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.
“Books are like gold. Literature is expensive; we have to depend on outside groups for help.”
We are thanking God for our first 100 Partners in Theological Famine Relief. Will you join us as we reach for 100% funding?
Here are a dozen of my favorite scriptural promises for the cause of global missions, to remind us that what He has started, He will complete.
“As the ESV study bible is my absolute favorite resource that I own, I pray that the men and women are able to glean understanding of the scriptures like I have from this resource. There is so much false teaching in Uganda, so I hope giving the people that we meet a written copy of the Word will enable them to learn God's Word on their own with the help of the Holy Spirit. I hope that it is used by the Ugandans to share truth with others and disciple new believers on their own.”
Average estimates put the number of China’s Christians at 100 million and growing. This gospel explosion presents a great need for both pastors and Bible resources. Across the country there are an estimated 60,000 believers for every trained pastor!
Dozens of times, Tony and his wife had watched as war-tattered refugees brought their lifeless babies to the river, surrendering them to the drifting graveyard. He often thought the devil must be dancing on the water.
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.
Here is a visual report on our mission in 2013. Join us in thanking God for growth and progress this past year.
“After the missionaries [left], we the Chin people gradually became legalist[s]. I was strictly taught by my parents to observe the moral law in order to obtain salvation. I never had assurance and the peace of God in my heart.”
Here are some of the best photos from our partners this past year, and a few of my own from my travels in 2013.
Our privilege at The Gospel Coalition is to deploy trustworthy English resources wherever possible to help equip the global church.
Bolivian church leaders travelled through mountain villages on buses, bicycles, and even on foot, to make their way to Samaipata, where Pastors Phillips and Bachman held their first workshop.
We’re excited to share with you how one church is partnering with us in a creative way. We hope it will inspire other churches to adopt a TGC-IO Relief Project as part of their global missions strategy.
Under-equipped pastors in the Philippines might have Bibles, but they lack the necessary study tools to lead their churches. One Filipino ministry became aware of this need and now works to relieve it.
Missionary reports of salvation stories have gone from a few, to many, to many hundreds of Burmese people that have found new life in Christ.
The Church in Mozambique is growing but needs our partnership to provide solid, biblical resources for training leaders.
I was overwhelmed by the Guatemalan pastor’s daily response to the call of Jesus, and the unwillingness of his family to ignore the seemingly impossible task to spread the Gospel.
As the number of believers continues to increase, so does the need for resources. Many leaders do not even possess a Bible.
I wondered before I departed how Americans can support Italian Protestants without simply exporting our strengths and weaknesses. I returned understanding that Italian church leaders appreciate our help but don't accept it uncritically.
“They were very excited about the resource and immediately began talking together about how they could break the book down and teach it to their people over a year period, as a weekly class in their churches.”
It’s a fair question coming from someone whose faith recognizes an infinite number of deities: “Why do you want to give us another god from another country?”
“Half of the trained pastors were killed. Of those not killed, half fled the country. That left a very small number to care for a most traumatized nation, with even the trust between pastor and congregant shattered!”
We were humbled as we saw the commitment of these Ecuadorean pastors, to pursuing this time of training in order to better serve their congregations.
More resources are needed in order to continue to reach pastors with theologically-sound teaching materials. A contribution to The Gospel Coalition-International Outreach encourages faithful preaching in India and other poor areas.
In the Philippines, access to solid, biblical resources and training is a challenge in most settings, with minimal resources available. Pastors and church leaders typically cannot afford books or advanced training.
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.
"We decided to equip them with resources, like your ESV Study Bibles, and to teach them how to use these resources to study God's Word for themselves. The results were astonishing."
Printed and digital text play a powerful role in spreading Gospel truth to the nations. Here are a few noteworthy quotes that speak to the significance of the written word for the life of believers and for the cause of missions.
Suppose you wanted to ship some theological books to Mumbai, India to strengthen indigenous pastors and leaders there. If you hadn’t shipped anything overseas before, you’d probably think, "No big deal. A few bucks should get it there."
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.
God is working through connections with partners who serve as links in the chain of theological famine relief. “These resources are not for the masses, but for church leaders—those who feed the masses.”
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.
One Ugandan pastor explained that when they find a new convert who is mature, they “try to help him, and assign him to be the pastor.” The constant literal cry of pastors to me over and over is: 'We want biblical instruction!'
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.
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...
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.”
"Now we have a model for our missions in Africa. We combine a gathering of pastors hosted by friends in a given nation where I preach. And we hand out copies of good books with sound doctrine."
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.
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.
I doubt you could find an evangelical church that denied the importance of missions. We all know missions matters, a lot more than our lives often reflect. Many of us live with low-level guilt over our lack of excitement about and involvement in God's work among the nations. Every evangelical pastor worth his salt desires a missions-minded church, but where to begin?
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.
The obstacles in proclaiming the gospel in Myanmar are many: persecution from the Buddhist military government, lack of transportation, over 40 dialects in the Chin State alone, as well as scarce financial resources.
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.
When I see what the LORD is doing in Malawi—especially among the young people—I feel great joy and have tremendous hope that the gospel will continue to spread widely not only in Malawi, but from Malawi literally to the ends of the earth.
From the first Christian church formed in 1952, Nepal’s believers grew to 200,000 by 1990, during times of persecution, and to some 850,000 Christ-followers by last year.
A vision to reach the Portuguese-speaking world with sound biblical truth eventually took the Denhams south, to Sao Paulo, the hub of Brazil’s growing economy.
“Cambodians have a hard time trusting,” says Lopez. “They survived the past by being quiet. They watch foreigners. We have to establish relationships.” His team is doing that through pastoral training. “With amazing effect,” he says.