With the help of our ministry partners, we have helped to train and are continuing to train and send out hundreds of local pastors, evangelists and indigenous missionaries in many countries around the world. These pastors, evangelists and missionaries already know the local languages, culture, and the indigenous religious beliefs of their people. They are already accustomed and acclimated to the living conditions and culture where they serve because it is either their native culture or is very similar to their native culture. Many of them already have relationships with the religious, tribal, civic and political leaders which are key to their being accepted, respected and having a platform from which to serve and to be heard. Those who do not already have these relationships, are capable of establishing them much more easily than outsiders could. They most often look just like the people they are evangelizing and ministering to so they do not stand out by their appearance. This is important in areas where sharing the Gospel is against the law and where the people are either hostile towards or suspect of Westerners. Our CFC TRAILBLAZER line of solar powered audio Bibles and discipleship materials are greatly enhancing our ability to reach and train indigenous pastors and leaders.
The training and equipping of indigenous pastors and leaders is one of the greatest needs and one of the most effective and efficient ways to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to make disciples, and to plant new churches. While we do actively evangelize the masses, we realize that Western missionaries will never be able to share with all the people groups of the world--especially the estimated 2.6 billion people who have never heard the name of Jesus. Our strategy at Cattle for Christ is to focus on the process of developing strategic partnerships wherever we go and to make disciples. We help train and equip them to become missionaries themselves who are already on the ground, trained and equipped to go and duplicate the process among their own people groups. As they lead others to Christ, they train, equip and send them out to be missionaries to the villages, tribal groups, countries and cultures around them. They can go places we cannot go and live in circumstances that few outsiders could adapt to, with only minor changes to their standard of living and with very little outside support.
It can take $80,000.00 or more per year to keep a foreign missionary on the field (considering training, transportation, language school, fund raising, insurance, retirement, living expenses, salary, administrative expenses etc.), and will take years before they are trained, equipped and culturally adjusted to actually do the work. There are some places and circumstances where this approach is still an absolute necessity. Another option, and the method we have found to be the most effective and efficient is to develop key, strategic relationships with groups of indigenous (native) believers and over a relatively short period of time, train and equip them to go and do the work themselves. They can go places Westerners cannot go, do what we cannot do and stay as long as they need to with little or no outside support. These are tough, strong, determined and passionate Christian leaders who can just keep on going with amazing stamina, drive and ingenuity. Their faith in God is grounded and their passion, love and compassion are contagious.
Though Glenn participates in many of these Pastor Training Events in South and Central America and in Africa, most of our current work is coordinated through two of our primary ministry partners; Larry Cochran of GO InterNational in KY and John Ramey of ASLAN Child Rescue in CA. Larry is the past president of GO InterNational in Wilmore, KY and has served on the Cattle for Christ Board of Directors since our incorporation in 2001. (You can read more about Larry under the "About Us" tab). He currently serves as a Board Member and Vice President of Cattle for Chirst. Larry has been an Evangelist for 28 years and is fluent in Spanish. He coordinated and leads most all of the Pastor Training Events in Latin America. We have helped fund Pastor Training Events in numerous countries and have trained thousands of Spanish speaking pastors and church leaders. We train pastors in the deserts, in rugged mountainous villages, and miles up into the Amazonian jungle regions. Every year, we see the pastor training events going further and deeper into the remote areas than the years before and into regions where no one else is working. Pastors are so hungry for more knowledge of the Word of God and are in such need of training in both the Bible and disciple making. In all of the Pastor Training Events, we also include Evangelistic Crusades to the masses at night and some work with children.
