God has taken me on many exciting adventures in my life. I know He has prepared me to be an activist for Him.
Before attending AIU, I had the privilege of earning my Master of Law and Doctorate of Law in the United States. The Lord brought me back to my home country where I became the adviser to the President of Kenya. But the adventure did not end there. A few years ago, I felt the Lord calling me to learn about Islamic people and how to minister to them. In turn, the Lord led me to AIU where I studied Missions (emphasis in Islam).
Since graduating in 2012, God has opened many miraculous doors for me to witness for Him. Through the providence of God, I was recently elected as the first governor of Makueni County, Kenya. I am humbled by this opportunity to serve God and my people. There is much work to do politically and constitutionally. Please pray for me. I will need divine wisdom as I advocate and lead the people of Makueni.
My relationship with Christ started when I was very young. At the age of 12, something beautiful happened. One night as I was sound asleep, a bright and magnificent light appeared to me. It was not an ordinary light. There was something different about its splendor. The most incredible part about this light was that Jesus appeared in the midst of it! That dream truly transformed me. I started faithfully attending church and praying more. Over time, I genuinely fell in love with Jesus. I had normal ups and downs through my teen years but always had the assurance Jesus would never forsake me.
Several years after my dream, I began feeling the Lord calling me to be a missionary. He led me to ABTS where I am studying for my Master of Divinity degree. My first year there stretched me in many ways. Being from Algeria, I only knew one language, French. I started my studies at ABTS not being able to communicate with anyone. It has been miraculous how the Lord has helped me to quickly pick up the local language!
Since being at ABTS, I have been actively involved in the Women’s Missionary Society. My main role is witnessing to and working with local homeless children. I pray earnestly that one day God will find a center for these children where they can live and learn more about Him. After completing my degree, I plan to study for my doctorate. One of my dreams is to work among university students as a missionary and professor. I thank God for ABTS and how this experience has been life-changing.
My parents raised me in the Muslim faith. My father would teach us children from the Quran about Allah’s love and justice. I remember when I was 16 years old on my way home from the Mosque one day, I came across a simple message on a doorpost that read, ‘Jesus died for you.’ That phrase touched my heart. I didn’t understand what it meant, but God planted a seed that day.
Several years had passed when I found myself at the age of 24 deeply grieving over the ending of my parents’ marriage. I ran away to Manila, hoping to escape the pain and misery. That didn’t happen, so my hopelessness and intense need for peace drove me to fast for an entire month. One night during my fasting, I had a dream. A very compelling voice spoke to me and said, ‘This is the One you should worship.’ Startled, I woke up crying, realizing I had just encountered the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. That dream changed my life. Since then, I have grown in my faith and have been called by God to serve as a missionary among my underprivileged Muslim brethren. I know God has a great work for me to do among my people.
By God’s providence, I am attending ATS, pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Transformational Urban Leadership. Already God has called me to do practical work in the ministry. Currently I am pastoring the Sambahang Kristyano Church in Antipolo City, Philippines. I am also involved in Muslim ministry and advocating for the rights of the urban poor in my community.
After graduation in 2015, I plan to pursue a PhD. I want to be extensively trained in ministry, so I can more effectively reach Muslims and share the Good News with them.
God is good! I have been blessed to serve the New Jerusalem Church as youth pastor for nearly 10 years now. I know it sounds unbelievable, but about 70% of our church members are under the age of 30. I have ministered to over 200 young people while serving as youth pastor. These young people are awesome! Our youth group regularly participates in church-organized outreach programs and activities geared to minister to our community and local schools. It’s great to see them working for the Lord!
In 2007, through an alliance with local businesses and government agencies, the church opened a community center. Like many parts of the world, there is much poverty, crime and drugs in our area. The purpose of the center is to provide vocational training to children, youth and adults. Our goal is to offer an alternative lifestyle that keeps young people out of gangs, delinquency and drugs.
In addition to my work as youth pastor, a truly life-changing experience has been to serve as chaplain in a local high security prison for gang members. Direct contact with the inmates is not allowed, so I minister to them through a wire mesh opening above their jail cells. On a recent visit to the jail, the mother of an inmate was visiting as well. The inmate introduced me to his mother and said, ‘Mom, I want you to meet Pastor William. He is helping me to change.’ Praise the Lord! It is not me but Christ who lives in me who is reaching these souls for His Kingdom!
