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AFRICA A Publication of

www.aimint.org

AFRICA INLAND MISSION

Photograph, Andy Brown, On-field Media

ISSUE ONE 2010

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Christ-Centered Churches Among All African Peoples

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Heartbeat Africa is a publication for you, our partner in ministry. We pray that within these pages you’ll glimpse how wide and how long, how high and how deep is Christ’s passion for Africa. Thank you so much for your part in making Him known through the ministry of Africa Inland Mission.

INside directions | pg 4 A word from the Director

in short | pg 6 Glimpses of God at work through Africa Inland Mission

features | pgs 10 - 25 10 • What is Church? 16 • Lesotho: Soil, Sheep, and the Work of a King 22 • Cloud Roman: A Believer’s Story

So what does fixing radios have to do with reaching Africa’s unreached?

ONline www.aimint.org aimusa A F R I C A

Pulling hand over hand, she draws as much water as she can carry from a 30-foot-deep well before making the long journey home. She will do the same thing, every other day, for the rest of her life.

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on purpose | pg 26


Photographs, AIM On-field Media

MOMENTS

From Beside a Well | By Mike Saum

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n a typical day, a Rendille woman walks ten miles for water. Pulling hand over hand, she draws as much water as she can carry from a 30-foot-deep well before making the long journey home. She will do the same thing, every other day, for the rest of her life. “Rendille life is extremely difficult,” says Grant Swanepoel, an AIM missionary who lives and works among the nomadic tribe in Korr. “Along this dry riverbed there are 78 wells, and each one belongs to a certain family. When drought comes, they will post a guard on their well so no one else will take their water.

It’s difficult for the Rendille to realize that Living Water is available to everyone right where you are. There is no special place you have to go. The Rendille have to trek across the desert for water, but the gospel of Christ, the Living Water, is available to everyone and is life changing.” These photos offer a glimpse of life in the harsh desert landscape of northern Kenya, where thorns and sun-baked earth abound, and where a drink of cool water is never taken for granted.

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heartbeat

AFRICA

DIRECTIONS »

A Publication of AFRICA INLAND MISSION

heartbeat AFRICA (ISSN 0020-1464) (formerly AIM International) is published by Africa Inland Mission International, Inc. In U.S., third-class postage paid at Pearl River, NY, and at additional mailing offices. Address requests for reprint permission and other inquiries Attn.: Editor, heartbeat Africa P.O. Box 178, Pearl River, NY 10965 Ph. 845-735-4014 E-mail: publicrelations.us@aimint.net EDITOR IN CHIEF Ted Barnett, Ed.D. EDITORS Tim Brown Andy Hornberger DESIGN Andy Hornberger

Photograph, AIM On-field Media

ON-FIELD MEDIA TEAM Andy Brown Mike Delorenzo Kate Joyce Ted Rurup Mike Saum AIM U.S. HEADQUARTERS P.O. Box 178 Pearl River, NY 10965 CANADIAN HEADQUARTERS 1641 Victoria Park Avenue Scarborough, Ontario, M1R 1P8

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INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS 37 Alexandra Park

Bristol BS6 6QB England

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Member Mission

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Photo, On-field Media

U.S. COUNCIL Barbara Farrington (Board Chair) Dr. Ted Barnett Tom Colatosti Rev. Don Dix Dr. Ernie Frey Dana Hastings Dr. Elijah Korich Dr. Burton Lee Rev. Ted Noble David Sunden Rev. Wilbur Winborne

Member

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he Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association (NEMA) was founded in 1982 and today is a coalition and fellowship forum for more than 90 mission agencies and churches. These agencies have some 4,000 missionaries worldwide serving in 40 countries around the world. In 2005, NEMA announced a plan to mo-

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bilize 50,000 Nigerians over the next fifteen years for its Operation Samaria, which seeks to take the gospel through the North African Islamic nations back to Jerusalem. (Learn more at www.nematoday. org) Today, more than at any other time in history, Africa Inland Mission has the opportunity to partner with Christ-centered churches who have a

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By Ted Barnett, U.S. Director

Breathtaking Vision Today, more than at any other time in history, Africa Inland Mission has the opportunity to partner with the Christ-centered churches of Africa who have a vision and commitment to establish Christ-centered churches where none exist.

vision and commitment to establish Christ-centered churches where none exist. These Christ-centered churches may be the Africa Inland Church of East and Central Africa, the churches of The Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association of West Africa or Christ-centered churches from around the world. Yes, today is the day to throw off the small efforts based on diminished views

the more than 900 people of God. Today is the day to abandon the do-it-yourself groups of Africa who still visions of yesteryear. Rather, have no gospel witness or church. Will you join Him the passion of our souls cry out with Henry Blackaby to, anew in this calling that is the core passion of God’s “See what God is doing and join Him.” As you join God, heart? Do you long to see the “cry of every longing I am confident you will be joining thousands of Afriheart sing, ‘Worthy is the can Christ followers who Lamb!’” with you around the throne of God? If so, have forsaken everything to see Christ-centered comtake the first step today: munities thriving in every “Lord, here’s my heart. How do you want me to unreached corner of Africa and of the world. Pray for join you?”

