AFRICA’S ISLAMIC RIM
Adjusting the Focus
Reaching Africa’s Unreached Peoples with an adequate witness of the gospel has been the passion of my heart for many years. The Web site, LINK UP AFRICA, became the expression of that burden in June 2005 in an effort to awaken African believers and churches to the vast need.
The logistics of presenting all of Africa’s Unreached Peoples from a firsthand perspective seemed overwhelming. Patrick Johnstone’s 1984 map of Africa identified the Islamic population as reaching from Sierra Leone on the west, all across North Africa and down to Mozambique.
The color-coded map showed a densely populated area along the coastline in bold green and a lighter green across the desert area. I thought, “That’s quite a distinct rim.” I remembered how Protestant missions expanded along the coastline of the world’s continents until the mid-1800s when Hudson Taylor led the missions thrust to the inland areas.
The question that begged an answer was, “Why didn’t early missionaries penetrate the western, northern and eastern coastlines of Africa?” A number of reasons could be postulated but the disturbing question is, “Why does Africa’s Islamic Rim continue to exist today, considering the strength of the African church below the Sahara?”
I am convinced the task remains because the African church is unaware that within 18 countries, more than 80 people groups number over 100 million people on the rim of their continent! Africa’s Islamic Rim will be penetrated when the church of South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and others lift up their eyes and see the harvest God has prepared.
The larger Christian community has a part to play in proclaiming an adequate witness of the gospel to Africa’sUnreached Peoples on the Islamic Rim. However, the task must be completed from “the inside out.” Ultimately African believers will be God’s primary instrument in determining the eternal destiny of people living on Africa’s Islamic Rim.
Link Up Africa is a clarion call to believers and churches to hear, see and respond to the challenge. Mark 16:20 reports, “The disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them….” May God help each of us to do our part, working in harmony with the Lord as He validates His message with indisputable evidence.