Justice is a principle on which the government of this country was founded, and on which people have assumed they …
Living Sacrifice Ministries has been providing Bible studies for its Ministry Partners for almost three years. As we have grown, we have found that many of our friends do not have some of our older studies, so as we send them via email, we will also be posting them here for viewing. My apologies for not having all of them in correct order.
Serving Him through Serving Others,
Reverend James M. Dakis
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When defined by Wikipedia, “A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body with its own beliefs and practices within Christianity. Divisions… between one group and another are defined by doctrine and church authority. Issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, eschatology, and papal primacy often separate one denomination from another.” Fair enough I thought, there must be what, a couple hundred or so, if you count even the divisions within the Lutheran church, Methodist Church, Baptist Church, and even count the Serbian, Greek, Russian and other Eastern Orthodox Churches separately. After all, with 1.2billion Roman Catholics in the world according to the same source, and many of the world’s people not even Christians, how many other denominations can there be, right? Are you ready for this…the “incomplete” list reports 41,000! How many did you guess? Were you even close?
Since this blog isn’t about the different denominations within Christianity, their differences, which ones I agree with or don’t disagree with, the only reason I point that out is to show that one thing we can see is that in all the differences there are, one thing is for sure, we don’t all call the people who lead our congregations by the same name or give them the same title. Now, duties are an totally different subject, and a thesis could be written on that. (I may consider that for graduate school). For today, though, let’s address the names/titles of the men and women who teach and preach to us from the pulpit. What do you call him/her? Why? Did you ever stop to think that it mattered, or what the origin of that name or title was?
I was raised in a Greek Orthodox family where the priest was called “Father—” followed by his given first name. We later attended an Episcopal church where again, we called the priest “Father—“, but this time it was his surname. In a military chapel I would have “Chaplain—“, later it would be “Brother—” or “Pastor—” (sometimes first, sometime last name). Was the man a priest, pastor, or minister? Did it matter? Did the church have elders or deacons who assisted in the running of the church? If so, what exactly did they do? If not, why did the last church but not this one? Who is my bishop? What do you mean this church doesn’t have one?
Does this sound more confusing than it should be? Well, it is only because, thanks to the beauty of man getting involved in complicating the things God put in place, it certainly is. It may be simpler to do what is best anyway, and look to Scripture, (wow! What a concept!) and see what names and titles are used to define and describe the clergy anointed by God, what their duties are or were, and if we have a call for them now. Also, we will see if we have, in our ingenious ways as humankind, bestowed titles on our clergy that are nothing more than secular.
First, the title of Priest-At first every man was his own priest, and presented his own sacrifices before God. Afterwards that office devolved on the head of the family, as in the cases of Noah (Gen 8:20), Abraham (Gen 12:7; Gen 13:4), Isaac (Gen 26:25), Jacob (Gen 31:54), and Job (Job 1:5). The name first occurs as applied to Melchizedek (Gen 14:18). Although Moses, himself was of the tribe of Levi, he was not called to be a priest himself, but the Levites were called to serve in this Holy order, and it was Aaron, Moses’ brother, who would serve as the first High Priest. One key thing that separates a priest from the other titles of clergy we will examine is that they represented the people before God, and offered the various sacrifices prescribed in the law. This means that the people are not able to communicate directly with God through prayer, or have God commune directly with them, but must have intercession through the priest. As we know from Scripture, we are not only allowed to pray, but instructed to do so.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (KJV)
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Matthew 6:5-7 (KJV)
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
The above mentions of prayer are only two which could not be done if a priest were needed to intercede on the behalf of the believer. Therefore, the duties of the priest, while very much a calling and anointing in the Old Testament, have changed. We are now all priests in the Christian church, so to speak, with Jesus as the High Priest
To assume the role, or give the title of priest in the same manner in which it was given in the Old Testament, whereby the member of the clergy is the sole individual with the ability to have communion with God, to forgive sins, to read or interpret Scripture, or to have special powers or authority almost deifies our clergy. Granted, all members of church leadership are called upon to be of a sense of character above reproach, to have knowledge of Scripture which allows us to answer questions, teach and preach truthfully and wisely, and to be able to give counsel when needed, but never should this be done in any way other than the most humble, as a servant of the Most High.