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INSHORT

As another of AIM’s Two-year Outreach Teams Draws to a Close, they leave behind a Church with a heart to share Christ with those around them.

m a e t h c a e r t u O rt Dese

ds have our Gabbra frien ce [the seminar] in “S songs w ne g o sin d or the past tw d to compose an ue in nt co en language and years, life has be God in their own to e ais pr of r al fo anything but norm believer) ion- style. iss m of am te Isako (a Gabbra all a sm “One day Mzee a’s ny Ke in aries serving to us and said, among came up northern frontier s are just too good ng so ‘These ra bb Ga ic ad es, we have m no the to keep to ourselv o-year tw ’s M ge with AI sa of es rt m pa is ,a to share th people. The team (TIMO) proh ac tre Ou ry ist .’” rs Training in Min rning and othe e of minisd on language lea As the team’s tim gram, has focuse g. in ry , they are sto se h ug clo a ro el th try comes to ar in sharing the Gosp m se ic us the Gabbra hosted a m praising God for Recently the team ic(p ns ki At dy Christ and ionary Wen who have trusted to led by AIM miss ed rn lea ns have demtia ey ris th ra Ch for the heart re tu tured above). Gabb rip Sc ing His love songs based on onstrated for shar ott compose worship Sc rs de lea age. Team with others. in their own langu e on their blog, ar sh on pt am H and Susie

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Photograph, AIM On-field Media

The word from Congo? We need more help...

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We need IT personnel, teachers for high schools, Bible schools, and the university here in Bunia; we need nurses, doctors, administrative personnel, accountants, youth workers… Opportunities abound.”

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cross-cultural tooth extraction 101

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n AIM worker serving on an island community in the Indian ocean learned the following tooth extraction technique from a neighbor when the conversation turned to the topic of kids losing their teeth and methods for helping them do so. It goes something like this...

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Tie string to tooth. Tie other end of string to rock. Place rock on head. Briefly contemplate what it is you are about to do. Tilt head, causing rock to fall. Repeat if necessary. (Bigger rock maybe?)

ber Photographs, Team mem

blogs

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring

good news! (Romans 10:15b)

For more about the team see page 30, or visit team member Charmyn Harm’s blog at:

www.charmyn.blogspot.com

A Challenge from congo | By Annemarie Boks

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he Democratic Republic of Congo: the whole world believes it’s a dangerous place. Frequently I’m asked about the security of my own town. The answer is, I’m safe. And everywhere AIM has missionaries in Congo is safe. But here comes the sad news: we only work in two places, Adi and Bunia. And there are only five of us. I have just returned from an AIM missionary conference for AIM’s Central Region, encompassing DR Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda. We were about 100 missionaries, not including children. And I was reminded that when I first started

in Congo some twenty years ago we had over 100 missionaries in Congo alone. From 100 missionaries to five. And it’s not as if there aren’t opportunities. We need IT personnel; teachers for high schools, Bible schools, and the university here in Bunia; we need nurses, doctors, administrative personnel, accountants, youth workers… Opportunities abound. May I ask you a question? Are you praying for workers in the harvest (Mt 9:37-38)? Have you been thinking about missions? We are all asked to make disciples, in Jerusalem, in Judea, Samaria and all the ends of the earth. Are you sure ‘Jerusalem’ is the place that God wants you to serve Him? h e a r t b e a t

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Photographs, Jinx Reyneke

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hen AIM missionaries Jinx and Dawn Reyneke stood back after six years of ministry in central Mozambique, they were amazed at what God had done. With the help of Mozambican church leaders, 11 new churches had been planted along a 70-mile strip of land. “People were, and are still, so very hungry for the Word of God,” says Jinx. But despite encouraging church growth, the Reynekes knew much more could be done to disciple the new believers, and they felt overwhelmed by the immensity of the task. “[We came] to a point where we began to review what and how we were doing things,” says Jinx, who had been spending most of his time on the road encouraging and equipping the churches. “We prayed, and asked others to pray, for a better way forward.” AIM leadership in Mozambique worked with Reynekes to develop a two-pronged team strategy for more effec-

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tive discipleship in the area. “We would like to develop a medical ministry,” says Jinx. “We are looking for a career missionary in the medical profession [to work at the local hospital], and a missionary placed as a youth worker.” These ministries would provide a means for both further outreach and discipleship. “The other part of the strategy is to have other missionaries mentor church leaders.” Jinx says personnel with skills such as teaching, nursing, midwifery or agriculture would quickly be accepted into the community.

Nearly everyone we talked to at Obo had a survival story

Church Growth in Central Mozambique Spurs New Discipleship Strategy

GETINVOLVED To learn more about opportunities for ministry with the Mossurize Ndau Team, contact AIM. Funds are being raised for future team housing. To contribute to this project please specify “Mossurize Construction Project.”

learn more: www.jinxdawn.blogspot.com

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Photograph, Chuck Pinkerton

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n a recent trip to the Central African Republic (CAR) to conduct teaching seminars, AIM missionaries Les and Mary Anne Harris spoke with those who survived attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). “Nearly everyone we talked to at Obo had a survival story,” they write. “LRA rebels had attacked the area in March through June 2008, looting, burning, killing and taking 100 young people captive.” The Harrises say many of these captives later escaped, others died, and 13 remain in captivity. Attacks came again in July 2009. One village, Ligoua, was raided eight times, with 34 people taken captive, and eight church members were killed. “Many,” write the Harrises, “told of hiding out in the woods for weeks, in the rainy season, eating roots or wild fruits.” In October, 11 villages

took refuge in Obo, setting up camps. The Ugandan Army established a base at Obo to protect the population and seek out the LRA. “It is only because of their presence that any kind of normalcy has returned to the region,” say the Harrises. While humanitarian aid trickled in for a time, the Harrises report that the nearly 5000 displaced people in Obo and surrounding areas are mostly on their own. “There is widespread hunger and they still are fearful of going long distances to their garden. Last year’s crops were left to the rebels, or have spoiled in the fields. This is disastrous for people who raise just enough to live on and have no other source of income. We understand there are nearly 90,000 displaced people in CAR alone, and aid is inadequate to provide for them.”

