Hans Martin has been leading people to Jesus in Burkina Faso and Mali. He is on the board of the Association of Campaign Evangelists. This network of evangelists has ministered in over 80 village campaigns in Burkina Faso. During the time this ministry has taken place the percentage of Christians has in Burkina Faso has grown from approximately 2% to 11%. Today Hans Martin helps to lead Evidence of Faith (Troens Bevis), the evangelistic ministry started by the famous Norwegian evangelist Aril Edvardsen.
Learn more about Evidence of Faith: https://evidenceoffaith.org/
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Welcome to the Evangelism Podcast. I’m Daniel King and I’m excited about telling people about Jesus. Today I have a very special guest with me, Hans Martin, thank you for being on the Evangelism Podcast.
Hans Martin Skagestad (00:10):
Thank you for having me.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:12):
Now you’ll have to tell me how do you pronounce your last name?
Hans Martin Skagestad (00:14):
Yeah, ska Gestad. In English it would be like SCAD or something like that. So I don’t usually when I’m out, I never use my last name. I usually just use my two first name Hans Martin.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:29):
And so we are sitting on the historic grounds of a great Norwegian evangelist. Tell me about him and what he did in this place.
Hans Martin Skagestad (00:40):
Yeah, this is the base that was built and founded by Evangelist Aril Edvardsen. It started in 1960 where God called him to have a worldwide mission organization. So that’s where we are. It’s a small place in Norway called Quinol. It only lives maybe around two, two and a half thousand people here, but it’s being become a big center of Christians all over. Scandinavia has come to this place to be inspired to go to Bible schools and sent out to preach the gospel all over the world and also this organization. And through the work during these 60 years that the organizations have reached out to millions of people all over the world.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:30):
It’s seeped in history here. It is so wonderful to be in a place where revival has gone out all over the world. And we’re actually here for a conference with the Association of Campaign Evangelist Ace, and you’re one of the board members for the organization. And we’ve actually met in many different countries. Last year we were in Turkey together and we are here with campaign evangelists who have a heart for preaching the gospel. And you have spent a lot of time going to different nations around the world and preaching the gospel. Tell me about some of the countries that you focused on and what God’s done there.
Hans Martin Skagestad (02:13):
So I have been traveling to many different countries having campaigns. I think I’ve been to preaching in maybe around 60 countries the last 13, 14 years. But there are some countries that I have had my main focus on when it comes to campaigns and crusades. And that’s two of them are Burkina Faso and Molly, that I have spent most of my time the last years having campaigns there. Yeah, so Burkina Faso is the main focus together with Molly.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (02:46):
And so over the years, how many campaigns has Ace done in Burino Faso?
Hans Martin Skagestad (02:55):
Yeah, it’s around 75 to 80 I think. Somewhere between that we have had in Burkina Faso the last, I think it’s 20 years and I have had 35 myself since 2012. So we’ve really had a great impact. And what you can see with Burkina Faso, it’s quite interesting, is that for 20 years ago there was around 2.5 Evangelical Christians in Burkina Faso, and now it’s around 11, 11 and a half percent evangelical Christians in Burkina Faso. It’s not only the work with the campaigns that we have done with Ace and my organization and others, but it is several things that happened. But it’s actually a great revival in Burkina Faso especially to see when Burkina Faso has been a troubled country with a lot of terrorism, unstable politicians situation. And also to see how Burkina Faso is the second country with most terror attacks in 2022. It’s only Afghanistan that had more terror attacks than Burkina Faso.
But still in that environment the gospel is growing and there is a great revival happening. So for me that’s really inspiring to see that we can sometimes look at the environment and we think, oh, it’s tough, especially in Europe. And I would guess it’s the same in America. We look at the environment and the politician situation and we think, oh, it’s difficult, but God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and power of God is shaking nations. And that is what we see in Burkina Fa. And we have seen thousands of people giving hundreds of thousands of people giving their life to Christ. And it’s really, really inspiring and to see in these difficult situations how God is working. And we also work very closely with what we call local missionaries. We support local missionaries because we plant churches. We have planted hundreds of churches in Burkina Faso the last 20 years. And it’s amazing what’s happening there. And most people have never heard of Burkina Faso, but it’s actually a country with 23 million people. And it’s amazing to see what God is doing in these nations.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (05:16):
I really love the strategy that you have had for Burino Faso because over the years doing over 70, 80 campaigns in one country, you’re able to systematically go from village to village to village. And so some of the campaigns aren’t huge, but you go to a small village and for that village, it’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened in that place. And so talk to me some about the strategy and the process of what you’re hoping to accomplish. Yeah,
Hans Martin Skagestad (05:51):
The goal or the thinking we had was that we want to go to new places. We want to go to places where there have never been a gospel campaign where maybe even where they’ve never been preached the gospel before. And we did that when we started 20 years ago. What we see now, it’s quite interesting, is that we have been now to between 70 and 80, 80 cities around and villages around in Burkina Faso and some of what was a village 20 years ago is now become a big city because the growth of the population. So when we were there 20 years ago, maybe there was 20,000 people. Now it’s 150,000 people in the village. So we actually now also we’re thinking of maybe some of the village that we have to go back to because they have grown so much and they’re a new generation. But also our thinking is that we want to go to together with our local that we work with, we say that we want to go to every city and village in Burkina Falls. So that’s our goal. About
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (07:00):
How many would that be? Oh,
Hans Martin Skagestad (07:01):
That’s thousands. So also
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (07:04):
You’re really only just getting started.
