South Asia

Consisting of eight nations (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), South Asia represents nearly a quarter of the world’s population. Christians form a small minority in this region, which is home to approximately one billion Hindus, 600 million Muslims, and only 35 million Christians. ScholarLeaders has supported Christian leaders from three South Asian nations (Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka). Through the Vital SustainAbility Initiative, ScholarLeaders works with the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS) in India and with Colombo Theological Seminary (CTS) in Sri Lanka. The Centre for South Asia Research at SAIACS (India) is a collaborative ministry of SAIACS, the Theological Book Network, and ScholarLeaders International.

Pakistan is the only nation established in the name of Islam. Constitutionally, all laws must conform to the Quran. The country has a large economy and a rising middle class, but also faces challenges related to illiteracy, corruption, and terrorism. Of the nation’s 213 million people, more than 96% are Muslims. Christians represent a very small minority, but the Church continues to persevere and grow, despite persecution. Learn about the Church’s historical relationship with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the strongest barriers to missions, and Muslims’ most common objections to Christianity in this 2016 feature on Gloria Calib’s prophetic leadership in Pakistan. For a Christian response to religious extremism, read Maqsood Kamil’s 2016 Insights Perspective.

Sharing its northwestern border with Pakistan, India is home to over 1.3 billion people, 80% of whom are Hindus. As one of the world’s fastest growing economies, India has seen tremendous change over the last 30 years. Although the percentage of people living below the global poverty line has decreased, economic inequality has increased. Internal migration and urban growth have strained infrastructure, and have challenged traditions and identities. Since 2014, the political ascension of Hindu nationalism has increased pressure on religious minorities. Islam is the second largest religion in India. With around 180 million Muslims, India has the third largest Muslim population in the world (behind Indonesia and Pakistan). Although only 2 to 3% of Indians are Christians, the Church is still 26 to 35 million-strong and growing. The Church needs leaders who can shepherd new believers and help address the unique contextual needs of the subcontinent. Learn about Manohar James’ distinctive response to Hindu nationalist persecution and rising “re-conversions” to Hinduism here.

A large island just southeast of India, Sri Lanka has the longest continuous history of Buddhism in the world. 70% of its 22 million people practice Buddhism; the rest are Hindus (13%), Muslims (10%), and Christians (7%). The teardrop-shaped island nation has seen plenty of tears in recent years: ethnic riots, the 2004 tsunami, and 26 years of civil war. Lal Senanayake’s 2019 InSights Perspective offers reflections on understanding suffering in light of God’s character. Presently, political stability has led to increased economic growth and development. Although nearly 85% of Sri Lankans remain in rural areas, the country has a remarkably high literacy rate of 92%. Most of Sri Lanka’s 1.5 million Christians are Roman Catholic. Although Evangelicals comprise only 2% of the population, they have continued to grow at twice the rate of the general population.

Prayer Community

David Tarus in Kenya

I serve as the Executive Director of the Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA), a continent-wide organization that serves theological institutions through accreditation, networking, and support services.

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Prayer Community

Naomi James in Kenya

The Lord has also been using me to serve students at my former university Daystar as a lecturer and supervisor. My goal is to impact the lives of students, preparing them to become healers and caregivers in the world.

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Prayer Community

Jean Musavuli from the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is the second biggest (by area) in Africa and potentially a very rich country, has gone through many troubles since its independence from Belgian colonial powers on 30 June 1960. Analysts have shown that the number one cause of the country’s troubles is its natural resources, which attract the attention of nations vying for a share in the wealth, thus keeping the Congolese people in extreme poverty and ongoing conflict.

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Prayer Community

Emmanuel Ndikumana from Burundi

When I started the journey in 2014, Burundi’s prospects were very good. Researching on reconciliation promised a huge contribution to the healing of the nation. In 2015, however, another violent political crisis erupted that seriously affected not the nature or orientation of my research, but the way I was going to collect data. Fear, suspicion, mistrust, etc. replaced the openness, and freedom of speech and movement people had been enjoying for the previous ten years. The accusations, counter-accusations, and the policing of speech and movement put my research on hold for a significant amount of time.

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Prayer Community

Andry Randrianasolo from Madagascar

The primary ongoing challenge faced by the Lutheran Church of Madagascar is the fight against syncretism within the Church. Although Christians come to church on Sundays, there are some who continue to visit witchdoctors, seeking help from ancestors on the other days. This is exactly why pastors need to be equipped with skills and tools in the field of Intercultural Studies to help them identify the problem, study the situation, and provide discipleship and teaching according to people’s needs.

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Daniel Dama from Benin

The Benin government has approved my arts and culture ministry for peacebuilding: Africa Sings. This phase comes after the registration of the organization and it is a crucial step. I am also delighted to inform you that Africa Sings was recently featured in the official journal of the Benin government.

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Prayer Community

Serge-Armand Yao in Côte d’Ivoire

In Côte d’Ivoire, there are more than 60 ethnic groups, divided into four linguistic groups. From 1999 to 2011, Côte d’Ivoire has experienced deep sociopolitical crises as a result of ethnic tensions, sectarianism, and nationalistic and sometimes xenophobic behavior. Unfortunately, Christians in general and Evangelical Protestants in particular have contributed to these growing tensions.

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Prayer Community

Emmanuel Mukeshimana from Rwanda

Pray for peace in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, and Eastern Democratic Republic). This region has been the territory of unending conflicts. Pray that people in East Africa will be able to move freely and that refugees will be able to return home.

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Prayer Community

David Kasali in the Democratic Republic of Congo

We ask for your intercession on behalf of Beni. Our town has been brutally attacked twice in six days. The armed group that has been killing civilians in the Beni territory since 2014 has made incursions into the town of Beni and into our neighboring town of Oicha, killing over 75 of the most vulnerable inhabitants over the last three weeks. On November 24, one of the members of our contractor’s construction crew, the son of one of our campus guards, was killed in his neighborhood near our main campus.

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