While I was excited in training God’s children for the ministry, His plan for my life was to be a missionary. This was an entirely “new thing” God did for my wife and me. Honestly, I was not thinking about leaving my country and ministry that God had entrusted to us. Usually, I traveled back and forth between America and Africa. I hadn’t actually considered residing in America.
       "God is faithful to His word. During our 21-day fast and prayer meeting in 1985, God revealed through one of the participants, Musa Kargbo, that He would send me to be a missionary in a foreign country. Brother Musa also said that the Lord revealed that He would train me for His work.  “Let God’s will be done.  He who calls knows where to send me,” I claimed exuberantly, and accepted the revelation.  In 1998 Pastor Chea, one our students at the Liberty Theological seminary came to my office in tears and said that God was about to send me on the mission field out of Liberia.  I appealed to him to pray for me for God’s will, and told him that his revelation was the confirmation of what Musa had in 1985. Finally, in 1998, God again confirmed His Word to me and Esther the same day:  I was in the bathtub on Wednesday morning preparing for our Wednesday fast and prayer meeting when God impressed on my mind in the same way He did at my accounting office, “I will send you to America as a missionary; your work in Liberia is over for now.”  With tears I said, “Lord, let your will be done.” But like Moses who complained to God about his inability to speak, I complained about lack of funds. The truth was, leaving all that was familiar and fruitful to start afresh did not sound like an easy assignment, especially in a new culture without any means of support. On the other hand, while my wife was on her way home from the Wednesday fasting and prayer meeting at one of our churches in Paynesville, the Lord spoke to her about us leaving Liberia for mission work in America.
       "We met within a half hour of each other at home and shared our revelations. When we told the elders of the church, they began praying with us and encouraging us to obey.  A series of miracles began to unfold − Rev. Harmon Yalartai of Faith Revival Temple and his brother Wilmot Yalartai bought my plane ticket when I told them about what God was doing. The expiration of my wife’s visa was solved by a church in Naples, Florida which sent $1,000 for her ticket.  Calvary Chapel Boynton Beach, Florida provided free office space for our mission base for four years.  A Christian brother within the church gave me a one-room apartment free for three years; another brother, David Blackwell paid my light bill for five years.  Also, Africa International Christian Mission was established in 2000 and incorporated in the state of Florida, and it became a 501C3 non-profit organization in 2003 with headquarters in Boynton Beach, Florida.     
      "Further theological education. God’s message through Musa Kargbo for my training was fulfilled through Knox Theological Seminary. It has always been my desire to be a writer. I started writing articles and other materials for the denomination that God birthed through me. But I had been praying for more education after I graduated from the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary with a Bachelor of Theology degree.  After four years of working in the United States, the desire came to continue my education. But I did not have the money. The Lord miraculously opened the door and I was accepted at Knox Seminary with 70 percent scholarship. I did my Master of Divinity for three and half years completing 107 credit hours.  After my master level of training, God again opened the door and I was accepted at Knox’s Doctor of Ministry program for a 50-percent scholarship. This was a major breakthrough for me! The program was slated for six years, but I did it in three years.  My utmost desire has been to be a missiologist, but Knox’s highest degree is the Doctor of Ministry. After completing the required courses, I appealed to the Dean for the Doctor of Ministry program to allow me do my project in Missiology. This was a tough request, but as I prayed about it, the school agreed and Dr. Ronald Kilpatrick, who then taught missions courses at the seminary, became my advisor. This book is the finished product of this effort. What I am so thankful to God for is that my father’s dream for my education has come to reality. Praise the Lord that I am able to write this book that will contribute to Missiology."

Who This Book Is For

"This book is my contribution to Missiology. Missiology is the study of Christian missions and their methods and purposes. Hence, the book is for missionaries, missionary-sending organizations, pastors, elders, and seminary students who are studying in the area of missions. It is also intended for Christians who are supporting missionaries overseas, and is to be used as a textbook for missions in Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries.
       "Having summarized the motivating factors for writing this book, I will now begin with the introduction." 
 
 
                                                        R. Zarwululgbo Liberty


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