He said to them, “Go into all the world, and preach the Good News to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15)
Africa: That huge continent with so many nations, religions, tribes, languages, and waste howling poverty. For centuries, missionaries have poured their lives into various nations and tribes. The need is seemingly endless. Nations have colonized, taken natural resources for themselves, have invested in infrastructures, and provided forced government and order. Nations have left, independence seeming the route all wanted. The free nations quickly lapsed into dictatorships and economic growth pretty much came to a halt. The French, Dutch, and English moved on and life continued in old tribal ways.
The north of Africa has been over run by Muslim regimes and the once fertile plains along the Mediterranean, once known as the bread basket of Africa, is now sand. The continent is religiously divided north and south. The north being Muslim and the sub Sahara to the south is predominantly Christian with large doses of Animism thrown in.
Years ago I read a book called, Missionary Methods, Ours or Paul’s by Roland Allen. His thesis was that for all the money we have invested in missionary outreach, we have not begun to touch the impact that Paul made in one life time. The missionary methods of establishing compounds and westernizing the converts failed miserably. The New Testament approach seems more to bring to Christ and establish local leaders. This allows indigenous leadership who know the language and the culture. Christ is able to minister through the local leader and reach his people. The learning curve is cut short by decades.
This is why one of my friends in France had established a house for foreign students coming to France for education. He knew that reaching and equipping foreign students would pay long term benefits for the kingdom of God. Why? Because these students were the ones who would be leading their countries. Case in point. We had one African student in Limoges, France who was a leader in the church there. When he finished his degree, he returned to his country with a high position in government and yet, a committed Christian, a man of influence.
When we invest in our mission trips, they are expensive, but we are working on a New Testament mandate. We are not trying to buy buildings and establish elaborate compounds. Our approach is to invest in indigenous leaders. This mission will be about equipping pastors and leaders. We supported establishing a training school for leaders and when we went back for their graduation and commissioning, there were at least ten churches started out of that one class. Some went places that were way too dangerous for foreigners to travel to.
This trip is a conference for training leaders. They are interested to know the key doctrines of the faith. They are interested in how to minister the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and want to know more about business for building a base of support and employing their members. The unemployment rate is somewhere around 70-80%.
The church needs to be powerful in the culture. There are more than 50,000 orphans roaming the streets of the capital. AIDS is killing their parents and infecting many of them as well. Occult groups are grabbing these kids and using them for horrible practices. Eight million people are crammed into the capital city, many of them refugees fleeing the civil war in the east. Women are used and abused. The church provides a refuge for them. The custom has men having multiple wives with children of all of them. The father is a distant being. Many times the wives have separate homes or apartments and do not see their husbands for days or more.
Our part is to help. We cannot change the tribalism or rescue the economy. We cannot change the nation in a visit, but we can help those who are nation changers. We can help leaders be better prepared to serve their people. We can bring hope and encouragement. We also can take away a lot. These people are mighty in prayer. They are amazing in worship. They face hardships daily and seek God’s provision and direction hourly. Most are walking a faith walk, not for prosperity American style, but survival. We are committed to help.