Now that Forrest has posted his ‘farewell’ to the Africa Blog, I suppose it is time for me to make introductions. For those who have followed HeartCry for some time, introductions are not necessary, but for the rest I will provide some background.
I first came to HeartCry in 2008, as the initial step in going as a missionary to the Lozi people of Western Zambia. During the year-long planning and preparation phase, I served as the Coordinator for Africa. In 2009, my brother, Shannon, and I relocated with our families to Zambia to begin our gospel work among the Lozi. After almost three years, we felt that the work was ready to become indigenous through the Reformed Baptists of Zambia, and we returned to the States.
Although I felt deep love and loyalty for HeartCry, the home office was fully staffed, and I had a strong desire to join Dr. Nathan Berry (HeartCry Board Chairman) in a church-planting effort in West Virginia. After three years in West Virginia, family circumstances led us to the Radford, Virginia area. At the same time, the Lord was stirring Forrest to devote more energy to translation work, and there was once again a need for an African coordinator. Thus, the winding path of God’s mysterious providence has brought me back to the HeartCry office, and to Africa.
I am incredibly grateful and excited to be reunited with this ministry, devoting my energy and efforts to the spread of Christ’s gospel around the world. It will be different this time, as I am able to give my undivided attention to our missionaries in Africa, without the added concern of preparing for my own mission work in Zambia. Please pray for me that the Lord grant wisdom and insight in how to best serve those who are faithfully laboring in the vast mission fields of Africa. Please pray that the Lord leads us to new indigenous partnerships and reveals new fields ripe for harvest.
The field has expanded significantly since I was last in the office. Six years ago, it was only Zambia, but now Kenya, Uganda, Botswana, Malawi, and South Africa have been added. The Reformed Baptists of Zambia continue their consistent march, planting churches across their nation. Of special interest to those who followed our work among the Lozi, Kabwata Baptist Church is now planting two churches, led by Lozi mission pastors, just to the north and south of the village where we labored. They are also conducting regular pastor-training conferences in the Lozi capital, Mongu.
Thank-you to all who give and all who pray, both past and present. Your service does not go unnoticed by our Lord. May His Name be Great among the Nations!
Before his current role at HeartCry, Robert served several years in pastoral ministry, and a few years in Zambia, Africa as a missionary. He is also a veteran of the Marine Corps. Robert and his wife have been blessed with 3 children and 4 grandchildren. They live near Christiansburg, VA in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, where he enjoys deer hunting and fly-fishing for trout.More By Robert Shepherd