Uganda’s Timely Night Radio

Uganda’s Night Radio reaches people

The tight transport and public gathering restrictions have brought a collapse to the churches’ activities, causing big difficulties. Being far from the capital city, the Internet connections are unstable, thus limiting connection with others to telephone calls and text messages.

However, the ‘Night radio’ programs, that we also support, are broadcast to four other nations in East Africa in addition to Uganda. At least 30 million people live in the coverage area. Even non-Christians are amongst the listeners. Many have become Jesus followers as a result of programs. Broadcasting the Good News is not being hindered by the restrictions to public gatherings. In light of the current circumstances, we decided to double our support of this ministry. Now the programs Pr. John Magaba with his team takes care of can be listened weekly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings. Towards the end of broadcasts phone calls are streaming in to the studio.

• Would you like to support this influential ministry? You can do that at our ‘Donate‘ page.

A Refreshing Visit

Map of the unreached tribes in Tanzania

In February 2020, Francis Tusiime from Uganda visited us. He is our key contact in our pioneer work in Tanzania. We invited Francis to strengthen our contacts in Finland. VICF had partially supported the successful course we held in June 2019 in Dar es Salam. Our congregation warmly welcomed Francis of whom they had heard so much about from our mission trip reports.

As we travelled to various churches in eastern Finland, our African friend was very excited to see snow for the first time in his life. The passage in the Bible: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow”, opened up to Francis in a whole new way.

Throughout our travels, our guest’s modest approach and powerful prayer ministry captivated the listener’s hearts in every place. As we spent time together, we heard more of how Francis was called to ministry: Already as a schoolboy, he experienced a strong missionary call to the nations. Later on, he realised this did not mean political nations, but different tribes and people. From his mentor late pastor Wilson Ssentongo, he learnt to plant new churches in a team setting. When asked how many churches he had planted before Tanzania, his quiet answer was: ‘more than ten’.

In 2010, Francis then went to Tanzania with the blessing of his home church. He began his ministry without funds from a zero level amongst the still unreached Zaramo tribe (1.2 mill.) living in Dar es Salam area. Since the mission course we arranged in ‘Dar’ in the summer of 2019, along with the pioneers from this course, the ministry has expanded to other parts of Tanzania.

Arto, Francis and Jonathan at Radio Patmos, where our Finnish radio program airs every Wednesday at 8PM (rerun on Saturdays the same time).

Happy New Year!

Have a blessed year 2020!

New encounters in Jakarta

Through this ministry we got to meet many local children.

It is amazing to see what God is doing. November 2019 was the first time for me to visit a street children’s weekly gathering in a slum area of Jakarta. It was special (and very loud) to see all the kids gathered into a small, hot room, where, after some fun games, I could also share my personal faith story with them.

Michael, the pioneer of Jakarta’s street kids ministry

This ministry was initiated by Michael, a former drug dealer. After graduating from Bible school he returned to his old neighborhood, began to reach out to his former friends and associates, also ending up starting a ministry among the street kids. Michael has an official authorization to give drug education, which he’s been doing in different parts of Indonesia. Sometimes the students of these cities are brought into a stadium, where he doesn’t only tell them about the dangers of drugs, but also gets to share with them about the faith that changed everything.

– Jonathan Lemmetti

Tanzanian Mission course greetings!

Jun 2019 | The opening evening of this historical course was filled with expectation. There had not been such a mission course in Tanzania before that focused on reaching the unreached people groups (UPG). Now, in a hostel in Dar es Salaam, 42 pastors had gathered to learn about missions among the unreached.

Course participants Emmanuel and Maria

The three weeks’ program was quite intensive, and the content was both demanding and diverse. Days began at 5am with prayer, continuing until 9pm after two hours’ break in the afternoon. As the course went on, the participants’ enthusiasm didn’t wear out but kept on growing. On the weekends they returned home to shepherd their churches, meanwhile we i.a. arranged a Youth Conference, and a vision casting breakfast for entrepreneurs, visited a Zaramo village and preached in local churches.

