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Global Bridge for a Global Family

“In many ways, it’s an unlikely global connection,” said Stephen Humber, Mission Mobilizer, referring to the bridge that God has been building between America’s Midwest and Sub-Saharan Africa. “Those two parts of the world seem so far apart,” he said, “but during the past several years God has linked them together in ways that are having a huge impact.”

Several years ago, God called Travis Jost, a man from Kansas, to move to Sub-Saharan Africa where he would partner with local churches to see the nation of Burundi reached with the love of Jesus. In some ways, it seemed random. But God was up to something. He brought different churches together throughout the Midwest to get behind Travis and to support the work in Burundi. In the process, many people sensed that God was doing something bigger, creating a connection that would involve many more lives. They envisioned a global bridge.

What does mission look like today for the global family of Mennonite Brethren?

What does mission look like today for the global family of Mennonite Brethren? It’s about people coming together for a purpose. It’s about collaboration between workers willing to go, churches willing to send, and others willing to partner, whether in the host country or elsewhere, all for the purpose of reaching a nation with the Gospel of Jesus.

Around the time that Travis was mobilized, a relationship was also growing between several Midwest churches and a couple named Youssef and Reyna. Youssef was originally from Sub-Saharan Africa where he grew up as a devout Muslim, but he came to the US to study agri-business and miraculously met Jesus. Eventually, he and his wife, Reyna, returned to Africa with a strong sense of calling to proclaim Jesus among the people of his home home country and beyond. 

When they returned to Africa, Youssef and Reyna went with the prayer and financial support of a variety of churches in the US Midwest. One of those was an MB church in Enid, Oklahoma. As these churches continued to invest in the work of the Gospel through the faithfulness of Youssef and Reyna, the global bridge was strengthened and the work in Africa flourished. Today, the Gospel is having an impact as God continues to open doors in many peoples’ lives.

Again, God had gathered a diverse team of people and churches to collaborate on a specific mission assignment—in this case, for the sake of the Gospel in Youssef’s home country. The bridge that God was building was facilitating more and more traffic for greater mission impact.

In 2016, Enid MB sent a short-term team to visit Youssef and Reyna to offer assistance and encouragement.  

“The team from Enid invited a few people from Buhler MB to join them on the trip, including a young man from Kansas named Kai,” Stephen recalled. “For Kai, that trip was a life-changer.”

While in Africa, Kai saw a broader picture of how God could use his practical skills to support Youssef and Reyna’s ministry. The following year, he and his wife, Denisa, made a long-term commitment to serve in Youssef’s homeland. In 2019, the couple was mobilized, and they have been working closely with Youssef and Reyna ever since.   

Denisa had previously served in Multiply’s Midwest office as a Short-Term Mission Coordinator, mobilizing teams into global mission and facilitating discipleship-in-mission training. Both she and Kai had earlier been a part of the TREK program.

Incidentally, while Kai and Denisa were serving in Africa, the TREK program was moved from BC, Canada, to Kansas. When those leading the program began to discuss possible international assignment locations, Sub-Saharan Africa again came into view.

The bridge was ready for more traffic.

Early in 2021, during a global pandemic and growing political instability, two TREK teams were mobilized to Sub-Saharan Africa: one team hosted by Travis Jost and his ministry partners in Burundi, and another team hosted by Kai and Denisa in Youssef’s home country.

Everyone benefits in this scenario as God builds bridges between nations and partnerships are developed for the sake of the Gospel. 

Recently, Stephen visited Kai and Denisa in Africa to encourage the ministry partnership and see how the TREK team was doing. He was impressed with the strong connection that was developing between the young adults and their local partners. As the national co-host, Youssef was thrilled and told Stephen how worthwhile he felt it was to invest in the lives of the five TREK participants.

Stephen said, “When I took the five of them aside and asked how many of them could see themselves returning to Africa, all their hands went up!”

Everyone benefits in this scenario as God builds bridges between nations and partnerships are developed for the sake of the Gospel. Not only are the nations introduced to the saving knowledge of Jesus as people live and work on mission together, but the people and churches that are involved in sending workers also receive the gift of revitalized faith and a renewed sense of mission.

GO

Are you a part of a global bridge that God is building? If you want to speak with a Regional Mobilizer about developing international partnerships for the sake of the Gospel, call 1.888.866.6267 or go to multiply.net/go.

 

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