A Word from Gideon Mashauri
In September of 2002, I left my country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, to go to Tanzania, in an attempt to join the International Baptist Seminary of East Africa, to be trained as a pastor. Since I did not have any sponsors, I faced many challenges that caused me to live in the refugee camps, in Tanzania (three months), then in Northern Mozambique (four years). As I was serving the Lord there, reaching out to my fellow refugees, orphans and widows, the Lord connected me with an American missionary couple who organized for my theological studies at Scott Theological College in Kenya. First I returned to the DRC where Rachel and I were married after many years of praying faithfully for one another. Together we traveled to Scott. After graduation, I served as an evangelist with the Africa Inland Church Arusha-Tanzania. Then Rachel and I joined an AIM Training in Ministry Outreach team in Tanzania in 2012, reaching out to the Rangi Muslims. After our 2.5 year term, my family and I came back to Kenya where Rachel and I joined Africa International University. I pursued an MA in Missions with an Islamic Emphasis, and Rachel began an MA in Child Development and Family Studies. After graduating in 2017, I joined with African Inland Mission in their Northern Region Office, acting in a supporting role for the teams that serve Muslims in North Africa. We lived on AIU’s campus until Rachel graduated in 2018. A highlight of her time at AIU was actively ministering to the children and families on campus, teaching in the Bible Club, and coordinating social activities on the compound for the ladies’ fellowship, especially visiting families with new babies or those facing the loss of a loved one.
Bush Telegraph Mission (BTM)
When my three-year term ended at the Northern Region Office in September 2020, we still were not sure what our next ministry assignment would be. For one year, our family had been setting aside Fridays as our special day for prayer and fasting, praying for unreached people groups and trusting God to guide us for our future ministry. In God’s Providence, we were connected with Bush Telegraph Mission, an evangelical mission organization that focuses on sharing the gospel in war zones, partnering with and serving local churches, and reaching out to refugees, orphans, widows and the vulnerable in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo-DRC and Southern Sudan. After making a trip last year to see the work they are doing in various places, I realized that my background matches with this ministry. I shared with Rachel, and we officially joined BTM on January 3, 2021.
I am now serving as Africa Director for the mission, supervising the work where our mission operates. We partner with local churches in Kakamega, Busia and other parts of Kenya where we serve orphans, widows, and the vulnerable, pointing them to the cross and sharing the love of Jesus Christ with them. In Busia, Uganda, we serve 59 orphans at an orphanage that we built. I visited them in January, shared the gospel with them, and encouraged them through my story, describing my life as a refugee for four years in Northern Mozambique, and how God has been faithful to me. In February of this year, I traveled to the DRC, where we built a local church for the 250 households of pygmies who were recently removed from the Virunga National Park. I believe in the power of the gospel to transform their lives. As Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes.” I hope that the LORD will save many pygmies, making them His disciples and sending them as missionaries in cross-cultural settings. Apart from pygmies, I also met with women who have been victims of rape and are suffering the devastating effects of being rejected (along with their children) by their husbands. My teammate and I encouraged them in God’s Word and helped them with their basic needs.
While in Kenya, I am also partnering with a group of Christians who share the gospel with the Somali Muslims at Eastleigh Fellowship Center. This has been a good experience as it helps me to apply what I learned while studying missions at AIU–to always differentiate between Muslims and Islam. Muslims, being human are just like any other humans with physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Islam is an ideology that Muslims hold to. This understanding helps me overcome Islamophobia and encourages me to share the gospel without fear. I thank God that AIU helped me to learn so many things that are applicable to this ministry. I believe as Christians we don’t have words to convince Muslims to change their ideologies and allegiance to Allah and Muhammad his prophet, but the WORD OF GOD is powerful enough to convince them and bring transformation.
A Word from Rachel Mashauri
Since graduation in 2018, I have been busy taking care of my four lovely daughters and teaching them while supporting my husband. This has been a great experience for me as a mother, being available for my family and listening to my girls as they go through many transitions in their life, especially during this last year which was full of many challenges. I thank God also for the privilege of spending time in prayer and Bible studies with my three older girls and talking deeply about spiritual matters. When Gideon travels with Bush Telegraph Mission, the girls and I support him in our daily prayers, and I also write him messages of encouragement as he shares what he is up to on a daily basis. Though it has not been easy for me caring for the girls alone when Gideon is away, I thank God that He gives me the strength I need and courage to continue serving them. Please pray that the Lord will grant me wisdom and strength to care for them for His glory. Also, pray that God will use me to be of great help to Gideon as he serves Him faithfully.
