In 15 years of traveling to Africa, Tim Johnson has seen a turn toward sound theology. “This is evidence of the power of the Word of God to straighten people out in their thinking,” he said. He also appreciates “the mobilization of the church of Jesus Christ” in response to Liberia’s threat of disease, and he especially credits Samaritan’s Purse and other agencies “on the front lines.”
It’s one of the poorest countries on earth, yet Uganda hosts one of the world’s largest refugee camps, Bidi Bidi. Refugees here and in several other camps along the South Sudan border receive extreme generosity. They can work, travel, and own land. Uganda is considered predominantly Christian, but the northern region has little biblical training to offer. North Sudanese pastors all share a general story in coming to Uganda: “They say that God in all His sovereignty brought them to Himself and had them here to train and equip them.”
“Getting an adult convert in Cambodia is not easy at all; the whole community has been geared to Buddhism. But the purpose of organizing this church was for the new generation of pastors to be examined and ordained following the biblical and reformed tradition.”
‘In my country, correct exposition of the truth does not motivate many.’
“Many new Christians, good and faithful ones, have difficulties explaining the gospel with clarity,” Ruben says. “What is the gospel?”
It started with a question on Facebook: “Are there any Reformed conferences in English that are in the Northern/Southeast Asia region?”
Unexpectedly called into the pastorate in 2008, Mohan began his ministry with little experience or training and no theological framework for suffering. The Christian community surrounding him was more influenced by prosperity preaching than by faithful biblical exposition.
Christians in this densely packed region, though largely conservative in beliefs, struggle to know their true identity in Christ. Impoverished conditions in greater Manila seem to have yielded ground for a false gospel, one that offers the allure of temporary satisfaction, an exchange of the Creator for the created.
Maxwell Blay grew up in Ghana as an outcast of his tribe, stigmatized as unclean by virtue of being the tenth-born of his mother. The Bulu curse branded him and all those around him. Yet he had not been aborted before birth—the fate of his kind—or killed or abandoned in the jungle.
Ukraine is also vital to the spread of the Gospel. Considered a Bible belt, it has a stronger Christian legacy and more freedom of religion than its neighbors. “It’s a natural conduit, and more respected for its shipping. From Ukraine it’s easier to get books to the rest of the CIS.”
You might be shocked to hear that Latin America has been inundated with the apostolic movement and the teachings of Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen and similar types of preachers. In most evangelical churches, teachings on prosperity, subjectivism and theological moralism prevail.
With only two Christian bookstores in the city, it’s hard to find Christian books, especially ones with solid theological groundings. Even online Spanish resources are scarce. On top of this, any available resources are too expensive for most.
The Congo churches are ahead of U.S. churches in their unity—“a positive by-product of war and natural disaster,” Struck said.
We frequently receive requests like this from some of the most remote places in the world, and we are only able to provide resources if there is a connection with a North American based mission or ministry working in their region. I was skeptical that we would ever find anyone…
For several years, International Outreach sought openings to provide Spanish-language theological resources to leaders in Cuba, to no avail. The door finally opened when we came into contact with Equipo Impacto and learned that they had the capability of printing books on the island, since it was impossible to bring in large quantities from the outside.
Most church leaders in Uganda today have received no formal training, a condition that can lead to abuses in power, false teaching and even a false gospel. In Africa, including Uganda, the great majority of those who travel to the West for ministry training don’t return home.
We met with community leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities they faced. Many of these leaders were also pastors of local evangelical churches. They had the tremendous responsibility of governing and shepherding families, schools and churches, while often struggling for essential resources.
“Most of the students have a desire and calling to evangelize their country. Many men will go on to plant churches and reach out to tribal groups scattered around the thousands of islands.” The books they’ve received will eventually be carried back with them to these remote places.
In the past few decades the numbers of evangelical Christians in Ethiopia have increased nearly tenfold. But churches there bear little resemblance to their American counterparts. Even traditional sounding churches have been infiltrated by prosperity doctrine. “Ethiopian Bible schools have 100-200 graduates each year to minister to 50 million Christians. But we don’t have resources. Not a single book.”
In recent years, new developments are bringing hope to the Italian church including the birth of varying para-church missions and activities. Structures such as publishing houses, theological institutes, campus ministries, Christian bookshops, and missionary associations have seen great growth.
In the past decade, China has become more open to publishing Christian content, with over 200 Christian bookstores opening up throughout the country. As of earlier this year, the total number of Christian books in legal circulation was about 600, with 50 to 60 new books added each year.