The primary purpose of the MZBC Botswana mission trip was to be a vision trip to explore and understand specific ministry opportunities in Gaborone, Botswana. Serving in Gaborone is particularly exciting because there are so many options for partnering. Below are some of the opportunities for partnering, but not all. Brent and Amanda Turner (missionaries we are partnering with) welcome and encourage individuals and teams to use their specific gifts and talents to minister, and will work to find opportunities to uniquely utilize them.
There are multiple villages around Botswana where there is not an evangelical Christian presence. An opportunity for village ministry would be to enlist the assistance of Brent and Amanda Turner and Gaborone Baptist church to identify through the Holy Spirit’s leading a village to partner with for ongoing missional ministry. Sending teams to a specific village on a regular basis could potentially accomplish the following:
- Sharing the Gospel: repeated sharing of the gospel within the village. People are typically exposed to the gospel message repeatedly before accepting it as truth. Repeated sharing of the gospel is both worthwhile and vitally important.
- Urgency of the Message: Our presence in the village for the specific purpose of sharing the gospel demonstrates the urgent importance we place on the gospel message
- Value of the People: Our repeated presence among the same people conveys how much we value and love them, providing the rich opportunity to share how much more God values and loves them.
- Discipling Translators: Translators are needed to communicate within the villages. As we share through the translators we witness to and disciple them as well as we share the gospel and answer questions with Biblical truth through them.
- Church partnership: As God moves in the village, Lord willing we will have opportunity to participate in the birth of a village church, and partnership in all the potential opportunities that could provide (i.e. Biblical training, discipleship, training in evangelism, church building and eventual church planting by them in other villages)
BCS Baptist Convention Seminary:
I can not adequately describe how excited I am about the opportunity to partner with the Baptist Convention Seminary in Gaborone, Botswana. Below is a note from the principal, Pastor Benjamin Kabika, regarding the inception of the seminary.
[12/18/15] A WORD FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Pastor Benjamin Kabika
One of the dreams I have had for decades, has been to equip men and women for the work of the ministry in an academic setting. I have been a preacher for a good number of years and thereby impacting and influencing lives but be that as it may, I still felt I needed to do more. This initiative is therefore, not a business enterprise but a platform to share with others what I have learnt over the decades I have been a minister and to give them the necessary tools for Christian leadership
When Jesus ascended on high, He gave gifts to men. These gifts are the supernatural ministry gifts He imparts to the lives of those He has called, “For the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12, NKJ).
We want to serve the local church by training up, equipping, and sending back their people, ready to do great works in the name of Jesus in their communities. We see our role as enhancing and not replacing the local church.
It is not our intent to fill you with head knowledge or facts, but we want you to open your heart and mind to revelation knowledge. Let the facts become factors that will change your life. Allow the Word and the Spirit to build your character in developing Christian virtues. Maintain intimate fellowship with God. If you follow these things, you will derive great benefits from your period of study.
At Baptist Convention Seminary, we focus on the importance of God’s Word and not men’s ideas and provide practical ministry tools. With emphasis on the Word, the anointing of the Holy Spirit and prayer, we endeavour to prepare men and women to fulfil the destiny of God on their lives.
As the seminary continues to grow I am confident there will be many opportunities to support it now and in the future. The following stood out as immediate opportunities for partnership at the seminary:
- Funding and construction of a guest/ mission house: The house would be utilized for ministers coming to the seminary for training from out of town, as well as housing guest speakers and professors who come for special events. It will be built next to Gaborone Baptist Church where the seminary is currently located. Gaborone Baptist Church has already raised a portion of the funds needed, approximately $15,000 more is needed to begin construction. Once the funds are raised teams could be utilized for construction trips, which would also include ample discipleship and evangelism opportunities.
- Books: A significant contribution was made to establish the seminary library from the funds donated in Sarah’s honor through the IMB. Additional funds could always be used to add to this library or to provide essential theological books as gifts for students attending the seminary.
- Guest speakers/ teachers/ professors: Those holding seminary degrees may prayerfully consider offering a class at the seminary upon approval
- Sarah Harmening Scholarship Fund: While the seminary professors are currently all volunteer there is still cost associated with attendance (overhead and material expenses). At both Pastor Kabika’s and Brent & Amanda Turner’s prompting, we are establishing a scholarship fund for students needing financial assistance to attend the seminary. The cost for the one year certificate program is currently $1000 per student. We are so excited about the opportunity to invest in this way. We would be delighted for others to join us in this opportunity, if you are interested in learning more just let Scott or me know.
- Additional Scholarships and Grants: Providing a scholarship or grant for tuition and/ or living expenses could enable some students to attend seminary who might otherwise be unable to do so. Grants to provide essential books to students, particularly those called to pastoral ministry would be extremely beneficial.
Youth/ College Ministry:
The presence of the University of Botswana in Gaborone presents limitless opportunities for college outreach and ministry. Classes are taught in English so most students are fluent in English removing the need for translators. When we visited the IMB last year the leadership team we spoke with identified reaching the students at the University of Botswana as one of their top outreach goals for the area.
The sky is the limit for creative ways to reach students for Christ in Botswana, as one with a passion for college ministry I find this opportunity for partnership extremely exciting.
- Sidewalk Evangelism on Campus: The Two Paths method of evangelism can be utilized to share the gospel with students at the University of Botswana
- Youth Events/ Fellowships: Hosting an event or fellowship perhaps with a traditional American activity would be a great opportunity to meet and mingle with students for sharing the gospel.
- Sport camps or events: Sports and outdoor activities are important to students in Botswana. Camps or events for sports not already prevalent in Botswana (Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, etc) would be a great way to connect with students for sharing the gospel.
Children of Botswana do not have the same role in society that children in the US do. While our culture tends to be child centered, the culture of Botswana is not. Additionally, like many areas of the United States, in Botswana fatherlessness is prevalent. For these reasons children frequently have little sense of worth, making children’s outreach and ministry particularly crucial. Some of the opportunities for Children’s ministry we saw were as follows:
- Kits for Kids: The Kits for Kids program provides school supplies for kids. More important than meeting a practical need it is an opportunity to connect children and families to the local church. Kits for Kids was funded for Gaborone Baptist Church for the next three years through the funds raised in Sarah’s honor. This program could be extended to be offered in the future through Gaborone Baptist Church or through other churches as well.
- AWANA Program: The Awana program is utilized in Botswana. Those with a passion for AWANA might wish to assist by providing financial assistance for supplies for the AWANA ministry at Gaborone Baptist Church and beyond.
- Summer VBS: Gaborone Baptist Church has not had the resources to offer a full summer VBS program. Sending a team to train local volunteers and provide supplies for a summer VBS program would be a tremendous outreach opportunity.
Last, but certainly not least, the ministry opportunity of prayer for Botswana is invaluable. Aside from the obvious prayer for the gospel to powerfully sweep throughout Botswana, below are a few prayer points that come to mind:
- The Turner Family: Pray for them as the only IMB missionaries in Botswana at this time. For God to strengthen them to joyously endure and persevere in ministry. For them to be filled with wisdom and discernment as they lead others in ministry there.
- Baptist Convention Seminary: Pray for the leadership of the seminary to be filled with wisdom and discernment as they continue to develop the seminary. Pray for the students’ lives to be transformed as they are challenged to dig deeply in God’s Word, that they may be equipped to be missionaries sent throughout the country of Botswana.
- MZBC Partnership: Pray for wisdom and discernment for MZBC leadership in the planning of future trips, and for God to raise up the people He would have to go on those trips.
Beautiful artwork of Botswana by local artist, KG, placed in the seminary library by the seminary leadership in memory of Sarah.