Please pray for us to have wisdom, to abide in Christ, and to depend on the LORD for all things. Pray for God’s continual provision and for renewed work permits and dependent passes as we stay in Kenya. Pray for our daughters as they continue their schooling.
Shalom to All
Yours for His service,
Gideon, Rachel, Abigail, Sarah, Deborah and Esther Mashauri
As John and Sylvia close their time at NEGST, they will be greatly missed. Enjoy their testimony of God’s goodness and leading throughout the years, and join us in praying for them as they transition from here.
Sylvia and John grew up in very different homes. John grew up in a very Christ-centered home. His father was the religion professor at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, and he was involved in helping many churches in the city by preaching most weeks at different pulpits. His mother also was an active Christian leader in the church, serving as the Christian Education Director for a number of years. All of this meant that John’s home was full of morning Bible reading, evening prayers before bed and lots of church. John was immersed in Christianity. At one point he rebelled from it all, but at age 18 experienced a life changing conversion which brought Jesus into the center of his life and to a lifelong call into ministry.
Sylvia on the other hand grew up in a non-church home. Church and prayers and the word of God were absent from her home life. In middle school, the Lord drew her to church. That is the only way she can describe it; for there was no other reason why she began walking alone to church week after week, except that Christ drew her there. She has loved the church ever since. At that Presbyterian church, she heard the word of God preached in a wise and intelligent way. But most of all she experienced great joy at that church. It wasn’t until a year or so later, that she realized that joy pointed to Jesus and she gave her life to Him. Young Life, church youth group, and a Christian university all led Sylvia to a deep love of ministry.
After falling in love with each other at Whitworth University, they married, and attended Fuller Theological Seminary together. Each of them received a MDiv in 1980, the first couple to graduate together at Fuller. Then they served as Co-Pastors for 36 years in the state of Oregon. They have three grown daughters, each serving the Lord in different capacities.
Before reaching retirement age, Sylvia and John prayerfully sought to serve with Africa Inland Mission. They were accepted to teach and minister at NEGST at Africa International University. John’s passion to encourage pastors, led him to serve as the Pastoral Studies professor. He loves teaching all kinds of classes from Theology of Suffering to Marriage and Family. He has taught 12 different courses, but he admits his favorite two are Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Counseling. With these two classes he can help lay the ground work for pastors to learn how to be healthy pastors who lead healthy churches which brings spiritual renewal and health into the hearts and souls of many people. Sylvia has been deeply involved at AIU with the Children’s Bible Club ministry; both in training the team of teachers and directly teaching the children herself on a weekly basis. At one time there were over 75 children coming to the weekly club on campus. Sylvia welcomed the teachers to a monthly dinner and meeting at their home at AIU. Also, she and her neighbor, Christine Derung, were key organizers of a bi-quarterly prayer meeting at her house for Professors and spouses in the school of NEGST. John and Sylvia welcomed many students and staff to their home for dinner.
As John and Sylvia’s five-year commitment to AIU comes to a close, Sylvia hopes to be remembered as someone who “loved the person God placed in front of her” … be that person a child, an AIU student, a groundskeeper, a fellow missionary, a professor or house help. John hopes to maintain his connection with AIU by doing some online courses and perhaps making trips back to teach intensive courses at certain times of the year. He would love to continue to encourage and strengthen pastors for the challenging calling of serving the Lord as shepherds of His flock.
Please pray for them in this time of transition and change. As John often says to his students, the one thing about life that never changes is that life is always changing! The gift is that Jesus is “the same yesterday, today and forever.”
Prayer and Praise
Praise God for the dedication of the administrative staff who have offered so much assistance and the faculty who have been so faithful in their teaching despite the financial challenges that NEGST/AIU are facing.
Please pray with us for more faculty at the Masters/Doctoral level who would consider long term service at NEGST. Pray for the urgent needs in the following departments:
- Theology: 3 Full-time
- Biblical Studies: 3 Full-time; 2 New Testament, 1 Old Testament
- Missions: 2 Full-time
Please pray with us for greater financial stability and sustainability for AIU/NEGST, and praise God for the generosity of many who have given to help cover a portion of these current needs.
We thank God for His protection over the past year. Praise God that we can continue to impact students from across the continent and around the world, even when we cannot teach in person!
Christian Leaders for Africa