Africa needs disciples, not converts
BOM JESUS, Angola — Churches of Christ in Accra, Ghana,…
Luso (Portuguese)-Africa includes at least 14 million people who use Portuguese as their mother tongue. Some demographers estimate that 50 million Africans speak the language. Portuguese is spoken primarily in six countries across the continent.
Representatives of four of those countries participated in the Luso-Africa Global Mission Gathering, sponsored by LAMP International, Gospel Share Missions, Iron Rose Sister Ministries and the Igreja de Cristo em Angola.
Related: Africa needs disciples, not converts
Members of Churches of Christ in Equatorial Guinea (5.), where Spanish, Portuguese and French are spoken, were unable to attend. The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe (6.) have no known Churches of Christ.
SOURCES: CIA World Factbook, “Churches of Christ Around the World” by Mac Lynn.
Southern Africa, population 34.5 million. A mission team from Churches of Christ in the U.S. had to secure sponsorship from an existing religious group in Angola to serve there. To the team’s surprise, the Igreja de Cristo (Church of Christ) already existed in Angola. The group has roots in Angolan war refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The team serves as missionaries for the Igreja de Cristo. The fellowship’s legal representative, Andre Banda, traveled to the U.S. and visited congregations and universities associated with Churches of Christ. He extended invitations and signed visa papers for attendees at the Gathering.
“Maybe now no one will forget that in Angola there is a Church of Christ,” Banda told the participants. “Thank you for accepting our invitation.”
Southern Africa, population 32 million. Witchcraft and war played a role in Gonçalves Inácio’s journey to Christ. Both of his parents practiced traditional beliefs. His father claimed he could heal people and see the future.
When an evangelist married Inácio’s sister, the family was indignant and tried to get the government to stop her from going to church. Then soldiers from a faction in Mozambique’s civil war killed another of Inácio’s brothers-in-law, one loved by the family. Why couldn’t his father foresee that? After days of weeping, Inácio ran to the evangelist’s house and said he wanted to become a Christian. That was 1986, and he’s never looked back. Now Inácio and his family serve as missionaries to the Makua people of northern Mozambique.
Ten islands off the West African coast, population 588,000. More Cape Verdeans live off of the islands than on them. Young people move away for work, sometimes leaving children behind. Gangs are a problem, said Adriano Lopes, a Baptist minister in the capital, Praia.
There are no Churches of Christ, but a Brazilian church member who has lived in Cape Verde for 14 years invited LAMP International to visit. Nathan Holland and Charles Kambungo spoke at an interdenominational leadership training school. They met Lopes and invited him to Angola. “Even though this conference is for members of the Churches of Christ, they allow other churches to learn these tools,” Lopes said, adding that he’s eager to work together “in order to reach the lost.”
West Africa, population 2 million. Ghanaian Christians sent missionaries to Guinea-Bissau twice, but both died unexpectedly. When they asked Abdou Sidibeh to serve the young Church of Christ there, “even my family was worried,” he said. They told him, “You will be next to die.”
He went anyway, telling family that he would stay “until the day God calls me.”
Born in Guinea-Bissau to an animist father and a Muslim mother, Sidibeh became a Christ follower after finding a discarded copy of the Gospel of John. His mother threatened to disown him, but he persisted, working for a church in the Gambia where he encountered Churches of Christ. His mother later was baptized. Planted in 2015, the Church of Christ in the capital, Bissau, has 70 adults and more than 200 children.
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