I am continually in awe of the way that God has been orchestrating ministry connections in the Twin Cities. In this case, he used a plate of pancakes!
Sharing the very “African” meal of pancakes and tea Pastor Matthew Cephus and I met for the first time. He shared with me about his background in Liberia, the church that he leads and his deep love for the Word of God.
As we talked I mentioned that I had a good friend who also happened to be from Liberia. Not thinking much of it at the time I asked if I could connect them. Two hours later, my phone burst into action with messages from my friend Ben Kangar and Matthew.
“You connected me with my brother!” they both shared with me.
Matthew and Ben at another pancake meeting
They are not literal brothers but friends who grew up in the same village in Liberia and who first heard the Gospel from the same missionary. They both now live in the Twin Cities and though they had been connecting about once a year (annually on Ben’s birthday) they had not done much more. That was about to change.
Pastor Matthew and Patience Cephus
Our conversations together began to increase and one day, while wearing his trademark smile my friend Ben shared, “I think we have a new Lutheran denomination in Liberia.”
Liberia is a country with a 64% poverty rate. As a result of that and the terrible war of its past many local churches struggle to find qualified leadership. Pastor Cephus was asked if he would take the lead and shepherd a denomination that had lost it’s way. Not only is he reaching people with the Gospel right here in Minnesota he has been asked to multiply that effort in his home country.
As we support front line Gospel workers in our city we also have the privilege of coming alongside of the Gospel work in their home countries. At the end of November, Matthew, Ben, Stacy, Pastor Nhiem and myself will be headed to Liberia for the first journey in a new joint effort called Mission Liberia.
Ben, Matthew, Kathy and Steve at a Mission Liberia meeting
A few months ago seven churches across the Twin Cities helped us collect items for Mission Liberia. We will be distributing these to the local ministry leaders as we equip about 1,000 of them to literally take the Gospel to their neighborhoods.
Ben, Stacy, Nhiem, Ben and Kate at the official founding of Liberty International Development
In addition, we’ve had the pleasure of helping Ben and Stacy Kangar bring their ministry vision to light by chartering Liberty International Development. This will be the training arm that not only equips local pastors with practical training, but also teaches native African ministries how to be self-sufficient.
God is on the move and it is a pleasure to be a part of His work. I can’t wait to see what he turns the next plate of pancakes into!