Hans Martin Skagestad (07:06):
But the thing is that we don’t see that we have to go to all these thousands of, I think it’s 2000 villages and cities that have never been preached in Burkina Faso. So we are not thinking that we have to go to all that, but we also train that what we use also the local missionaries, the local evangelists, we want them to go out to these villages and preach and have their own mini campaigns in the small villages. So when I say between 70 and 80 campaigns that we have had, that’s the people in Ace. But if we take the local missionaries that will be hundreds more that has had campaigns. So we want to be really strategic in what we do because we believe that it’s important for the nation. And we work also very closely with the local denominations and we never plant our own churches where we plant through the local denominations.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (08:06):
So I pulled out my calculator here and you said there’s 24 million people in Burino Faso. And so 24 million times 24 million, hold on. Times 0.025% would’ve been around 600,000 believers. And then over the last 20 years, it’s gone from about two and a half percent to
Hans Martin Skagestad (08:35):
Around 11 and a half to
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (08:36):
About 11 and a half. So I’m going to put these numbers in. We got 24 million times point 11 five. So now over 2,700,060 believers, 60,000 believers. And so over the course of 20 years, see almost 3 million people that now serve Jesus. I mean, it’s an amazing revival. I mean hardly anyone’s ever heard of what God is doing there. But when you think about it, over 2 million people giving their lives to Jesus, that is a great revival.
Hans Martin Skagestad (09:14):
You could put in a context if that happened in America, that almost 10% increase, that would be how money lives in America. America, like
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (09:23):
300 million, that
Hans Martin Skagestad (09:24):
Would be 30 million that got saved in 20 years. And same thing in Europe, it would be a revival that the newspapers would speak about and write about every day. But also what I think is good because it have been a quite tough Muslim country with a lot of terror attacks, a lot of things. I think also it’s good that in some way that it’s not opened the news and talked about what happened there because you have to, there can be tough times also for the locals we work with in some areas it’s quite tough, especially in the northern part and the eastern part has been very difficult the last years. But even to see now that there are happening so much, it’s really inspiring.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (10:14):
And then you’ve also been going, Tom, you have a great heart for Molly. I’ve been to Bamako, I think the capital there and I got to participate in a campaign there a few years ago. But many Muslims in Mali, yeah,
Hans Martin Skagestad (10:33):
It is totally different from Burkina Faso. In Mali, there are 0.66%, so less than 1% Christian Evangelical Christians. It’s a very, most of them are Muslims have some animists and so on. But most are Muslims. And what is quite strange when Mali is that Mali had had a lot of missionaries, a lot of mission work for a lot of years, but there is not happening a lot in Mali has been quite closed, quite, not so much happening, but what we have seen when we work with the locals to support locals, the fruits of it, it has been quite good. And also the campaigns, I usually, because also some of the challenges that a lot of mission work is happening in Bamako. You have a lot of Christians in Bamako, but not a lot of, most of the Christians are in Bamako. But when you go out of Bamako, there are not many Christians.
So I have had my main focus on the towns and the villages outside Bamako in the east and the west in the middle and in the north has been quite difficult because there have been very strict Islamic ruling system there. And also the UN soldiers have been there fighting with the is and Buko Haram and all these different Islamist groups. But to see also now we see in towns and in villages around Mali, there are happening. People are getting saved. We see thousands of people given their lives to Jesus, we planting churches. And so it’s really, really amazing to see.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (12:18):
I pray that in 20 years we will see another great success
Hans Martin Skagestad (12:22):
In Mali. Yeah, that’s my prayer because what you can see with the Malian people in the Burino Falls, so as they call themselves Burkina base, that’s what they call themselves. But what you see, they’re almost the same people. They’re very similar. They’re very, very alike. It’s like a Scandinavian, we say the Swedes and the Norwegians are quite the same people. We speak the same language and it’s the same, but you don’t see the same revival and the same impact that the Christianity has in Burkina as in Mali. But my prayer is that it will be a breakthrough in Mali. And I believe so. I believe that Mali will be the next nation that has a breakthrough in West Africa because it’s the border to the North Africa and it’s just the Sahara is on top of Mali, and then you go to North Africa, and I believe that revival will come in Mali. And that’s my prayer.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (13:21):
And so approximately how many campaigns have you done in Mali?
