We felt that Thanksgiving month would be a wonderful way to celebrate God's goodness and share with you some memories and a few testimonies from over the past 20 years! There are plenty of pics ranging spanning over 20 years - so we trust you will enjoy some memories with us!
A little bit of history ... J-Life Africa launched as J-Life Ministries in January 2001. Its primary focus was training and coaching emerging leaders to implement a disciplemaking model taught by a North American ministry called Sonlife. Initially this was done primarily by recruiting potential youth leaders for a year-long programme (held at Camp Eden in Mpumalanga, South Africa). These leaders were trained and coached intensively during a four-month period at the beginning of each year. On completion of this training period, these leaders were released to work in local churches and multiply the training they had received by coaching emerging leaders in the churches in which they were working. Sonlife Africa (under the leadership of Mark Tittley) launched at the same time as J-Life Ministries, and operated as a seminar-based training organisation. Within a few years, Sonlife’s training had spread into sixteen countries in Africa and leaders had been assigned in seven of these countries.
In 2005, J-Life Ministries merged with an organisation known as ASAP under the leadership of Warren and Lynette Jee (Africa Sports and Praise). This merger diversified J-Life’s training to incorporate sports ministry, the use of the arts and a life discipleship programme, as additional tools in the disciplemaking process.
From the outset, J-Life Ministries and Sonlife Africa shared the same DNA. However, each ministry had different methods of implementation and thus two separate ministries were initially formed. In 2006, God led both ministries to merge with one another. This meant that the different methodologies of the two ministries could dovetail together, which would ultimately lead to a strengthening of the disciplemaking movement in Africa.
At J-Life’s annual gathering of leaders in 2007, the decision was made to use the name J-Life Africa and this has been the ministry’s operating name ever since.We have seen exponential growth over the years as we have trusted God to lead us and birth a movement of disciplemaking all over the African continent. The ministry has morphed over the years and we are now working with church leaders in 24 African countries and pioneering into 19 countries - developing leaders who will will mobilize disciplemaking movements.
At J-Life, we believe that the best way to bring about lasting life transformation is through life-on-life discipling, which requires of disciplemakers to go deep with each person they are discipling. The more time that is spent in close relationship with disciples, the more the DNA of Christ will be transferred. J-Life seeks to mobilise disciples who will live their lives in such a way, that communities in Africa are transformed by the life of Christ and the Father is glorified.
Thank you for partnering with us (some of you since the inception of the ministry ...!) as we continue obeying Jesus' mandate to MAKE DISCIPLES WHO MAKE DISCIPLES .... We know that the 'success of the ministry' is all due to the Lord and we thank Him for that ... but we thank Him for the people that He has used along the way to join our team (in part time or full time capacities), to pray, to give financially, to serve on our Boards and in so many other ways, to mentor and coach, to serve on missions teams and to encourage.
THANK YOU FOR THE PART THAT YOU HAVE PLAYED AND CONTINUE TO PLAY IN BUILDING HIS KINGDOM and MAKING HIS NAME GREAT!
"Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others". 2 Timothy 2:2
With love, many thanks and prayers John & Lorna Abrahamse and the J-Life Team
THANKFUL for disciples who make disciples who make disciples .....
THANKFUL for Israel trips to walk where Jesus walked, fundraisers and training
In 2003 a J-Life Team served at my home church where I was one of the youth leaders. During that year I was trained and discipled by them. This included 2 mission trips. I always refer to those mission trips as my burning bush experience. The combination of receiving training and sharing the gospel on mission, gave me a fulfillment like no other experience. I knew then that this was a cause I could give my life to. So in 2004 I joined J-Life as a student and have not left.
Prior to 2003 most of my ministry involvement was youth services and and street evangelism. Both were motivated more by duty than anything else. Learning about the Great Commandment and Great Commission, changed my understanding of serving God. As I was being discipled, I learned to serve out of love not duty.