“The four children above miraculously escaped [the LRA] after over a year in captivity, walking days through the jungle before they found a road. They are from Sudan and Congo and still have not been returned to their families. The boy in the yellow shirt told us much about the torture he had experienced, and has scars on his back that will remain as grim reminders of his ordeal. The girls were too traumatized to tell us much about what they experienced. We can only imagine.” – Les and Mary Anne Harris, who recently returned from a trip to Central Africa where they met with those who survived attacks by the LRA.

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The Mark of the LRA

PROJECTFEATURE If you would like to help AIM meet the needs of LRA attack victims in Central Africa, we invite you to give to the Congo Crisis Relief Project. Gifts may be sent to AIM at the address on the back of this magazine, or online at www.aimint.org. When giving, please specify “Congo Crisis Relief.”

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“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build

My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (Mt 16:18) “So the churches

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in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.” (Ac 16:5)

By John Becker | Photographs, On-field Media

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ave you ever asked the question, “What is church?”

Sofas and tables removed, a couple dozen friends and neighbors cram together on the carpeted floor. As the tabla and dholaki drums begin to pound, the gathered sing “Khushi Khushi Manao,” an Indian hymn calling the group to bolo bolo Masiha ki jai jai jai (sing your praises to Messiah with joy joy joy). After testimonies, some teaching and prayer, spicy aromas overwhelm the room as a colorful feast of curries and other delicacies is spread before the seated guests. Half at the satsang (spiritual gathering) were disciples of Jesus, the others were still following their Hindu, Sikh or Muslim faith —but happy to join the celebration. Is this church? A F R I C A

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When a Muslim family chose to follow Jesus after watching the Jesus film, a local coworker and I would meet in their home every week to teach the Bible and share fellowship together. It always involved a meal and prayer for each other. The gathering started with five of us and quickly grew to eight as they shared their faith and invited the extended family. For various reasons, this family was not able to attend our conventional Sunday morning church service.

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hurch? Is this church?

Thinking they were the only local followers of Jesus, the three Muslim background believers were hesitant to meet each other. But taking the risk, fears dissipated at the first meeting. Henceforth the three who had chosen to follow Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah) began to meet weekly in an olive grove outside the city walls. Each one in turn shared the Word. Then they prayed for and encouraged one another. Is this church? A few years ago I wouldn’t have considered these “churches.” I would beg to differ now. Let me explain. Africa Inland Mission exists to fulfil the great commission among the peoples of Africa – believing we have been called by Jesus to make disciples of all nations,1 which we interpret to mean “all people groups.”2

We are commissioned to “make disciples of all nations”– not make churches of all nations. Everyone who places his/her faith in Jesus is a member of Christ’s body, the universal Church. But in making disciples, the spirit-directed result is the gathering of these followers: the local church. But again, what ingredients make a church? This is of high importance to AIM because our mission is “Christ-centered churches among all African peoples” – to ensure every single people group in Africa3 has a local expression of church. A Somali nomad once said, “When you can put your church on the back of a camel, then I will think that Christianity is meant for us.”4 As a mission leadership we concluded that church doesn’t necessarily need four walls, a roof, and a pastor who has been to Bible School. So we set out to create a simpler definition of church: a community of disciples who know and reflect their identity in Christ through corporate worship and h e a r t b e a t

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your church

“When you can put on the back of a camel,

then I will think that Christianity is meant for us.”

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Most of the remaining unreached people groups will not be reached with a conventional and traditional model of church both in evangelism and structure. mission. Is this the definitive definition of local church? Probably not. Is it simplistic? Maybe. But we believe it is packed with Biblical truth and it has helped to shed our cultural biases and rethink our traditions so that “church” formation and multiplication can be experienced in every culture. Most of the remaining unreached people groups will not be reached with a conventional and traditional model of church both in evangelism and structure. We encourage our missionaries to envision “church” through the lens of the people they are serving. Everything from meeting venues, to leadership, to the style of worship, to the posture for prayer, will probably look and feel alien when compared to our own experience. This is especially true in contexts where conversion is forbidden and churches are outlawed. I would be more inclined today to call the gatherings I mentioned at the beginning, church. Even if they were not quite complete expressions of church, if I hadn’t been bound by my cultural traditions, I might have enabled them to be. Promoting the value of the local church and watching it birthed among Africa’s peoples has been an incredible journey. Let’s press forward together in this adventure until Revelation 5:9 is a reality among the more than 900 unreached people groups of Africa! Thank you for partnering with us in our part in the Great Commission.

