An Interview from Togo

Many of you know I have a passion for this West African country and it’s people. With the blessing of our new addition, Allie, came the absence of a mission trip back to Togo this past year.

God is so awesome… Guess what he did!?!?! He brought Togo to me. 

I had the honor of hosting Yinka Ojo, a missionary with Pioneers Togo, while he was in Charleston May 1st-8th. He is an amazing man of God with a wife (Faith), twin 9-year old boys (Mercy and Grace), and a 5-year old boy (Goodness). This post is all about sharing his story and mission with you. I truly believe there are readers God is calling to partner financially with the vision of Pioneers Togo, and even more who are called to pray for their cause.

Pastor Yinka’s Story
While growing up in Nigeria, Yinka was active in a Christian church. However, he didn’t have a personal relationship with God as his Lord and Savior; and therefore was not living the abundant life that God meant for ALL of his children to live.

All of us have defining moments – I like to call them “God” moments … turning points in our lives. I will share a few of his.

  • He found that relationship with Christ in college (’87) and was actively involved with Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students (NIFES) for 14 years.
  • Heard a sermon about the Kingdom Lifestyle – Philippians 2:1-11, that struck him deep. Jesus gave it all. He made a decision that day “I’m giving up my life for you – I want to live for you – take all of me.” (All in for Missions) – I want to be His voice. God opened my eyes to see the need around me.
  • He woke up one morning to a worship song saying – “Free us, Lord free us to lay down our life – to love and worship you.” Yinka became overwhelmed with God’s demand to lay down his life – His whole life – just as Jesus did. That day he made the choice to give up his life, his ambitions, his dreams, anything God asked him to. (To the world, this seems crazy. However, it is the secret to the abundant life John 10:10; Phil 4:11-13)
  • Prayed for the Lord to show him who he was to marry. God clearly revealed it to him one day as he walked past this special lady. There were many obstacles in the way to this marriage, but God paved the way.

Hearing Yinka’s story makes me think of one word – SACRIFICE. Have I really surrendered EVERYTHING to God? My Marriage? My Children? My Calling? What my day looks like?

INTERVIEW WITH YINKA OJO

Tell me about your organization and its mission.
Pioneers International  is a christian organization whose mission is to “mobilize teams to glorify God among unreached people by initiating church-planting movements in partnership with local churches.”  The Pioneers Togo team is made of 24 family units. Our mission is to empower and equip the indigents among the 53 different tribes so they may take the gospel to their people.

There are three purposes

  • Walk in partnership with existing churches by equipping and mentoring their leaders
  • Place field missionaries into unreached villages, not as a preacher, but a researcher living out loud and offering a physical need or service (i.e. selling essentials, first aid, medical clinics, etc). His goal is to build an identity as someone to render service while he seeks a person of peace (someone whose heart God is already working on). God brings the P.O.P. to the missionary and that person becomes the bridge to plant the church. We then empower and equip them to take the gospel to their people (more receptive).
  • Church planting: seeking to develop and mentor leaders in the community for the churches to become self sustaining so the missionary can move to another village. Empowering the locals for the Lords work, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). 


CONNECT to people where they are
…DRAW them to GOD
…LEAD them to CHRIST!

What RELIGIOUS GROUPS are among the people of Togo
Religions of Togo (Joshua Project): 37% Ethnic Religions (Idol Worship) ; 18% Islam; 44% Christian (The Christian percentage is deceptive. I would say there is more like only 15% Born Again Christians in Togo. )  

What’s the DIFFERENCE between the Togolese who call themselves CHRISTIANS and those who are truly born again? They are christian by tradition – born into a “christian” home. Many of the Catholic churches don’t present the implication of what it means to be a Christian – “ a Christian does not have to lay aside it’s traditions.” They still practice ancestral worship. They are basically saying that Jesus makes no demand (I can have all my other gods). 

Tell me about ANCESTRAL WORSHIP

They believe that worshiping their Ancestors assures them of safety and protection from evil forces. If you want to have good life, the ancestors hold the key to our well being. If they are not happy with us, then things will go bad. The spirit world has great influence – the ancestors are gone and they can mediate between us and what is happening around us. (Before these ancestors died, they had connection to gods – and always made sacrifices to these idols). What do these IDOLS look like? Idols can be anything (storm, statue, animal, stick). The idol is a medium, to connect to a god. Offer sacrifices and perform different rituals to appease the gods. For example, an object would be placed in front of a farm so it would flourish. A bracelet or belt would be worn to protect yourself.

What other CHALLENGES do you face in preaching the gospel in Togo?

  • Reaching North Togo (where many of the unreached villages are) such as operational costs,

    difficult travel (rugged roads only reached by motorbikes, rivers to cross, and you are only ensured transportation on market day (once a week). – pay heavily.

  • Mission HomeVision to build and own a mission home that can be self sustaining. Right now, we pay rent for our mission home (hosts missionary families, mission teams, administration work, etc) The owners have remodeled and raised rent that is unrealistic for us. We own land and hope to build our own building one day. Our dream is to build it in a way that it can be used for multi purposes (conferences, meetings, i.e) to produce income. 
  • Micro finance: Workers are few. Field missionaries need to start a small business to live and that meets a need in the village. When we can, we offer them a small

    loan ($120 – they give back $10/mo) to help. The missionaries have to wait till funds are available and take turns receiving the loans. The missionaries move to a new village once leaders are raised up and a church is planted.

  • Continual Care. Medical missions help provide a need so the village will be open to the missionary and the pioneers team. Many people are sick and some need surgery. The medical teams bring money to help in this cost, but many times it is not enough. The local team feels keeping this connection with the people is important and does what they can to provide the continuing expenses for these patients.

How you can help
If someone wanted to partner with Pioneers Togo in this mission, what would they need to do? You can give a one time gift or become a partner with a recurring gift. You can also specify if you want your gift to go to a particular effort (self sustaining mission home, missionaries, travel, continual care, church planting, etc.)

Click here To become a partner with Pioneers Togo.  

  • Specify what type of gift you would like to give – be as specific as you would like.
  • In the name field – PIONEERS TOGO (You do not need the account number to give as long as you put Pioneers Togo in the name field. I will update the post as soon as I have it.)

If you have any questions, you can email me at michaudchristie@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer. 🙂 <!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>

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