Photo from Wycliffe

Photo from Wycliffe

Exploring a mission call in the early 1990s, I developed a romantic notion of what it meant to be a missionary — rural, rugged, sacrificial, cross-cultural, frontline. But also in my mind it was mostly the West to the rest of the world.

Adding to the image was my own heritage — more than a century ago Western missionaries paid an incalculable price to bring the gospel to my ethnic group. Those spiritual forebears are worthy of the highest honor and gratitude.

As the global face of Christianity has shifted, however, now finding its center in the Global South, so has the missionary enterprise morphed.

In this interview, we turn our attention to one of the most challenging places in the world to identify as a Christian: the “tension belt” of Africa — a swath that cuts across the continent from Mauritania and Senegal in the west to Somalia and Eritrea in the east. You will hear a portrait of today’s missionary described as:

  • Being of a relatable culture as those s/he is trying to reach (i.e., not a huge cultural chasm to cross)
  • Sharing the gospel through oral and storytelling methods (rather than through literate means)
  • Focusing on discipleship that leads to conversion (not the other way around)
  • Using the bible as a “discovery” guide, asking simple questions pertaining to everyday life, and teaching immediate obedience to God (not stopping at head knowledge)

As a result, there is unprecedented fruit even among people groups who have historically been the most resistant to the gospel. For example, there is an actual saying among the Kanuri people, an ethnic group of 10 million people living largely in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, that expresses:

No Kanuri will become a Christian and live to see the sun rise.

Today the sun keeps rising while many tens of thousands of Kanuri follow Jesus.

I pray the enclosed interview with a key Fulani leader (one of the largest people groups of that region) will add insight to how God is reshaping the face of His mission.

To see His name be renowned,

Paul Park, Executive Director

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The interviewee (name withheld for security reasons) is a regional leader of Cityteam International, a First Fruit grantee. To learn more about what God is doing in this part of the world, two recent books,  Miraculous Movements and A Wind in the House of Islam, provide vivid accounts of how Jesus is calling people unto Himself among traditionally Muslim people groups.