International Mission Teams (IMT) is a mission initiative of Perth Bible College. Since 1928, PBC has had a heart for mission and ministry: this continues to today. The mission specialisation at PBC has more recently focussed on developing graduates who are equipped to be trainers of others in cross cultural settings. IMT now forms a regular part of the practical outworking of this development.

The IMT team in Uganda, December 2016
(James Samuel, Meseret Cohen, David Smith, Darius Kemboi)

The vision of IMT is: to partner with, encourage, and build up under-resourced networks of Christian leaders across the world.

In many lands and contexts, especially the under-resourced rural and regional areas of the developing world, there exists neither opportunity nor ongoing support to ensure the continual strengthening of the churches that were planted. As one pastor from South Sudan puts it:

“The missionaries have told us about the gospel and we believed. But they never told us what it means to be a mature Christian.”

This leaves those people and churches open to becoming weak, syncretistic, affected by heresy, or completely side-tracked by cults or other religions. We believe the missional partnering approach of identifying key network relationships, identifying and addressing particular training and development needs, and of sending training teams, short term yet regularly, is one of the most effective ways of strengthening the churches and facilitating a deep genuine indigenous response. It is, in essence, Short Term Mission with Long Term Vision. Investing in partnerships and leaders ensures the growth of the churches and is one of the most effective ways of impacting an entire community for Christ. What is learned by the leaders is readily passed on to all. In other words: Train One – Feed Many.

2016 IMT Summary

Country City Dates Focus Participants
Cambodia Siem Reap July 11-15 “Discipleship” 120
Kenya Eldoret December 5-9 “Serve with Integrity” 100
Uganda/South Sudan Kampala December 13-17 “Serve with Integrity” 100
Ethiopia Addis Ababa December 20-21 Meeting with key leaders

Giving

All participants in the countries we work in are expected to contribute to the cost of the training according to their means. However, the leaders who attend these conferences are mostly very poor, many surviving from day to day. To be able to attend these conferences they need others like us to assist in meeting the transport, food, and accommodation costs.

We invite you to share financially and prayerfully in this work. All funds raised go toward supporting the training of the conference delegates. The leaders who go are committed to funding their own costs. If you are able to assist, tax deductible donations can be made online.

For more information on the IMT work please feel free to contact David Smith at PBC on (08) 9243 2000, or by email at college@pbc.wa.edu.au.

Current Teams

Cambodia

(IMT Cambodia Pastors and Leaders Conference 2016)

As part of our IMT ministry PBC has been training and sending teams to strengthen and support the church leaders in Cambodia since 2010. Each year, since 2010, we have facilitated a pastors and leaders conference that serves to strengthen the pastors, encourage and unite the people, and have them return to their own churches as more effective servants of Christ. This training in Cambodia now impacts on the growth of over 70 regional and village churches across the nation.

Kenya

(IMT Kenya Pastors and Leaders Conference 2016)

Population: 46.6 Million  
Language: English/Swahili
Key Contact: Darius Kemboi (PBC Graduate)

In December 2016 we commenced a work in both Kenya and Uganda. While Kenya has had a Christian witness and work for many years it is evident that outside the major cities the strength and depth of the Christian witness needs attention. We held a pastors and leaders conference in Eldoret to serve those in the surrounding rural areas. Darius Kemboi, a church pastor from Kenya, and a PBC graduate, has a heart to serve and lead his own people. He coordinated the Kenyan work which provided training to 100 leaders across 21 denominations. Such an interdenominational gathering had not been experienced before by the leaders in and around Eldoret.

Personal Story: Darius Kemboi

I was born in Trans-Nzoia, Kenya in 1979. I thank God for my Christian parents, for their demonstration of godly faith and unconditional love for me. My spiritual journey began when I was 12, during one of our family devotions. My father led me to Christ after a bible study discussion. Even though I didn’t understand the intricacies of new birth, I knew that my life was under a new direction. Later on I enrolled in a catechism class for two years, before being baptised on January 4th, 1994. On that day, I sensed that God was calling me to His service, but I didn’t know how or what to do. I never wanted to be a pastor as such, but instead to do part-time ministry. Over time, I volunteered in my church as a Sunday school teacher and music co-director for five years. This is where I confirmed God’s call to pastoral work. I applied to study at Scott Christian University, where under God’s hand of providence, guidance and protection I gained the award of Bachelor of Theology. Scott Christian University is one of Africa’s most reputable evangelical institutions. On reflection, the kind of pastoral mentorship I received at Scott Christian University cannot be paralleled. I am also aware that some of my tuition fees were paid for by friends and volunteer groups through the Educating Africans for Christ Fund and other matching grants. However small their financial sacrifice, it mattered.

