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By President Randall A. Bach
Editor in Chief

Part of your global ministry may easily be within your everyday reach in your own city or town. It starts with a caring heart.

When you meet Pastor Peter Mahoye Shandakwa, you realize he is a man of giant character and faith. There is a spiritual depth about this man that is humbling. Most of us born in America cannot begin to comprehend what people in other countries have endured. After escaping the specter of death in Africa, Peter labored at a factory job and pastored a flock in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for twelve years while tirelessly working to extract his family from dangerous conditions in Africa. He joyfully did so while faithfully complying with the laws of the United States. What a thrill it was when the Shandakwa family was reunited and found safe haven in the United States. Can you imagine what that would be like?

RELATED: “PETER SHANDAKWA: JUST CAN’T BE STOPPED!“

At some point in life most people need a helping hand. God sovereignly provided help to the Shandakwas both in Africa and the United States. Their lives were spared because someone cared. They made their way to America because someone cared. They were provided food and shelter because someone cared. And then, like previous self-respecting generations of immigrants, the Shandakwas obtained employment and worked hard to provide for themselves. Theirs is a story like thousands of others that extend back hundreds of years, stories about people who gratefully embraced America as their new home and began contributing to it.

Peter Shandakwa never walked away from God’s call upon his life. He found a group of Congolese expatriates in Cedar Rapids who needed a shepherd but had no place to meet and minister. That is where other caring players entered the story. The congregation of First Church of the Open Bible in Cedar Rapids took Pastor Peter and his flock into their care, virtually adopting them while doing everything they could to nurture and assist the infant church. Harris Holsapple IV, First Church’s pastor, states:

I love that our church was able to help [Peter and his congregation]. The question I keep going back to is what does the Bible teach us about the greatest commandments? The first thing is to love your God with all that you are; the second one is to treat others as you want to be treated. Most of the people in Peter’s church are African refugees. If I were in their shoes, what would I want a church like ours to do? One of the major reasons churches exist is to be a blessing to those around us. If we were able to give another church an opportunity to grow and someday be in their own facility why would we not do it?

God told the Israelites, “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34-35, NLT). First Church of the Open Bible treated Peter Shandakwa, Peter’s family, and Peter’s Congolese congregation as fellow Americans and loved them.

Open Bible Churches’ mission is to globally make disciples, develop leaders, and plant churches. Truly the mission field has come to the U.S.! Part of your global ministry may easily be within your everyday reach in your own city or town. It starts with a caring heart. Has God placed a group of immigrants within your ministry reach? Is there another “Peter Shandakwa” close to you?

About The Author

Randall Bach
President of Open Bible Churches

Randall Bach delights in opportunities to serve the Lord, including his current assignment as president of Open Bible Churches. He and Barbara, his wife, have been in ministry for over 46 years and call it “Our adventure together.” Randall loves the church, pastors, and church leaders and is convinced that God loves to work through them to make disciples, develop leaders, and plant churches.