The Evangelical Theological College (ETC) is preparing to launch its MA program in Christian-Muslim Relations in August 2020. This will be the first and only graduate program, in the Horn of Africa, that focuses on Islamic Studies. Please pray for the provision of necessary resources, and wisdom for us during the student recruitment process and as we identify adjunct lecturers for the program.read more
Latin America is a large geographic region comprising over twenty countries and territories, including Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. As a result of European colonization, national languages include Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English.
Politically, many countries have stabilized considerably as civil wars and authoritarian rule have given way to more democratic governments, though Venezuela and Cuba continue to struggle. Various reform efforts seek to address corruption, violence, and poverty, but drug and gang warfare persists in many nations. In recent years, hundreds of thousands have fled violence, poverty, and political repression in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.
Although many Latin American countries have enjoyed economic progress, COVID-19 threatens these gains. Currently, Brazil has the second highest infection rate worldwide, after the US. Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Argentina are also among the twenty nations with the most cases. As a result of the pandemic, the number of people facing starvation has increased threefold to nearly 16 million. According to the UN, the crisis will push another 45 million people below the poverty line, further exacerbating the disparity between the very rich and very poor in the region.
In Latin America, Roman Catholicism dominates the religious landscape, but the Protestant Church continues to grow, especially among Evangelicals and Pentecostals. Protestants now represent more than 16% of the population throughout Latin America. In countries like Brazil and Guatemala, Protestants represent more than 25% of the population. As the Church grows, so also does the need for trained leaders who can shepherd the Church and address the specific challenges of the region.
In the 1960s, liberation theology developed in Latin America as a response to government oppression and poverty. The movement has focused on social justice, but has faced criticism for losing an emphasis on personal salvation. Among Evangelicals, a theology of holistic or integral mission developed decades later, uniting faith in the efficacy of the cross with concern for the poor and marginalized. Led by theologians such as Samuel Escobar and René Padilla, the movement continues to influence the Church through the work of the Latin American Theological Fellowship.
As part of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative, ScholarLeaders has completed strategic planning work with Fundación Universitaria Seminario Bíblico de Colombia (FUSBC). Work continues with a cohort of three seminaries in Brazil: South American Theological Seminary (SATS), Servant of Christ Seminary, and the São Paulo Baptist Theological Seminary. These schools have had to make significant changes due to the pandemic. We also plan to engage Seminario Teológico Centroamericano (SETECA) in Guatemala and Facultad Internacional de Educación Teológica (FIET) in Argentina. Through LeaderStudies, ScholarLeaders has supported 31 Latin American leaders in their PhD research.
Please join us in prayer for the leaders and schools in Latin America. Pray for bold pastoral leadership, deepening Christian discipleship, and wise theological voices that can address justice issues with the truth and power of the Gospel.
Photo: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by Agustín Diaz (Unsplash)
My studies on spirit possession among Borana Muslims have been an eye-opener to many Christians in northern Kenya. Some have requested more knowledge about the phenomenon and I am planning to hold a training where I will not only share about spirit possession, but also share about deliverance and inner healing.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
The DR Congo has been affected for several years by social, political, and economic crises. In the last month the area around Bunia has experienced renewed conflict and the displacement of about 300,000 people. Many have again fled into Bunia.read more
Continue to pray for peace and healing of the DR Congo at the spiritual, economic, political, health (Ebola), and security levels. The needs are still great at those levels.read more
Cameroon is a Central African country with ten regions. There is an English-speaking Cameroon and a French-speaking Cameroon. In the past few years, there have been social and political crises in the Northwest and Southwest between the Ambazonian separatists and the government, and in the Far North because of the Islamist Boko Haram. These crises seriously affect peace in our country and the Church has suffered seriously. Churches are closed and pastors have run away. People live in very bad conditions.read more