I have learnt that disciplemaking is a process. It is not a predictable program like an assembly line in a factory. It is intentionally walking with a fellow believer in order to transfer the character and priorities of Christ.
Most importantly I have learned that discipleship is not only for new believers but all of us should be disciples and discipling. Bhuti & Jann Kheswa
I was on J-life the first year it came into existence (2001), and I am forever grateful for this incredible foundational year of my faith development. Two areas that were deeply strengthened over my year on J-life included: the suggested (but also forced ... ) hour long quiet time at the start of the day. For the first month I remember this feeling super long, but soon it felt time flew by and I really felt the disconnect in my relationship when I missed this time. It refuelled me for the ministry I was involved in, deepened my understanding and love for God’s word and allowed space for God’s spirit to speak to me and help me work out my faith (of which I need a lot!). It also, had the long-term effect of sufficient daily devotional time being a foundational habit that served me through the confusing times of university and up until today. Relationship can only grow when it is given time and utmost priority…and starting your day with this ensures it remains a first priority. The second major impact that my year on J-life had on me was helping disciple-making become part of my DNA…I see the believer’s role as encompassing the whole process as we walk a road with those we love, from seeming them come to faith all the way to the point where they are able to walk others along the same road. I am so grateful to God for the incredible foundations that were laid in this year and are still standing true and bearing fruits.
I now am married with three children (seen in the picture below) and work as a medical doctor in Oncology at Groote Schuur Hospital (a government hospital in Cape Town). I love working in this space as I get the opportunity to work difficult roads with patients and love and support them holistically. Lydia Taylor
THANKFUL for short and long term volunteers ... people committed to disciplemaking
My Involved with J-Life has brought a tremendous change in the way I do ministry. Disiciplemaking has been my passion which has been evident with the people that I serve, train and equip. I have further grown in building authentic relationships with people around me and the community. I have realized that disciplemaking goes beyond the classroom block but it is being intentional by spending my time doing things together with the people I disciple.
My involved with J-Life has not just grown my passion for ministry but my leadership skills too. I have grown from a movement builder, to regional director overseeing lower Central and upper Southern Africa. We are currently working in Zambia, Malawi, Angola and Namibia. Zambia and Malawi are already established but pioneering work is taking place in Namibia and Angola and we are praying for Botswana.
I am excited as I look ahead to multiplying and transforming leaders - fulfilling the J-Life 2030 vision. Joe & Kelita Nkhoma
Being involved with J-Life Africa since 2005, we have experienced a great community of believers who love Jesus and love helping others grow closer to Him and follow His example of multiplying disciples.
We enjoyed being involved in short term missions, training the ACROSS arts team, sports ministry teams and churches, serving through worship and other ways at VAC Camp and the Israel discipleship trip. We served in youth and worship ministry at a partner church in New York for 8 years, took a sabbatical, and in June 2020, we felt the Lord leading us back to J-Life.
We currently serve through administrative and teaching roles in partnership and resource development, worship, preaching, encouraging pastors and J-Life partners, and sharing with churches about what God is doing through this ministry. We have really enjoyed the focus on Jesus and how He lived. This has helped and challenged us in having a strategy and Kingdom purpose in ministry. We praise God for what He is doing for His name’s sake! Warren and Lynette Jee
THANKFUL for our ministry donors and support staff and partnership with GYI (now Concentric)
THANKFUL for our 2020 summit held just before lockdown .... having spouses join for the first time in our history ... thank you Lord for your provision
After spending six weeks doing J-Life South Africa's GC2 Youth Worker internship in 2015, I fell in love with South Africa and J-Life's emphasis on discipleship.
I was able to reconcile my heart for ministry with my training in social work and use the skills given to really participate in holistic ministry where I was planted. I made sure to keep up with what J-Life was doing, and toward the end of 2018 felt a tug from the Lord that it was time to move overseas. I immediately reached out to Dave Even to see if there were any positions needing to be filled.
