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Islam, Voodoo or Christ

Submitted by the Executive Director of Pioneers Africa

Pioneers Africa, based in Ghana, West Africa, cares for 150 African workers whoIslam, Voodo or Christ live and minister under intense persecution and spiritual darkness. Yet within that darkness, the light of Jesus continues to spread, one village at a time. God is moving in Africa and is blessing the ministry of these workers. Here is a story of how God is at work in one such village (shared by Anthony, the son of a village chief).

 

Anthony lives in a village where Islam and voodoo are both practiced. Despite being very antagonistic towards Christ, his father allowed Pioneers workers to hold an outreach in his compound. During the outreach program, Anthony and his brother were among the first to come forward and give their lives to Christ.

 

Despite much persecution from family because they became Christians, Anthony and his brother remained strong in their faith and continued to witness both to family and villagers.

 

After some time one of Anthony's father's wives became very sick. The voodoo priest was called and tried unsuccessfully to heal her. On the fourth attempt, the priest said, "I will try one last time. If this doesn't work, I suggest you find a church. They seem to see things happen." The priest's fourth attempt didn't bring improvement and so some local believers were asked to come and pray with her. She recovered and gave her life to Christ.
Anthony's father was not yet convinced that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life so he said, "I will give your God six months to heal our sick and solve our problems. If he does that, then I will know he is the real God."
Within two months, so many amazing things happened for his family that the father and rest of the family realized that Jesus is the Lord and they all came to faith in Him! The father came before the villagers with all his voodoo talismans, declaring, "These bring death!" and then burned them as a witness to his faith in Christ.

 

The village responded by removing the village chief from power and threatening his family with death. However, Anthony and his family remained in the village and continued to witness about the saving grace of Christ despite the risks.

 

Today a church exists in the village where Anthony and his father's family worship God together with many of the villagers who have now given their lives to Christ. Praise Lord!

Songs of Joy

Harold Minor"He who goes out weeping, carrying seeds to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." - Ps. 126:6

 

"The Maasai will never become Christians!" So stated the veteran missionary as Maryella and I began our work on the border of the Maasai Mara in Kenya in 1971. That was the general consensus among missionaries in those days. The Maasai were a hard people, steeped in their tribal customs, resistant and even hostile to the Gospel message. After one hundred years of blood, sweat, toil and tears on the part of western missionaries, only a handful of tribesmen claimed to be "believers." And still no church!

 

Today the situation has changed! God in His great love and mercy has brought everything full circle. Young Maasai who were willing to break with tradition and endure family and community persecution in order to follow Christ, are now pastoring and leading a growing church movement. Individual lives and whole communities are being transformed by the power of Christ. The Maasai are no longer considered an unreached people. They are now sending missionaries to other tribes in East Africa, even to tribes that have been their traditional enemies. The prayers and toil of missionaries over the years produced a harvest!""

 

There are currently over 200 Pioneers workers on the African continent. 160 of these are Africans and the rest arefrom othermobilization bases around the world, including 8 Canadians. They are all serving among peoples and tribes who like the Maasai, are very resistant, and even hostile to the Gospel message. They all endure great hardships and suffer much persecution for the sake of Christ. Pioneers Canada is privileged to come along side to both encourage and assist them in this work.

 

This year we want to assist our African colleagues. Will you help us help them? You can join us in prayer for more workers to be sent into the harvest! You can pray for more resources to be released for training and equipping workers. Pioneers Canada has sold the old office building for $12,000. This money, rather than be invested in our new building, will be given to our partners in Accra, Ghana, for the furtherance of missionary work among the Muslim tribes. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you, our loyal supporters, would match this donation and we could send $24,000 to Africa? If you are interested in this funding opportunity, please contact the Pioneers office at info@pioneers.ca or 519-268-8778.

 

As we continue to sow the precious seed of the Gospel among people who have never heard about Jesus, we will reap a harvest of souls, even in North Africa, just as we have witnessed among the Maasai, of East Africa.

 

With songs of joy,

Harold Minor

Harold Minor
Interim Director

Each One Teach One

What happens when missionaries go into a country to share Christ, and give out bibles in the mother tongue of that tribe only to discover that the people have never learned to read? A Pioneers couple is involved in a program committed to meeting that need in Africa. This is what they had to say.

 

Dr Eugene Nida, formerly of the American Bible Society, says the Scriptures are available to over 90% of the world's population. This is a great testimony to the efforts of Bible translation around the world. At the same time though, only about 50% of the world is able to read well enough to read the Bible. Dr Robert F. Rice, founder of Literacy & Evangelism International (LEI), called illiteracy a "blind spot" - a problem that many leaders of the church do not see. Illiteracy is a great hindrance to developing church leaders, equipping people for ministry and helping believers grow in their faith by reading the Word.

 

Literacy is a tool that can be used for discipleship, evangelism and church planting. It can be used to help transform communities while winning people to Christ by showing God's love in a practical way.

