Dreams Move Toward Reality in Africa
Regional meetings to develop cooperative partnership strategies are helping...
"I have a dream!" These are famous words from Dr. Martin Luther King. Not so well known, but equally powerful are the words of this African proverb that says, "If a man dreams a dream alone, it remains nothing but a dream. But when a people dream together that dream can become a reality."
Too often, the words fragmented, isolated, and independent have been an accurate description of how ministry has been done on African soil. However, things are changing. Dreams are being dreamed together and those dreams are becoming reality. Exciting opportunities are developing and beginning to reshape the way that mission is being done in some of the most challenging parts of Africa.
Over the first part of 1999, numerous partnership meetings have taken place already for people groups like the Serere, the Malinke, Eastern Fulani, the Tamasheq, the Wolof of Senegal and the Pulaar-speaking peoples of the far-Western Sahel.
In Eastern Africa, in Kenya and Tanzania, national consultations have taken place cooperatively sponsored and initiated by Interdev, the AD 2000 and Beyond Movement and other African national groups. These have called upon the Church in those countries to come together to pray, plan and work together for the remaining unreached people groups of their countries. People are asking the question, "How can we do things better by working together?"
Large-scale cooperation began in 1998 when church and mission leaders met in Dakar, Senegal and planned how to work together to evangelize the least reached peoples of West Africa. Dakar '98 was the first West African Regional Consultation jointly sponsored by Interdev, the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, World Vision, and AD2000.
Dakar '98 drew over 150 delegateshalf from Africafrom more than 70 churches and mission agencies. While not representative of all those working or interested in Francophone, West Africa, it was a tremendous beginning.
Dreams will continue to become reality in Grand Basaam, Ivory Coast. At Basaam 2000, a regional partnership consultation for Francophone, Africa coming in May 2000, church and mission leaders representing the major international networks focusing on Francophone, Africa will be meeting in a follow-up consultation to Dakar '98.
Every attempt will be made during the 2000 consultation in Grand Basaam to build upon the plans made at Dakar '98. These plans are being integrated with existing ministries like the "Africa for Jesus" strategy of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa and its network of Evangelical Fellowships. AD 2000's Joshua Project, National Initiatives and Resource Networks are also working together and involved.
Cooperation with an ever-widening circle of churches and missions throughout West Africa is critical to the success of partnering to reach the unreached in this great region.