Revelation 5:9 says: “And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.’”

Until recently John Becker served as one of the directors on AIM’s international leadership team located in Bristol, England. Today he coordinates an international network focussed on effective church planting among unreached Muslim people groups. (Endnotes) 1.

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Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(NIV)

παντα τα εθνη The original Greek text, can be translated as all Gentiles, nations or peoples and thus the point of Jesus’ words is to be all inclusive. Unreached People group: A people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group. (Joshua Project) Malcolm Hunter, an expert on nomadic peoples, said his idea of church was revolutionized after encountering the Somali nomad who made this statement. “The Nomadic Church” International Journal of Frontier Missions, Vol. 17:3, Fall 2000

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In the tiny mountainous kingdom of Lesotho God is working among those who till the earth and those who tend the sheep.

SOIL, SHEEP, and the WORK of a KING By Mike Delorenzo Photographs, On-field Media A F R I C A

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Mountain Kingdom

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Huts of rock and thatch dot Lesotho’s hillsides, where sure-footed horses are the transportation of choice. AIM currently has a team of 10 missionaries in Lesotho, from the capital, Maseru, to the sprawling highlands pictured here.

GOD is a FARMER

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ugust Basson kneels beside a row of rich, brown soil in a field of newly-planted maize and plunges his hands into the earth. With an exuberance well matched to his lively South African accent, and with the experience of a man who holds a soulful connection to the land, he carefully rubs the moist earth between his fingers. Plunging in once again, he begins to laugh. “You see this, you see this!” His visitors crouch down for a closer look as August unearths a prize. “It is an earthworm!” he sounds out with boyish glee. The tiny creature wriggles free of the dirt and dances in August’s calloused and careful hands. He laughs again and promptly declares it a miracle. “I have not seen an earthworm in years. This is a good sign. It means the land is beginning to heal.” August, along with his wife Anita, originally came to the tiny, landlocked nation of Lesotho over 16 years ago to preach. But he soon realized he was preaching to people

with empty stomachs. Lesotho is a nation facing a dire farming crisis which has turned a country that once fed neighboring countries into a land that today can barely feed itself. Known as the “Mountain Kingdom,” Lesotho, on a map, is like a thumbprint in the middle of the vast nation of South Africa. Mostly highlands—arid, rocky, and windswept—Lesotho is a breathtaking display of what one missionary here described as “devastating beauty.” Its unique history has yielded a land with a single, homogenous culture and a people ruled over by a benevolent king. Lesotho appears to defy the stereotype of suffering Africa. There are few signs of abject poverty. The literacy rate mirrors that of many developed Western nations. A one-hour flight spanning the country east to west reveals some very impressive infrastructure. And peace, the rarest of commodities in Africa, blankets the land. But unfortunately, peace still evades the hearts of many of the 1.8 million Basotho people who live here. Lesotho is burdened with one of the

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SLIPPING AWAY

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Lesotho’s landscape, while stunning, is also literally slipping away as rains erode farm fields and carry off topsoil via a growing network of gullies. “The biggest export of Lesotho,” says Basson, “is the land.”

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Farming God’s Way

AIM Missionary August Basson learned that the Basotho people view farming as a low profession, an idea that played itself out in the poor treatment of land over time. Today, due to a program he calls “Farming God’s Way,” that perception is changing , and improved farming methods are beginning to take root.

highest HIV infection rates in the world. Nearly 24% of the population—one in four Basotho—are directly touched by the social and physical effects of the epidemic. And the land is sick as well. This sober fact is evident every time it rains. “The biggest export of Lesotho,” August says with regret in his voice, “is the land. And they don’t get one cent for it!” He steers his Land Rover off the road and across a field to the edge of a plot neatly cut into rows by an ox‐drawn plough. This is a family farm. It was passed down from father to son. It will be passed down again

if it can only last another generation. The rains are pouring heartily from the sky, but what should be a blessing in Africa, here reveals a curse. At the edge of the farm the land falls off into a gully, and the gully itself into a network of others as far as the eye can see. And it immediately becomes clear that this farm was once much larger. August pops an umbrella and bounds across the field. His heart sinks as he describes what is happening: in rivulets of muddy water, the rains are carrying away what is left of the topsoil—and at an alarming rate. “Your farm is like a living inheritance you h e a r t b e a t

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pass on to your kids,” he explains with a sigh. “They are passing on death.” As August began to identify the agricultural disaster threatening the land and livelihoods of the people he came to serve, he quickly switched his focus from preaching to developing a program to address the seemingly intractable problem. But he soon found his efforts were failing. Then one day famine came and August was faced with scores of people at his gates. “I can’t feed a nation!” he pleaded with the Lord. And God challenged him that perhaps he could. Or rather, God could. Perhaps everything they needed, was already provided. Over the past few decades, basic farming has been destroyed in Lesotho. It is partly the fault of well-intentioned missionaries, aid agencies and governments. There have been a lot of failed projects, programs, schemes and systems. August summed up his frustrations and the wrong-headed approach of applying Western methodologies to the uniqueness of Lesotho, in a short, sober revelation: “The plough has killed more people in Africa than any war.” The problem was not so much the plough, however. The problem lay deeper than any curl of steel could cut in a field. Deeper than the gullies swallowing up the fertile soil. Deeper even than the sorrow of the Basotho who have summarily declared themselves “cursed.” The problem lay in the hearts of the people. And if it was a problem of the heart, perhaps August had a solution after all. He discovered that farming detached from a God‐centered worldview was bound to fail here. The Basotho believe farming to be a “low” profession and have a fatalistic approach to their land. The resultant behavior is destructive. And it has proved impossible to change this behavior without changing the beliefs behind it. “Ideas have consequences,” he explains. “Ideas sit right at the heart of things.” So August presented a new idea: God is a farmer. He was the first farmer. August quotes from the book of Genesis—God “planted a garden in the east, in Eden”— and with this unexpected revelation begins to teach a new way of thinking about farming—God’s way.

