Opportunities abound for Literature distribution in Kenya and Uganda
Samuel Adams and Simon Wade travelled to Kenya and Uganda from the 10th to 20th of March in order to visit some of the people who have been using our literature and to introduce the ministry to other church and mission leaders. The following is their report:
In Nairobi they were based at the Headquarters of Diguna Mission who have been partners with us for many years. These friends have looked after the arrival of all of our containers into Kenya and have done a tremendous work in distributing each container load to the different ministries who are receiving it. We have valued their work very much. It was very good to meet some of the new leaders in the work. They are very keen to get fresh supplies of literature for their own ministry and to be able to share with other ministries who approach them for Gospel literature.
We had the opportunity of visiting a Reformed Baptist church in one of the slum areas around Nairobi. We were amazed to see the work and ministry that these folk have developed in the last few years. They have taken some of the classic authors such as Bishop J C Ryle, Spurgeon etc and translated their books into the Swahili language. They have received some outside funding to enable them to print the books and these then have been distributed free of charge to Swahili speaking people – not only in Kenya, but in Tanzania and other surroundings countries where the language is spoken.
We were surprised to see so many titles that have been translated into Swahili in very basic surroundings and yet they have the vision of reaching out to others with good solid Christian literature. They explained to us that at present, due to the lack of funding, they have numerous titles waiting to be printed but needing the funds to do so. We have told them that we would be prepared to work alongside them and help them in the printing of their Swahili books and, with the partnerships that we already have, that we might be able to increase their circulation to other missions and ministries. They also have a church and a children’s ministry for the local people living in the area.
We also had the opportunity of visiting the ACTS bookshop which is based on the ground of a large university in Nairobi. We were pleased to meet Martin Bussey who helped to set up this bookshop in co-operation with Sid Garland and the ACTS team. They have a new manager in the bookshop and he was interested to see all of the Revival publishing books that we have available as well as Gospel tracts and children’s Bible lessons. They not only supply university students but many other churches and missions with the literature.
In the last few years we also have supplied a lot of BES booklets for ministry in Kenya so we were therefore interested to meet Brother Lazarus from Emmaus who receives a lot of these booklets and uses them in the outreach through churches and schools teaching the young people. Teens for Christ have also been using the BES booklets and are keen to receive more literature especially for teenagers, including titles such as “Escape and Trap” and “Battle for the Young”.
The third group using the BES booklets was the Assemblies of God. We met with the leaders who oversee the entire children’s programme for the Assemblies of God and they told us of the huge needs that they have for literature in order to reach young people with the Gospel. Presently they are working with 200,000 young people all across Kenya and they asked us to increase the number of BES booklets that they can receive.
We took the opportunity of showing them the “Creation to Christ” set of children’s Bible lessons that we produce. They explained to us that they have nothing like this at all and that they would certainly be very keen to use them in their Sunday schools. They then told us that they have a conference coming up in August when they will be bringing leaders from all over East Africa. This conference will have delegates from 17 East African countries. They thought it would be a great idea if each person attending could receive one set of these lessons. This would give the leaders something to take home in order that they might be able to teach the children the Word of God.
This, of course, will open up many new openings and avenues as far as these lessons are concerned and we look forward to working with these folk in a closer way in the days that lie ahead. They were also interested in the Revival Publishing books for church leaders and for the leaders who are already taking time to teach the young people the gospel message. These are just a few of the leaders that we met in Nairobi.
On Saturday morning we flew to Arua in the North of Uganda we were met at the airport by Andrew Moody who has been working in this region for many years. Andrew took us to meet an Australian missionary couple, Rhys and Rhonda Hall, who operate a small printing press designed mostly to produce literature for South Sudan. Due to the unrest in South Sudan they have moved to this area in order to carry on their work. These friends are using 3 small Risograph printing presses, a Singer sewing machine for sewing and binding larger books and some other old equipment in the production of many booklets.
They have produced Gospel literature in many of the Southern Sudanese languages, including children’s Bible lessons, discipleship material and hymnbooks. Their dedication for many years and self sacrifice is an example of the love and concern that this couple have for the people of South Sudan.
We discussed various ways in which we might be able to help them in the future especially when they need larger numbers printed of specific items. Many years ago we had a South Sudanese man help us to prepare the Gospel of John, “The Way of Salvation” and “The Gospel of Jesus Christ – the Light of the World” Scripture booklets into a variety of South Sudanese languages. We discovered eventually that Rhonda had helped to train this man and, even though he has gone to be with the Lord many years ago, this literature is still available for us to print.
Our plan had been to go into Congo and visit with Diguna whom we have helped to supply with a variety of Gospels for distribution in Congo and other languages spoken in the North of Uganda. These friends have also used a lot of the hymnbooks that Maizie Smyth had prepared years ago. Unfortunately we were not allowed to cross the border into Congo with the result that we had to make different arrangements for Sunday.
In the North of Uganda there are many very large refugee camps. We have known that CEF workers have been evangelizing boys and girls in these camps. We had been given the phone numbers of some of these workers so we contacted them on Saturday evening only to discover that one of these workers was just one kilometre away. He met with us and we agreed to travel together to the Rhino refugee camp on Sunday morning to attend a church service and after that there would be a children’s meeting for the boys and girls.
On Sunday morning it took us about an hour and a half to get to the church on extremely rough roads where we discovered that the refugee camp stretches for miles and is divided into different zones and different areas. When we arrived at the church it was a simple structure packed with people. After the service concluded the church emptied of all the adults and then was refilled with children and Zecharias, the CEF worker, conducted a very good children’s meeting.
It was very obvious that he had been well trained by CEF workers as he taught from the choruses, taught from the memory verse, through the quiz and then taught the Bible lesson. Even though the little church was absolutely packed with children they listened well. At the end of the meeting he had some Wonder Devotional books which he distributed to the older children who could read and write. The folk told us after the meeting that in their local area there were eight such churches which was very encouraging. However, the lack of any type of literature was very evident and now we are doing our best to try and get some more literature for distribution in these refugee camps.
On Monday morning we flew to Kampala for a series of meetings with different contacts from missions and denominations. One of our first meetings was with the leadership of Child Evangelism Fellowship. We were very encouraged to hear how the children’s Bible lessons were being used, the impact they are making and the need for more flashcards and “Every Day with God” booklets. They also expressed an interest in our own children’s tracts as well as the Revival Publishing books that could be distributed amongst leaders and supporters.
They told us one of the interesting ways in which they reach many boys and girls. At different venues during the year the Ugandan government run very large exhibitions. They take a stand at one of these exhibitions and then, as families walk around, they take time to share the Gospel with the children who are attending the exhibition. Through this they are reaching many children with the Gospel message.
After meeting a lot of different leaders we totalled up the number of churches that each of these leaders represented and we were amazed that we had been talking to the leadership of 3,900 in Uganda. Once again we found a desperate need for literature for young people and great interest was expressed in “Escape the Trap” and “Battle for the Young”. Once again many leaders told us that they have nothing with which to teach children in their Sunday schools and a lot of interest was expressed in the “Creation to Christ” set of children’s Bible lessons.
There was a great amount of interest in the Revival Publishing books and it was very noticeable that, as these leaders looked at the books, they were immediately picking out the different writers and expressing their appreciation towards these men of God. Please pray that we will now be able to follow up all of these leaders, denominations and missions so that we might be able to really help them develop their literature distribution and make them much more effective in their outreach work. Of course we want to see these leaders being built up in their faith as we seek to encourage them in the reading of the books. Samuel and Simon.