Brought out of Darkness

Pastor Paul was born into a pagan family and used to serve Satan. But when he came to know Jesus, he was brought out of the darkness and into the light. Now Paul is seeing this transformation happen for other families in his village.

Pastor Paul speaks a language in Senegal called Mandjak.  This language is spoken by nearly 200 thousand people in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and The Gambia.  While portions of the Bible have been translated into their language, Mandjak speakers eagerly await having the whole Bible in their own language.

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Literacy – a doorway to the world

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Literacy is a doorway to the world.  It is a foundational skill that many of us take for granted. But, did you know that nearly 800 million people in the world do not know how to read and write, and approximately two-thirds (almost 500 million) of these people are women, according to the 2013 UNESCO literacy statistics? Some of the lowest recorded literacy rates are in African countries that border north Africa including: Senegal, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Ethiopia.

Not having access to written language means:

  • Not having access to instructions on medications
  • Not being able to text on your cell phone which is one of the major forms of communication in many countries in Africa
  • Not being able to produce receipts for your business or read the prices of merchandise
  • Not being able to read a letter or email from a loved one

In March of 2012, I visited an Ngbakan literacy class in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  It was mostly women.

The women sang a song of welcome to my colleague, Maralee, and I when we arrived.

The instructors shared with us that because government education is not free, families are often left having to make difficult decisions about which of their children to educate.  When faced with that impossible choice, families often choose to educate their sons.

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This has left many adult women without basic reading and writing skills. Literacy courses like this one offered in the Ngbakan language can help fill the gap and provide women with an opportunity to become literate.  Learning to read changes lives.  Here are some facts about women and literacy:

  • Women who learn to read and have access to clean water live longer
  • Women who know how to read are more likely to have literate children
  • Women with some education tend to have lower infant mortality

People who can read have access to information that can help with any of these challenges.

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Learning to read numbers and do basic math was also a critical component of these Ngbakan literacy classes.  Seeing these ladies reading, writing, and doing math was exciting for me.  I felt so proud of them!

Literacy is a critical component to scripture translation programs.  If you’re in the US, you can give to support literacy programs.  Click here to learn more.

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Africans in missions

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My last day in Nairobi I spent some time with Africa Inland Missions On Field Media (OFM) team.  They were doing dress rehearsals before their first day of filming a new movie called The Distant Boat.  This movie will feature a fictional story about a young Kenyan who God leads into cross-cultural missions work.  The primary aim of the movie is to encourage people in the church in Africa towards greater involvement in cross-cultural missions.

 About a year ago when I was in Nairobi I shared an idea to members of Wycliffe’s Africa area team for a movie to be made to encourage more people in Africa to become more involved in missions.  Just after those meetings were done, I met up with Ted (from OFM) and his wife for lunch.  He wanted to talk to me about a new project that OFM was looking into – a movie about African involvement in missions.  I was amazed at God’s timing!  We arranged for the Wycliffe Global Alliance to make a contribution to the production.

I’m excited to see the end product when it is completed. I hope it will become one of many pieces of media that will show the important role that Africans have and can have in global missions work.

The film is still in need of more funding.  Click here if you’d like to contribute.

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