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Adopting a mindset called “Farming God’s Way,”August has found a means to address the ecological needs of the land, as well as the theological needs of the people. He has become a preacher once again, albeit one with muddied boots and calloused hands. “There is a need to help people see we have a key relationship with the land. The way we view ourselves has an effect on how we deal with the land, and it all goes back to our right relationship with the Creator.”

GOD IS A SHEPHERD

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ne hundred miles east, high in the bouldered, treeless mountains of Lesotho, a similar transformation is slowly unfolding. John and Shan Barry live in a small house set on a grassy hill in a broad and beautiful valley, in the village of Molumong. The Basotho villagers here populate the valley only sparsely, and seem to easily blend with the land and bend with the wind. They are typically wrapped for warmth in wool blankets or layered clothes as they go about the tasks of life. Except on Sundays, when nearly the whole village dutifully converges at the church adjacent to John’s house. On Sundays, they come dressed in their very best. And for some the day is worship. For others it is social obligation. But for John, Sunday mornings bring a burden. His glance wanders outside the thick stones of the sanctuary walls to the hillsides far distant. And here John is painfully reminded that there are some among the village who are not represented at church. In fact, there are some who are not even welcome. Speckled upon the hills, adrift among herds of sheep and goats and cattle, is an outcast community of shepherds doing a job which knows no Sabbath, and fulfilling a societal role which places them in the least-reached people group in Lesotho. “The church has a heart for these boys, but in a half‐hearted way,” John explains. Shepherds pose a unique problem. They are respected, but not socially accepted. Ranging in ages from 5 to 65, the boys and

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SHEPHERDS REACHING » SHEPHERDS Missionary John Barry has a vision for equipping Lesotho’s shepherds to reach other shepherds with the gospel.

men who comprise Lesotho’s ubiquitous shepherd community work for wealthy stock‐owners who need to graze their animals in a country without provision for formal, individual land ownership. In a land without fences. So the boys live and roam with the herds. They are relegated to a life of poverty, paid in sheep and blankets, and grow up detached from the social fabric of their homeland. As a result, the boys end up unschooled and illiterate. They are sometimes feared and castigated as criminals. They lack both the manners and the clothes to show up in a church. And even if they did, they would be lost in the liturgical tradition of Lesotho’s prominent denominations. AIM’s reach into the lives of these boys took root more than a decade ago when missionaries established schools to provide a basic education and a point of evangelization for the marginalized shepherds. The schools are but shacks, scattered throughout the hills like the shepherds themselves. Today, over 700 boys attend them. Some of the boys have become Christians. And now John has ideas for something more. In a visit to the home of ‘M’e’Matankiso, a kindly local Basotho woman, John discussed his vision. ‘M’e’Matankiso has worked with the herd boys for over twelve

years. Her brightly painted home is one of the few places these boys feel welcome. A crew of disheveled youth loiter outside, and John asks her why she tries so hard to reach them. Her response is simple and heartfelt. “I like them so much,” she says. She tells a story about how she first began to see these boys being ignored and belittled. She says it broke her heart. John, gentle in his own way, and a kindred spirit with ‘M’e’Matankiso, clearly understands. He begins to share his idea with her. About how God has a special place in His heart for shepherds. And how perhaps for the shepherds of Lesotho, God has a special plan. As John sees it, God is a shepherd. The Good Shepherd. And in this beautiful imagery is a new way of thinking about the shepherds just outside the door at ‘M’e’Matankiso’s home, and all over the country. Suddenly the shepherds are more than just an unreached people, but also potential messengers with the right vocation, and unique opportunity, to carry the message of Christ across the country. Could God use this outcast community to show what the church should be? What if 20 believers from among the shepherds could be chosen and taught

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The boys live and roam with the herds. They are relegated to a life of poverty, paid in sheep and blankets, and grow up detached from the social fabric of their homeland.

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Scripture in the manner of their oral traditions? What if AIM could establish an oral Bible school to teach them how to “story” God’s Word? The shepherds could come and study in intervals and, in time, eventually become pastors among their own community. This could lead to a church movement. A church that affirms the shepherd’s role. “I think this is what God wants them to be,” John announces. “They will be shepherds of men!”