The Lord began swinging open doors left and right as I spent 2019 wrapping up my life in Texas and preparing for a move to Cape Town. I arrived in January of 2020 to work with the International Team in an admin position, and since then have been able to also partner with local organizations that use J-Life's material, work with our GC2 Youth Worker Internship Program, and be involved in the local church.
As crazy as these first two years have been, I can definitely say THE LORD IS FAITHFUL. I am so happy to be a part of the J-Life Family! Emily Steele
I came to know J-life Africa through my friend Mark Gold, from Minnesota, USA. In one of his visits to Nigeria in May 2008, I shared my passion about youth and leadership development, and asked him to be my mentor on this area. In his response, he gave me the email address of John, and said that he would do a good job since he was in Africa. My journey into the J-life Africa family started from there.
In November 2010, God enabled John to visit Nigeria, he took me and other Youth Leaders through Strategy training for 3 days. I had a clearer vision for my life and ministry after the training, and desired for more. I asked John if there is a way he can help me to gain more knowledge and experience on disciplemaking?
When he sensed my passion and willingness to go through the process, he invited me to attend a 3 months internship for key leaders in South Africa from January - March, 2011. It was in this training that I learnt servant leadership in the life of Jesus. The funny memories that I have, was to see myself washing plates, cleaning toilet, and doing odd jobs while in South Africa with my Bishop mindset. It was really funny!
The Lord transformed my inner man after the training. The bossy spirit left me and the selfless - serving spirit of Christ took hold of my being. The domineering - mindset was gone and a servant heart was received.
God has been so faithful. When I returned from South Africa to start the implementation process, it was difficult because of the crowd mindset and the positional leadership style. Today, we have disciples that are making disciples in 9 States in Nigeria. And in my place of responsibility as Regional Director, I have witnessed breakthrough in Liberia, Ghana, and Sierra Leone. The awareness of disciplemaking is gaining ground in many territories in these nations and doors into churches are open, leaders with sincere hearts have been identified and others have started the process of disciplemaking already in their denominations. It is my dream to see disciple making movement gaining grounds and taking territories in Gambia and Senegal. My focus and energy will be exerted to see that the dreams becomes a reality to God's glory. Emem & Mfon Jacob
THANKFUL for people who serve the Kingdom wholeheartedly
Wow, I can't believe that it was 17 years ago that my J-Life Journey began. What a life changing season it was. What started out as 1 year ended up as 4 incredible years. 1 year on team (2004) and 3 & a bit years on staff. (2005-2008)
I got to interact with people from all over South Africa & the World. And this is where my Love For God and His People grew even greater. My time at J-Life, laid foundations for who I am today. Providing me with skills that I now use in my everyday, as a Registered Neonatal ICU Nurse. Working with a wide range of people from babies, to parent, to Dr's and physio's, and more, being able to be there in their time of need, Shining Jesus's light.
My time at J-Life is apart of me now and forever. Sharlene Glaus
Our family joined J-Life in 2008 after serving along side them during 2 mission trips in 2006 and 2007. Over the last 13 years there have been many experiences that have shaped my life, my family’s life and who we are today. Memories that stand out during the years are the new groups of trainees each January, STeM (Short Term Equipping Missions) groups, sports camps and December camp. Each time, each event or experience was learning to love Jesus more and in turn loving people more. We are now living back in the States and I am working in an office and serving with the university class at church. My husband, Dave, continues to serve full time with J-Life. We are continuing to live out Disciplemaking and passing that on is so important for me and my family. Liz Even
THANKFUL for leaders who are committed to Jesus' mandate to make disciples
THANKFUL for the faithful support of churches particularly in the USA for their prayer, financial and practical support through visiting missions teams. THANKFUL for our Board members and mentors and coaches
I was in contact with J-Life trough my wife Florence in the early 2010. I traveled the first time in South Africa in 2012 where I had the opportunity to meet with the whole J-Life family and better understand the vision and the mission of J-Life.
It was only in 2015 that I really started being a practitioner by making my first disciples and of course raising my first disciplemaker.
