Archive for the 'Africa' Category

Business for Mission

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

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Wholesome Bakery is a business for mission project that Enterprise International - the CRM business for mission arm – has sponsored in a township outside of Pretoria, South Africa.

The benefits reaped from such a local, for-profit venture are substantial.  Not only do profits go toward sustainable ministry in the context, but people are employed.  A valuable, life-sustaining, and quality  product is produced.  And the entire community is served.  There are also a multitude of intangible ministry and relational results from the presence of such a business.

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Suffering in the Townships

Friday, June 26th, 2009

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I just returned from a far ranging trip overseas that included South Africa.

Most sobering was our time in one of the townships outside of Pretoria where CRM staff live and minister.  Being with those who cope with HIV-AIDS every day and the devastating effect the epidemic inflicts on a society where one in every three people are infected is emotionally numbing. Add to that the grinding poverty and the social inequities that remains from aparteid.

Yet the people we were with – who in word, deed and power represent the living Christ amidst such loss and suffering – are incredible individuals.   May God reward their faithfulness, grant them endurance and resilience, and add to their numbers.

Divine Encounter at 35,000 feet

Friday, February 29th, 2008

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I am on trip that will take me to the UK, the Middle East, and South Africa.

As Patty and I were praying before I left, she prayed specifically for divine contacts. As I settled into my seat on British Airways, I discovered that the distinguished African gentleman next to me was exactly that. He was an Anglican bishop from Uganda, on his way home after speaking at a conference in the states. A few notable highlights of the conversation were:

He believes the greatest challenge to the church in East Africa is that it “does church” meaning it is captive to the traditional and institutional and has lost its sense of missionality.

The greatest need in East Africa is leaders for the Christian movement and a means of developing them that is transformational and not just the impartation of information.

He is part of a think tank in Africa that wrestles with issues relating to the sending of Africans as missionaries but for the most part, he feels the African church, with a few exceptions, is not at this juncture. Existing models don’t work, particularly regarding the marshaling the resources necessary to accomplish the sending task.

When I asked if he was part of the Ugandan Anglican body that was accepting parishes of the American Episcopal Church which were leaving the denomination, he responded “yes,” but then politely corrected me. “These individual churches in the U.S. are not leaving the Anglican communion. It is the American Episcopal Church that has left us.”


In the course of our travel, the conversation covered a spectrum of topics, everything from Obama to the shabbiness of LAX. It was a pleasure to encounter and enjoy this godly saint at 35,000 feet.

Kenya

Monday, January 14th, 2008

I talked today with the folks serving with CRM in Nairobi, Kenya.

This couple, who are actually Nigerian, have lived and ministered in this East Africa nation for the past 20 years. I asked about their impressions of the violence and upheaval that has roiled Kenya after the conflicted presidential election held in December, 2007. One observation they shared was sad.

“In the midst of the social turmoil, the church has been strangely silent. And unfortunately, tribal loyalties have too often trumped kingdom loyalties. The situation is another example of the crises of leadership that grips the African church.”

In a land where the Christian veneer appears as a pervasive covering over all of society, to hear of another situation where ethnic bloodletting is tolerated or even encouraged by those who claim to be followers of Jesus is disheartening. It has the all too familiar ring of earlier events in Rwanda and Uganda. It is another example of the transformational presence and power of Jesus being compromised and being rendered impotent because cultural captivity.

The Township

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

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Soshanguve is a massive township north of Pretoria, South Africa. It’s hard to get an accurate count of how many people live there. Some say a million. Some say more. The name itself speaks volumes ..it’s a combination of the Sotho, Shangaan, Nguni and Venda peoples who were forcibly resettled in this area of Gauteng.

The group of men I’m with above come from all these different tribes, but they represent the hope and future of what God is doing in this place. They’re in their second year of meeting together and have been coached and mentored by CRM NieuCommunities staff.

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I was impressed with the maturity and the depth that I saw when I was with these younger leaders. Most of all, they have the potential for being catalysts around which fresh movements of new churches could emerge in this township and beyond. Men like this are the hope of Africa.