It was a hot, muggy day in the Kenge territory of the southwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) when Yanvu Joseph saw a tent flapping in the breeze. Maybe he overheard people talking about the tent in one of the six villages he oversees as chief and wanted to see it for himself. Maybe he simply stumbled upon it while out and about. Either way, he saw the white tent, which contained tables blanketed with papers, and decided to get a closer look.
There were some men sitting at the tables. They explained to him that the papers were Bible study guides. They were written in French, one of the official languages of the DRC. Something in the study guides piqued Yanvu’s interest and he asked if he could take some home. Yanvu walked away with 26 lessons that had been shipped all the way from Light Bearers in the US.
“I have 150 people who are ready to be baptized.”
The men at the tent were Bible workers from an organization called Train Them 2 Fish, a non-profit, co-founded by Thomas Ongasa, that works to spread the gospel in French-speaking countries in Africa. Train Them 2 Fish focuses on medical missionary work, evangelism, and evangelistic training. The organization is currently partnering with Light Bearers to distribute a container of French Bible study guides in the DRC and to provide Bible workers who can follow up with people.
One of the ways the Bible workers distribute literature is by setting up a tent with tables in a village, like the one Yanvu stopped at.
The Bible workers didn’t hear from Yanvu after he left. That is, until three months later, when he came walking up, under the trees, again.
“Do you have any more of those Bible study guides?” he asked.
“Yes, we have more,” they replied, excited that he wanted another set.
“Can you give me about 20 boxes of them?” he asked.
Yanvu brought a team of young people with him to help carry the 20 boxes of Bible study guides as the men at the tables watched, open-mouthed.
Six months went by and no one heard anything from Yanvu.
Then they got a call.
“I have distributed the study guides to almost every home in my villages. I have 150 people who are ready to be baptized.”
What? Shocked, the team at Train Them 2 Fish sent a Bible worker to follow up with Yanvu and see if what he was saying was true. It wasn’t long before the Bible worker called them back: “Those people are coming every Sabbath to study the Bible and they need a pastor. They need somebody to help them get baptized.”
Soon, Yanvu was standing in front of his people to announce that he had become a Seventh-day Adventist. It was a special occasion, so he dressed in a long, white shirt with intricate black stitching winding around the collar. On his head, he wore a cap with a leopard skin design printed on the fabric, which symbolized the position of power he holds. Soon, Yanvu was baptized. He now gives Bible studies to the people in his villages.
There are more people in positions of power, like Yanvu, who can’t shake the feeling that there is more to life. There are average Joes and Janes who want to know if there is a God. Sometimes the reason they don’t accept the gospel isn’t because they love sin too much, but because they need someone to present the gospel in a language they can understand—both literally and figuratively. God is working everywhere and with everyone before we even meet them. We are the ones showing up to the party. He only asks us to make the good news of who He is accessible to everyone and He will do the rest.
At Light Bearers, we are passionate about vindicating the beauty of God’s character. One of the ways we do this is through publishing literature and distributing it around the world in local languages, thus giving people the dignity of hearing the gospel in their own tongue.
In 2021, we made the decision to publish and distribute Truth Link as our primary Bible study guide from now on. Truth Link is a set of 27 study guides that take the reader through the fundamentals of Scripture but with God’s love as the focus in each one, whether the topic is prophecy, the state of the dead, or the antichrist.
The first containers of Truth Link went to Zambia and the response was tremendously positive. Why? Because the study guides marry theology with the beauty of God’s character, which allows them to reach the human heart in a uniquely powerful way. However, at the time, Truth Link was only available in English. In 2022, we were able to translate the study guides into Spanish and French (spoken by 500 million and 277 million people worldwide, respectively) as well as some other European languages.
With that said, we feel an urgency to continue translating Truth Link into other languages (specifically, Bemba, Swahili, Tonga, and Tagalog) to make it more widely available throughout Africa and the Philippines. Though about two dozen countries in Africa list English as an official language1, only 130 million people speak it out of Africa’s population of one billion people2.
But we need your help to make this happen.
Would you consider a special gift to help share the gospel with someone in their native language?
- World Atlas, “English Speaking Countries in Africa,” Victor Kiprop, https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/english-speaking-countries-in-africa.html
- Business Insider Africa, “A Comprehensive List of All the English-speaking Countries in Africa,” Victor Oluwole, https://africa.businessinsider.com/local/lifestyle/a-comprehensive-list-of-all-the-english-speaking-countries-in-africa/hdp1610
Allie is a 2012 ARISE graduate and on-staff writer and communications assistant for Light Bearers. She is fascinated by the intersection of faith and the creative process and enjoys poetry. When she’s not watching a good movie with her friends, she enjoys narrating life with mediocre accents.