Elder– A word still used in churches today, but rarely in the context of the first century church, and elder, as explained in Paul’s epistles. Listed almost hand in hand with Bishops, the biggest difference is not duty, but seniority. Elders were to be the spiritual leaders of the church, with not all necessarily having the same spiritual gifts. For example. Elder John may be a wonderful Bible teacher, Elder Franklin may be an excellent expositor, Elder Stephen a caring counselor, and Elder Jim able to discern Scripture. Of these, due to the spiritual maturity, Elder Stephen may be elected Bishop over the church, or “Senior Elder”. It may even be that there are several churches in the church family, and now “Bishop Stephen” is Bishop over all of them. (I, for example, was elected Bishop over the churches of Grace & Truth Ministries last year).
Deacons-Anglicized form of the Greek word diaconos, meaning a “runner,” “messenger,” “servant.” For a long period a feeling of mutual jealousy had existed between the “Hebrews,” or Jews proper, who spoke the sacred language of Palestine, and the “Hellenists,” or Jews of the Grecian speech, who had adopted the Grecian language, and read the Septuagint version of the Bible instead of the Hebrew. This jealousy early appeared in the Christian community. It was alleged by the Hellenists that their widows were overlooked in the daily distribution of alms. In essence, they were responsible for many of the fiscal duties of the temple, and now the church. One way to compare or contrast the duties of a deacon with that of an elder would be to assume that a church was considering implementing a new Bible study program. The elders would be the ones to consider and pray about the spiritual content of the material. Is it Scripturally correct and accurate? Does it fit the doctrines of the church? Is there any deviation from the teachings of the church, or worse, any heresy in it? The deacons, on the other hand, are likely to be the ones to asses the financial feasibility of purchasing the new materials, how many copies can or must be purchased, and from what source.
Special directions as to the qualifications for and the duties of deacons will be found in Acts 6 and 1 Tim 3:8-12 From the analogy of the synagogue, and from the scanty notices in the New Testament, we may think of the deacons or “young men” at Jerusalem as preparing the rooms for meetings, distributing alms, maintaining order at the meetings, baptizing new converts, distributing the elements at the Lord’s Supper, although these are not always adhered to in all churches today.
So, what does this do to answer our questions about names and titles for all clergy today? Do you call the person who leads your worship “pastor”, “minister”, “Father”, “Brother”, or some other name? As you can see, none of these names are even mentioned as titles to be used in the new testament, and the use of them in any way is interesting at best in the Bible. The word “pastor”, which means to shepherd or lead in a protective or guiding manner, certainly would describe the duties of the lead clergy of the Christian church today, but never appears in the Bible as a noun or verb. The word “minister”, which can be a verb, when describing the act of performing an act of ministering to someone, or as a noun when defining the person, is found over eighty times in the Bible, but never as a title in the New Testament Church. An example of both is easily found in Exodus where we also see an Old Testament reference to elders, generally the older, wiser members of the congregation:Exodus 24:13-14 (KJV)
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. (Notice that this is a reference to “his minister”, not Joshua, with a title of “Minister”).
Exodus 28:1 (KJV)
1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. (that he may minister unto me…the act of ministering to the leader. Note how it takes place to the leader of the people, including the priest).
We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. If your church uses “Brother Johnson” to a leader, and it is also the man who is charged with leading the church in worship weekly, don’t think that this author is saying that this is not scriptural. If you refer to him as “Reverend”, and someone says, “Nobody is reverend but God, Himself”, I am not going to say that is wrong for either of you. The truth is, my own business card says, “Reverend James M. Dakis Founder/Director Living Sacrifice Ministries” People call me everything from “Pastor Jim”, “Pastor Dakis”, “Bishop Jim”, “Reverend Dakis”, “Brother Jim”, and just plain, “Jim”. My only issue is when we start awarding titles and names to people which imply a position above that of other men, and a holy status which gives the indication that some kind of power or authority has been granted that God never intended.