Personal Calling: Darius Kemboi

I am now in Australia continuing my theological study, undertaking a Masters of Theology at PBC. I am married to Agnes Kemei, and we have a girl, Mishma Chepchumba Kemboi. We believe that God has blessed us as a family by enriching us with skills that are useful for both spiritual and humanitarian service. As a family, we are members of the Africa Inland Church, Kenya (a shoot of the Africa Inland Mission, AIM).

I understand that my story is rooted in my humble background. This moulds my lifelong vision for the local church in Kenya. I long for a community that strives for communal edification and empowerment, where people do not live for themselves. I dream of pastors who can sacrifice for the sake of others and lead our people. Our people need better access to health facilities, safe drinking water, better learning environments, access to technology and of course a deeper discipleship in Christ. Further theological training in Australia has enabled me to deepen my theological horizons, as well as appreciate and understand diverse worldviews. I believe that I am now a better bible teacher, friend and mentor to many. My goal is to be a resource mobiliser, for fellow pastors through providing teaching and training, as well as to advocate for a better Kenyan community.

The Need in Kenya

During my childhood, I not only saw my family in need, but also the entire neighbourhood struggling with day to day living. The effects of poverty and social inequality in Kenya cannot be underestimated. In a nutshell, this scarcity resonates across many rural villages in Kenya today. This scarcity also extends to the rural and regional churches. In many places the seeds of Christianity have been planted but many rural churches don’t have access to any training, resulting in a serious lack of leaders or pastors. This lack of leadership not only affects the spiritual wellbeing of the churches but impacts on the social development of these poorer areas. Without leadership, societies as well as the churches remain weak. Where there is no training in place, people also do not understand its value, and so our theological training institutions that exist, mainly in the larger cities, are recording the lowest student admissions ever. Much more needs to be done to train leaders in these regional areas and to encourage many more to become trained leaders for the future.

The Plan for Kenya

It is my commitment and prayer to raise support among my pastoral colleagues and to identify and facilitate capable people in their respective pastorates. Rural churches in Kenya must be taught to be proactive in building self-supporting teams. This is what I believe God is calling me to do. I have been able to serve as an administrator, bible college teacher, and broadcaster. Through these experiences, I am persuaded that developing leaders is a key part of the pastoral mandate. Churches and communities will thrive under sound leaders who are able to create relevant spiritual and physical strategies, policies, and actions. Leadership equipping and empowerment is the core need in the rural churches of Kenya. My vision for my people is based on personal experiences and participation in pastoral ministry, both in Kenya and in Perth, Western Australia. As part of the work of International Mission Teams, a ministry of Perth Bible College, I will go with the PBC team to Kenya and hold a pastors training conference in December this year.

I am convinced beyond doubt that it is through training and education that we can influence the situations of many churches, families, villages and cities. A gift today changes tomorrow’s destiny. This trip signals a fulfillment of a long awaited passion to be a pastor for the pastors’ community.

Uganda/South Sudan

(IMT South Sudan Pastors and Leaders Conference 2016 in Uganda)

Population: 12.6 Million
Language: Arabic
Key Contact: James Samuel (PBC Student)

Following the work in Kenya we move to Uganda to work among the South Sudanese pastors and leaders that have been displaced from their war-torn homeland. There are over 100,000 South Sudan refugees who have moved to Uganda to escape the violence. James Samuel, a key South Sudanese Christian leader and PBC student, led this important work in Uganda. The focus of the South Sudan conference was to, build a faith foundation that leads to allegiance to God first rather than tribe, confront nominalism, and provide a pathway for deep discipleship and faithful witness. The conference in Kampala hosted over 100 South Sudanese leaders from 13 tribes. A gathering of such tribal unity had never been seen before.

Personal Story: James Samuel

I was born in South Sudan, in 1964, during a time of civil war that originated back in the 1950s. I grew up as a jungle boy who knew nothing about peace or health. I spent my whole life on the run, living in forests and mountains. From my childhood until today, I have rarely seen peace, resolution, or productive development in my country. Pain and suffering, hunger and killing, were the norm during my childhood years. I cannot remember how old I was when my father was taken by the Arabs. The next time I saw my father was a few years later, when he was brought back home in a coffin to be buried. My mother could not bear the pain and a short time later she also died. As it would be for any human being, this was a very painful time for me.

