As I prepare to travel to the mission field, I am pleased to present this report of the work the Lord called me to. Though challenging, I am trusting God to lead, bless, and strengthen me for the work. The work is very spiritual and requires God’s presence to be with me for anything to be done.
Funding for some of the things we anticipate to do in Liberia, and possibly Guinea, Sierra, and Ivory Coast are not available, but I continue to trust our God to provide, and guide the use of the resources. Please continue to pray for the people working with me in Liberia that the Spirit of Christ will eliminate discouragement. Please pray for clearer vision, strategy, fruitfulness, and discipleship development amongst the people.
We are praying to God to bless the foundational work going on in Sierra and Guinea now, and hopefully in Ivory Coast. We are praying for the Spirit of God to go ahead of us into these regions and prepare the area ahead of us. The opportunities are great in these countries and the need for the preaching of the Gospel is great.
To partner, adopt Victory Ministries, or receive more information, please visit: The Great Commission Society.
For a detailed report of needs, plans, and information about Victory Ministries, please continue reading below. Thanks for your time, love, prayer and support.
Pastor Samar Ghandour serves as Associate Pastor for Missions, Advent Lutheran Church, North Charleston, SC (NALC) – Serving West Africa: Liberia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone With VICTORY INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY
Pastoral Education and Training
As the church grows, the need for more qualified pastors also increases. The Lord continues to raise up people to do His work in the church. Three men have responded to God’s call for ministry. The ministry is sending them to ministry training school in their respective localities. We believe the Lord that at the end of their training, they would be ready to pastor a church, start a new church, or go into missions in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea or Ivory Coast. Tuition fees were paid by the ministry to facilities doing this training. While they are in training, they would continue to receive training in at the church through their deans, and national church, regular regional training for pastors and church leaders.
Emergency Assistance, Construction, Land, Property, Electronics and Ministry Equipment
- Two pastors or family members of theirs were in need of urgent medical attention. Considering their inability at the time to obtain medical care, the ministry provided funds for both of them to get doctor visits and purchase drugs.
- Assistance was sent for a late pastor’s children. He died about three years ago, and we continue to provide assistance for them as it is available.
- A high school student’s tuition was paid because his mother is extremely ill with some form of bone cancer. All of the parents’ resources are now being directed to her care. The ministry is assisting one of the children for a year’s tuition. The first semester was previously paid, and now we are paying the final semester’s to allow him to take his final exams.
Construction, Land and Property
- The Kakata church is currently built on a piece of land that is not owned by the ministry. She was allowed to remain there until the final legal work for the ownership of the land is executed. The Ministry provided funds to facilitate the research and deed discovery process. The deed is now available and the legal paperwork for the transfer of the land to the ministry is finalized. Surveying will begin when the $1,100.00, cost of the land, is paid to purchase it. We continue to trust the Lord to provide funds for this land.
- The Kakata church is partially completed, walls up, roofed, and habitable from sun, wind and rain. However, the floor remains a dirt floor where plume of dust billows into the faces and nostrils of the worshippers during service, meetings, and other gatherings. Considering that this is the rain season in Liberia, the dirt-brick walls are susceptible to damage from the heavy tropical rain flash. The ministry provided funds to purchase cement for the floor casting now.
- The Sanniqullie Church was meeting in a residential building while they wait for the completion of the sanctuary, but the owner asked them to leave the facility with a very short notice. Because they were dislodged so instantly, they were forced to generate local resources to put up a temporary building for worship on the church property. With the urgency and difficulty of worshipping in the construction warehouse, they requested for materials they could not provide locally. The temporary church needed $500.00 to roof the building with zinc roofing material. The ministry provided the funds as this was an emergency matter.
- As a part of continuing the Sanniqullie church construction, the ministry provided $500.00 for a part of the needed steel rods purchase. The local church’s contribution to the construction of the main sanctuary had to be diverted for the emergency construction of the temporary building for worship.
