Written by Neil Hart, Executive Head, Mergon Foundation
The world is a small place, but there sure is a lot of ground to cover. There are 7111 languages spoken in the world today, of which 23 account for more than half of the world’s population. Over a quarter of all these do not have a single word of scripture translated. Over 100 tribes remain ‘uncontacted’ meaning no outsider has ever been in meaningful contact with them, nor does any language translation exist to communicate with them.
Within this complexity, many great gains have been made, like reducing extreme poverty (people living on less than $2 a day (from 42% in 1980 to 10% in 2015) and famine has vastly decreased (according to The NY Times: ‘People often think that famine is routine, but the last famine recognized by the World Food Program struck just part of one state in South Sudan and lasted for only a few months in 2017). Literacy is increasing sharply, Infectious diseases are decreasing, child deaths have halved in just a few decades. Much of this is as a result of organisations led by smart and compassionate people who have given their lives and/or finances to see the changes come about that society so desperately needs.
At Mergon, we have the great privilege of partnering with many such organisations. I want to tell you three stories of what we see happening across the regions we are involved in and to celebrate these wonderful people whose hearts have been moved by God to do extraordinary things:
In Lebanon, millions of children displaced from their countries are left with no clear future; they have lost their homes, friends, security, identity and even families. One of our ministry partners in Lebanon provides a safe haven for children, mothers and families. Here children receive a good education and are being well prepared for their return to Syria. Many of these will complete their education in Syria and will also rebuild society, their communities and a country from a biblical world view, giving them a future that could have been completely stolen from them.
In Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Younoussa and his wife, Alphonsine, are working with children and students in a country with 59% of the population under the age of 24! God opened their eyes to the needs in their own city. Using the tools and methodologies they honed over years in the mission field, they started discipling children living on the streets, seeing them discover Christ, being baptised and teaching them in turn to make disciples. In the process, they’ve seen many of these kids return to their homes, find jobs and will be trained in various skills. Amongst many other things they are training leaders, running a Bible correspondence course and coaching multiple church planters who are being sent out consistently. They are giants in the Kingdom, yet when you sit with them, you experience a loving humility always ready to give more.
In South Africa, we are partnering with so many God-glorifying ministries. Johan and Astrid from Victory4All left the Netherlands in 2002 to come and serve less privileged children around Jeffreys Bay with the aim of bringing lasting change. They have since invested millions of rand in the community with a specific focus on education. Their King’s College currently reaches 350 learners up to Grade 4 with excellent education and an intentional focus to introduce the kids to Christ and disciple them to become agents of transformation in South Africa.
Would you join us in prayer for God’s kingdom to continually expand. It truly is the best news for living on planet earth. His Kingdom is peace, it is joy and it brings healing and forgiveness and grace with it. We celebrate the selfless work that our Mergon partners do in bringing His Kingdom into the dark places of this world.
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