Sometimes we need a wake-up call, an exhortation, a word to remind us there is more to this world than what we experience in our daily lives. I believe many of us live in a bubble. I believe many of us are insulated from the realities of billions of people. Our cultural awareness becomes restricted when we choose not to be informed and involved. When global events occur far from our lives, we are seldom affected personally. Our worldview can become limited and myopic.
After recently reading, Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, I was struck by his insight that our present generation is swept up in abstraction and distraction, which disassociates us from reality and deep relationships. To put it bluntly, we are disconnected from the world and each other.
Most people are unaware of current world events, especially events in African countries. The Washington Post had an interesting article from June 2016 entitled, “Do Americans care about the rest of the world?” Researchers ranked countries, according to how often US media outlets cover the countries’ news events. Sadly, African countries were very low on the list. The old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind,” rings true here. If we don’t see, experience, or have knowledge of an event, then it is of no interest or import to us.
Because I work in Africa and with African leaders, I am constantly reminded of the world they live in, the ministry they provide, and the impact they are making on the world. Their actions don’t make the nightly news, but they are rocking the world for the Kingdom of God. Here’s a glimpse of how two Catalyst For Africa leaders are making an eternal impact.
Bernard Wanyoike was abandoned at an early age and forced to live on the street in Nairobi, Kenya from the age of 4 to 14. Then, a Kenyan believer, John Mutai, changed Bernard’s life forever. He gave Bernard and other street kids shelter, helped them complete their education, and most importantly, introduced them to Jesus. Did you catch that? Ten years as a street kid! Bernard survived on the cold streets of Nairobi with no mom, no dad, no meals, no toilet, and no shelter. Yet, he survived with cardboard beds and garbage for meals; the only way he could stop the hunger pains was by sniffing glue. Thankfully, Bernard is currently studying electrical engineering and volunteering with Project 82, a ministry whose mission is to provide for orphans and vulnerable children. He considers himself an integral part of our Catalyst For Africa team. He loves living and teaching our four core values (Intimacy with God, Integrity, Stewardship, and Family Priority).
Panlieba Ouoba is a Baptist pastor and CFA leader. He lives with his beautiful wife and three precious kids in Niamey, Niger. Three years ago, radical Islamic terrorists went on a rampage in Niamey and burned over 60 churches to the ground. Panlieba’s peaceful Muslim neighbors stood outside his property and prevented the terrorists from entering his compound. Since Panlieba’s house and church are on the same property, the terrorists would have burned both if they had not been stopped. Panlieba is influencing his neighbors in amazing ways. He also has a vision of starting an academic and sports academy. His goal is to train up young men to be the best soccer players in the country, to be effectively educated, and to teach them about Jesus.
Bernard and Panlieba are some of my heroes! Day in and day out, they are laying their lives on the line for the sake of the Gospel. I consider it my highest privilege to stand alongside them as together we are changing the world in Jesus’s name, one relationship at a time.
We would love for you to join us! Sign up for our newsletter and connect with us on social media. Keep an eye on our website for updates regarding special projects (including the academy) and our leaders’ activities. Together, we will win the continent of Africa to Jesus Christ!Please pray for our leaders and their ministries. Thank you for partnering with us!