March 1st 2012
GAP Missions is an organization dedicated to reaching the lost by fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord to “Go ye into all the world and preach the GOSPEL.” We also accept the responsibility of His Great Commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
The ministry began as “Missionary Aviation Outreach” in 1989 when we began to prepare for an outreach to the Gueré people living in the remote regions of Ivory Coast, West Africa. Twenty three people accepted the Lord in the first meeting and within eighteen months the ministry expanded to three neighboring villages. More than 350 people left their traditional animistic religion and trusted Jesus as their Savior and the first church was established in the village called Guiri, prefecture of Bangolo. Inquisitive visitors from other more distant villages came to the church and our home begging us to bring the “TRUTH” to their people.
With hundreds of villages needing to hear the Gospel, LaNelle and I realized we would never be able to reach all these villages alone. We began to pray for the Lord to call nationals into the ministry and allow us to teach them in order that they might reach their own people. God answered our prayer and gave us our hearts desire. Before long we had dozens of men and ladies entering the Bible and Pastoral Training Institute. Pastors from America answered the plea to come help us teach them. Qualified men taught the nationals “block” studies in the area of their expertise and experience. The nationals had such a hunger for the Word and many walked from great distances to hear and to learn. Now nationals teach nationals and the ministry continues to expand exponentially. Dozens of churches now exist among the Guere tribe and literally thousands have heard and responded to the preaching of the Gospel. Our mission was legally accepted and approved by the government of Ivory Coast under the name of “La Mission Baptiste Source du Rocher.” With excitement and enthusiasm, capable, Godly Ivorian pastors are now co-sharing the responsibility of directing the mission.
Rebels burned many villages in the Bangolo region which left many Christians and pastors in the mission little choice but to move to safer places to live and hopefully find work. Many moved to Abidjan, the industrial capitol. Churches have now been established in the capitol city of Abidjan under the leadership of Pastor David Guei. Pastor David continued the Bible courses and now has 26 students in the Bible Institute of Abidjan.
Pastor Joseph Tome chose to stay in the rebel zone and continue his ministry among the Yacouba people. Nearly one thousand people have been reached with the Gospel and several churches established. He has close to 30 pastors training under his leadership. These men minister among the remote villages as they train.
In 2002, civil war divided the country of Ivory Coast, West Africa, in half. Due to the war, people have suffered greatly. Villages were burned and thousands of people were killed in the western region where we ministered. Those who depended on gardens or small farms to sustain their families have been chased from their homes and have lost their means of income and existence. Many people bundled up what belongings they had left and fled to the capital city or to other towns outside the rebel-controlled area, seeking a safer environment. As a result of this displacement, we are now caring for many orphans, widows and poverty-stricken children. With little food and no means of support, these destitute children and widows came to us seeking help. We could not turn them away!
The pastors who chose to stay in the rebel zone minister under harsh and dangerous circumstances. God has miraculously protected and blessed them over the past four years. They preach, teach, evangelize, and press forward in the strength of the Lord.