" Pastor, I have something I need to tell you!"
I knew by the tone in her voice that the "need to tell me" was not going to be a pleasurable confessional. This was one of the matriarchs of our young church; what possibly could she have done wrong?
A year earlier, in the spring of 1992; Marti Ward had asked me what I thought about her going to East Africa as a missionary. She shared with me how the Holy Spirit was calling her to go. I then recalled my hesitation in broaching the subject of her age. I timidly asked, "Marti, do you mind if I ask how old you are?" A smile lit her face and with a twinkle in her eye she said,, "I am 65 ."
I could not help but think that at an age when our culture is preoccupied with retirement, Marti was making the most important career move of her life. She was launching out into full-time ministry.
Her initial journey went well. She spent over 9 months in Kenya and Uganda, many times taking the gospel to people groups that had never heard the good news of Jesus Christ before. She possessed a pioneering spirit that pushed her ministry team members, who were half her age, beyond their own physical limitations.
It was not uncommon for her to walk over four hours to reach her destination in the remote arid bush country. She endured searing temperatures, malaria-laden mosquitoes, and many tribal, cultural, and language barriers. She overcame those obstacles by possessing an undaunted spirit and an undying love for the indigenous tribes. Literally hundreds of Kenyans made first time decisions for Christ during that inaugural year.
But here she was, back in my office, having trouble telling me what was bothering her.
"Pastor, I need to confess something to you." Tears welled up in her eyes. "I lied to you. Last year when you asked me how old I was, I wasn't honest with you. I was really 75! I had a birthday last month, I am now 76. I was afraid to tell you my real age in fear that you would worry too much about my safety and not allow me to go!"
The Lord used Marti extraordinarily during the next 6 years. --by Pastor Greg Massanari
Marti spent 6 months each year ( from 1992 to 1999) in Africa and averaged 15 crusades a year. During her time of rest back in the states she worked at Women's Resource Center counseling young girls. She died of malaria in December of 1999. Her daughter, Michelle and husband Jim Thompson have carried on her vision by working diligently to bring the gospel to those in rural areas in East Africa.
Marti Ward Communities for Christ (MWCC) currently has churches in Uganda, Kenya, and the Congo (DRC). There is a Bible College that trains up young pastors in the Holy Scriptures to eliminate traditional tribal beliefs from being interwoven into the teaching of God's Word within their churches. There are four Christian schools and plans to build an orphanage in the immediate future. ALL donations (100%) go directly to the work of the ministry there. Each summer new missionaries travel for a six week mission to our main base in Kenya before going out to the other areas. Each missionary pays 100% of their travel and incidental expenses.
Please Pray About
Sponsoring a Child to Attend School
The children of rural western Kenya aren’t able to dream about a better future or what they hope to be when they grow up! They wake up focused on just surviving the day; having food to eat, safe water to drink, clothes to wear, no serious sickness or infections to endure, no chigger bites from sleeping on the ground, no typhoid and no malaria attack this day.
What they are able to dream about is that someone might care enough to give them hope by sponsoring them with the opportunity to attend school.
Cost to sponsor a child to attend school for one month is $25. The school term is 10 months.
What does the school fee cover? 1. Teachers salaries
3. Materials for students and teachers
4. School uniforms + shoes when needed
5. Breakfast and lunch for students
6. Medical care for students