Hans Martin Skagestad (13:26):
In Mali, I have done, let me see, I just have to maybe 20, 25 campaigns in Mali. Yeah.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (13:37):
Wow. Now let’s talk about this ministry here. Tell me the name in Norwegian and then tell me what it means in English.
Hans Martin Skagestad (13:45):
The name is, and if you would just translate it straight on it’s evidence of faith.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (13:52):
And actually there is great evidence of faith right here. The founder Ariel Everett.
Hans Martin Skagestad (14:02):
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (14:03):
He comes from this small village, less than 2000 people. And in the auditorium here, there’s room for over 2,500 people to pack it there. And so you build a bigger auditorium than for, but ever since the early 1960s, people have been coming here for revival every single summer. And so the focus of this ministry kind of talk to me about historically what’s been the focus of the ministry.
Hans Martin Skagestad (14:36):
The focus has started with and then always been our main focus is of course on reach. That’s the beginning. Reaching the unreached. Yeah, reaching the unreached. And then the next have always been through the local missionaries. Local evangelists. We’ve always been like a mission organization that focus on the local missionaries. And in the beginning that was a big discussion. A lot of Christian leaders didn’t like that because if you are a missionary, you have to be white, you have to be in teach in the right way, you have to be in this or that. But Arnold always thought that the best way is to send out the local missionaries. We have a saying that the local missionaries, they know the language, they know the culture and they like the food. And for us who have been traveled to many countries is not always, we know the language.
It’s not always, we understand the culture. And I can say it for myself, it’s not always, I like the food. So that’s what we’ve been thinking that to send out and give support to the local workers, it’s really important because we believe that of course we believe in western missionaries we believe to send people, but we believe also in helping the local ones. So that has been the main thing. And we have done a lot of things during the 60 years. We have had TV channel, we have one we call a correspondence course, a new Life that’s introduction to the Christian faith that was written in 1972 by our Ledson. And from 72 to now, there are 7 million people that has given their life to Christ through that correspondence course. So it has been one of the tools that we have used and the local missionaries have used. We use it often in our campaigns. So we give it to the people that comes. So they have an introduction now. In the beginning of course it was in paper, now we have an app and we use also digital things to use that correspondence course. And then of course campaigns also is a part of our ministry. We have done, I don’t know, hundreds of campaigns during the of ministry and also been important door opener into nations, into towns and into villages. So that’s also a part of what we have done,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (17:11):
What a tremendous legacy. And just recently you were named to help lead the organization, which is you’re standing on the shoulders of spiritual giants, which is amazing, but you’re 36 years old. So what is that like to suddenly be given this mandate, this vision and you’re a steward of it, but then also looking to the future?
Hans Martin Skagestad (17:44):
It has been some ways also challenging because after Orel, there was his son Runa who took over the organization when he died. And he has been leading it for 15 years. He’s a totally different person than his father. And I think that’s a strong, strong thing. We say Norwegian, that he has not taken his shoes, his father’s shoes, but he’s walked in his own shoes, not trying to be his father, but to be himself. And this summer in our summer conference, I was prayed for and I was named the next leader, me and Runa will. And I’m very happy for that because we are going to lead it together for some years. And then I will take over after him. We don’t know how many years that will be. It can be two years, it can be five, but we’ll see. But for me it’s been really good because I think it’s good to have a good transitions.
And for me I think that’s really great. But of course I’m very humble in going into this leadership and to take over, as you said, I’m 36 years old, but for me it has been really important to, it’s about the calling. It’s not about necessarily the gift, all the gifting and all these things, but it’s the calling. And I have known this for many years that I’m going to be the successor or takeover after him. But we have talked about it maybe in five years. But for me, it have been a long process for me because this is a big organization. It has been have great impact in the whole country.
But I have felt like God has called me to do this and I think I’m really looking forward for the future. But as the question you ask, what I see in the future, to be honest, I see, I think it’s the same thing in America as it is in Europe. You see a generation growing up now that don’t know much about mission, at least they don’t know about reaching the unreached. And for me, I feel that’s probably my most important calling, is to really reach the next generation with mission, to get them to understand the importa of Jesus commandment, of going out to the nations and reaching those who have never heard about Jesus. Because I think we need generations growing up now, really going after the souls, after the unreached. So that’s probably what I see is the most important thing for me is to really reach the next generation.
