by Shelley Betts
It has been some time since Wake Up
Seminars has given a report on a few of the evangelical efforts taking place in other parts of the world. This month we will focus our report on Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia) and India.
Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia
In a recent telephone conversation with Benjamin Mukuze (Zimbabwe), the WUAS staff learned how most of the southern and central countries in Africa have been reached in some way by Revelation's story. Through correspondence, newsletters, books and tapes, Trumpet Ministries under Benjamin's direction has encouraged the people of Africa to begin reaching out to their fellow citizens and share the news of Jesus Christ's soon return. Study materials produced by Trumpet Ministries now circulate in Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Several years ago, Benjamin began to correspond with Charles Pulu who lived in Nairobi, Kenya. It was not long before Charles established a ministry in Kenya, modeled after Benjamin's ministry and it is appropriately called Revelation Ministries. These two men have agreed to work as a team to reach not only the citizens of their own country, but surrounding countries as well. Although Benjamin oversees the distribution of WUAS' materials for the entire African outreach, his primary focus has been in the southern portion of Africa, while Charles' focus has been in the central and northern areas.
The task before these two men and their co-workers is monumental. Africa is the second largest continent in the world, which consists of 55 countries, whose citizens speak at least one of a thousand different languages. In fact, language is one of the biggest barriers facing Benjamin and Charles as they strive to reach the people living in Africa with the gospel. For example, in Tanzania, 98% of the young adults do not understand English. As God has blessed WUAS through the generosity of its supporters, we have been able to direct some of these funds to Benjamin and Charles to help with their evangelistic efforts. Consequently, The Revelation of Jesus book has been recently translated into the Swahili language and will soon be also available in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia. Many people in these countries have denied themselves many things, as they strive to do their part to help see this project become a reality. We praise God for their dedication to Jesus Christ.
Recently, Charles and his friend Caleb sacrificially took an unpaid leave from their work for an entire month and traveled to Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. We would like to share an overview from Charles' report highlighting this evangelistic "adventure." I call it an adventure because each time these men cross a border, they enter into a completely different country and are faced with a different government, different customs and religions, and often a different language.
The East African region is overflowing with people who are excited to learn about the gospel. It is an area ripe for witnessing to a very willing audience. The first stop on their missionary journey took them to Uganda. Benjamin had corresponded with several people in this country and when the word got out that Charles and Caleb were going to hold meetings in Uganda, many people from many different denominations were ready and anxious to hear about Revelation's story. The demand for study material in Uganda is so great that Charles and Caleb could not provide enough materials to meet the demand, so Benjamin sent more books from Zimbabwe.
The next segment of their speaking tour lead Charles and Caleb to Tanzania. Fortunately, The Revelation of Jesus book had already been translated into the Swahili language and they were able to share material that the people could read. The seminar was a tremendous success and the attendees responded by promising to take the end-time message throughout Tanzania. These people have been true to their word because WUAS is beginning to receive many letters from that country.
A large obstacle Charles and Caleb faced on this trip came from leaders representing long established denominations who opposed the views being presented on Revelation's story. In both Tanzania and Ethiopia, church leaders became infuriated with the literal interpretation of the prophecies. Ethiopia's largest church is the Orthodox Church and many of its leaders were disturbed that Charles and Caleb were not preaching the traditional orthodox view on the prophecies. In spite of the opposition, the group was able to meet with many people, present Revelation's story in several cities to large groups of people from various denominations.
The evangelistic efforts in Ethiopia became a reality after Benjamin began corresponding two years ago with Belete Shibru, a Director of Accounting for a large organization in Addis, Ethiopia. Belete showed tremendous interest in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. Now, Belete will carry on evangelistic efforts from his base in Addis, Ethiopia. From his own financial resources, Belete already produces a newsletter which discusses the prophecies. This humble newsletter has raised so much interest in the prophetic books of the Bible that he feels compelled to share this message throughout the entire country. Belete is also responsible for the Amharic translation of The Revelation of Jesus . When Charles and Caleb arrived in Addis to give their ten-day presentation, they were amazed to see how much Belete had accomplished using such old equipment. For those of us in the States who have become accustomed to the ease of working with computers to accomplish our publishing work, Belete has done his painstaking work on an old typewriter and has been photocopying portions of his translated work for people to read. Through Benjamin's direction, WUAS has designated funds to help Belete purchase a computer, which will enable him to publish the book faster. Belete will also establish a video and audio tape lending library and model its operation after those established by Trumpet Ministries which have been so successful. Unfortunately, it is quite possible that once Belete's employers learn of his activities and association with Trumpet Ministries and Revelation Ministries that his employment will be terminated. Spreading the gospel in countries governed by dictators can be very dangerous, so please keep these soldiers for Christ in your prayers.
Great sacrifices are being made by our Christian brothers and sisters in Africa for the advancement of the gospel and Revelation's story. In 1998 alone, Trumpet Ministries has expanded their operations and have published five new booklets and three new witnessing tracts. Topics include righteousness by faith, the end-time prophecies, the authority of God, the role of the youth in Christ's work, and health related information. They already plan to print six more booklets in 1999. The economy in Zimbabwe has basically collapsed and these projects come with great sacrifice, perseverance, and faith. God has blessed the humble efforts of these men and their families and by the grace of God the work is progressing steadily!
