Dear Heart of a Shepherd Reader,
Greetings from Hillsdale Baptist Church! I have enjoyed a reprieve from the pressure of writing daily devotional posts in recent months. During this season of rest, I am enjoying an in-depth study of the Gospel of John as I prepare for my Sunday morning series, “Reflections on Compassion and Grace”. I plan to begin regular posts in the near future and once again enjoy the privilege of ministering to saints around the world.
The purpose of this letter is to introduce you to a young man Hillsdale Baptist Church has come to love and appreciate. Mr. Yaovi Kpogno is a national of Togo, West Africa. I had the opportunity of meeting and interviewing Yaovi a year ago and my heart was touched and challenged as I listened to his testimony of salvation and God’s calling on his life to return to Togo as a church-planting missionary pastor.
Yaovi was born in a small village in Togo and raised by his mother in a hut where she continues to live today. In fact, one of Yaovi’s goals when he returns to Togo in July, 2018 is to build a small concrete home for his mother.
Yaovi accepted Christ as His Savior in August 1996 and publicly dedicated his life to serve the Lord in 2002. Yaovi moved to Lome’, the capital of Togo, in 2005 to begin his formal education and ministered in Bible Baptist Church of Adakpame until he came to the United States to attend Bible College.
Yaovi has earned four college degrees from The Crown College of the Bible while working full-time and paying his way through Bible college. His hard work and dedication has paid off and his long-awaited return to Togo as a church-planting missionary has arrived. Yaovi has purchased tickets to return to Togo this July 2018 and will begin his ministry in Lome’.
That brings me to the purpose of this letter. Unlike American missionaries who travel for 3-5 years raising support, go to language school for another year, and require thousands of dollars in support each month, Yaovi is returning to Togo determined to live by faith, believing God will meet his financial needs through the giving of His people.
After completing four months of his five months missions internship, Hillsdale Baptist Church voted this past Sunday to be Yaovi’s supporting and stateside sending church. We have estimated Yaovi needs a minimum monthly support of $2,500. This amount includes not only his personal support funds, but also ministry funds to support his evangelistic endeavors and eventually rent a meeting place for his church. It is Hillsdale’s missions policy to commit to 20% of a missionary’s support when we are the “sending church”. In keeping with our policy, Hillsdale will be supporting Yaovi for $500\month, leaving a balance of $2,000\month needed for support.
We estimate Yaovi will need at least $20,000-25,000 to fully fund his ministry as he returns to Togo. This amount includes $15,000 to purchase a used truck to carry equipment for public evangelistic campaigns and to transport children for summer Vacation Bible Schools and Sunday School programs.
Yaovi will eventually have a means for support dollars to be designated to him through a missions agency; however, until that time you can make designations for “Yaovi Kpogno” to Hillsdale Baptist Church and our Deacons will insure 100% of the designated funds will go for Yaovi’s ministry in Togo. It is my prayer many who read this letter will take the initiative to support a young man who loves the LORD and returns to Togo determined to reach the souls of his countrymen with the Gospel.
Please note that Hillsdale and this pastor will serve as Yaovi’s accountability partners. If you have questions, please contact me directly at pastorsmith@HillsdaleBaptist.org.
With the heart of a shepherd,
Travis D. Smith