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Ministry Updates

Witch Doctor to Church Planter

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My name is Leontina and I have been a witch doctor my whole life in Katoro, Tanzania. People came to me from many different areas to see if I could solve their problems. But even though I have a family and was successful in my work, I always felt a profound emptiness in my heart.

Leontina's Story

I did not know how to fill that emptiness. I had heard there is a God who saves but I was so dedicated to witchcraft that anything to do with Jesus was an obstacle to my mission.

One day, I received news that my 22-year-old son Charles had suddenly collapsed and was unconscious. I was not ready to lose my son and was extremely worried about him. After all my success with helping others, nothing I did to treat my son worked. I took him to other witch doctors but nothing they did helped either. I was desperate. There was no hope left in my already empty heart.

Neighbors suggested I go to the church and seek the Lord through prayer. But how could I face the God I had rejected for over 40 years? Would He even listen to me, an evil person full of sin?

My son's health kept deteriorating over time and so I decided to go to church and seek help. I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and heal my son if He desired to do so. I was determined to forget my past and start a new journey with the God I had rejected and hated for years.

By His mercy and grace, Jesus saved me and also gave physical healing to my son. The emptiness I felt has been filled to overflowing with His love. I am a new creation in Jesus Christ!

I was discipled for several years and in 2014, I joined the church planter training with Multiplication Network Ministries (MNM). At the very first training session, it was confirmed that God had called me to be a church planter. In November of that year, I planted a church. I am very thankful for the training because it has taken me to a whole new level in my ministry. There are now 17 people who attend every Sunday. We are growing and I cannot wait to see Jesus win my village to Himself.

Ernesto's Story

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Pastor Ernesto's church was stuck. They were not growing in any sense of the word and he didn't know what to do. He searched for 12 years for a tool that would help them get out of the rut. He had a vision for the church and the ministries but something was missing.

A year ago, the Take Your Church's Pulse tool was presented to his church through the Stronger Churches program with Multiplication Network Ministries' (MNM). Ernesto, impressed with what he learned, decided to apply the tool to his church in Honduras.

ErnestoAfter the survey results came in from the church members, Ernesto got a clearer picture of his church. They had low scores in vision, mission and teaching. For the first time, he could understand what was happening within his church.

"After the evaluation, we were encouraged to make a work plan. As a result, we have created the Institute of Leadership to give special attention to the church. I have been surprised because I have 89 people who are getting training on two levels," Ernesto shares.

Ernesto confesses that it can be a little discouraging to see the results of the diagnostic tool at first but it is worth it—together with the Holy Spirit, the body of believers can make decisions that help and improve the church in its growth. "We are experiencing a very positive environment of work and expectations of work. The church has had a 180° change."

Improving the weak points of the local church has not been the only result they have seen as a church body. Pastor Ernesto testifies to how the leadership in the church is rising up to the point that they are beginning to make their leaders aware of the need to plant churches. They now have 17 church planters ready to be trained and begin their own churches.

Ernesto shares that as a denominational leader, he has around 330 churches under his leadership that are planning to apply the Take Your Church's Pulse tool this year to develop a work plan. He adds that to find these resources has been a blessing from God because if anyone applies it, they are going to see good results.

Called to Bless

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The minute they began worshipping, music blared even louder from the bar across the street. Hugo continued to lead the service, but his heart was heavy and he could tell those meeting were also distracted by the music.

Hugo's StoryHugo and his wife Angela are passionate about serving the Lord and their community. When they first came to Santander de Quilichao in Calí, Colombia, Hugo says they suffered a lot of rejection from those who lived there. Alcoholism is a common problem in the neighborhood and families have many issues. The people were wary of them.

They began work in the town with houses of prayer but did not have the resources or knowledge of what steps to take to plant a church. The leadership of their home church encouraged Hugo to take part in Multiplication Network Ministries (MNM) church planter training.

Hugo began to utilize what he learned in the training—he and Angela began to pray over Santander de Quilichao as they assessed the need and their vision for the area. In one year, they had around 70 people meeting in the new church.

However, the bar across the street was such a distraction for the worshippers. Hugo and the church began praying against the bar and cursing it. But the situation only seemed to get worse.

Then, one day, Hugo heard from the Lord that they should not be cursing something God created and should instead pray for blessing on the couple that owned the business. So they switched tactics and they started blessing the owners and asking God's favor on them.  In two weeks, the bar closed down!

Hugo and Angela saw more positive changes happening. "Planting a church here has helped entire families change," Hugo shares. They hear the truth of God's Word and He works in their lives to restore relationships. Hugo says that from the beginning, they have focused on working with the families and praying fervently every Tuesday at 4:00 in the morning for the people of the church and also to see the glory of God in this zone.

God has been faithful and they have seen that. The church in Santander de Quilichao is growing! They now have over 100 people involved in their worship services and various ministries. Hugo had to switch from one service to two to fit the people in the present building. People are leaving behind their alcohol addictions, marriages are being repaired, and families are being restored.

Hugo shares excitedly that this experience has motivated them to go into other areas and his dream is to plant more churches in the remote places such as the indigenous reserves, where they have invited them to share the Word of God.

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