At great personal sacrifice, Ellen John continues to work long hours as she continues to look for new ways to spread the news of Christ's soon return in India. I marvel at Ellen's stamina and willingness to face challenges that most people would find insurmountable. Not only does she direct the operations of Wake Up India (WUI), she writes and publishes a quarterly newsletter, produces and sells charcoal for health-related problems, directs social and health reform programs at local hospitals and prisons, and is now overseeing the construction of a new WUI office facility. Certainly, this woman is sustained by God's strength!
The country of India is in political turmoil. Since the elections eight months ago, Christians have been severely persecuted by two Hindu extremist fundamentalist groups. The atrocities are being reported daily in the news media and they include Christian churches being burned to the ground, four Catholic nuns gang raped by 15 men, Christian college campus' losing property rights, and recently, 40 masked men armed with knives and clubs stormed into a church holding mass and beat unmercifully the pastor, women and children. In protest, many Christians marched in the streets of New Delhi and met with the Prime Minister to voice their complaints. Hindu extremists are now claiming that Christians are foreigners and should be expelled from the country. These terrorist tactics are also being waged against Muslims, as well. Recently, at a Muslim holy shrine, police were threatened by the Hindu extremists saying if the police interfered in the confrontation between Hindus and Muslims, their hands will be cut off.
In spite of India's political tensions swirling all around her each day, Ellen goes about her work. She fearlessly defends the truth as it is in Christ and boldly proclaims the end-time message. Recently at the Spandana Hospital, Ellen gave a seminar on the topics of the Seven Trumpets, Armageddon and Christ's Second Coming. The presentation became long and she wanted to stop, but the people begged to know more. Ellen emphasized that in the end, religion would not matter – God would separate people into just two groups, the righteous and the wicked. Many people were touched by the message. After a quick lunch, Ellen proceeded to take a singing group to a local prison. The people held in this prison are awaiting trial and Ellen was surprised to see so many juveniles incarcerated there.
Ellen shared the story of Daniel and his three friends with them and then distributed bananas to the prisoners. The Jail Superintendent was so impressed that he asked if Ellen and her group would be willing to go to the Central Prison. In this prison, people have already had their trial and are serving their sentence. Ellen had read in the newspaper that conditions were so bad in this prison that people were actually going insane. She had hoped to visit this prison "someday" and now God has opened the door for her. Ellen accepted the invitation and she has great plans for the Christmas season.
WUI's staff is growing. Ellen and Jagadish have been joined by two more people. This will give Ellen more time to work on the computer as she strives to publish items that will be sent through the mail. WUAS' Four Beasts of Revelation Exposed! pamphlet was reproduced in India and it has been extremely popular with serious Bible students.
Ellen's newsletter has an excellent reputation throughout the Christian community in India. It is seen as an excellent biblical study guide. The Holy Spirit is using this newsletter to help people understand the validity of God's Commandments and many are now keeping the Sabbath. She has received very positive comments – we have published a few of those comments on the following page. One reader actually sent Ellen sixty names and addresses, each person a Hindu, but still interested in receiving the newsletter. The WUI office is always busy with activity. Some people come to watch the video tapes, but more often than not, Ellen is busy giving Bible studies to people – Hindus, Catholics, and people of all denominations.
As we reflect on the dedication and courage of people like Ellen, Benjamin, Charles, Caleb, Belete and all those people worldwide who work so diligently to share the news of Christ's soon return, I hope each of us will be encouraged to press forward in our own efforts. We all face our own challenges, we all face our own trials, yet we must press on. We are closer today to our Lords appearing than we were yesterday! It is not a time to be slack! Satan would like us to be buried alive under the burdens of living, but we must move ahead, undaunted by the pressures around us. With the Holy Spirit's enabling, we can go wherever He leads, surrender our will and be all that He requires, and do whatever the Lord asks of us –gobedo!
Comments regarding Ellen's WUI Newsletter:
" The Beasts of Revelation Exposed! is very good. Thank God that His Word is being spread in India."
Mr. H.T. Sangllana, Inspector General of Prisons, Karnataka
"I have become convinced about keeping Saturday Sabbath and I have resigned from my present government job and taken a new appointment in Nepal, where I will be allowed to keep the Sabbath."
Dr. Chinmoy Biswas, MBBS, MD – Assistant Professor, Clinical Bio-Chemistry, Nepal
"We are now observing the Sabbath in full swing without fail. We are also circulating a letter to "nominal Christians" to get serious."
J. G. Vijaya Kumar, Bangalore
"I have seen the Roadmaps for the End-Time in a pastor's hand and request the same for my seminary students."
Rev. Dr. K. H. Bhasker, D.D., Hyderabad
"Your wonderful newsletter is of great spiritual value. The end time news that you have clearly expressed through its pages will stand as a brilliant guiding star to all Christian students that are learning to know the truths from the Bible. Every page of the newsletter reveals volumes of the end time prophecy in excellent detail for everyone to understand. I express my deepest gratitude and thanks to God for bringing out such a wonderful magazine. I pray God will provide for all your needs towards such a divine task shouldered so bravely. Here are sixty names to mail your magazine.
Solomon Amengar, Help the Helpless Vision, Kamarajupeta