AN UNCONVENTIONAL KING In a land ruled by a King, it’s easy to frame a worldview based on stereotypes and resign oneself to fate and circumstance. But God has a way of turning such things on their head. He himself is a King. Yet one that left his throne and became poor for the sake of impoverished humanity. Is it any

surprise then that God is a farmer and a shepherd? Is it hard to believe that God still delights in the feeling of moist, fertile soil scooped up in His earth‐creating fingers? Impossible to imagine that He still cares to cradle a frightened lamb in His world‐embracing arms? That He laughs at the display of a dancing earthworm? Or smiles at a face full of wool? Is there more than just toil in one’s work? Is there also joy, and purpose, and a lesson in reconciliation? The message to the farmers and shepherds of Lesotho is that God, amazingly, relates to their disparaged vocations. And through them, He is working out His purposes for Lesotho—taking the humble and teaching the “wise,” and quite possibly using the “hopeless” to bring hope to the whole of this Mountain Kingdom.

Some Current Personnel Needs in Lesotho Include: • Doctor/Surgeon • Theological Education by Extension Trainer • High School Teacher • Pre-school Teacher Contact AIM to learn more about these opportunities. h e a r t b e a t

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Cloud Roman a b e l i e v e r’s s to ry By John p. Brown

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t 25, Cloud Roman has the lean physique, bronze skin and gleaming smile of a Maasai warrior. His people, the Rangi, do in fact share a common heritage with East Africa’s Maasai tribe. Roman was raised Catholic in the village of Pahi in Tanzania’s Kondoa District— known as a strong center of Islam in Tanzania. The Rangi people are 93 per cent Muslim. The rest are either Roman Catholic, traditional spiritists, or a hybrid. Catholics even blend Muslim practice into their rituals. Growing up, most of Roman’s friends were Muslim. Without a second thought he often joined them in Koranic classes. While Catholic masses are closed to children, Muslims begin indoctrination at an early age. When he was 14 years old, Roman’s parents sent him to a boarding school about 10 miles away. Emboldened by his newfound

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freedom, Roman began asking local priests questions that had long perplexed him. “Why do priests drink the local beer?” he asked. “Why do you sometimes come to church drunk?” Roman had learned in his Islamic classes that alcohol was strictly forbidden to Muslims. Yet priests regularly consumed the local brew, and so did his father—a church leader. “When Daddy came home drunk,” he remembers, “he was harsh. He was unhappy and used bad words.” Even as a young boy, Roman wondered why the Church condoned such behavior. “Does the Bible allow you to get drunk?” he asked the priests. Rather than being given an answer, Roman was threatened with a beating. Disillusioned, Roman became cynical of the Church. His ambition was to be a doctor, so he poured himself into his homework. He frequently studied all night

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my father shouted, ‘We curse you!

You have betrayed us!’

to achieve the best grades in his class. In his second year of secondary school a friend invited him to a Bible study led by AIM missionary Paul Tanner. On the first night he attended, the group opened the text to the Book of Romans. They focused on Romans 12:1-2: Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed. “This was the first time I heard a Christian saying that worldly practices were bad,” remembers Roman. The following Wednesday night, Roman returned to the Bible study. At the end of the meeting Tanner read from Romans 10:9-10: “If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Afterwards Roman says he remembers sitting alone in his dark room. “I couldn’t sleep,” he said. “I asked myself, ‘What should I do? Should I follow my Mum and Daddy? Should I listen to my friends?’” Up to this point, Roman had a lot of buddies at school. But when they discovered he was attending a Bible study, some of them warned that if he became one of the Kafiri (infidels), he could kiss their friendship goodbye. The next morning Roman attended the small assembly started by the AIM TIMO team among the Rangi people. Though the service started at 10:00, he was at the door an hour early. “I went home singing the hymn I’d learned that morning, Vyaboha Kupalawga Yesu [Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus],” he says.

That afternoon and evening he reflected on the pastor’s sermon, his Catholic upbringing, his Muslim friends who now shunned him, and a newly-discovered trust in Jesus. “Then it hit me,” he says. “I am saved!” But almost immediately his thoughts returned to his parents. How could he break the news? Every month, Roman biked 10 miles home to get money to cover room, board and school fees. But even before it was time to make the trip, news of Roman’s conversion had reached his family. When he finally arrived at the doorstep his father bellowed, “What do you want from me?” “Daddy,” he pleaded, “I have no more money for school.” “You will never get another shilling!” spat his father. “You’ve betrayed us! Go to your church and let them give you the cash you say you need! As of now,” he roared, “I am not your father.” Roman remembers his mother standing back in a corner, weeping. Between sobs he heard her say, “and I am no longer your mother.” In a miasma of confusion and sorrow he biked back to his rented room hungry, not knowing where to get food or how he could continue his studies. “In the following days I lived in tears,” he says. With the help of a couple classmates he bought a few groceries. On Sunday he returned to church. When the pastor said that believers are all brothers and sisters in Christ, Roman says his heart lifted. He didn’t tell the church members how desperate he was; he just prayed. A week later he made his way back

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let your church

be your parents!”

