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Locals spread Christianity in Africa

POSTED: March 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.
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People on the mission to West Africa late last year included Pastor Godson Frederick and his wife, Valarie, the Rev. Abraham Maji, Dr. Peggy Rayman, Evangelist Patricia O'Nery, Valerie Sutton, Marjory Varnedoe and Dr. Deloris Mitchell. The names do not correspond exactly to the photo of some of the mission participants.

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After being a member of an Africa on Fire Missions missionary team from Liberty County, I wanted to write up an interview with Dr. Peggy Rayman, national director of training and mobilization from Church of the Great Commission in Orlando.

Varnedoe: Who started AOF and why?

Rayman: Africa on Fire Missions, Inc. was founded in June 1998 by my husband, Dr. Joseph Rayman, and myself. It was birthed out of a desire to focus strategically on completing the great commission that Jesus gave 2,000 years ago. In August 2001, the ministry moved from Virginia Beach, Va., to Hinesville. In Hinesville, the ministry began to grow with a number of local churches.

Varnedoe: What was the commission and how do you propose to fulfill this desire?

Rayman: AOF attempts to raise awareness in American churches about the unreached people in the world who have yet to have an understandable presentation of the gospel.

Varnedoe: Is there a reason for focusing on African-American churches?
Rayman: It is a strategic point because many of the unreached peoples live in nations that are far more open to the witness and testimony of African-Americans than they are to Anglo-Americans.

Varnedoe: What is AOF’s vision and mission?
Rayman: AOF’s vision is to see passionate worship rising to our Savior from every people group and in every language. Its mission is to mobilize and empower local churches to train and equip believers to make disciples of all nations, tribes and tongues.

Varnedoe: How successful has AOF Missions been?
Rayman: With the Kingdom Mandate Training tool, my husband and I have trained eight different mission teams and taken them on trips to Kenya, Nigeria and Togo.

Varnedoe: Where did your mission teams come from? And are you working on ministry into other states?

Rayman: Most of the teams have come from the Liberty County area. In 2006, AOF expanded into Florida and Minnesota, so people from these states are also joining the teams. At the end of 2006, the ongoing work of mobilization in Georgia was turned over to Evangelist Patricia O’Nery of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Hinesville.

Varnedoe: How do you plan to accomplish this expansion?

Rayman: Let me emphasize that AOF’s strategy from the beginning is to identify, train and equip local leaders and hand over responsibility to them as soon as possible.

Varnedoe: A team from Liberty County led by Patricia O’Nery, executive coordinator of AOF missions, traveled to West Africa in October 2007. What was its purpose?

Rayman: The overall purpose of the trip was threefold:
1. To mobilize African pastors to train and send out their own missionaries into the 10/40 Window, an area of the world where most of the unreached peoples live.
2. To provide training and encouragement to African missionaries already living and working in this area and particularly to visit missionaries who are being supported by AOF mission cell groups.
3. To strength AOF’s partnership with African mission leaders.

Varnedoe: What is a church expected to do after they have received the training?
Rayman: Each church is expected to form a mission cell group or integrate foreign mission into an already existing group. That group then adopts one unreached people’s group and begins supporting an African missionary to that group. As often as possible, the mission group takes a trip overseas to visit their missionary.

Varnedoe: I would like to have you tell about the team members on your last trip, since I was one of them.

Rayman: Our last mission trip was to West Africa which began on Oct. 11 when the team set out for Nigeria. We were hosted by Apostle and Pastor Godson Frederick and his wife, Valarie and Rev. Abraham Maji. The members were myself, Evangelist O’Nery, Valerie Sutton, and Marjory Varnedoe, both of St. Peter’s AME Church in Midway. They traveled through Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and finally arrived in Ghana on Oct. 30. At this time, we were joined by Dr. Deloris Mitchell from Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church and Naa Abashie Ankarah, a native Ghanaian who is serving as a chaplain at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. We were hosted by Pioneers Ghana, an indigenous mission ministry. The Ghana portion of the trip was organized by Minister Sherry Thomas, an American missionary who served for many years under Bishop Eddie Long, but is now sent out by the Church of the Great Commission in Orlando. Ministry Thomas is a career missionary with Pioneers Ghana. The team headed home on Nov. 6.

For more information, you can email your questions to aoaacf@aoaacf.org or write to Drs. Joseph and Peggy Rayman at Route 2, Box 118E, Ludowici, GA 31316.
 

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