MALI, WEST AFRICA – After adopting the unreached Fulanke people group four years ago, Randy Copeland is excited to see the scriptures being fulfilled before his very eyes.
Copeland recently led a short-term mission team to serve the Fulanke people in Mali, West Africa. While on the January trip, the team witnessed 86 people come to Christ.
Copeland and his wife, Maureen, operate School to the Nations, a missions training organization in Ozark equipped to prepare missionaries for the African and global mission fields.
“We have 29 acres that we’ve designed to be identical to an authentic African village,” Copeland said. “We have everything from compound walls to ‘squatty potties,’ all of which are used to immerse our trainees into African culture.”
Copeland and School to the Nations are in partnership with the Missouri Baptist Convention and its goal of reaching the people groups of the West African Gateway Cluster. The organization is impacting African people groups using a proven three-point strategy of evangelism, compassion and discipleship, all of which Copeland said, is built on a foundation of prayer.
“When it comes to evangelism, our missionaries are prepared to share the whole story, from creation to Christ,” he said. “For compassion we were able to train the Fulanke people with the knowledge of building their own Bio-Sand clean drinking water filters because their current water supply was tested positive for worms and parasites.”
He said discipleship is the ultimate goal. He wants to see people come together to form churches and those churches to become self-sustaining and self-propagating.
“We have a passion for the Lord and a passion to see souls come to Him at home and abroad,” Copeland said. “It’s so great to share Jesus with an unreached people group and then see them come to an even deeper love relationship with Him.”
And, Copeland said, anyone can take part in a mission trip like this one.
“The people who went are nobody special … I’m nobody special,” he said, “but with fear we stepped out in faith and let God lead us into these places. We didn’t give up a great career to live in the streets; we just have a passion to make a difference and were willing to step out of the comfort of our own four walls for a while to be part of something much bigger than ourselves.”
For more information about the School to the Nations week-long and weekend training sessions or their West Africa mission trips visit their website at www.schooltothenations.com or e-mail Randy Copeland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KAYLA RINKER / contributing writer