Throughout this journey every day I learned about the life of Jesus and how to implement it and to share it with others making this a lifestyle. Today we can see the Lord expanding J-Life in Central Africa. We started in Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and today we have a newly raised up country leader in Chad and we are raising a team in Central Africa Republic. We also have started the pioneering process in Gabon and in Equatorial Guinea.
Looking forward, I am excited to see leaders in Equatorial Guinea and in Gabon being skilled with Disciplemaking tools. I am excited to see waves of Disciple making movements flowing over Central Africa, over Africa and abroad.
Going through COVID-19 pandemic brought believers to understand that Christianity is not only about going to church but more to live Jesus' life in and out of the church.
I am excited about those influential leaders who will model the life of Jesus wherever God has planted them and draw them that follow them to do the same. Leo & Florence Fokoua
1995 was my first time to visit Africa. I was part of team that went to Rwanda to minister. In 1996 Darleen went to Uganda, ministering to University students sharing the love of Christ. It was then we both knew, one day we would move to Africa.
We met John in 2004 through a mutual friend in Texas as he was raising support for J-Life. He shared with us how God was working through J-Life to impact the youth of Africa. It was then that Darleen and I both felt God saying, “When you move to Africa, I want you involved in this work”. Darleen and I visited John and Lorna several times over the next few years. In 2010 I visited Liberia and met up with John while he was doing some training there. It was then that he asked again, "When are you guys going to move to Africa and join J-Life?" I told John that we were close but that we really felt God leading us to Kenya. It was then that John dropped the bomb on my excuses saying ... "That’s great, we need someone to live in East Africa to shepherd the movement!" I said, "What? I thought South Africa was where we would need to be?" .... "Nope, Kenya would be great" John replied. At that time Darleen was in Kenya and when she arrived home 2 days after I did, she told me she wanted us to pray about moving to Kenya. I told her what John had told me while in Liberia and she just cried. Long story short, I resigned after ministering at the Alamo City Church in Texas for 21 years, sold everything and we moved to Africa! Serving in church ministry since 1982, running programs, building church ministers, attending many different types of church trainings in small and big churches over 30 years, I will say this, J-Life has taught me much about “how to build disciplemaking” in a persons life, the church at large and in ministry, far beyond the years of my experiences in the church. J-Life has been the best training with implementation that I have ever experienced and God has blessed us to be working with some of the best (in my opinion) Country Leaders in Africa! Billy & Darleen Honc
THANKFUL for our team serving all over Africa
THANKFUL for unity in our diversity
I am Tara Darby and I joined J-Life in 2002 and have served within J-Life in varying roles and varying degrees of part-time/full-time ever since!
I am currently serving full-time with J-Life as the Curriculum Developer. This means that I get to develop a fair portion of the material that we use as well as ensure that the material is translated into four languages, and disseminated within the organisation and on our website/app.
I currently also run a GC2 (Great Commission and Great Commandment) group which means going deep over a long period of time with a group of church leaders, helping them implement disciplemaking ministries within their churches.
Some of my highlights working with J-Life over the years have been: (1) Serving with incredible people from around the African continent (and the globe!) (2) Seeing life transformation happen in the lives of young people (3) Hearing how our material has impacted the lives and ministries of leaders (4) Personally growing in my knowledge and understanding of Jesus' life and ministry.
I look forward to seeing what the Lord does through J-Life in the next 20 years! Tara Darby
My connection to J-Life was a divine project. Since 2006 while I was growing in the Lord, my heart for disciplemaking led me to attend training with three different para church organizations because our local church wasn’t paying any attention to disciplemaking. I was appointed as the National Youth coordinator of our denomination but my passion was growing even beyond our denomination. I was recruiting young people from other churches and equipping them for evangelization and disciplemaking. While I was trying to find other training materials to equip people, I googled organizations based on Jesus' Life for disciplemaking and I found J-Life Africa. I took the decision to write to the organization and was told that at that stage they were not focusing on Togo.
