Tools for Discipleship in Africa’s Growing Church
THE CHURCH IN AFRICA has grown into a diverse, energetic, and influential force for the gospel, establishing a presence in education, social outreach, and global missions. But it has been said that in the midst of all the growth, “discipleship is rightly being addressed as Africa’s greatest challenge” (Operation World).
Centuries of a value system based on ancestor worship, tribal rivalry, and idolatry weigh heavily on the spirit of a new believer. It is vital that each believer be well-grounded in the Word of God, equipped to face conflicting concepts with the wisdom that is from above.
In recent months WMP has been able to provide shipping containers of Scripture booklets and Bible studies for believers in Tanzania, Liberia, Madagascar, Ghana, Burundi, Nigeria, Angola, and Zimbabwe. National coordinators eagerly await new supplies to fill unmet requests. Soon material will be produced for shipments to South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Rwanda, Benin, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Two of these shipments provide insight into how the need for discipleship among African believers is being met.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Dr. Paul M. of Mission French Africa visited WMP to present what they are doing in Africa and to see how WMP could be of assistance. Mission French Africa operates in two ways:
Evangelism—by reaching out to all French-speaking populations (about 250 million people) living in 22 nations in Africa. Evangelism among both Muslims and non-Muslims is done through a daily radio broadcast and on-site evangelism rallies. About 30 million people listen to the radio programs daily throughout French-speaking Africa.
Brother Paul’s wife, Christine, prepares weekly radio broadcasts for Muslim women who are forbidden to attend church and also reaches out to Christian women in Central Africa who struggle with issues related to emotional and physical abuse,
poverty, and AIDS.
Discipleship—through Bible correspondence courses and by providing theological and pastoral training for local pastors
who have had no training. About 5,000 students are enrolled in the Bible correspondence courses. Offices are already operating in Congo, Central African Republic, and Benin.
WMP will be providing Scripture booklets, Bible studies, and New Testaments in French, Lingala, and Swahili for Mission French Africa in D.R.C. Future shipments are planned for Benin and Angola.
Pastor Pierre of Benin Bible Institute (BBI) in Cotonou, Benin, visited WMP to see how we could help supply their students with material for evangelism and for their own spiritual growth. Students come from all over the country to study for short terms and then return to their homes and churches. They can then return for another short-term training, returning home again to put into practice what they have learned.
Currently 225 students are engaged in study. BBI also seeks to share material with 200 various denominations in Benin. For 2017 they calculate that each student needs 20 copies of each of nine French booklet titles plus five French New Testaments. For each of the 200 denominations they requested 1,000 copies of each French title and 150 New Testaments in French. They also requested Scripture booklets in nine regional languages. Their anticipated total need is for 2,215,000 booklets, 409,000 Bible studies, and 31,125 French New Testaments.
From this training center students will spread throughout West Africa with their faith established and with tools to share that faith. Denominations and churches which may not know about the resources available from WMP will discover help to train believers to go and share the gospel with confidence.
A recent shipment of two million Scripture booklets to a major distributor in South Africa is already producing exciting results. A six-month plan to touch six regions with the good news has been developed with leaders in eight towns already established, each receiving booklets to use for evangelism. On one day 70 volunteers reached 100,000 people with the Scripture booklets, encouraging those reached to also reach one person with the gospel. Every day they open a new area for outreach. The teams are excited as people receive God’s Word, and the Lord opens doors.
Three more shipments scheduled for South Africa will provide Scripture booklets as vital tools for evangelism and discipleship for three distinct ministries: WMP’s national coordinator, Every Home for Christ SA, and Frontline Fellowship (Peter Hammond).
A new shipment for Guinea, West Africa will provide God’s Word in Arabic, English, and French for WMP’s national coordinator, Brother Adrien, as well as for the Every Home for Christ team in Guinea. Through Brother Adrien’s ministry, men and women are trained in evangelism and then given a supply of Scripture booklets and sent out to the villages, planting the Word of God in every corner of Guinea.
Every Scripture booklet, Bible study, and New Testament sent out from WMP carries God’s instructions on how to know Him and how to share that knowledge with others. God has a plan…and it works!
[You can help send discipleship tools to African nations! Every donated dollar provides for the production of 27 powerful Scripture booklets to ship to Christians eager to share God’s Word in the languages of their nation. An investment of $25 will reach 675 people; $100 will touch the lives of 2,700 people; $1,000 will impact 27,000 people with the transforming Word of God.]
Students in the UK Hungry for the Word
“I work as an evangelist with a team of evangelists in the United Kingdom. We have Christian book tables in key cities such as Manchester and Liverpool. We also go to many universities.
