In January of 2007, I was asked to oversee our school ministry for the First Baptist Church of Kumasi. I was amazed at the incredible openness of so many schools in our area. We could go into a school and preach the clear plan of salvation, which in many cases contradicted what the school chaplain had been teaching the students. We were still welcome to go back and preach anytime we wanted. God blessed, and we saw thousands of students receive Jesus as their Saviour.
However, because of the prevalent teaching that good works are necessary for salvation, God gave me a desire to do more than go into a school one time and preach a 30-45 minute salvation message. So I typed a “salvation by grace through faith” paper, explaining Ephesians 2:8-9. I went back to the schools where we had already preached and preached this message. I also put the paper in the hands of each student. I still felt that we should be doing more for the students.
In September of 2007, God gave me a big dream for our school ministry: a dream of preaching the Gospel and distributing New Testaments and salvation booklets (booklets that would clearly explain salvation and refute the false teachings the students were receiving) to over one million students. After talking with Bro. Frankie Stubblefield and Dr. Kalapp, we calculated that we would need to ship six containers of New Testaments for this project. We also decided it would be best to get the salvation booklets printed here. We then began working on it, and “Operation Winning Students for Christ” was under way!
I was able to meet with the metro head of education in October, and he was thrilled with the idea. He even wrote us a letter of recommendation to show to the head teacher in each school. His assistant also helped tremendously by providing us with lists and locations of all the junior high and high schools in the Kumasi metro area.
Dr. Kalapp sent out a letter to many churches telling of the open door we had in the schools and the goals of “Operation Winning Students for Christ.” We then began praying for God to supply the finances to ship out the first container of New Testaments and to print our first 100,000 booklets.
One evening in April of 2008, my wife was at her monthly ladies’ meeting for our team members, and I was doing the dishes (as a good husband) and listening to Dr. Gibbs’ Pastors’ School message, “Doing the Impossible,” when my phone rang. It was Bro. Josh Smith, and he told me I should call Bro. Frankie because someone had provided all the money for our school project. “HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD!” I shouted. I couldn’t believe God had already answered our prayers. I excitedly called Bro. Frankie to find out how God had done the impossible! What a let down it was to be reminded that it was April Fools’ Day. I think that is the most disappointed I have ever been in my life. Needless to say, we continued in prayer but only after excluding Bro. Josh from our prayer meeting (not really).
One day while I was praying, I was struck by a scary thought, “Why don’t we preach to 100,000 students in one week?” I began to pray about this and to think about what it would take for us to do something of this magnitude. I talked to Pastor Mike Williams, then I e-mailed Dr. Kalapp, and we were all in agreement. We began to plan and prepare to see what God would be pleased to do through us. Though he was struggling with his health, Dr. Kalapp gave of himself to help raise the money we would need. Pastor Williams and many of our staff men began to pray every Wednesday night at our staff prayer meeting for God to make this endeavor successful.
Our first container of New Testaments arrived in September. Bro. Lawrence Williams (one of our newer team members), Nana Baffour (Bro. Lawrence’s convert), and I started setting up schools on September 17. I believe that Bro. Lawrence and Nana were direct answers to prayer, because, humanly speaking, without them we would not have been able to preach to 100,000 people in one week. We spent hundreds of hours going from school to school setting up appointments and getting contact information and statistics, as well as making phone calls to the schools.
On September 30, I was able to preach a message on the power of prayer to our college students, and many of them committed to pray daily for the School Blitz. We also took a few Church Education class periods to teach the college men how to conduct a school service. We continued going to more schools and making last-minute changes right up until November 7.
The volunteers were divided into 24 different teams, with 2 to 4 men per team. Every preacher came from our staff or Bible college. On Sunday, November 2, each man was given a list of the schools he would be going to the following week so he could pray for God’s blessings on each service.
Our School Blitz took place November 10-14. What an incredible week it was! Each day our bus left the college before 6 a.m. in order to get the preachers and workers to the church on time. When the bus pulled up to the church, I could usually hear the men singing hymns. One day they were singing (almost shouting) “Victory in Jesus,” and I thought, “What an incredible privilege to work with men who have that kind of a passion for the things of God!”
On Monday everyone was excited to see what God would do, and the excitement seemed to grow and grow each day as the men saw thousands of people come to Christ! A taxi station near our church sent taxis to our church each morning to load up the New Testaments and take the teams to their schools. Some of our services started as early as 6:30 a.m. After all the teams had been sent out, my wife and the college ladies counted and divided the New Testaments and booklets for each school for the following day.
In many of the schools, the teachers listened to the preaching and received Jesus as their Saviour! We were able to preach in a few Muslim schools. We held voluntary services, and nearly half of the students came. A great percentage of the students trusted Jesus as their Saviour! Praise the LORD! A few of our preachers were able to lead their taxi drivers to Christ, and those drivers became valuable helpers! I believe every man involved could write many pages telling of the miracles that they saw take place that week.
We preached the Gospel in 282 schools to 103,918 people, and 94,500 professed that they received Jesus as their Saviour!!! In addition, we invited some high schools to a special service on Sunday afternoon. Over 450 students came, and nearly 100 followed the Lord in believer’s baptism. Many more students visited our regular church services and also got baptized.
We are currently working on starting weekly Bible Clubs in some of these schools to train and disciple these converts. We are also seeking to recruit students for Hyles-Anderson College of West Africa!
We have only begun to scratch the surface of what could be done in the schools here in Ghana. Please pray that God would allow us to reach these students while the door is still open. Since November 21, 2007, we have preached in a total of 300 schools to 109,004 people; 98,381 have professed faith in Christ. We have also distributed 99,060 New Testaments and salvation booklets. We still need more containers of New Testaments and more laborers to spread the Gospel, but I am enthusiastic about what is going to be accomplished for the cause of Christ as a result of “Operation Winning Students for Christ!”