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.
Bolivia actually banned evangelical churches from cities until 1945, and decades later, the church remains weak, characterized by captivating faith and prosperity teachings that replace reliance on God’s word with a confidence in leaders referred to as apostles and prophets.
For a people ravaged by the communist genocide that cost the nation a fifth of her population under the murderous Pol Pot regime, the scars are only now just beginning to heal. But the cost to Cambodia’s Christians was far greater. Help us equip Khmer-speaking pastors to strengthen the church.
It’s been more than two decades since Ukraine gained independence with the fall of the Soviet Union. But freedom can only deliver joy; it can’t sustain it. The country has struggled, plagued by political, economic and social issues. Its pervasive spiritual problem is less obvious.
There are about 13 million people in Zambia. Although most go to church, evangelicalism is at a low point in that most of those churchgoers are not born again. As in every other country, many people believe that because they are Catholic or Anglican or members of some church, they are going to Heaven.
Each afternoon Jesús sells ice cream from a tricycle-cart he rides along the bumpy roads. The tinkling bells also inform the community that the Gospel is on its way. Each sale of ice cream comes with a free side-order of biblical truth—fresh preached.
In the fall of 2011, John Piper’s book “The Legacy of Sovereign Joy” was approved for legal publication in the People’s Republic of China. The previous decade had seen the loosening of publishing restrictions, and this had allowed for the development of Christian publishing. In 2012, we were able to distribute 4,000 copies to church leaders across China.
SEMBEQ, based out of Montreal, Quebec is working hard to reach people in the province with the Gospel. With the help of TGC International Outreach, Editions Cruciforme recently had the opportunity to also help relieve the theological famine of pastors in Africa by providing biblical resources in French.
While those of us in the west enjoy a wealth of information at our fingertips, International travel can take us back in time. Africa and Asia especially have low levels of Internet penetration. Things are improving, but hindrances limit technology to the masses in developing countries.
The Congo churches are ahead of U.S. churches in their unity—“a positive by-product of war and natural disaster,” Struck said. “It didn’t matter about our denomination. They just wanted solid preaching. Circumstances have forced understanding. They have different expressions but the same Christ.”
For more than 20 years, Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF) has provided food and other aid to the homes of children in need across America and around the world. This gospel-centered organization sees hunger relief as a means to offer much more. Their partnership with The Gospel Coalition International Outreach helps them to do that.
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.