After all, we may all be created in His image, but we are all sinners saved by His grace, and in that, we are all the same.
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In the rural town of Bungoma, Kenya, Gospel Believer’s Fellowship, which was founded by Reverend Francis Bushebi in 1964 to address the needs of the local people, miraculous things are happening. Only the work of God can explain such events, as Rev. Francis, his wife Dora, their son Rev. Robert Bushebi and his wife Irene, and the many others who now staff over two hundred churches within the network, bring the Word of God to a nation starving for truth.
In Bungoma town near the Marell area, the orphanage, Jewels for Jesus, operates. As of this writing there are housed just under two dozen children who are either with no parents, or with only one parent who does not have the ability to support him or her. One such example is a family where the mother had six sets of twins and was cast out by her own family and village, with the claim that she was cursed for having so many multiple births. A single mother with so many children, she now has most of them in the care of Jewels for Jesus.
Funding for the children is challenging at best, as it comes through generous donations and gifts given by those who prayerfully choose to give. Some are regular, monthly partners, others give when they can, still others give up a one time love offering. The Lord will not have the same call to each person, but at this time, there are only two children, a set of 4 year old twins who have regular sponsors.
It is my prayer that you will go before the Lord and ask if you would be one who would be called to be there for the children. It may be to give a monthly amount for one child. It may be a one time love offering, or a single item to purchase after finding out a particular need. Rev. Bushebi can be contacted at http://gbfchurchministries.webs.com/ or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
This is an assessment of the Living Sacrifice Ministries blog you have been following, as we presented it this year. One of the best ways for more people to be able to appreciate what you have been able to is for you to share this with others. Please share this with anyone you think may be interested in what drew you to us to begin with.
God bless you and have a Happy New Years.
Serving Him through Serving Others,
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 430 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.
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Gospel Believers Fellowship Ministry of Bungoma, Kenya, a Ministry Partner of Living Sacrifice Ministry since the beginning, hosted its year end Youth Conference the week before Christmas.
The event was attended by young people, some who came from the families of faithful members of the church, and others coming to hear the Word of God for the first time! As a result, lives were touched, souls were saved, and healing of body, mind, and soul was seen and felt.
Brother Bushebi preached powerfully, but gave all glory to God. Prayer and support information for the ministry can be directed to Brother Bushebi at firstname.lastname@example.org or on their web site at http://gbfchurchministries.webs.com/.
Serving Him through Serving Others,
Pastor Jim Dakis
There was much praising of God and glory given during the conference. Below are a few pictures sent to me to be shared.
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Home for Orphan Children: I have been providing shelter, food & Education to 24 orphan children in our Orphan home since two years with little donations. Kindly help us in the name of Jesus Christ to our Orphan children.
Children home meets the spiritual, physical, emotional, & mental needs of homeless and abused children in Guntur district.
We are suffering a lot to feed Orphan Children in our children Home. We need your special Prayers and support.
I am spreading Gospel to people in villages and conducting prayers in their villages regularly. Kindly bless our children in the name of our Lord Almighty and sponsor to these beautiful kids.
I humbly beseech you my dear generous brother have a heart for this letter of mine and please drop a line of communication by e-mail.
Thank you so much.
Your beloved brother in His Ministry,
Andhra Pradesh, India.
PH:91 9440282960 email@example.com
In a small town in England in about 1680, perhaps as late as 1690, nobody is sure about the exact year, lived a man known simply as Mr. Luther. Luther was his first name, and it was estimated that he was no younger than 90 years old. In fact, nobody in town could recall a time when he did not live there. Anyone over the age of twenty, however, remembered that the only day he ever broke from his daily routine was twenty years ago when his wife was called home by the Lord. Even then, he kept to himself for only two days before returning to his daily duties.