Before I gave my life to Christ, I knew I didn’t have a future. Growing up, without going to school, the difficulties of life drove me to create my own destructive way of life. My life was a total mess and I could not set myself free from it. But, thanks to God, he healed my pain when I gave my life to Christ. One night I heard a clear voice that covered my whole being saying, “James you need a life that is better than what you are living now!” I didn’t understand. I woke up and talked to my cousin who was with me in the same room. I couldn’t read the bible, so he just asked me to pray after him. After I finished praying something happened to me which I now know was the Holy Spirit working in me. My body was shaking and I was crying at the same time. It’s not normal for an African man to just cry. From that morning on, I was able to completely stop all the bad things in my life. I was adopted into the family of God on the 15th May 1985. God is now my heavenly father, and by the grace of Jesus, I can boldly say that I have the joy of the Lord in my heart!

After I had given my life to Christ, I moved to North Sudan. During this time the south and the north were at war. In the north I was targeted because of my life style of witnessing about Christ. God helped me and my family to escape from North Sudan to Egypt, but the security in Egypt also did not want me there. I was given seven days to leave the country. Praise God, a friend of mine who lived in Egypt helped me to gain protection within the United Nations office. From that day I was under UN protection until they provided me and my family with visas to come to Australia as a refugee.

In 2005 a peace agreement was signed between the north (mainly Arab Muslim) and the south (mainly Africans, who mostly are Christians by name, but without the true knowledge of salvation in Christ). In 2011 South Sudan became a country in its own right and separated from the North. However, this joyful experience of peace after 55 years of war lasted for only 2 years. In 2013 a tribal war broke out and thousands of people fled South Sudan to the neighbouring countries. Over 100,000 people escaped to Uganda with many more fleeing to other nations. Living in Australia at the time, I went back home to visit and was rendered speechless at the terrible situations I saw in the lives of the people of South Sudan.

Personal Calling: James Samuel

Ever since I became a new person in Christ, my heart’s desire has been for people to know and experience the same power and joy of salvation that I have experienced from the Lord. In 1993, at around 6:00am, after I finished my prayers, I heard God’s voice in my heart saying; “Go and tell people what you have experienced in me.” From that moment I knew I was to spend the rest of my life telling my African countrymen in South Sudan about true salvation in Christ. I still hear that voice in my heart today as I am writing this testimony. God has put a desire in my heart to see the lives of my people changed through Christ, and for true Christian leaders to be raised up and made strong for Him.

The Need in South Sudan

In my country Christianity is understood as just going to a building with a big wood cross on the top of it. You go there on a Sunday, but during the week you can live your life the way you choose. People call themselves Christians, but they live according to their ancient tribal traditions, not according to the Bible. People go to church on Sundays, but they practice witchcraft at the same time. The knowledge of salvation is not yet fully understood. This has become worse after the start of the tribal war in 2013. There are now thousands of refugees in neighbouring countries, such as Uganda, Kenya, Egypt, and Ethiopia, who are living without hope. In Uganda alone there are over 100,000 people in refugee camps near the South Sudan border. Urgent pastor training is needed among the South Sudanese Christians in Kampala. There is a great need for trained pastors to take the hope of Christ to those 100,000 refugees who live with very little hope. The majority of these refugees have called themselves Christians from birth, but most still need to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. We need to train leaders to rebuild and strengthen the church witness among these displaced Sudanese people.

The Plan for South Sudan

God has called me to reach and train the people of South Sudan. There is a great need for continuous yearly pastors training, so that they can go and help those who are scattered around the villages. The displaced pastors and leaders in Uganda is the best starting point. As part of the work of International Mission Teams, a ministry of Perth Bible College, I will go with the PBC team to Uganda and hold a pastor’s training conference in December this year. It is also anticipated that we will be able to hold evangelistic meetings to also reach the people with the message of salvation.

Ethiopia

(Discussing leadership training possibilities with pastors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Population: 101.7 Million
Language: Amharic
Key Contact: Meseret Cohen (PBC Student)

It is also anticipated that we will commence a work in Ethiopia. Following the conferences in Kenya and Uganda the team held meetings with leaders in Ethiopia to discuss the needs and possibilities for training leaders in the needy regions of that land. Meseret Cohen, a PBC student originally from Ethiopia, feels called to work among her own people and is leading the development of the work there.

Personal Story: Meseret Cohen

My name is Meseret Cohen, call me Messi. I was born in Ethiopia. I have two younger sisters and one younger brother. I moved to Australia about 7 years ago with my siblings and adoptive parents. I am currently studying ministry and counselling at Perth Bible College.