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“I WANT TO BE A SERVANT OF GOD. when I find a bible school that will accept me,

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to his parents’ house, hoping their stance might have softened in the interval. But this reception was worse than the last. “My older brother shouted, ‘What are you doing believing another religion?’” remembers Roman. “He came up to punch me, but my mother stopped him. Mom was crying. Then my father shouted, ‘We curse you! You have betrayed us!’ “Once again I rode my bicycle to my rented room,” says Roman. “I had now gone for weeks with almost no food.” The next day he was expelled for not paying school fees. At about the same time the pastor bumped into Roman’s school teacher and asked about his progress. The teacher said that Roman, usually at the top of the class, had failed recent tests. The pastor immediately went looking for him. “What’s wrong, Roman?” he asked. “On Sunday you were not singing. Now your head is down.” Remembering the encounter, Roman says, “I was just dropping tears.” Roman told him the whole story, including his father’s venomous verdict, “Let your church be your parents!” The pastor gave him enough money to return to school and buy some food. Months went by without any contact with his family. Roman’s church had a dispensary. The doctor who ran the dispensary was an elder at church, and when he discovered Roman’s

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situation he opened his home. Roman began working in the clinic during the day and teaching chemistry and biology at night. With these wages he bought clothes for his younger siblings and sent packets home to them. Fourteen months after his last visit, Roman finally attempted another visit to his parents. That same day his older brother, in a drunken rage, had tried to kill his mother with a rock. Hearing shrieks, neighbors had rushed over in time to restrain him. Later, a younger brother was caught beating his wife. All this was unknown to Roman as he knocked on the door. With the family in disarray, his father opened the door. “You are my only son,” he sighed. Roman’s family already knew that in the previous six months Roman had started preaching at church, teaching Bible studies, and witnessing in the streets. “I am not believing in you,” said his father, “but you are different from my other sons. Go ahead with your faith.” That evening, after biking back to the doctor’s house, he decided to walk over to visit his pastor. There at the pastor’s house he was shocked to see his parents. He was even more amazed to overhear the words, “we are proud of our boy.” Roman’s parents nevertheless maintained rigid hopes for their second-oldest son. They wanted him in medical school.

“No,” he replied, “I want to be a servant of God. When I find a Bible school that will accept me, I am going.” Roman applied to Nassa Theological College, 90 minutes east of Mwanza, Tanzania. He was accepted, and an evangelism course he took in his first semester honed his ability to share his faith. At the end of the term he was determined to reach his parents for Christ. Yet to this day, whenever Roman’s father hears the Gospel, the 76-year-old patriarch dismisses what he believes to be a foreign cult. Today Roman is nearing the end of his studies. He is still the only member of his family to trust in Christ. In fact, two of his sisters have converted to Islam. As Roman enters his last semester at Nassa he is conducting in-depth research into his own people. His studies drive him to the conclusion that perhaps more than any of the other 123 tribes of Tanzania, the Rangi are suspicious of outsiders. Roman laments, “Only four friends from my first church have not reconverted to Islam.” “The Gospel is a new faith for the Rangi people,” Roman observes. “They need one of their own to teach them in a way they can trust. “I want to go back to be one of them,” he says. “I desire more Rangi people to come to Christ.”

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ONPURPOSE

Is there a connection between fixing complex circuitry and reaching Africa’s unreached?

the

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Photos courtesy Kelly Sullivan

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ne door, many shelves and cupboards, funny looking equipment, 400 square feet, and lots and lots of fluorescent lights. I have found myself working in and out of this small enclave (called the Radio Base) for almost 16 years now. My teammates and I serve to keep the aviation electronics (called avionics) functioning for AIM AIR, the air wing of Africa Inland Mission. It’s a ministry that requires a lot of patience, persistence, paperwork, and prayer. We also love to help missionaries with electronic equipment used in their ministry. Luke 15 records that Jesus once told three parables in response to the Pharisees’ self-righteous and condemning remarks about the people he was spending time with. The core threads running through those parables, the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son, are that God places unimaginable value on every human soul and is passionately seeking the lost. We see the manifestation of these threads through the lives of His amazing servants who are willing to go to difficult and remote areas to live among those who do not know Christ. Though the methods may vary widely the ultimate goal is to share the truth of the Gospel to those who have

“It is as though God is saying to us, these souls are precious to me, so do whatever it takes to reach them.” - Steve Moffitt not heard, and establish maturing churches filled with those who have come to believe and are growing in their faith. I feel this “thread” runs though those of us at AIM International Services (of which AIM AIR is one part), and expresses itself in a burning desire to support and enable the ministry of those willing to reach out to people in remote places. Not many of us are gifted evangelists; our gifting is more in the area of serving and… well, we may be more blacksmiths than wordsmiths. But I think there is a deep desire within us to see people

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Photograph, courtesy Steve Moffitt

come to Christ, to grow in their faith, and to produce fruit on earth that will last for eternity. An aircraft’s instruments and avionics are essential to carry out each flight safely and efficiently. They allow the pilot to know the complete situation of his aircraft even when all that can be seen outside the window is white cloud vapor. Avionics systems allow for communication, navigation, awareness and avoidance of potential hazards to the flight, and relieve the pilot’s workload and fatigue. Doesn’t it seem ironic that these complex machines filled with these complex systems are being used to reach people in some of the simplest cultures on earth? It is as though God is saying to us, these souls are precious to me, so do whatever it takes to reach them. Wait…there’s that thread again.

The Moffitt family, left to right, Melinda Moffitt, daughters Natalie and Christine, and Steve. Daughter Olivia attends college in the U.S. And the cheetah? Just a friend – a resident of the Nairobi Safari Walk at the entrance of the Nairobi Game Park.