Luther had been the caretaker of St. Catherine’s Church, the large church in the center of town, for as long as anyone could remember. Not an educated man, but a godly man, he had a routine that never deviated from one day to the next. Morning started at 4:30 a.m. when his eyes automatically opened. His first duty was to hit his knees in prayer, open his Bible and read for about thirty minutes, then tend to his small brood of chickens he kept.
By 5:45 he was dressed and walking out the door, waving to neighbors as he headed into town. A stop at George’s pastry and candy shop for morning coffee and an exchange of news always worked its way into a game or two of backgammon, but with a schedule to keep, Luther headed off. Passing by Three Brothers Watch and Clock Shoppe, he would always pull out his pocket watch and check it against the beautiful grandfather clock in the front window. Steve, the middle brother, had once told him that it had been made by William Clement, credited with inventing the grandfather clock. The time was so precise it was a work of art and science all in one piece.
Pacing himself so as not to tire himself, but also so that he would reach the church on time, Luther would get to the church in time to speak with Rev. Theodore about the day’s duties and see if anything special needed doing. The morning would then go on until the most important part of the day. At 11:45 a.m. work would have to stop, no matter what Luther was doing.
Climbing the bell tower, Luther would take out his watch and stare intently at the minute and even the second hand. Then, at exactly the stroke of 12:00 noon, he would begin what would be the most important part of his day. 1,2,3,4,5 tolls.6,7,8,9,10,11,12. Timed perfectly so that everyone in town new that it was noon. It was the only way people for miles would know to set their clocks. Homes, businesses, farms, schools, everyone relied on Luther, although he saw this as just a minor part of his day.
This had gone on for yeas, and then one day, as he was carrying out his morning walk to the church, he walked by Three Brothers Watch and Clock Shoppe and noticed that the grandfather clock was missing! Stopping inside to see where it was, he was greeted by Chris, the youngest brother. “Where is the beautiful grandfather clock that use to sit in your front window? It kept such perfect time, and I always loved looking at it when I walked by?!”
“Oh the grandfather clock that was up front?” Christ asked, “I know the one, my wife Michelle has been admiring it for so many years that I gave it to her for her birthday. Besides, the only reason it kept such good time is because we always checked it against the church bells at noon every day. To tell you the truth, I think it ran a little slow”.
This is not a story about a grandfather clock or an old man who worked in a church. In fact, I first heard this story over forty years ago. (I have added the names and some details to make it more interesting), but the point is about much more than a man and a bell tower.
Luther, admired by the community for his loyalty to the church, was visible in his service apparently in a number of ways. We probably all know someone like that in our own church community. I can think of a few off the top of my head from every church I ever attended in my half century of living. I am pleased to say that one of them was my own Papou, which for you non-Greek speakers, means “Grandfather”. However, what about the brothers who owned the clock shop? They may not have known that they played any part at all in the smooth running of the church, or the lives of the townspeople at large. What about the people of the congregation who came to church on Sunday to hear Rev. Theodore’s message? Keeping in mind that the community is full of people who all interact with each other, some while at church, (for those who attend), and also outside in the social and business community, every part of this body depends on every other part. This can lead to positive or negative impact, depending on the health of each part.Romans 12:3-5 (KJV)
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
When you have a headache, do you walk more slowly, even though your feet and legs are find? When your back hurts, do you limp, even though your knees are healthy? If you lose sleep, do you have trouble with mental functions? Romans 12:-5 tells us, Romans 12:3-5
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
In remembering this, we can all remember that we all have distinct duties in God’s kingdom, some of which are described further as some of the Spiritual Gifts listed in the same chapter, but, as Paul reminds us, none are any better or superior to others.