Since graduating from TI, I have been accepted into a PhD program at New Bulgarian University. I am doing research in the field of Contextual Missiology. I am enjoying not only the academic aspect of my course work but the hands-on portion as well.
My current ministry is with a group of Roma (Gypsy) churches in Southeast Bulgaria. I am working as a church leader and children’s director. Generally the majority of Roma children have very challenging and stressful childhoods. It is difficult for their parents to provide for their needs, and those whose parents have been fortunate enough to find work abroad are left without parental supervision. These children have been rejected by society, and many of them do not have homes. Because of their plight, most of them do not understand love. It is my commitment to care for and to deeply love each one so they may learn what love really is. In turn, I pray their little hearts will be open and receive Christ as their Savior.
My time at NETS was a blessing! I learned so much and am very appreciative to the staff and faculty for instilling in me sound biblical teachings.
Since graduating in March, God has led me to be the chaplain of the Anglican Students’ Federation (ASF). This ministry is geared towards enhancing the spiritual lives of students at secular universities. As chaplain, I work with the other members of ASF to hold prayer services, Bible studies, church services and other spiritually-enriching activities. ASF has a presence at five different institutions in Namibia. I do my best to visit each campus once a week. It is truly wonderful being a part of such a great organization!
My dream is to one day be a school chaplain because I love working with young people. I pray someday God will bring my dream to fruition! In the meantime, I am enjoying applying my biblical skills and knowledge to my work here at ASF.
Jo-Marrie Fortuin became a Christian when she was 17 years old. “I will always remember that year because it was the most difficult time of my life. God met me at the lowest point of my life. I became very ill. I was in and out of the hospital, seeing many different doctors, but none of them could identify the problem. Hospital bills were piling up.” Thankfully, she says, she grew up in a Christian home, so she and her family prayed earnestly for a breakthrough from the Lord. “I was getting worse by the day, and doctors had lost hope. I started doubting God and questioning Him. Finally in His goodness, He enabled a doctor to make the right diagnosis. The problem was connected to my inner organs. I had to undergo a major operation which really scared me as a young person, but it was very successful.”
Following her operation, Jo-Marrie’s church had a visitor from South Africa. As the woman preached, Jo-Marrie was very touched by her message. “It made me think of the time I was in the hospital. I realized that our lives are so short on earth, and God wants to use us to do His work while we are here. If it wasn’t for God’s grace, I would not have had a successful operation.” That evening, she decided to give her life completely to the Lord, follow Him and do what He wants her to do.
She credits her Christian parents for her faith and how they raised her. “My parents always encouraged me and taught me the Word of God. The fact that they always put God first and trusted Him for everything in their lives had such a big impact on me. After my conversion, they continued to share the Word of God with me, and that made me grow even stronger in the Lord.”
With a great passion to serve God, Jo-Marrie decided to study theology. “I love sharing the Gospel with young people and would really love to see more young people giving their lives to the Lord.” She has already earned a Certificate in Evangelism and Christian Counseling. She is now in her final year at the Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS).
“Being at a Bible school is the most wonderful experience one could ask for, to study God’s Word in depth and be equipped for ministry. But being at a Bible school is not all about information but also transformation. Being part of the NETS community helps me to grow in my character and in my Christian walk with the Lord.”
“One of the subjects I love is ‘Contextual Theology.’ It helps me grow in the knowledge of African cultures and contexts which is of utmost importance for African leaders. It shows me whether I hold to or challenge traditional African religions and beliefs. I believe in the inspired and infallible Word of God and don’t want to compromise it in order to fit the context.”
Equipped to serve, Jo-Marrie is a member of the Evangelical Mission Church. She serves as a deaconess on the church council and will be inducted as an elder soon. She teaches confirmation classes and recently started a youth group. She also has a great passion for music, so she’s a member of the worship team. “Since being at NETS, my ministry has become much more effective because I have been given a good foundation for teaching the Bible.”
After graduating, Jo-Marrie’s church will appoint her to be involved with youth work and other pastoral and leadership roles. She wants to use her Christian Counseling certificate to serve the Lord with her counseling gifts. “Many of our young people contract HIV/AIDS. Others drink too much alcohol, and the suicide rate among teenagers is very high. They need good role models and Bible teaching. Challenges, trials and hardships will always be there while we are on this earth, but I always remind myself that ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength.’ We are always to seek the Lord’s face in whatever we are facing. And when everything is going well with us, we should give glory to God, for He is good all the time.”