- Upon the short-notice exit from the residential building, they had to meeting for worship in a congested construction warehouse on the church property. I was told that the congestion of the construction warehouse makes them come out for air two or three items in the worship, and it became worse when they start to add their African flares to the worship.
Electronics and Ministry Equipment
As the national council meets on a quarterly basis, according to the constitution, they need a way of taking minutes and storing them for future references, a mini-laptop tablet was sent for its use. This would also help them take picture and record videos of things and events.
Shipping a Container to Liberia
- It is anticipated that the container would be shipped between September 15 and October 15, 2017. I would need this much time to negotiate for the container, get partner to help defray the cost so that the ministry is not bearing the burden alone, especially when we don’t have the funds.
- My previous car in Liberia was sold and the funds given to the Monrovia church to assist with the construction. It was not feasible to continue to use it since it had begun to develop electrical, mechanical, and structural deterioration, and high maintenance cost.
- I would need two cars and a truck for the ministry’s operational and utility uses. I have a truck purchased by Salem some two years ago, and I am looking for two cars in addition. The cars have to be low on gasoline and with good ground clearance. The roads are bad, and the cost of gas in Liberia is very high. In the city areas, gas would cost around $3.50 and the further you go in the interior, the higher the cost. I remember purchasing gasoline in the bush for $10.00 a gallon because of the distance from the city and the uses in the bush.
- I also have approximately 100 metal folding chairs, books, theological books, training manuals, coir gowns, exercise books, men, women, and children clothing, shoes and other materials essential for ministry operation.
- Other items to being solicited to be shipped include canned and dried food, electronics: projectors, printer, and laptops, among others.
Other Operations to be Executed While I am in the United States
While I am still in the US, there are several things I need to do before my departure. Some are foundational to the work in Liberia, and others are finalization or work already initiated.
- Various Construction Supervision
- I will also continue to provide guidance for the preparation of the national convocation. Since this is the first national gathering, help is needed with the planning, designing, forecasting, coordination, and organizing. They are expecting approximately five hundred people, but I am looking to see three hundred people. Because they have not had an experience in hosting three hundred people away from their respective homes and local congregations, I am giving them the needed guidance so that there would not be a failure and discouragement.
- Furthermore, these are people who are not very well conversant with the teachings of the church; I am also providing guidance in the preparation of the teachings sections of the convocation so that contradictory teachings and practices are not brought in unsuspectingly.
Operations While I am In Liberia
- Continued Construction Goals
- December – following the foundational work being done right now, we will revive the ministry training school in the northern part of Liberia. Recruit fifty students; hope to keep twenty-five at the end of the two months from January 1—February 28, 2018. This is going to be a very compact and intensive course, compacting a one year for two months. With prayers, the twenty-five students will continue their training through the national convocation, and practical with their respective deans.
- Through prayers, we are trusting that the twenty-five students would go to pastoring, starting new churches, and local missions.
- As current preparations are being made, we are hoping to start four new churches in four new areas. These areas are being vetted and groundwork is in full force to lay the foundation for the next team as I write.
- An impasse at the Monrovia church would be resolved and the work enhanced for the completion of the remaining sixty percent of the building. A matter of theology and administrative struggles are currently hindering the growth of the church. I will spend time clarifying our position and presenting scriptural support and teaching worship and liturgy. I hope with this teaching – the option would be given to those in difficulties to decide and let the church be at peace.
- The national council and I will sit down to review a report and study for the need to advance educational needs for the pastors and other church leaders. At present, most or all of the training being done is focused on pastors for villages, but the need for non-village pastors is increasing with the needs of the city people and city churches. They are hoping to start a BA program for pastors to be trained. If the report is favorable, the request is made, the prospect of students is high, I would take some time to write the curriculum so as to give a solid standard ministry, leadership, pastoral, and theological training.
Departure and Return
I am planning to depart the United States in the earliest part of December, 2017. This would give me more dry-season time to move around the interior with my hopeful small car. I hope to return in the earliest part of June 2018.