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PROJECTFEATURE

Help AIM Subsidize Participation in Theological Educator Consultations

Striving for Excellence in Theological Education By Keith Ferdinando

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omorrow’s church is being significantly shaped through institutions and programs of theological education, as men and women are prepared for future leadership. This is as true in Africa as it is anywhere else in the world, and AIM has always understood that. This is why we recruit theological educators to teach in most of the African countries in which we work, and it is why we seek to help all those engaged in theological education to do the best job they can. One way we have tried to do that is through regular theological educators’ consultations, which we organise in partnership with colleagues in SIM. The last such occasion took place in Johannesburg in 2009, and the year before that we held one in Nairobi. They have been much appreciated: according to one participant, it was “very much worth the cost of coming, and having work pile up behind me.” Now we are planning two consultations to take place back-to-back in April 2011, first in Nairobi and then in Johannesburg. Both missionaries and national staff are encouraged to come to these consultations. We organize them in the two centers – Johannesburg and Nairobi – to minimize travel costs, but some still have to travel long distances to attend. This has significant financial implications even when us-

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ing the cheapest route available: travelling from Madagascar to Johannesburg or from Congo to Nairobi is costly, and theological schools find it difficult to make ends meet at the best of times. So, we try to subsidise travel costs. Our policy has been that each participant pays the same flat rate which covers both the cost of the consultation itself and the price of travel, regardless of where they come from. But this means that we have to find money for the subsidy. For this reason AIM International Office has just opened a new project, the sole purpose of which is to subsidise the participation at theological educators’ consultations of those – expatriates and nationals – who work in AIM-related programs of theological education. The number of the project is IO-132. Given the critical importance of quality theological education for the health of the African church, we invite you to prayerfully consider supporting the project – and making a real contribution to the growth of ‘Christ-centered churches among all African peoples’ through the development of theological educators. Contributions can be sent to: Africa Inland Mission, P.O. Box 178, Pearl River, NY 10965. Please specify project ID IO-132. You can also give online at www.aimint.org/usa

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Photograph, AIM

On-field Media

Photograph, Grant Swanepoel

warriors wanted... Prayer Warriors ad?

As Africa Inland Mission works toward the establishment of Christ-centered churches among all African peoples we need men and women who will stand with us in prayer for this ministry. If you’re a prayer warrior and would like to receive AIM’s monthly email prayer bulletin, Fuel for Prayer Fires, contact us at publicrelations.us@aimint.net.

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daily prayer requests You can access AIM’s daily prayer requests at our website at www.aimint.org/usa. And while you’re on our site, take a few minutes to watch one or more of our exciting videos. You’ll be challenged and you’ll gain a greater understanding of how God is working through AIM. Africa’s unreached Discover more about some of Africa’s unreached peoples and learn specific ways you can pray for them at www.prayafrica.net prayer groups Start your own AIM prayer group or see if there is one in your area. To learn more about this ministry contact AIM’s Prayer Secretary, Carol Baker at rcbaker@aimint.net let us pray for you Please, let us know how we can pray for you. AIM staff meets daily for prayer and we love to uphold the requests of our partners in ministry.

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THECLIPBOARD

On Mondays we walk out for half an hour to a nearby village to tell Bible stories.

To me this is what a Gabbra ‘church’ looks like, getting together in the evening, sitting on a cow hide under the stars drinking smoky chai, singing songs

together in a circle of jumping and clapping, and then

hearing stories of God’s master plan of salvation. AIM missionary Charmyn Harms, who currently serves with an outreach team among Kenya’s nomadic Gabbra people through AIM’s two-year TIMO program. Learn more about TIMO at www.timo-aim.com Read Charmyn’s blog at www.charmyn.blogspot.com

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PRAYERPOINTS

from page 6

FROM t h i s i ss u e

Desert Outreach Team

and CLIP keep

Please pray for AIM’s Desert Outreach Team as they complete their time of ministry among the Gabbra people of northern Kenya. Pray for the church they leave behind, that they would continue to grow in their faith and reach out to their neighbors. Praise God for the lasting impact the worship music seminar had on the Gabbra believers. Pray for the team members as they look to God for their next step.

from page 10

What is Church? Praise God for the work He is doing throughout the continent of Africa in establishing His church. Pray for AIM as we seek to establish Christ-centered churches among all of Africa’s diverse peoples, and that the disciples within those churches will know and reflect their identity in Christ through corporate worship and mission.

from page 14

Soil, Sheep, and the Work of a King Praise God for the ministry doors he has opened for AIM personnel in Lesotho. Pray for August and Anita Basson as they seek to introduce sustainable farming methods and share God’s truth with Basotho farmers, and for John and Shan Barry as they reach out to the Lesotho shepherd community in hopes of equipping many for ministry to their own people.

from page 22

Cloud Roman: a Believer’s Story Praise God for His work in the life of Cloud Roman. Pray for Cloud as he finishes his studies at Nassa Theological College and returns to minister among his own Rangi people. Pray that many Rangi will come to know Christ through his ministry. Pray also for the salvation of Cloud’s family.

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As always, this magazine is sent with our deepest appreciation for your interest and involvement in the ministry of Africa Inland Mission.

Thank You!

If you’d prefer not to receive this publication drop us a note at publicrelations.us@aimint.net or write us at the address above.

Africa Inland Mission P.O. Box 178 Pearl River, NY 10965

www.aimint.org

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