Seeing the Harvest Grow

Sent from Georgetown, Guyana to the island of Grenada as a part of the GENESIS initiative, Cleon Cadogan served as a volunteer missionary for two years. A month ago, he finished his primary work of planting a new congregation in the community of Content, and he has recently shared his thoughts regarding the challenges and blessings of that assignment:

Working in the Island of Grenada, the challenges were many. Leaving family, friends, and work to live in a place of uncertainty was indeed a challenge. But you must know the one who has called you is able to keep and provide for you. He can only do what He has promised if you are willing to go through the valley of shadow of death experience according to Psalms 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (KJV).  We must go through challenges to experience the power of God. One is reminded of Jesus, who went through difficulties and great temptations, and came out victorious. He (Jesus) took on the sins of the world but came through.

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In ministry, one may encounter negatives such as who is in charge, identity crisis, unsettled hurts, and power struggles, just to name the more prevalent ones. These are just strategies that the enemy uses to distract the missionary from the bigger picture at hand: souls for the kingdom.  Michael Youssef writes the following in Conquer: Your Battle Plan for Spiritual Victory: “If the enemy can get you to debate any of the issues that are settled in the word of God, he’s two-thirds of the way through” (p. 34).  The enemy seeks to make us question each other’s motives.  He desires to use it as a means of sowing seeds of negativity, discord and confusion. Yet, the word of God reminds us in 1 Peter 5: 8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV).  We must be vigilant, sober, and in the spirit of warfare for the mission that is before us. Jesus was and is our ultimate example.  We must not allow the negative to outweigh the good. Some of the tools I used to defeat the negative were prayer, writing, speaking with persons who have a heart for the vision, fasting, and equipping myself with the word of God. Without continually hearing the voice of God, you will kill yourself trying to accomplish the mission.

There were other churches that had gone into the mission area where we were located but failed to return. The community of Content is seen as a “hotspot” by the local government and has been known for “nothing good”. I guess you can say it’s their “Nazareth”.  But John 1:46 tells us: “‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip” (NIV).  Even the men of old had issues with places that did not fit their status quo. However, Jesus came for all of humanity.  We will truly reflect Jesus to a postmodern society when we change the way we ARE and DO CHURCH. This does not mean the gospel will change according to our doctrinal and theological distinctives or preferences, but we must show Jesus.

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Reflecting on our time in Content, I remember that the same members of the community worked along with me and the new believers in celebrating their first community dinner. The congregation now has an established church board, ladies’ ministry, youth ministry, Sunday School, Bible study, intercessory prayer meeting, deliverance group, and they are already looking in the next six months to launch an outreach. If we are not willing to trust God, and let people develop, then we are wicked farmers who plant seeds and pay no attention to them, or plant seeds and dig them up the next day. We must be willing to see the harvest grow.

Prayer Requests – Grenada

As we met recently with Crystalla Williams and Cleon Cadogan, closing out their time in Grenada as missionaries with Genesis, they shared the following prayer requests.  Please accompany them in this transition time as they pray for the people and places they have left and prepare for the new doors God will open for them as they return home:

Prayer Requests

For the Fontenoy Church of the Nazarene

1) For Pastor Alvin Forsyth, Min. Elizabeth Forsyth, Natisha Benjamin (daughter and church board secretary), Alvonn and Kareem Forsyth (not yet Christians).

2) For the Church Board: that there will be commitment to their calls and that they would function in their ministry rolls with excellence and passion.

3) For church members: that they would grow in faith, love and unity and that everyone will rise up to do, be and go.

4) For the youth of the community: that they would find direction amidst a confusing and manipulating world.

5) For evangelism and discipleship to become engrained in the church’s DNA.

6) For greater opportunities to minister in the community.

7) For the new community (Concord) we began working in at the end of May.  Pray that persons will stand up and walk into the graces that God has called them to.

8) For financial stability.

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For the Content Church of the Nazarene, officially organized August 13, 2017

1) For the pastor and his family: Alister Douglas, Lorraine Douglas and their children (one of whom is in medical school).

2) For the work of God to continue to grow in their community.

3) That, as the only church in that neighborhood, God will use them to transform a whole community.

4) For them to become a church-planting church within the next 2-3 years.

5) That land becomes available for the building of a sanctuary.

6) For the youth in the community to find purpose and strength in God.

7) That discipling of the new believers will be thorough and that they will understand who they are in Christ and as Nazarenes.

Personal Prayer Requests of Cleon and Crystalla:

1) That persons ministered to in Grenada will continue to grow in Christ.

2) For an easy transition back into life at home.

3) For their families, who have greatly missed them in their absence.

4) For a job to support housing and living expenses.

5) For all their relationships.

6) For a door to open for them to continue studying other cultures and languages.

7) That God would provide mentors for those that they are leaving behind in Grenada.

8) For their home churches and countries: that the transition back into ministry will be smooth.

Grenada Site Re-entry Retreat – 2018

From September 5 to 9 of this year, Crystalla Williams and Cleon Cadogan, volunteer missionaries that were sent to the Genesis site of Grenada in August 2016, traveled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to enjoy a retreat after finishing their 2-year assignment. They participated in workshops addressing reverse culture shock and also prepared for sharing with churches and supporters the message of what God has done in and through them.  Scott and Emily Armstrong, coordinators of this initiative, thanked Crystalla and Cleon for their service and also congratulated them for their effort and commitment to God’s mission.

The Genesis missionaries shared some of the experiences of working with the existing church and planting a new church on the island, and they recognized God’s faithfulness, love, protection and provision during their two years there.

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We thank God for Crystalla and Cleon, and we ask you to join us in prayer for them. Currently they are with their local churches and home districts sharing what God has done in this time and also encouraging others to get involved and continue supporting the missionary work.

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Praise the Lord for the lives of Crystalla and Cleon! And, thanks to every person and church that supported them by encouraging, praying, and giving generously.  May God continue to bless and use them as well!

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Cleon with Laritza (Genesis missionary from Dominican Republic)

“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:4, 8-9).

Another Stellar Report from Grenada

We continue to see the mighty acts of God in our new start church, the Content Church of the Nazarene. The month of November was filled with the spirit of praise and revival.  The owner of the community bar converted his bar into our place of worship, and he and his father, Mr. Mathlin and Kabir, were baptized on November 11.  We give God all the glory for adding to His church.  We also gathered November 14-16 for three nights of ministry, and saw five persons give their hearts to the Lord.

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Our potential leaders were trained by “Come Up Higher International Ministries,” in a two-day workshop. This was made possible by the District Superintendent, Rev. Kelron Harry, and Dr. Cathy Norville-Rochester and her team from Barbados. The team worked with both Fontenoy and Content Churches of the Nazarene.

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Our site coordinator, Rev. Samuel Pile of Barbados, was present for our crusade and workshops, and he was a needed blessing and support to our team. Let us continue to pray for the others that will be baptized soon and accepted into membership. We continue forward in this ministry with your prayers, love and support.

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– Cleon Cadogan, Genesis volunteer missionary.