In the graduation ceremony students were wearing academic robes and caps.

On the graduation day, some 150 people were gathered together to celebrate including family and friends, leaders of the local community as well as the hostel owner. The atmosphere was joyfully liberating. A student representative gave a speech about what they had learnt. They had received tools for reaching the unreached. Their understanding of missions was expanded, and they had realized that it’s not just for the Western missionaries alone; this calling – that is God’s heartbeat – is also for the church in Tanzania.

Just recently, in September, our Ugandan missionary in Tanzania, Francis, excitedly told us that nearly half of the course participants had already begun implementing the attained knowledge into their work in new villages and areas close to them and beyond. This is great news! One of them, Brian, organized a seminar for Pastors, where he is teaching them about the practices for reaching new tribes. At the same time, he’ll continue his already commenced work in a new village, utilizing the principals he’s learned.

Pastor Sadoki started working in three new villages. Here he’s wearing the course shirt, standing together with a new believer.

Our wonderful translator, Jane, reported: “Partakers of the training are grateful for GNN’s mission course. They began to modify their practices, having special consideration for the unreached tribes in their region. One lady went to a Masai area near Arusha. She has already made connections with members of the tribe, applying methods learned during the course to her work. It is evident that this June’s Mission course is bearing good fruit; we thank God for that!”

There are still 27 unreached tribes (6M ppl) in Tanzania. Next we will arrange for our participants an online follow-up training, and a “Next Steps” seminar which will be held in May 2020. Let’s intercede for these events as well as for the participants in their work – may God’s fire and vision spread through them!

We give God all the glory and want to thank everyone who were enabling this course to become a reality!

Our facilitator team consisted of Pastors Arto Sädeaho, Jonathan Lemmetti and Shierley Siwi. Also Ps. Erik Klar from Thailand, Aki Miettinen from Finland and Dr. Paul Ng from Singapore brought their valuable experience to these weeks.

 

Pioneer training in Tanzania

We are arranging a missions training course in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (June 7-26th 2019).  It is our latest endeavor! During this motivational course, 50 registered local pastors and active church members will be trained to reach the unreached tribes (30) in their country.

According to a local, one of the most difficult groups to reach is the Zaramo; a tribe of approx. 1,2 million people. They are the 1st in our focus. On our last trip we visited a Zaramo village (100% muslims) and at the end of that visit the village head welcomed an evangelist to start working there. (In the above picture our team is on the way to that village.)

We have been collaborating on this project since summer 2018, and the GNN team has been busy preparing this course.

It’s not just another event! For us, this is a new channel – for the salvation of yet unreached people groups. We will use the experience gained from this course in our other destinations.


Would you like to join this effort?

  • You can make a donation by going to our Donate page and choosing ’African Pioneer work’ (3560).

Our prayer is that Good News Networking (GNN) will bear much fruit!

Celebration Time in VICF!

Reijo Blommendahl singing at VICF

Vantaa International Christian Fellowship celebrated her 10th Anniversary on Jan 13th 2019. Some 240 guests attended the celebration, held at Vantaan Minttukirkko which VICF rents for its regular services.

Upbeat music and guest musicians inspired everyone in worship. Rev. Reijo Blommendahl’s strong vocals had people holding their breath during his powerful rendition of the familiar song ‘How Great Thou Art’ in several various languages.

The multinational children’s choir from VICF’s Kids Ministry also received huge applause for their performance. Greetings were brought forward by Pastor Il-soo Kim, the founder of the Finnish Korean Church, as well as by Pastor Tony Ibarra, the FEIC* coordinator based in Frankfurt.

As Prs. Arto and Orvokki Sädeaho were still contemplating about starting an international church in 2008, a vision Orvokki received one night coupled with a confirmation Arto got from the Bible encouraged them. They then found a couple that had the same vision. This joint work began from point zero (January 2009) with no knowledge of any foreigners in the area.

But the Lord has been behind this endeavour. Now, a decade later, this can be seen.  During the celebration a documentary video shared about the birth and growth of the church. Throughout this time there have been people from over 100 nationalities attending our meetings.

