Standing Stone shepherd Joel Rissinger serves in the US and abroad. Today’s story comes from the front lines of Joel’s work with ministry leaders in Africa.
A pastor friend of mine had been involved with ministry in Africa for about 25 years. He had repeatedly invited me to travel with him and speak, but it wasn’t until about four or five years ago that I could join him for a project in Namibia. The passion of my African brothers and sisters, coupled with their desire to hear God’s word, ignited me. My friend and I then visited the Sons of Thunder Farm in Zambia, where I was impressed the diligent missions work enabling Zambians to receive job skills training, farming skills for arid climates, medical care, ministry development and church planting support, education for children and more. I could hardly wait to return and serve in Zambia (see www.sotministry.org).
I’ve now been in Zambia multiple times and God does amazing things every time. I spend a lot of one-on-one time with pastors to help equip and support them. I also do support preaching to various churches in the countryside. On our last trip we saw dozens accept Christ, twenty-five people baptized, and dozens healed and/or delivered spiritually.
Because my brothers and sisters in Zambia speak primarily Tonga, I often need a translator’s help to maximize ministry efforts. I’ve served alongside a friend and brother, Pastor George. We have fun working together because he’s actually better at telling my jokes than I am! His Tongan gestures and antics make them more enjoyable than when I tell them in English. George and I are pictured together at the top of this email.
Apart from translating part-time, Pastor George shepherds the primary church of about 200 members on the Sons of Thunder Farm. George is a classic example of the many pastors we’re trying to support in Zambia. He works hard in challenging circumstances. Lack of funds, meager living conditions, and a host of social challenges in his congregation face Pastor George daily. The support of generous believers back home allows me to provide training materials and encouragement to him and many other ministry leaders in Africa. We will continue to do whatever we can to ensure the ongoing success and longevity of God’s Church in Zambia. I have been so blessed to be a part of what God is doing in this place. Thank you all for helping make this possible! I can’t express how deeply grateful I am!
—Joel Rissinger, Standing Stone Shepherd