Trusting God's Solution for the Suffering in Africa
by TTB International Director, Gregg Harris
Poverty, government instability, and militant Islam are intractable problems in many African countries.
- Mali is one of the world’s poorest countries. The average annual income is 1% of an average American’s.
- One-third of the population work in cotton growing.
- 20% of children born in Mali don’t survive until the age of 5, and of those who do 1/3 are malnourished.
- Despite its large Muslim majority, Mali remains a secular state. Since last year, however, French and Malian troops have been defending the northern region from militant Islamists that are attempting to impose sharia law.
- TTB is aired in Mali in two languages: African-French (since 2003) and Bambara (since 2005). We also have a listening device distribution ministry in the Pulaar language.
For decades, world governments and charitable organizations have sought to alleviate the terrible suffering of the millions of Africans living in sub-human conditions. A recent Wall Street Journal article shared the tragic reality of those secular efforts:
Over the past 60 years at least $1 trillion of development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Yet real per-capita income today is lower than it was in the 1970s, and more than 50% of the population – over 350 million people – live on less than a dollar a day, a figure that has nearly doubled in two decades.
The fact is that the “wisdom of man” has made a bad situation worse! Only God has the answer to lift people out of such dire circumstances. Jeremiah 17:5, 6 reminds us of the futility of trusting in our flesh:
Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
Sadly, many African countries resemble the “parched places” of which Jeremiah spoke. This is why it is so urgent for us to bring the Living Water from God’s Word to the countries of Africa.
One country where Thru the Bible is offering real hope is Mali. This West African nation of more than 13 million souls faces huge challenges. It is one of the poorest nations on earth, with the average citizen making only $1.50 a day. There has been little stability in the government over the past half-century after gaining independence from France in 1960. In recent months, militant Islamists linked to Al Qaeda took control of the northern part of the country and imposed sharia law. French and Malian troops have been defending the area, and the situation there is very unstable.
While the world wrings its hands and tries to come up with more man-made solutions, Thru the Bible is broadcasting the whole Word to this country in desperate need. Broadcasts are heard in African-French and Bambara, and we also have a listening device distribution ministry in the Pulaar language. Radio is a vital tool in bringing God’s Word to this country, because only 15 percent of the population can read and write.
Missions experts indicate that Bambara is a highly strategic group to reach with the gospel. Although a very small percentage is Christian, the Bambara are more responsive to the Good News. Like this young man who wrote: “Through your Bible teaching program, I now know what repentance means. I pray God to help me live a life of obedience. I request from Jesus a radical transformation of my life and my whole person.”
Many, like this listener, are not Christians and our daily radio programs give them time to consider the claims of Christ: “I am not a Christian, but I am listening to TTB-Bambara. From this program I have understood many things about the Bible. I can’t read French correctly, but I am perfect in Bambara, my native language. I am learning many things from the Bible teaching given. Please be encouraged for the good work you are doing.”
What a thrilling privilege it is for us to be offering real hope to those living in darkness and despair! Like this young Muslim man who wrote: “I would like to give my life to Jesus, but I don't have courage to undergo opposition from my Muslim parents. But when I listen to your teaching on the radio I have the desire to give my life to Jesus in my heart. What should I do?” As this listener’s letter indicated, those in Mali who choose to follow Christ do suffer persecution. Our broadcasts strengthen the faith of those who are being opposed due to their faith.
But they also minister to the ministers! Like this man who wrote: “I have a ministry in the midst of a Muslim population. I appreciate your broadcasts because they support me in bringing the gospel to this people. Thanks to TTB-Bambara, the listeners were already touched when I arrived, and I only finished the ministry you started! This program has influenced the Muslim environment a lot.”
This is the power of broadcasting God’s Word on radio! It allows us to reach unbelievers and challenge them with the claims of Christ. At the same time, it builds up believers and strengthens them to face difficulty and opposition. Finally, it is a tremendously useful tool for missionaries, pastors, and evangelists. Your prayers and gifts make it possible for us to bring real and eternal solutions to some of the most difficult places on earth.
Click here to listen to our Global Impact Report featuring TWR's international director for the Africa region, Dr. Emmanuel Mbennah.