10 Years ago, September 2009, John Mark Clifford joined Frontline Fellowship as an IT/Audio Visual worker. Those who observed this quiet, reserved young man could not have predicted the dynamic Missionary into which he would develop.
Cross Border Missions
One key turning point was John’s participation in the 2010 Biblical Worldview Summit and Great Commission Course. Soon we saw John participating in cross-border missions to Zimbabwe and he became a Trainee Missionary.
Taking a Stand
In 2011, I asked John to produce and present The Message in the Music lecture at the BWS. This was another key turning point, as his presentation soon became the most controversial and discussion generating subject at the camp. John learned that to be faithful to the Lord often means being unpopular with the world.
“The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Mark 1:1
On Saturday, 28 September, we had our fourth and final FIRE preaching workshop for the year. In our previous workshops, we focused on Genesis, Judges and Psalms. We discussed the development of God’s plan to save mankind from sin and the intimate relationship between God and His Covenant people. The focus for our most recent workshop was, preaching from the Gospel of Mark.
Mark is a power-packed Gospel filled with the actions and miracles of Jesus, climaxing in His suffering, death and Resurrection. This Gospel is clear, vivid and to the point. It is like reading the sermon notes of a street-preacher who demands that we believe in a powerful Saviour, imitate His servanthood and obey His Lordship.
To view the video of this presentation, click here.
To listen to the audio, click here.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Grace for Each Moment
Ten years of service at Frontline Fellowship has caused me to reflect on the mercies of God over my life. Although many experiences in Missions have been inconvenient and painful, the Lord has granted me grace for every thorny and tempting situation I have faced. Below is a list of ten lessons God has taught me over the period of ten years in Missions.
“His delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates
day and night” Psalm 1:2
On Saturday, 27 July, we held a FIRE Preaching Workshop on the Psalms. This was our third Back to the Bible preaching workshop for the year. In our previous workshops we focused on Genesis and Judges and discussed the beginning stages of the history of Redemption - God’s plan to save mankind from sin.
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake” Philippians 1:29
The Church of Christ is expanding in Sudan. Leaders are coming to salvation and developing a Biblical worldview. Apart from distributing another 40,000 Bibles to schools, churches and chaplains, we held conferences for training pastors, chaplains and teachers who are facing persecution and suffering in the Nuba Mountains.
We conducted a leadership seminar for 100 pastors and chaplains which ran for three days. On the first day, we targeted the heart, emphasizing the need for personal repentance, holiness and Gospel-centeredness. The second day, we dealt with more practical issues like preaching, church-planting, goal setting and strategizing, God and government and humanism. The final day we helped them cast vision for the future and presented them with Bibles and books to help further their efforts in God’s Kingdom.
“A Father to the fatherless, a defender of the widows, is God in His holy habitation” Psalm 68:5-6
Into the War Zone
Antonov Bomber planes, MIG aircrafts, tanks, scorched earth campaigns from the Islamic Arab north and crippling poverty all describe the dire situation of Southern Kordofan of Sudan. Despite the aggressive adversity the people of Sudan are facing, there is hope as people are turning to God. His Word is rapidly spreading and the Gospel is taking root in the hearts of thousands of people. In our most recent mission, our team had the privilege of being a part of expanding the Kingdom of God in Sudan.
Bibles and Books for Sudan
Last year we distributed 40,000 Bibles in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan! These resources went to churches, county offices, military units and schools in a war zone of Sudan. These are some of the most hotly persecuted peoples in the world. By God’s grace, this year, we were able to obtain and begin distributing another 40,000 Bibles and 50,000 Story of Jesus picture books. In addition, we distributed: 20,000 notebooks, 2,000 copies each of Faith Under Fire in Sudan, Chaplains Handbook, Biblical Principles for Africa and the Greatest Century of Missions.
“I will build My Church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower It” Matthew 16:18
Do a google search on Sudan. It is unlikely that you will find anything positive. You will mostly learn about war, riots, civil unrest, humanitarian crises, poverty, persecution, etc. Of course, Sudan’s situation is desperate, But secular news agencies are not reporting on the rapid growth of God’s Kingdom in spite of devastation and disaster throughout the country. Thankfully, we were able to experience, first hand, the powerful advance of Christ’s Church in the Nuba Mountains.
I was blessed to witness a hunger for spiritual truth when I was in a predominately Muslim village. After a full day of traveling, we still had some daylight and decided to evangelise in a local marketplace. The first group of people we witnessed to was a crowd of young boys, playing just outside the market. They were wearing tattered shorts, no shoes and covered in dust from head to hip, with mud covering their legs and feet. As I approached, I noticed they were gathered around a wooden pole sticking out of the ground with a string attached to the top of the pole and a ball at the bottom end of the string. They were kicking the ball around from one person to another while they stood around the pole with the swinging ball. As I approached, the group of boys started buzzing with giggles, pointing at the “Kawaja” (white man). After introducing myself, I shared the story of Abraham. The adults sitting at a nearby well were all laughing while paying close attention to the activities in front of them. Everyone was carefully listening to the Gospel message in the story of Abraham. The people of this Muslim area were open, friendly and ready to listen to the Bible.
“’Is not my Word like a Fire’ declares the LORD, ‘and a Hammer that breaks
a rock in pieces’” Jeremiah 23:29
Open Doors from God
Before our ministry in the Nuba Mountains began, we had opportunities to witness to people from different countries. In the airport in South Africa, we witnessed to an Ethiopian family whose little girl had some questions about God. We shared the way of Salvation with her and she said that she wanted to pray to God to change her heart. We prayed together with her in the airport.
While visiting a small market place in Juba, South Sudan, we met with some Muslims from Somalia. One of them told us that he used to live in South Africa, but he moved to South Sudan because it was safer than South Africa! We also shared the way of Salvation with him.
“Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee!
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” Psalm 67:3-4
Sudan in the Bible
It was an honour to go to a land that has a rich heritage in the Bible and in missions’ history. Sudan, known in the Scriptures as Cush, has a lineage of Christianity going back to A.D. 37. In Acts 8, the evangelist Philip was led by God to encounter the treasurer of queen Candice from modern-day Sudan. We read that Philip explained the Scriptures, “preached Jesus to him” and then baptised him. This man from Sudan would go back to his queen with the greatest treasure of all – the message of salvation.
This is not the only mention of Sudan, or Cush, in the Bible. There are numerous mentions and prophecies about this land. Such examples are found in 2 Kings 19:1-9, Isaiah 37:1-10, Jeremiah 38:7-13, Nahum 3:9-10, to name a few. Perhaps the most exciting is the promise in Psalm 68:31 which reads:
“Cush will submit herself to God”
I trust you are doing well?
It has come to my attention that you have some concerns regarding the recent Zimbabwe Mission report.
Allow me firstly to thank you for taking the time to read through the mission report and presenting us with some feedback. We do appreciate it.