Serving Him through Serving Others,
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The following is a missions report from a Ministry Partner of Living Sacrifice Ministries who was at the tail end of a successful missions trip in Tanzania, when his bus overturned on a dirt road. The account he gives below is one of a man who praises God for the success of the mission much more than he dwells on the negative facts of the accident. I pray that we can all learn from this.
Serving Him through Serving Others,
“Mpodire” Means “Hi” from the Rungwa people found in the western part of Tanzania. Katavi is the new Region of this people group, their former Region was Rukwa but after the division of two Regions on this area done by the current president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Rungwa people fallen in the Katavi region in Mpanda District.
My trip to Rungwa people was not good since it involved a bad accident of our bus on the way back to my city Tabora, some died, some badly injured but I’m still breathing because of the God’s hand saved me out from the bus. I will write more about this below, please go on reading this report.
It was early Thursday 23rd January at 5:00am when my wife Ezena prayed for me and left for Rungwa people and left my children still sleeping on a bed. I went to catch my bus for a long trip of 332km from my city in a rough road filled with many water ponds on the way.
Because it rained much on the way, our bus was not going faster as expect instead we spent 11 hours to Mpanda town. Imagine, on the way there is only 4 small towns and the least area covered by Ugalla River gave reserve, Ugalla forest reserve, and Katavi gave reserves.
Thick forests we saw on the way and some animals such as zebra, hyenas, and impala. There were areas which very strictly not allowed for camera taking and bus to stop. We saw crocodiles, and Hippopotamus in rivers. I was told that, the areas where buses and any vehicle not allowed stopping are the areas where by lions and elephants are found. I didn’t see either Lion or Elephant on the way. I spent a night in Mpanda town and the next Friday 24th hired a motorbike to Rungwa people.
Mamba is a village was directed to meet Rungwa community and it was a right place for me to get more information about them.
Most of the Rungwa people found in extend family and lives in houses made by trees, mad bricks and have grass roofs. I was able to live and follow their good actions as one of Rungwa people” so that to get all the info needed for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Neither electricity nor clean and safe water found to these people but they fetch water from ponds those they call them as wells and use candles as a source of light during the night. I was able to get the information needed and spent one night to a Rungwa type Hotel that has cotton Mattress. I was not bothered by their hotel since there were no mosquitoes during the night and food was nice for me, Ugali (made from corns and cassava and hot water) was my favorite food at this small Hotel.
The next Saturday 25th, hired a motorbike back to Mpanda town to meet a pastor which coming from the Rungwa community. My main concern for this pastor is to here more story about Rungwa people and also to hear from him if he could be interested in helping the recordings. I found a pastor went for church planting to another village that was about 3 hours by bicycle and was unable to meet him. I went to my former Hotel and got a room for the Saturday night expecting the Sunday to meet the pastor. I was able to talk to the pastor through my cell phone and make an appointment to meet him Sunday at 2:00pm.
Sunday 26th Morning went to the bus stand and got a ticket for Tabora on Monday and come back to the Hotel to wait for the Pastor appointment. After a service at his church he called me and we planned a place to meet. My motorbike rider took me to the place and met a pastor and his wife.
I was able to get more information about Rungwa and agreed to help us with the recordings on due time. I was able to provide them with lunch and then we said goodbye for each other. I did make a short round to go through the Mpanda town and it is just a small town but appointed as the capital of the new Region called Katavi. I was able to visit some pastors in the town from Free Pentecostal, African Inland Church and also a National Missionary from Barry Wood Ministries to Africa; I was able to introduce myself and shared a little bit about our Mission Vision and why went there. Pastors were very happy and they are ready to partner with us to reach unreached people for Jesus Christ by using our Mission resources. I was told also about the SIL family who living in Mpanda town but did not meet them because was out of the town and they are working with Pimbwe people.
