May 2021 Newsletter

CC Tonj Church in Progress!

We have a great problem! And this is one area of our ministry challenges that I am excited to share with you and ask you to join us in prayer.

The Lord used a simple Bible passage to move us to ministry in Tonj back in 2000. And it is the passage where we got our ministry name and vision.

1 John 3:16-18 – “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

We never saw ourselves as a church planting ministry and so we started with one church for our own needs, known as CC Tonj. We started with about 20 regulars and a few more on Christmas and Easter. This church has slowly expanded over the years. We moved it to a local school and then outside at the local school.

CC Tonj at the Old School in 2013

Eventually we went back to the compound because carrying our benches and chairs became difficult for the growth.

CC Tonj on the IDAT Compound

When our Community Health Evangelism (CHE) program started in 2012 we had the desire to empower local church ministry in the CHE villages. This is when our church planting ministry really took off.

Nine-Month-Old Church Plant in Wargiir

We started investing in local pastors, training them to not just plant churches but for the churches to thrive, grow, and multiply.

Monthly Pastor’s Training

In 2016 we realized CC Tonj needed its own land. It was an amazing witness of the power of God to our church that was fasting and praying for the right land when the Lord did above and beyond what we asked or thought possible. We found a huge piece of land in a residential area with no buildings on it. It was about 16 plots and worth $10,000. It was perfect except the land was swampy in the rainy season. We approached the land commission and they sold it to us for just $200!!

Grading and Fencing CC Tonj Land

In 2017 we raised enough money to start building our church. In 2018 we purchased all the materials and trucked them to Tonj. By 2019 we realized the church had already outgrown the building plans we had. As we redesigned and bought additional materials, we were also blessed by a UN Road building crew that helped us grade our land in 2020. Then the pandemic happened, and everything went on hold…including church. Our construction crew used the time to started putting up the fence.

When we started church again last September, we started meeting on the new land in a makeshift bamboo tarp structure.

Temporary Church Structure for CC Tonj

This is when we dedicated the land unto the Lord for His purposes and ministry. We have watched this church continue to grow steadily every week.  In 2021 we found a contractor and broke ground!!

1 John 3:16 says “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” Easter was a time to reflect on what Jesus did for us and so we laid this land at the feet of Jesus. We had around 3,000 people in attendance and baptized several hundred new believers. In verse 17 “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” It is interesting to me that the first ministry we used the land for was the food crisis last year. We put a container on the land and filled it with food for distribution.

Church Land Being Used for Food Distribution

Lastly, verse 18, we want our ministry and this land to be a physical blessing IN DEED and a spiritual blessing IN TRUTH. So the problem we face right now is we have so many people coming to church but no building. We are entering the rainy season and ask for favor in completing the building.

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