Because like our organizations who have been 60 years, the last 10 years we really worked on, because we have our supporters. A lot of have been from the beginning when it started for six years. So we have had a lot of old supporters, but the last 10 years we have really changed and really reached younger supporters and that are connecting with our mission work. So that’s also one thing that I’m working on and spending a lot of time to, we have what we call partner churches. We partner with churches in Scandinavia, Scandinavia group. We also have some few in America actually that we work together with. And that’s also important because we really believe in the local church. We believe in the local church in Europe, in America, but we also believe in the local church in Africa, Asia where we work. So we really want to connect with the local church. That’s really important for us.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (21:42):
And so when someone chooses to support you, they’re helping to support missionaries in different countries, not Western missionaries, but national missionaries. And so what does that look like? How long would you support someone for how much does it cost to support someone in a nation in Africa? Yeah,
Hans Martin Skagestad (22:09):
So we usually say that we support a local missionary for five years. Then we want them to be self supported, that they have built a church or built the ministry so they can self-support themself. So we support them. But in some areas where it’s more difficult because there are different areas, some are tougher and in some areas they can have, in two years they can have a church for 200 people. In some areas they can be there for five years, but still the church is maybe 30 because it’s a tougher area. So some we also support longer, depends on the situation, but we always work with local leaders. We have a local leader in every country that we work together with, and he’s in charge of that country. And then we support through his ministry or her. We also have some women that are leaders in different countries.
So that’s how we work. We support locals. And it depends on the country how much it costs because we say that we don’t give them a Norwegian salary or American salary, but what we give is that so they can support themselves and their family with food and what they need. So we often go on the average salary in the country depends. In some countries it can be a hundred dollars in some it can be $70. Some countries $200 depends on the country and the costs of living in the country. So that’s very different. In China, it’s a totally different number than in Burkina Faso for
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (23:53):
Example. And you’re really focusing on the most on reach parts of the world.
Hans Martin Skagestad (23:59):
We work mainly in what we call the 10 40 window with the most unreached countries are the most unreached people groups are. So we work in those countries. So we have always done that. I think actually evidence of faith have worked in almost every country in the world now as maybe some few we haven’t been, but during our 60 years of history, we have been in almost every country. But now we work in 25 countries, I think it is that we work in now.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (24:32):
And approximately how many national missionaries would you support?
Hans Martin Skagestad (24:37):
We have 1,400 national missionaries around the world that we support.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (24:43):
That’s amazing. And I’m sure they’re seeing amazing fruit.
Hans Martin Skagestad (24:47):
Yeah, that’s the thing. If you take the last three years through both our local missionaries during and through our campaigns and the different work we do, the last three years, we have planted 6,000 churches the last three
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (25:06):
Years. So if someone is listening and they say, oh, I want to help support a national missionary, how can they get in touch with you? What’s your website?
Hans Martin Skagestad (25:18):
You can go to evidence of faith.org. That’s where you can find, contact us. If you are a Scandinavian, you can go to tones. But for those who are not speaking our Scandinavian language, it’s evidence of faith.org and you can read more about our work and you can contact us there.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (25:42):
Well, such an amazing ministry, such an amazing history here. And I believe that the best is yet to come. I think that the greatest harvest of souls in history is going to happen in just the next few years. And so we’ve seen great things happen in the past, but yet in the future I think we will see many more millions of people come into the kingdom of heaven.
Hans Martin Skagestad (26:08):
And I totally agree. And you can just see in the population growth of the world for us who are 60 years, if go 60 years back, the population has doubled almost. So the population growth in the world are great. So what we need is more workers. That’s why also I think local national workers are really important because we need more workers. We need also American workers, European workers. We need more workers out in the mission field. And what I think is very different, because sometimes I feel like I’m living in two worlds. You have the western world and you have what we do in Africa, Asia, north Africa, and all this. Often we don’t maybe see so much fruit in the Western world, we don’t see so many revivals, we don’t see a lot of people coming to Christ. But it’s a totally different thing in the 10 40 window and in Africa, Asia, because there are longing for the gospel. And it’s just a question, how many workers can we send? What it’s about? It’s to send more workers and to send out more workers because the harvest is great.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (27:23):
Yeah. Even Jesus said the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. We just need more laborers.
Hans Martin Skagestad (27:28):
We do that. We need that.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (27:30):
Yeah. Well, thank you so much for being on the Evangelism podcast. I appreciate
Hans Martin Skagestad (27:34):
It. Thank you so much to have me, Daniel.