Seeing the whitened harvest in front of him, Donne Pouguini says he is experiencing first-hand what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 9:37-38: “The harvest truly is plentiful but the labourers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.” But through the ministry of the Calvary Chapel Bible Training Centre in Ghana, labourers are being trained up in the way of the Lord and sent out into those fields that are ripe for the harvest.
Donne Pouguini is originally from Togo and moved to the Volta region of Ghana in the year 2000 as a missionary. He was teaching French at a local school while teaching the Bible in various churches in the community even though he never had any formal Bible training and did not understand many of the concepts he was teaching. “In fact,” Donne recalls, “I was even afraid to read some of the books of the Bible because of their level of difficulty.”
So when he heard of a Calvary Chapel in a nearby village that was starting a Bible Training Centre he contacted the director of the Centre to find out if he could enrol.
Donne was accepted and became one of the first students of the Calvary Chapel Bible Training Centre in Ghana. Now a decade later he is the director and is committed to equipping labourers for the harvest.
The Bible Training Centre started off in 2000 when a team from America came to meet with four farmers from Builsa who wanted to learn about the Bible. They taught them how to study verse by verse through the New Testament and through those humble beginnings the Calvary Chapel Bible Training Centre was born.
Since the Centre’s early days not much has changed. The program retains a level of simplicity that it had in the beginning; listen to a series of tapes by Pastor Chuck Smith as he taught through the New Testament, learn the Inductive Bible Study method and pray for one another to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The goal of the Centre has always been to train local men to pastor their people.
To further that goal a pastoral training program and a children’s ministry training program have recently been established. It has already become evident that the Lord is already using these two training programs to help establish His church.
While most of the students at the Centre have been from Ghana, there are also a large number from Togo, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Burkina Faso. They have also seen students enrol from Benin, Gambia and Sierra Leone. Recently new doors have been opened for students form Guinea Conakry and Cameroon.
“A big challenge for us has been space for all those who apply,” explains Donne, “We are only able to admit about a third of all applications because of limited space and resources.”
But despite the limited resources the Bible Training Centre has seen thousands of students pass through their doors and plant over 50 churches.
Despite efforts from leaders and non-governmental organizations, malnutrition, economic hardships, illiteracy and difficult weather conditions are big issues. Idol worship and Islam have also gained strong roots in that area, but praise God, there is an open door for the gospel.”
Many people in the North are responding to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and many churches are being planted. In fact the majority of the Calvary Chapel churches in Ghana are located in that region.
There are many opportunities in the North, but as Donne explains, “There are many open doors, but very few labourers. Many of the church leaders in those remote villages don’t have a good understanding of the Bible and those who can teach are often not willing to go there because of the hardships they can face. It is very easy to start a church in every single village in the North of Ghana, but the question remains; who will teach them the Bible?”
This is where the Bible Training Centre has been pivotal in sending equipped teachers and pastors into a field ripe unto harvest and seeing the Lord’s work expand through the region and even overflow into the neighbouring Togo where a vibrant Calvary Chapel movement is now beginning to grow.
Donne is glad to welcome those from all over to become involved in what the Lord is doing in Ghana and other countries where former students from Calvary Chapel Bible Training Centre are currently ministering. If you would like to find out how to support Donne you can contact us or go to www.ccbibletrainingcentre.org
Please also remember to keep them in prayer as they are seeking the Lord to send more labourers into the field, a stable water supply for the campus, support for pastors in the rural areas of Ghana and resources to complete the chapel building.
Matthew Jordaan is based in Cape Town, South Africa where he serves with Calvary Chapel Community Church Cape Town. Coming from a background of newspaper journalism, Matthew is the website administrator for Calvary Chapel Africa.
Additional research by Lauren Vogt