My story begins in a small town in the north of Ethiopia, Garagara. I was born and lived there until I was about eight years old. At the age of eight, my family moved to Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. We moved to the city for my father’s work and for our education. My mum was a full time mum and my father was an orthodox priest and a full time merchant. I was brought up in a Christian home and knew about God. We moved to the city together as a family, and my brother and I started in a new school. We were a happy family until suddenly something unexpected happened.

My parents passed away within a few months of each other when I was nine years old. My dad passed away from malaria and my mother passed away from TB. This turned my life and my world upside down. I suddenly lost hope, security and belief in a future. This situation left me with big questions about God and for God. I couldn’t understand what kind of God would let these things happen to me and my siblings. After these events, we were living with extended family. I think my uncle didn’t know what do with us, so he shared this problem with his work colleagues. One lady told him about a Catholic orphanage, because she knew someone who worked there. This meant that we had another chance of finding a family and maybe having a great future. My uncle decided the best idea for us was to be put up for adoption, so he decided to take us to the orphanage. Even though I didn’t have any say in the matter, I think this was the best thing that could have happened to us.

The orphanage had a church and private school, and we were required to go to church every day. I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t want to go to church and didn’t want to speak to God. After a while I started to talk to Him again, and I focused in church for a while. Then the same questions came up again, why did God let this happen to us, to all the children in the orphanage, and to me? God didn’t seem to be answering my questions. But with no other choice, I decided to trust Him and pray that He would bring a great family into my life again. It was encouraging to see other children in the same situation as myself and that made me realise that I wasn’t the only one in this situation.

After four years of waiting, God surprised me with a country I had never dreamt of and a family I didn’t picture myself with. They have a different story about how they had been led to us, but God did place us together in the most unlikely way. Both my adoptive grandparents from Australia went to Perth Bible College. They met there and later got married. While they were at PBC, God called them to go to Ethiopia and do mission work there. They spent 17 years serving in Ethiopia. They had five children and my adopted mum was the youngest. She was born and lived in Ethiopia until she was 4 years old. After 34 years she went back to Ethiopia to visit. At this stage both of my parents didn’t know anything about the orphanage or us. They only found out about us from my friends adoptive parents who happened to be staying at the same place. My friend’s mum left them with photos of us and the address of the orphanage. They started visiting us and they ended up staying for 16 months. Finally somehow the visas worked out and after 6 months living with my new parents in Ethiopia, we were able to travel to Australia. I didn’t know what was going to happen or how I would survive, but God knew.

I didn’t know anything about Australia but did learn to love Australia and my family. One of the best things was that God did bring me to a Christian family again so He was still in my life. Both of my parents were leading a small church in Dunsborough, so when we arrived in Australia that was our spiritual home. I came with very little English, which I had to learn from scratch because it was broken; I didn’t know how to swim, I didn’t know how to write in English, I didn’t know how to read in English, and I didn’t know anyone except my new parents. I don’t really know how I did it at the time, but I can now say God was there every minute to provide good friends, an amazing Christian school, great parents and extended family, and a great country.

My faith was up and down, I prayed and I know now that it was God who brought me to this place and through all the different things that have happened to me. He was looking after me and my siblings through it all. I have been shaped by my story; it is who I am and who I will become. I completed high-school in 2012 and I didn’t know what was going to happen, but again I took another step and moved to Perth. Again God put me right where I needed to be. An anointing service at Centrepoint Church was one of my most memorable experiences with God. This time for me was the beginning of healing from some past hurts and fears. On that night I met God personally, one on one. This was a moment of revelation that He truly is a God of hope, faith and love. I now had a new hope and future, so I decided to pursue him.

Personal Calling: Meseret Cohen

I started studying at Perth Bible College in 2014. I started with a Diploma, but I have now been called to do a Bachelor Degree in Ministry. I have a passion and a heart for mission. I have experienced God and His favour upon my life so I want to share it. I feel like I am called to share this with my people and those who I come across in my path. It was a journey finding God and I want to share my story with people in Ethiopia. It’s amazing how God uses every life experience to do more of His work. I went back to Ethiopia last year for the first time, and while I was there I saw a great need for discipleship and people to work with the locals in the church. God is moving there and people are finding Him, but I saw the churches struggle to accommodate everything God is doing there. I have a heart and a passion to go back to Ethiopia and share who God is and what He has done for me. I am still not sure where God is taking me, but I have started on this journey of following Him. I just want to say yes to Him and His work. If you want to be part of what God is doing in Ethiopia please join me.

The Plan for Ethiopia

As part of the work of International Mission Teams, a ministry of Perth Bible College, I will go with the PBC team to Ethiopia to meet with key leaders and develop a strategy for future leadership training among the pastors and leaders in December this year.