You know the training is effective when so many of those you have trained are capable of coordinating, planning, conducting and funding the training events on their own. Those who have become trainers, missionaries and evangelists are eager to do the work of Church Planting and training events themselves, but they still need help with Bibles, training materials. Our new CFC TRAILBLAZER solar powered audio Bibles can hold the complete audio Bible and hundreds of hours of discipleship and Bible study audios. In many congregations, the Pastor is the only one with a Bible, and it may not even be a complete Bible. The CFC TRAILBLAZERs help them study God's Word and become more effective Pastors, Evangelists and Church Planters with the added benefit that hundreds of their people can gather around one player and listen to God's Word and Bible studies. Our goal is to train, encourage and equip indigenous Pastors who can then train and equip others to do the same. Training Trainers is one of the most effective and strategic methods of making Christ known to the Nations.
John Ramey of ASLAN Child Rescue Ministry in CA coordinates most of our Pastor Training Events in Muslim countries. John was a pastor for in the U.S. for 20 years and has been a missionary, evangelist and coach of missionaries serving in almost 100 Muslim countries over the past 25 years. Cattle for Christ and ASLAN have worked together since 2001. The mission work in Muslim cultures is ground breaking work and has to be approached and conducted totally different than in other parts of the world. Many of the Pastors and Missionaries that John works with are themselves foreign missionaries who are working under the guise of other positions. He also works with the Muslim Background Believers (MBBs--Muslims who have converted to Christianity). Many of the converts are forced to leave their homes and everything they have to escape the persecution that comes with their conversion from Islam. They risk their lives to share the Gospel even with their own families and people groups. They often leave their homes to go to where they are not known so that they can take the Gospel to places where there are no Christian missionaries or other Muslim background believers.
Foreign missionaries in Muslim countries share many of the same experiences and challenges as the MBBs but they also face many unique challanges as outsiders. Once they get to where they will serve, they rarely return home for visits and they often have problems re-entering the host country if they do leave. The more they move around, the more attention they draw to themselves--so they most often find themselves isolated from family and friends. Much of John's work has been to coach and mentor these missionaries as they deal with all the challenges that come with being a missionary in hostile Muslim environments. These challenges are too many to attempt to list them all, but include cultural shock, interpersonal relationships among the missionary teams, family stresses, language barriers, grief for the loss of children or spouses from ailments that could have been cured if they were in their home countries, grief of the loss of family members at home and they are unable to return to say their goodbyes, harassment from local political and religious leaders, and just discouragement from the "apparent" lack of results because the fruit of their works often is not seen in their lifetimes. Many of these missionaries have also seen their spouses and children abused and molested in many ways, but they choose to stay and minister to the very ones who hurt them. It is hard to express the importance of the work that Cattle for Christ and John have been able to accomplish by working together in this capacity. The impact of these coaching opportunities are immeasurable but are absolutely essential to keeping these missionaries in the field.
Our work also provides many opportunities to train and equip the Muslim Background Believers (MBBs), most all of whom are missionaries and evangelists in their own right. The CFC TRAILBLAZER solar powered audio Bibles help us get the Word of God and discipleship material into places where we have not been able to get Bibles into before through the MBBs. With the growing illiteracy rate among refugees, the solal powered CFC TRAILBLAZER audio Bibles are more important now than ever before since they can hear the Word and be discipled without having to be able to read. Mulim background believers are doing ground breaking work in areas where there are few if any other Christians. Their very lives are at stake every time they share their faith in Christ, yet they share Him anyway. Due to the isolation and persecution that comes with their conversion, they often need help getting re-established and finding ways to support themselves. Also, in these parts of the world, the MBBs (just like their Muslim counterparts) are forced to be refugees, fleeing the wars and violence that plague their countries, or are just fleeing drought or famine. Being able to help encourage, disciple and assist these new Christians and being able to share the love of God with these displaced peoples are the best opportunities we have to share the Gospel with Muslims because they are open to receive it. Coaching the missionaries, disciplining the new Muslim background believers and loving and sharing the Gospel of Christ with the unreached Muslims is a top priority for Cattle for Christ and our new CFC TRAILBLAZER solar powered audio Bibles and discipleship audios are greatly enhancing our outreach and pastor training opportunities.