Kate and I got married in December, 2005. Seven months before then, I was ordained Minister of the Word and Sacraments in the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and Associate Pastor at Bridgeway community CRC, Haledon, NJ. While I served as Associate Pastor under my coach, friend and Senior Pastor, Rev Andy Systma, I also managed my small telecommunications company- Line One Communications. In addition to this, I also was doing a Master of Arts online program at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. I began this course because I knew that part of why God sent me to the States was for me to be trained so that I would go back to Africa and train others. Life was busy but good.
When I got married, life got even better as Kate occasionally joined me in the telecommunications business. A few months after we got married, we got pregnant with our first son John. We began to renovate our house in Irvington, NJ. By July, we had completed renovations- new roof, newly painted sidings and interiors; new flooring with a solidly built entrance steps adorned with bricks. I built the entrance steps by myself and supervised the whole of the renovation, making sure that the best materials were used and everything was plum. I remember bragging that if an earthquake wanted to lift that house, the structure of the entrance steps will hold it down. Our house was ready. Kate and I were ready to enjoy our newly renovated home and excitedly looking forward to welcoming John, our first son.
And the phone rang. It was a call from Grand Rapids Michigan. It was Rev Richard Systsma, the Dean of Students, Calvin Theological Seminary and the father of Andy, my friend and Senior Pastor. “Joshua, would you prayerfully consider switching to a Master of Divinity program this fall? School starts after Labor Day weekend,” he said to me after we had exchanged pleasantries. The fact that I told him to give us three days to think and pray about it was crazy. The craziest part was that Kate and I said yes to the proposal. In less than a month, we shut down Line One communications as there was not enough time to sell the business; packed our things and moved to Grand Rapids to become a full time Master of Divinity student. Even with the uncertain housing market at that time, the Lord provided a buyer for our house. The sales contract was signed the very night Kate and I left New Jersey for Grand Rapids. When God calls you, he does what is necessary to equip you, giving you the heart sometimes to consider what you would have thought as unthinkable and sometimes making you able to place little value on things which the carnal mind would consider invaluable. That is the God we serve! An awesomely powerful God.
As of today, more than 350 pastors in Africa have been trained through Seminars and Conferences which I spearheaded. Through these conferences, Leadership Education Mission for Africa (LEMA) Institute had been established to provide ongoing training for pastors and Christian leaders in Africa. It is estimated that over 70% of pastors in Africa do not have ministry education. Even in the US, over 80% of African pastors serving in the US need training. In the last four years, I have served at LEMA in a volunteer capacity, training and equipping pastors, supervising nine paid staff at the campus in Mbaitoli, Nigeria (my hometown). With the addition of a 30,000 volume Library and 16 out of 21 graduating LEMA students desiring to plant new churches, it is now evident that the time has come for me to respond fully to the Lord’s call as a full time Missionary leader.
Would you consider supporting LEMA in prayer and generous giving so that more pastors would be trained, more churches planted and God’s kingdom advanced?
Devoting full time work as a missionary, training Christian leaders and mentoring them to plant new churches is the next important step in my response to God’s call. I am inviting you to partner with me in this mission. Please follow the link and give through our secured website: www.lemainstitute.org/donate. All donations to LEMA are Tax deductible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rev Joshua Amaezechi, an ordained Minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA), is the President of the LEMA Institute. He worked formerly as the Lead Chaplain at the Kalamazoo County Jail, Michigan.
The opinions and comments expressed in this blog are exclusively that of the author. The LEMA Institute or its Board and faculty is not responsible for any aspects of the information supplied by the blogge