Ps. Arto had a hard time talking. His mind was filled with gratitude towards a gracious God. He finished by appealing for the multinational congregation to nurture unity and reminded them how Jesus said that it is the way the world will believe they are His witnesses.

Younger pastors Ndegwa and Jonathan are now taking care of the main responsibility of the church ministry. Pastor Arto is now able to focus on the core objective, VICF’s umbrella organisation GNN (Good News Networking), which is to take the gospel to the unreached people groups.

From left: Arto & Orvokki Sädeaho, Timo Virta, Wambui & Ndegwa Maina and Jonathan Lemmetti

*FEIC (above) is abbreviated from ’The Fellowship of European International Churches’.
This relational network consists of 82 churches throughout 32 European nations.

Sharing the vision in Myanmar

On Monday we flew to Myanmar’s 2nd largest city, Mandalay (1,2 million). About 300,000 monks live in this city known as a stronghold of Buddhism. However, our thoughts were anywhere but in tourism. A young pastor from the northeastern corner of Myanmar, Simon, came to meet us. He has already been involved in pioneer work by sending out three short-term pioneers to work amongst the unreached.

Early the next morning we met with 12 key church leaders, having arranged a breakfast gathering and reminding them of the church’s most important calling. After our introductions, I shared with them the vision of the unreached in Asia, emphasizing that it is primarily their churches’ calling. Next Shierley, as a fellow Asian, shared how they have been able to send people out to the unreached from Indonesia.

The presence of the Holy Spirit spoke to the attendees and we saw how the vision began to unite them, despite denominational barriers. There was an Anglican bishop, the Trinity church pastor, Baptists, Pentecostals and others.

FEIC Summit in Madrid

VICF Pastors attended the Fellowship of European International Churches (FEIC) Summit in Madrid (Oct 15-18th 2018). The theme was “Inside FEIC”.

VICF Prs. Jonathan and NdegwaThe summit workshops focused on how to develop people and build systems/ church infrastructure that will facilitate the health and growth of the church in a balanced way. The workshops helped us to see the areas we need to develop in the short-term while considering our long-term goals and vision.

We were spiritually refreshed, encouraged and got a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role in driving our vision, making concrete plans and dreaming big.  We specifically had discussions on how to develop our Children’s Ministry, and it was agreed that in the future the FEIC Kids ministry coordinator will visit our Church to help train and provide support for our children’s ministry.

– BR, Ndegwa Maina

Daughter of a sheikh turned to Christ

During our time in Tanzania we visited several villages in the Zaramo area. It was in one of these villages that we met a sheikh’s daughter, whom we will here call “Rebecca”. She became a follower of Jesus some years ago, as did later her husband too. Here Rebecca shares about her conversion:

“Rebecca” is of the Zaramo tribe

– We lived nearby a small church. Out of curiosity, I observed through a window how they prayed there. One time while watching, I sensed a large darkness surrounding me and I got terrified. After a while, the darkness started to ease off.

– Then some church people came to visit my home and told me about their faith. My heart opened up and I asked Jesus into my life as my Lord.

 – I began attending Bible studies and slowly began to understand God’s way of speaking to me.

– At that point our landlady, who was a witch, cursed me and I began to have nightmares. I was persecuted for my faith, as the news spread of me becoming a Jesus follower. We had to leave our house at a day’s notice. Thankfully, I had a Christian friend who taught me how to pray.

 – Despite being destitute, a devoted Muslim gave us a house rent-free. What happened was that, after a while from moving in, the landlord visited and told us that ever since we came, he had been able to sleep like a baby through the night until the morning.

– Until then he had been tormented by the powers of evil, so that he could not sleep. The landlord inquired of us which witch do we visit that has such a power to affect him so favorably too? We told him our Lord is Jesus Christ.

– For this reason, the Muslim landlord decided to let us stay in his house for free. As we later were about to move elsewhere, he began to grieve for losing his protection. As we prayed with him, he also wanted to become a Christian.

– Now our former landlord is also a grateful follower of Jesus.