Sixteen young people were heavily involved on our Next Steps program including four AIMers.
Already nearly 100 have received the Holy Ghost.
I wanted to share just one of the reports.
This past month has been the most impeccable time, eye-opening experience, and biggest blessing of my life. What an honor to be here on Next Steps Togo 2014! Not only is it a gorgeous, tropical location. But, the Togo Team is seriously top notch! Hosted by Bro. & Sis. Adams, Bro. & Sis. Sully, Bro. & Sis. Sarsfield, and the awesome aimers Amber Davenport, Logan Blackmon, and Rashe (who’s last name I don’t currently know). Month one down, one more to go in Togo.
Right when I stepped off the plane I realized I wasn’t in Arkansas anymore. It honestly wasn’t at all what I had cracked up “Africa” to be like. I had put it in this little bubble of desert sand everywhere, and the “brush” being common. However, it’s actually a rather beautiful location here! I was greeted with palm trees, a sea of motos, glorious sunsets that Picasso couldn’t even fathom, and constant access to fresh fruit! Simply amazing. And can I just say, the people are the happiest people I’ve ever encountered my whole entire 21 years of existence. I think we all had assumed they’d be sad since they are “poor” in our first-world perspective, but they are full of pure joy. Always smiling, always waving, and saying “Bienvenue, yovos!”I love it here, I really do. So, I can’t really say that culture shock in the way us Americans do with a negative connotation, it was more like, “Thank God, for culture shock because I now know what true happiness and simplistic living really is!”
On another note, the classes were phenomenal! It was seriously so humbling to be able to sit there and listen to tons of real-life, superhero missionaries pour their hearts out to us, and be so personal. Also, I was appreciative that they weren’t all topics we wanted to hear, but all topics we needed to hear. Like the good, the bad, the ugly. It’s necessary to focus on the whole picture, not just the pros of it. And what a once-in-a-lifetime privilege to fellowship with Bro. Howell (no big deal!), The Poitras’ (my faves), The Richardson (whom made me feel at home), and some of the local pastors who are the hands and feet of the work here in Togo. I’ll never forget those classes! Especially when they’d just be teaching, and God’s presence would just sweep over us in such a marvelous way. And hearing all of the Next Stepper’s devotions was so the perfect way to start our days! Oh God is just so good! We’ve all bonded and literally it’s like we’ve all known each other prior to this trip. There is indeed unity in diversity, because we are all here for the same cause. We are family.
The outreach that we’ve done here is by far, my favorite part of the trip. The Kid’s Crusades every Saturday are SO powerful! I can’t even tell you the total number of people getting the beautiful Gift of the Spirit, because its happening left and right. A moment, more like a memorial that I will always have from this trip, was from last week. We went to the “village” church; it was super duper tiny but a load of people to fit. At the altar call, we were all praying for kids, but then I needed to step away because I got a little overwhelmed and claustrophobic. I stepped with my back against the walls, aka bamboo tied together, and close my eyes to begin praying. All of a sudden, God’s reverent and holy presence overtakes me and I was truly lost in Him, and I fell down on my knees. For some reason, I remember opening up my eyes real quickly and right when I look up I locked eyes with this little girl. She was a few rows away on her knees praying, and as soon as we made eye contact a tear streamed down her face. I motioned for her to come over. So she gets on her knees beside me, hands raised, and I begin praying over her. Then, praying led to travail. Next thing I know, her head was nuzzled in my side, and she was speaking in tongues and bawling. I’ll never forget that. EVER. I don’t know her name, but I’ll always remember her and that moment God gave us. This place has humbled me so much more than mere syllables or words could ever portray. I refuse, absolutely refuse, to go home the same.
So there’s a little sliver of my experience here in Togo. I could honestly right a book, but the connection is decreasing so I must send this now. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this opportunity. Peace + Blessings to you all!
– Courtney Boyd