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God’s vision meets God’s provision

By Kate Azumah

In an attempt to unify the country after Nigeria’s civil war, then military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, introduced the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in 1973, deploying graduates of higher institutions to serve across the country. Among the second set despatched to Kaduna State in 1974 were campus Christian leaders. Contrary to their experience in the south, they observed a paucity of churches and evangelistic activity in the north, and this inspired them to organize a Jesus Film outreach in Zaria city in December of that year.

The inhabitants came en masse and responded to the ensuing altar call. However, things turned sour when some Muslims attacked, vandalizing equipment and pelting the youth corps members with stones. Several ended up in hospital, and all were shocked by the incident.

When the organizers regrouped the following year, the Lord gave them a vision to press on and preach the gospel to Muslims of northern Nigeria and in francophone West Africa. Thus, CAPRO (Calvary Productions, now Calvary Ministries) was born—an indigenous mission organization with 800 missionaries in 44 countries, and mission training schools in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, India, the US, the UK, and in Sudan. How have they funded all these? CAPRO’s international director, Dondo Iorlamen, tells us more.

A task for all

“Our pioneers were inspired by the rugged faith of Western missionaries like Hudson Taylor and George Muller who believed that only prayer was needed and God would provide. Over time, they modified their methods as they learned that missions was a commission for the whole Church. In addition to prayer, they could invite support by sharing information through newsletters, podcasts, and prayer requests. It’s an opportunity for the Body of Christ to invest in God’s Kingdom by reaching territories that have not heard the gospel.”

“Sending” and “Going” arms

CAPRO organizes two programmes as points of call for anyone to be involved in missions. The first is the Discipleship and Mission Exposure Programme (D-MEP). This runs for 12 weeks in schools, universities, polytechnics, churches, theological institutions, and other professional bodies. The second is a yearly event dubbed “Last Days Gathering.”

Believers who participate in the two programs are exposed to mission statistics, the conditions of unreached people groups, and their obligation to reach others with the gospel. They are invited to intercede, give financially to missions, or go to the field as missionaries.

Responders are organized into a structured support system called a CAPRO chapter, comprising believers with a common vision to pray, give, mobilize, or go as missionaries. Those who sign up as missionaries are assigned as office staff or field missionaries and together make up CAPRO’s “Going”arm. Those who remain in the chapters to support are the “Sending” arm.

Financing the work

CAPRO missionaries go through one year of missions training after which they are interviewed to determine if they are the right fit for CAPRO.

Dondo explains, “We are a distinct organization with our own culture. Someone may be a great candidate, but may not be called to work with CAPRO. We tell our missionaries that they will not receive any salaries from the ministry—this includes me as the international director. It would only come through the Lord and his people. We believe that if God calls anyone, he will provide for that person.”

If God calls anyone, he will provide for that person.

“The first thing about financing missions is to ensure that what you want to do is God’s initiative. If it is, the Lord will fund it. The missionary’s task is to pray and discover what the Lord wants to do. In CAPRO, we don’t borrow or take loans. If the Lord does not provide, it’s either not his project or not his time.”

“Next, whatever the Lord puts in your heart to do, write it down and add a budget. Our missionaries submit their written plans for approval, and together, we pray and trust God to provide as the missionary shares with family, friends, and church members. We encourage our missionaries to give to the project first, because spiritually, this will attract other people to give also. Sometimes, our missionaries only share information or a prayer request, and the Lord himself prompts people to give. We have a minimum amount they must raise before leaving for the field. When it becomes necessary, the office intervenes to raise sponsors for struggling missionaries.”

“In the past, we tried various income generating activities including running a bakery and a bookshop, but they all failed. We realized that God didn’t want us to engage in any commercial activities to fund his work. Nevertheless, individuals in the ministry may engage in business as long as it doesn’t interfere with their calling. Sometimes, such businesses open doors for missionaries to identify with the community for effective gospel interactions.”

Tough beginnings

CAPRO’s International Office

CAPRO’s journey of nearly 50 years has been difficult at some points, including crises with leadership, disgruntled missionaries, a Nigerian Church that did not understand missions at the time, and some Western missionaries who wouldn’t accept Africans as authentic colleagues.

“One mission agency that came alongside us in those moments was WEC (Worldwide Evangelization for Christ). We call them our midwife. Together with God’s help, they made CAPRO what it is today through training and exposure. When our leaders faced criticism and discouragement on many sides, WEC strengthened their hands.”

Dondo recounts that as a young CAPRO missionary himself some years back, he had to feed his new wife with grasshoppers and leaves, but today, no CAPRO missionary goes to bed hungry. They may not eat what they prefer, but food is not a problem. God is doing bigger things.

God’s faithfulness

“Our missionaries used to be concerned about funding for their children’s education, but God has raised someone to cater for that. Now, every CAPRO missionary kid (MK) who enters a higher institution gets a full scholarship. About 200 MKs are benefitting currently.”

“Our missionaries are paying rent all over the world, some as high as British £400 and £800 every month. How are they doing it? The Lord provides. During the war in Sudan, we had to evacuate and resettle 17 missionaries. They spent two months on the road, but God provided the mind-blowing amount we needed in this emergency.”

“Our international office was a rented facility, but God provided funds to purchase it within 90 days when our landlord made the offer. All these are God’s faithful provisions; we never borrowed to do any of them. I could share a thousand more testimonies of God’s supply, but the greatest is seeing previously unreached people groups now come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.”

An African mission

Dondo says that about 80 per cent of CAPRO’s donors are Nigerians, but they hope this changes so more people in other countries share in the funding. The majority of CAPRO’s missionaries are Africans with a few Asians and Americans. The 344 churches planted by CAPRO are not mandated to send any support to CAPRO’s office; rather, they are encouraged to send out their own missionaries and multiply work among their people.

Africa has become the new centre of gravity for world Christianity, and if the Lord is truly calling us to advance his mission to unreached territories, then he has made all the resources and funds available—through his obedient and cheerful givers in his well-endowed African Church.

• Thank God for his faithfulness to CAPRO missionaries over the years.
• Pray for all African missionaries to receive every support they need.
• Pray for creative funding ideas for African mission agencies.

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