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From Involved Pastors

ARA is doing what most churches with a heart for missions dream of but rarely have the opportunity of doing —directly partnering in advancing the gospel and planting churches among unreached people groups. And they are doing it by mobilizing and equipping highly effective nationals in reaching their own country and continent with the gospel. Working in one of the most remote, gospel-impoverished, and churchless regions on the planet, ARA is doing it with conviction, joy, and tenacity. Billy and Jen Nelson’s integrity and humility have only served to increase my desire to partner with ARA and eagerly tell others of their ministry.

Corey Schmatjen

Director of International Ministries

Great Commission Collective

Paul writes in Ephesians 1:15/16 and he says, “this is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I never stop giving thanks for you…” These verses summarize my trip to West Africa. Because of the time spent with the missionaries, and seeing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it spurred me on to run harder after Him. The purpose of the trip was for me to lead a training, however, it was I who was trained. Because of that trip through ARA, I am closer to Christ than before I’d gone. The Lord bless and keep ARA for the good they are doing for the kingdom!

Pastor Stephen Love

Redemption City Church

South Bend, IN

In 1900 there were about 9 million Christians throughout the continent of Africa. Today there are over 500 million! Much of this growth, especially in recent years, has not been due to missionaries from other continents, but rather from Africans reaching their fellow Africans. Increasingly, they are doing their part to fulfill the Great Commission. Yet most of this growth has happened in countries that already have a significant Gospel witness. Bill and Jen Nelson of ARA have a vision for partnering with African pastors to reach the unreached peoples of Africa. African pastors adapt quickly to the new cultural context, learning the local language with relative ease. In short, they are more effective than western missionaries, and for a fraction of the cost. In the winter of 2020, I had the privilege of training a number of these pastors and their wives. What they lack in formal theological training they make up in zeal, faith, and a commitment to suffer for the Gospel. While I was training them in theology and practical ministry skills, they inspired me to be more committed as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I was particularly moved by the way some of them were literally putting their lives on the line for the Gospel. I felt unworthy to be in their presence.

Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. David W. Jones

Village Church of Barrington

Barrington, IL

I am thankful to the Lord for the partnership between my church and ARA.  We have supported the ministry through prayer, financially and through fundraising events over the years, but also through training candidates.  I have been to Africa twice to participate in training and both times have left transformed from the time spent with the precious candidates and their families.  Both times I came home motivated to challenge my church to deepen our partnership with ARA.  The reality of real people doing real missions work in real places where the Gospel has never been is understood in a powerful way when working with the candidates, praying with them and worshiping with them.  Both times I went to Africa with ARA have been an investment in my own walk with Christ as I have received more than I have been able to give.  I have felt unworthy to be their teacher but blessed for the opportunity to share time and space with the most authentic servants of God I have ever encountered.

Pastor Mike Vandermeir

Community Baptist Church

Elk Grove Village, IL

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