On Monday 27th early in the Morning as usual, got a taxi to the bus stand ready for a long trip again back to my city Tabora and found a nice seat at the middle of the bus. We left for Tabora but I didn’t new that our bus had a problem of break. About two hours, at a gentle slope in the forest, I noticed that the bus was going faster than normal and led me to ask my neighbor “why are we going faster than normal?” my neighbor answered me “there is no problem”. Abruptly, I heard people at the forward seats shouting, “We are dying, and we are dying”. “A driver and his assistant opened their doors and jumped out from the bus and left a bus going without a driver”. Then heard a bus hitting trees, stones and rolled about two times and fallen upside down.
I didn’t know what happened but about ten to fifteen minutes after the accident I found myself outside from the bus sitting aside the bus. Then saw people helping others to get out from the bus some were injured badly. After about one hour, I found that, I was okay but feeling headache, pain on my ribs, and my back. People were calling other people and tell them about the accident by using their cell phones but I found that my two cell phones were missing only my camera was still attached on my trouser belt.
After a long time the police came and started ordering other cars to take serious injured people to the Hospital. An ambulance came and joined the work of taking people to nearest Hospital. One private vehicle took me and other people to the Hospital for check up and found that, I was not injured rather than pain. I got some medicines and allowed from the hospital. The same car took us back to the accident area to get our bags so that to proceed with our trip to Tabora.
From the Hospital we found all the bags were collected somewhere from the bus. After being received my bag and tried to check all the things were with me in my bag and trouser and discovered that;
1. My pocket wallet was missing and in the wallet there was money, driving license, and two of my bank cards plus other personal documents
2. The GPS used in getting coordinates was missing
3. My cell phones were missing
4. My laptop was broken and the internet modem was missing
5. Some of things in the bag such as cell phone chargers were missing; I found few clothes because my bag was broken. I was able to get some of the language information forms around the bus.
6. The travelling Map for East Africa found in pieces.
A total of 6 people lost their lives on this accident and more than 17 people were serious injured. I arrived home well but still feeling some pains around my back and my two sides’ ribs. I think still need to do some more check up here in my city in order to be sure with my condition. Ezena already sponged me with hot water. I used a small vehicle Toyota Land cruiser from the accident area to Tabora. Now I’m at my house with my family Glorifying God! Thank you for being praying for me and I thank God for His guidance and protection on this trip. Glory to God!!!
Note: “Doing the Work of God is dangerous – Not doing it is more dangerous” by S. Wurmbrand
In His Easy Yoke!
Learn more about what Pastor Deus is doing at globalrecordings.net.
The following is the sermon outline from Rev. Bushebi’s message this Sunday. Located in Bungoma, Kenya. More about their ministry can be found on their web site at http://gbfchurchministries.webs.com/. As long time Ministry Partners with Living Sacrifice Ministries, they are also featured on our web page under our Ministry Partner tab if you go to http://livingsacrificeministries121.webs.com/.
Ephesians 6:12 says, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but rather against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of the age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
(1 Pet. 5:8), and his evil spiritual forces which he dispatches and assigns to perpetrate his wickedness throughout the world.
1. AUTHORITY — Every believer has the right to use the authority of Jesus’ name to bind and by His blood take authority over Satan’s activities. (Mark 3:27).(Mark 16:17).
2. INTERCESSION — Come together with other believers to pray and intercede against strongholds until you get results. (Matthew 17:19,21).
3. DISPLACEMENT — Establish the presence of God. (2 Corinthians 6:14).
4. RESISTANCE — Submit yourselves and draw close to God. (James 4:7).
5. OCCUPATION — Give no place or vacancy to the Devil. (Eph. 4:27).
6. FORTIFICATION — Clothe yourself with God’s armor. (Eph. 6:13-17)(Ephesians 6:11).
PLEASE CONTINUE PRAYING FOR US!
1. Bibles for new Believers and Bibles Class 2. Orphans & Street children 3. Medical Centre 4.Ministry Sustenance 5. Diploma School Training 6. Rural Church construction program.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Ministry and Africa.
We love you and our prayers continue for you daily, looking forward for greater things!!!
Brother Bushebi and Ministries.