African Voices II

African Voices II , by Mark and Nancy Pitts (Nazarene Publishing House, 2012)

African Voices II , by Mark and Nancy Pitts (Nazarene Publishing House, 2012)

They did it again! Mark and Nancy Pitts served up a second portion of inspiring profiles of African Nazarene leaders. An hour later when I finished the book, not only did I know these leaders better, but I was grateful to God for the privilege of serving as a missionary alongside some of the Lord’s best.

African Voices II is divided into eight chapters, each telling the story of a different leader. From Senegal to Kenya, from Southern Sudan to Mozambique, from Malawi to South Africa, each leader’s story is different, yet the thread that ties them together is an unwavering commitment to Christ and the expansion of the Church.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Individualism is considered witchcraft in most African societies, so the concept of holiness as love finds fertile ground in Africa.” – Benson Phiri, Malawi

“Christians and church leaders in Africa must not only live holy lives but must also be brave enough to speak prophetically against evil wherever they find it, just as Amos did when he spoke against the actions of the king.” – Enoch Litswele, South Africa

“One thing I learned from my parents is to stand by the truth, no matter what.” – Filimao Chambo, Mozambique

“People should be able to see in us the holiness that we are telling them about. If we only present holiness as a concept, then others will see it as an idea, not as a way of life that is lived out before them.” – Emmanuel Wafula

“When planting a church, it is not qualified leaders that are needed; just ask for people who are willing to serve God. The Holy Spirit helps us know that this one is real and genuine and another one is not serious. The Holy Spirit gives discernment.” – John Yual, Southern Sudan

African Voices II also includes some amazing stories of former Muslims who are living out their faith in Christ in dangerous places. Be warned: You may feel like you’ve suffered nothing major yet for the Cause of the Gospel. On the positive side, you’ll be drawn to surround these leaders of God with your prayers.

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Photo credit: Barnes and Noble

Robert Guest’s ‘The Shackled Continent’

If you’re looking for inspiring stories, Robert Guest’s The Shackled Continent: Africa’s Past, Present, and Future(Pan Books, 2005) is not the book for you. But if you crave some hard-hitting analysis of what ails the Great Continent, here’s an excellent primer.

Robert Guest is a reporter for the British magazine, The Economist. His work has taken him to multiple African nations, giving him an insider’s perspective. As a Brit, to his credit, he refuses to sweep under the carpet the tragic chapter of colonialism, but he equally refuses to let current African leaders off the hook. Just as supporters of President Obama can only blame former President Bush for so long, in the same way, Guest in various ways asks: What has been going on for the last 50 years since the colonial powers left?

Much of the book addresses why Africa remains so poor. On Robert Guest’s estimate, foreign aid is not inherently ineffective, but has merely been misused. If given to responsible African governments – such as tiny Bostwana, a true success story – it can give the downtrodden not a handout, but a hand up. Unfortunately, according to Guest, too many leaders have diverted aid to their own selfish ends.

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