For Isaac to travel from Kumasi to Navrongo, he must commit to a long journey by bus that takes as long as it takes me to travel to Ghana—except he doesn’t have the luxuries of air-conditioning, movies, or airline cuisine. Relatively speaking, it costs more for Isaac to travel to Navrongo than for me to travel to Ghana. He also has to leave his young family for two weeks, as I often do. He too must travel to a different culture with a different language.But Isaac takes 2 Timothy 2:2 seriously, and he has a burden to entrust the good news that he has learned from YLI to others who will be faithful to pass it on.
Over the last ten years, I have watched this young “Timothy” named Isaac Gyesaw gradually mature into a Paul-like figure. Today, Isaac invests himself in other young leaders, especially a young man in another corner of Ghana whose name actually is Timothy. Isaac is an example of how training and empowering a young businessman, who has a heart for God and love for lost people, can lead to spiritual multiplication and fruitful Kingdom growth.
Isaac works in the shipping business of Ghana’s cocoa industry, which he balances with rural evangelism and disciple-making in villages. This year, the cocoa harvest has been weaker, and Isaac has had less work. With his free time, he raised funds to journey to Navrongo in Ghana’s northern region to visit Timothy.
This spring, I placed a phone call to Isaac. He told me that he was not at his home in Kumasi, but 12 hours north in Navrongo, walking along a hot dirt road doing village ministry with Timothy. A few weeks later, on my second trip to Ghana this year, I visited Isaac. As we sat together and talked, Isaac told me amazing stories of how God used them in northern Ghana and across the border in the neighboring country of Burkina Faso.
Isaac spent his first few days in Navrongo teaching 16 young leaders, through a translator, YLI’s material on listening to God, love evangelism, and going deep in discipleship. Then he shared some biblical principles of cross-cultural discipleship that I taught him last year.
After the training time, he and the 16 leaders traveled village to village on motorcycle and by foot, practicing the things he had taught them. In a village called Nadere, two people accepted Christ. In the town of Po, an idol worshiper asked Isaac to pray with him to accept Christ. He then asked Isaac to burn his idols. Isaac, showing some cultural wisdom, delegated this leadership act to the local pastor who would be discipling the man. In Kaya, others gave their lives to Christ and ten more reaffirmed their faith in Christ. In a village across the border of the country Burkina Faso, a woman who is one of 14 wives of a man from the royal chief’s family came to Isaac for prayer and counseling. Isaac and his team also visited four additional communities to encourage disciples and give clothes and supplies to local churches.
As we sat together in Kumasi, Isaac spoke with excitement about the movement of the gospel taking hold in these villages, and of the leaders who are passionate but need much more training and assistance. This month he is traveling again to Navrongo, this time with three other YLI coaches to identify and train additional leaders.
It takes time, but through love, mentoring, and training, young Timothys like Isaac will grow to become Pauls in their world. Let’s celebrate together as we witness YLI’s vision bear fruit—as new movements of the gospel are carried through young leaders like Isaac into a world that desperately needs Jesus.