Then in 2010 I was invited to attend the Lausanne Congress in Cape Town. During the congress I met Miah and Michelle Collins who were working with J-Life Africa. We shared what we were doing and we found that we were doing the same thing but I needed more training and coaching to do it better and they gave me John's email address. The next morning, Michelle asked me if I have written to John, and I said no, she said you must do it. Two days after she asked me again and the fourth day when I saw her coming to me, I escaped and found one of the computers set by the Congress and I wrote to John telling him that I would like to attend the training organized by J-Life and I will implement it in my country and other francophone countries. John responded and invited me to attend the three months training at Camp Eden in 2011.
And this is where everything begun! I will never forget I first day I arrived at Camp Eden. In my mind I thought I was coming to South Africa and would be staying in a wonderful hotel during my training time. But instead, it started with us being sent into the bush to spend three days. It was raining and we were hiding under some tents. It was really shocking yet funny. I wasn’t alone ... one of my Kenyan brothers cried the whole night. But after the three days, I liked the team building and the relationships we have developed in the bush!
At J-life I have learned the Jesus method of making disciples. Over the years I have grown my understanding about investing in a few, spending time with them before they can be mature disciples. And also, I have discovered that that the disciplemaking does not happening accidentally - everything must be intentional.
As I am looking ahead, I am excited about how the movement has taken over our region - in West African French speaking countries. Door are opening for disciplemaking. God has done a lot of things in our region but the one that is really important for me is the transformation I see in the life of our leaders we are coaching especially some of our country leaders. I have seen a radical paradigm shift in their lives and the way they are doing ministry. Mgliwe & Rhoder Simdinatome
THANKFUL for an incredibly committed team all over Africa and beyond
In 2006 I joined J-Life knowing that this was where God wanted me at the time but not knowing however just how this journey with J-Life would mould me into the man I am today. Thankful to God for allowing me to be part of this ministry and to build life long friendships, friends which to this day play an important role in my life. I served on the Across team, with 8 other crazy people that I love to bits to this day. They along with J-Life leadership and staff has helped to equip and fuel this passion I have for ministry, particularly worship ministry and above all taught me to how to serve, serve people and the Kingdom of God. Currently myself and my wife Liezel serve, work in the Middle East, together with our 2 sons. To J-Life, history was made which will echo into eternity! Theo Abrahams
I was on J-Life teams 2007 and 2008 and these years were some of the most important years in my life in terms of formulating my approach to ministry. I got to combine training in sports ministry with Jesus centred youth ministry. In both years I was put in very diverse teams. In my fist year we had a Kenyan and two South Africans. Even though we were South African, we also came from completely different backgrounds. In my first year our team did ministry in two different countries on mission trips. Those years were very important, because I developed a passion for missions and for cross cultural ministry. I am currently living in East London, married with one child. I serve at Gonubie Presbyterian church as youth Pastor and am I also involved in missions in Malawi, equipping youth leaders to reach young people. My time at J life has really prepared me for the work I am doing at the moment. Lwandiso Augustus
J-life has really shaped my adult life with high spiritual disciplines and principals that I still hold dear to this day. My passions and vision for my life were birthed while I was on J-life. I am extremely grateful to the J-life leadership team for equipping, teaching and showing how to impart and share Jesus’ transforming love to my world. Being on a coaching team in 2006 and on the Across team in 2007 are memories I will cherish forever. I’m super glad my days of performing Psalty the singing songbook are over! I am now married and working as a Civil Engineer in South Africa. Levi Jones
I have served with J-Life since 2008 till now and i also serve as a pastor in a local church. I have grown a lot working J-Life in terms of discipleship not on at church but in politics and family. So I can say that J-Life has helped me to grow wholistically. Thabo Motloung
THANKFUL for wonderful people that the Lord has blessed the ministry with !!!
again for your generous support in so many ways
'Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did'.
1 John 2: 6