The Republic of Togo is a fascinating little country sandwiched between Ghana and Nigeria in West Africa. I’ve been there but only at the airport in the capitol of Lomẽ. It’s a bit smaller than West Virginia and has a population of about 8,000,000. By comparison, West Virginia has just less than 2,000,000.
With heavy voodoo influence, a strong Muslim presence, and scores of local religious enclaves, Christianity has struggled in Togo. But recently, the Seventh-day Adventist church has begun reaching out to Togo nationals and helping train them as church leaders.
Enter Jacque. From the time he became a devout follower of Jesus, Jacque sensed God was calling him to become a pastor. That angered many of the people in his village, some of whom called down curses on Jacque. Once as he was riding his bicycle down a trail a group of five young men attacked him and tried to kill him with machetes. God miraculously spared his life and he escaped with only a small cut on his left shoulder. But Jacque knew the time had come for him to leave and get the training he needed.
The nearest French-speaking pastoral training school was the Adventist University of Cosendai in Cameroon – 800 miles east. With little but his faith in God, Jacque made the arduous trip. He believed he was following God’s call on his life.
Jacque walked into the Registrar’s office and asked if he could enroll. They were pleased to have him of course and he began filling out the ream of paper work involved. The lady assisting him asked about his finances, how much he would be able to pay now and how he planned to pay the balance. His answer was brief. He replied, “I have very little money now, but I will have some soon, and the Lord will take care of the rest.” Jacque was stunned to learn that was not sufficient and he could only complete his registration if he could come up with some cash.
Disappointed, he shuffled across campus to the little temporary room they had given him. After a lengthy time of pleading with the Lord for help he climbed into bed and drifted into a troubled sleep. When he awoke he was surprised to see a strange number on the screen of his little flip phone. It was an international number and he didn’t recognize where it had come from. Curious, he called the number and discovered it was a call from France. He didn’t recognize the lady who answered and she didn’t know who he was.
After a few minutes of introductions he told her his story. She replied that she was sure he was the person she was supposed to call. In the night she had had a dream where she was told there was someone who needed her help. She was not told who or how. But as the dream ended, this number appeared on her phone. It was Jacque’s number. She asked him how much he would need to complete his degree. The next morning she mailed a check to the school for the entire amount.
By Don Jacobsen