“You sent me booklets last year, and we have used them to reach thousands of people, including many students and Muslims. Many have been saved from the booklets you sent us.
“We work with evangelical churches, and all the evangelists are Biblical and accountable to local churches. We need your help to stock the Christian book tables in these cities and to have material to reach students. We talk to thousands of Muslims, and we find Chinese students are hungry for the Word. We have seen hundreds of Chinese come to the Lord the past few years. Islam is growing fast in the UK, so we need material to reach them. Your last shipment many months ago has been used and blessed of the Lord. Thanks for any help you can send us. Love and prayers.” —Jason B.
Meet the Team
I remember considering employment at World Missionary Press after high school. My parents moved to the New Paris, Indiana area about the same time WMP moved here from Winona Lake.
My wife Lois, who is a nurse, and I celebrated our first seven wedding anniversaries in Bolivia, South America, where we ministered for 7½ years in community development—starting a health clinic, training the people in growing vegetables and other crops as well as basic hygiene and sanitation, including drilling wells to provide clean water.
After returning to the U.S., I began farming organically-grown corn, beans, and other crops. I became interested in applying for work at WMP, which is a great ministry I could be involved with close to home. My responsibilities in building, equipment, and electrical maintenance mesh nicely with my farm work. I have worked here as part of the maintenance team since May, 1993.
What I like best about working at WMP is that my job has a lot of variety. I enjoy helping people get their jobs done easily and more efficiently. I live close by and am always on call, even during times when I am working at home. I enjoy being able to do work that saves WMP from having to call in outside professionals, like repairing the circuit boards on a printing press or heading up a team to tear down and then install a bindery that WMP purchased at auction.
Lois and I have six children: a son in Dallas, Texas; a son in Bolivia, South America; a daughter north of Seattle, Washington; and three who are intermittently at home. For a number of years, they and Lois have been raising and selling vegetables and eggs at the South Bend Farmer’s Market. Between work at WMP, the farm, and the “honey-dos,” there is always something to be done.
WMP Partners Around the World
MANY WMP PARTNERS serve as national coordinators who receive large shipments of Scripture booklets, making them available to churches and believers for evangelism. Others are local ministries who have a vision to reach beyond their own city and use larger quantities of booklets.
Several partners arrange for printing and distribution of WMP literature in countries where restrictions limit what can be imported from WMP directly. And thousands more are individuals who care enough to give a Scripture booklet to someone.
Each partner is fulfilling the Lord’s commission to tell the world of His love and salvation. WMP is blessed to share with each and every one in this great team effort.
Printing and Distribution in Indonesia
For many years WMP has supported the printing of Scripture booklets in Javanese and Indonesian in Indonesia, a country which—for economic reasons—does not permit importing materials printed in the local languages. In this predominately Muslim nation, sharing the gospel is challenging and yet rewarding.
A long-time partner in Java recently reported on the distribution of 90,000 copies of How to Know God printed in two major languages—Javanese and Indonesian—during April to December, 2016, in eight areas of Sumatra, Mentawai, and Java by evangelists and pastors working with him. In addition, 10,000 copies were given to individuals coming to their office to ask personally for booklets.
“Many who received the booklets,” wrote Pastor Jan L., “need more explanation through counseling and through Bible study. Our ministry aim is to tell them about the salvation our Lord Jesus offers to them, and about the true God. Our counselors send counseling letters to non-Christians who receive booklets, and most of them continue attending a Bible study which we arrange in those cities.”
From that distribution, 175 people are known to have received Christ as Savior, and three new churches were established through the follow-up Bible studies.
Syrians Coming to Christ in Finland
WMP’s national coordinator in Finland, Brother Ali, reports encouraging news from the distribution of WMP Scripture booklets in 2016, even though one of his co-workers in charge of transporting boxes of material in the Helsinki area became seriously ill for a time.
“Onwards we go with Jesus! Our work has gone in the right direction and we have received a lot of material to share WMPress in every corner of Finland. Year after year the same people share the truth and do the job.
“A lot of Arabic material has gone to those who have come to Finland from Syria. Yesterday I delivered booklets to three people when they went to meet with the Arabs in Helsinki. Really great job, and there are about 1,000 who have come to faith and been baptized in Finland.”
Brother Ali sees the need for the Church in Finland to encourage and train young people in how to share the gospel and “to keep Scripture booklets always in their pocket and tell about Jesus.”
Requesting prayer for additional colleagues to come alongside, he wrote, “But the work goes on. Thank you for the good cooperation, and greetings to all the staff.”