 

Literacy can be defined as teaching people to read and write a language that they already speak. This language is normally their mother tongue. If people learn to read and write their mother tongue first, other languages like English come much more easily which can then lead to being able to read and write in the language of trade.

 

How does this program work? We train trainers, who train teachers to teach people how to read and write their mother tongue language. We teach a method which can be used by anyone who speaks, reads and writes a language. There are workbooks available in almost 200 different languages, and it is also possible to have a team construct a workbook if one is not currently available.

 

We have been involved in helping establish a literacy program in Northern Sudan and Madagascar. We have witnessed the excitement of the nationals as they take this tool and use it to reach out to those in their communities who for one reason or another have not ever learned to read or write. By using the LEI Bible content literacy materials, they are not only teaching a useful social skill but using literacy as a means for discipleship (for the Christian) and evangelism (for the non-Christian). They are embracing the LEI motto: "Each one teach one and win one to Christ".

 

If you see a need for literacy in your area our Pioneers workers would be glad to discuss the possibilities of helping you establish a literacy program. Please contact Pioneers Canada office at newsletter@pioneers.ca for more information.

North Africa:

by David Lundy

This week Colonel Khadafy was overthrown in Libya after four decades in power. It's happening in North Africa. Last November a revolution that has reverberated throughout the Arab world started in Tunisia with the immolation of a young man in protest for being harassed by the police. It's happening in North Africa.

 

North Africa is NOT black Africa but Arab and Berber Africa, over 99% of which is Muslim. It is comprised of Mauritania (the westernmost Muslim-majority country in the world), Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. It is the land of the vanished church. A thriving church dotted the landscape of the fringes of the Sahara, coastal Roman cities like Tunis and the Atlas mountains in the early centuries after Christ's death and resurrection. The celebrated theologian, Augustine, was Algerian. But with the rise of Islam, these countries were overrun in the eighth century and Christianity gradually disappeared.

 

Although missions like Arab World Ministries (now amalgamated into Pioneers) ministered there for 130 years, it is only in the past 15 years that a monumental breakthrough in church growth has occurred in the land of the vanished church. These churches made up entirely of believers from a Muslim background (BMBs) are underground, meeting in homes primarily. "Monumental" breakthrough is understood in a relative sense. From no churches in Mauritania 25 years ago, there are now about eight. Morocco has gone from two to 52. Algeria, where the mega-response has materialized, has seen 200 churches emerge, largely among the Kabyle Berbers, where 25 years ago there were three! Tunisia has moved from one to 12. Libya has yet to see one house church born—although there are about 30 Libyan BMBs in country.

 

What has sparked this growth? Obviously all spiritual growth comes from God alone (1 Cor. 3:5-7). However, apart from the faithful witness of those who serve in North Africa, the most evident human factor has been the use of media such as radio, TV and now the Internet. 54% of the 1,000 BMBs now in regular fellowship in house churches in Morocco attribute their discovering and responding to the Messiah to multi-media.

 

Proof of the significance of media in Arabic and Berber languages in North African response is Pioneers' Maarifa website. Did you know that this evangelistic website typically receives 85,000 unique visitors per month? And that in the second quarter of this year, there were 40,000 visits from Tunisia to the Libya page alone? Morocco all along has been one of the top three countries from which visitors browse through the scores of articles, videos, blogs or interactive games on the site covering questions like 'do Christians believe in three gods?' or 'can I be a Tunisian and a follower of Jesus?' Writes one of the 600 or more Arabs per month who are in touch with the website's follow-up team by email, phone or Facebook: "I am looking for the truth. I hope you can help me read the Bible and understand the Christian faith" (Tunisian male, 26-35 years old). Another seeker from Morocco emailed: "My mind is made up. I took the firm decision to become a Christian and nothing is going to change that."

 

Would you like to be part of what God is doing in North Africa... turning the land of the vanished church to that of vibrant churches? You can pray and you can give to Maarifa.

Let us Go Campaign Update

By the time you read this, we anticipate that we will be mere days away from settling into our new office building. What awonderful journey of faith this has been for us as an office staff. The need was there so we stepped out in faith that God would provide for that need and He has done so in amazing ways.

 

One of the most important parts of a project like this is to have a project manager who is willing to spend day after day overseeing the workers, meeting with the architect, making sure the building is up to code and solving the myriad of problems that surface in a project of this size.

 

We have been so blessed to have Ron Harris, a Pioneers board member, fill this role. With his constant supervision we have seen the building develop with astonishing ease. His experience in construction has been a valuable asset to this project. Thank you Ron for the hours you have devoted to this. We thank God for your servant heart.

Let Us Go Campaign Update

Stay tuned to the Let Us Go website for news of our open house scheduled later in the year.

 

P.S. We have scheduled Tuesday Oct 11 to Friday Oct 14 as our moving days. We will still be answering phones and emails as we are able. However, our response may be slower than normal due to the moving process. We ask for your patience during this time. Thank you.

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