The first weekend in August, Joyce and I attended Jabulani Africa. The occasion was a celebration of 100 years of mission work on the continent of Africa. Attending provided us many blessings. Those blessings included having time with people we had not seen in years, meeting people in person we only knew by name, listening to spiritually mature African Christians and American Christians frankly discuss difficult challenges, and being encouraged by the worship and lessons.

In the early 1970s when we lived and taught in West Africa, such an occasion was beyond imagination! We could not envision (during our lifetime) that spiritually mature Christians from Africa would come to America for such an occasion! Christians from twenty-six African nations were present. Each evening the featured speakers were African Christians. (There are congregations of the church in thirty-six of the fifty-six African nations.)

Things have changed! Some of the congregations are as large as West-Ark. Some of the congregations have elders. Some of the congregations are sending trained missionaries to other African nations. Many places in Africa are quite receptive to Christian teachings. If one considers the entire range of influences our world recognizes as evangelical Christian influence, there is more evangelical Christian activity on the African continent than there is in North America. If Africa is not yet the center of Christian activity for our world, it soon will be.

Two interesting pleas were made by spiritually mature, trained African brothers. The first: do not send us your American issues. Please do not use American perspectives to impose solutions on African problems. The second: let's be partners and work together in our outreach throughout Africa. We understand the African mindset, and we have resources not available to you. Allow us to have input, and let us work together as partners.

West-Ark indirectly had an important presence at Jabulani. A young lady who grew up in West-Ark, Kendra Parker Cutsinger [Joe and Terri Parker's daughter] was an important "behind the scene" coordinator in Jabulani's preparations and helped "make things happen" during the four-day gathering. Jim Wilson shared excellent, practical information concerning medical missions. He emphasized that the focus of medical missions was to assist evangelism in its outreach.

May God always help us look and see beyond ourselves.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 18 August 2002

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