Christianity first arrived in North Africa, in the 1st or early 2nd century AD. The Christian communities in North Africa were among the earliest in the world. Legend has it that Christianity was brought from Jerusalem to Alexandria on the Egyptian coast by Mark, one of the four evangelists, in 60 AD. This was around the same time or possibly before Christianity spread to Northern Europe.
Once in North Africa, Christianity spread slowly West from Alexandria and East to Ethiopia. Through North Africa, Christianity was embraced as the religion of dissent against the expanding Roman Empire. In the 4th century AD the Ethiopian King Ezana made Christianity the kingdom's official religion. In 312 Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.
In the 7th century Christianity retreated under the advance of Islam. But it remained the chosen religion of the Ethiopian Empire and persisted in pockets in North Africa.
In the 15th century Christianity came to Sub-Saharan Africa with the arrival of the Portuguese. In the South of the continent the Dutch founded the beginnings of the Dutch Reform Church in 1652.
In the interior of the continent most people continued to practice their own religions undisturbed until the 19th century. At that time, Christian missions to Africa increased, driven by an antislavery crusade and the interest of Europeans in colonising Africa. However, where people had already converted to Islam, Christianity had little success.
Christianity was an agent of great change in Africa. It destabilised the status quo, bringing new opportunities to some, and undermining the power of others. With the Christian missions came education, literacy and hope for the disadvantaged. However, the spread of Christianity paved the way for commercial speculators, and, in its original rigid European form, denied people pride in their culture and ceremonies.
19th Century White Missionaries
At the beginning of the 19th century, very few people in Africa were practising Christians, apart from Ethiopians, Coptic Egyptians and people living in the remnants of the Kongolese Empire (modern Congo Brazzaville and western DR Congo).
In the 1800's, Catholic missionary expeditions were launched with new vigour to the West, in Senegal and Gabon. Protestant missionaries took up work in Sierra Leone in 1804. The missionaries represented a big spectrum of denominations or churches: Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, many of them in competition and conflict with each other.
The abolition of slave owning in 1807 and slave trading in 1834 throughout the British Empire proved to be two important turning points. Outlawing the slave trade and converting freed slaves became a powerful motive for setting up European Christian missions. Human compassion in Europe for the plight of slaves meant that money could be raised to fund the considerable expenses of setting up a mission.
The Protestants spread the Christian gospel through the slaves who were liberated from slaving ships along the West Coast after 1834. The application of Christian doctrine was much stricter than it had been in previous centuries. The success of Christian missionary programmes can be linked to the education they offered. Many people in Africa wanted education; and missionaries taught people to read, in order that they might understand the word of God.
RESCUED FROM SLAVERY The missionary traveler David Livingstone (1813-1873) believed that the slave trade could only be suppressed by a combination of Christianity and trade. He travelled extensively from east to west in southern Africa dedicated to bringing Christianity to all, but never staying very long anywhere. He was most successful among the Tswana people (in modern Botswana), even though conversion to Christianity upset the status quo of this community.
Neither Livingstone nor other missionaries had much impact on the slave trading which went on between the interior and the East coast. They failed to convert any significant numbers of Muslims to Christianity. Livingstone's well-intentioned call for colonisation as an antidote to the horrors of slavery, paved the way for a host of missionaries and speculators to follow in his footsteps and cause immense hardship for the people of southern Africa.
DEDICATION AND DECEIT Many European missionaries worked extremely hard running their missions, risking their lives and good health in the process. They varied enormously in their ability to contribute to the quality of life of those they lived with. Some remained dedicated but contemptuous of those they claimed to be converting. Others developed deep affection and respect for those they worked with and made a long lasting impression.
The Scottish factory worker, Mary Slessor was one such missionary. She spent over 40 years in southern Nigeria, in Calabar. She learnt the local language and lived a life of total simplicity. She dealt head-on with some of the customs of the region, such as throwing twins into the bush to die, and negotiated an end to this. Today she is still revered and loved as a local figure.
Among the least admirable missionaries in history is reckoned to be the Reverend Helm of the Christian Missionary Society (CMS) who deliberately mistranslated a document drawn up between King Lobengula of the Ndebele and the British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes. This resulted in King Lobengula giving away all his land to speculators, thinking he had only signed away a limited mining concession. He was one of the rulers of southern Africa who had consistently refused to convert to Christianity.
Another runner up for the title of villainous missionary is the Catholic priest, Friar Anthonio Barroso, who persuaded the illiterate Dom Pedro V, King of the Congo to sign a note in 1884. He believed it was a thank you letter for a gold-backed chair; in fact it was an oath of loyalty and submission to the King of Portugal.
Portuguese missionaries in Angola and Mozambique in the late 19th century and 20th century were renowned and feared for their willingness to work hand in glove with the Portuguese colonial authorities. As a result of this alliance between church and state, Protestant missions proved very popular and many of Angola and Mozambique's leading nationalists were educated in Protestant missionary schools.
African Leadership is a Christian education and development organization that trains pastors and church leaders in Africa and funds relief and development projects in their communities. African Leadership currently is training approximately 9,500 students in 22 African countries and is supporting over 50 projects in nine countries.
Child Evangelism Fellowship® also known as CEF® is a Bible-centered, worldwide organization that is dedicated to seeing every child reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, discipled and established in a local church.CEF has different types of evangelistic programs, but the two most identified with the organization are 5-Day Club® and Good News Club®. These two exciting ministries take place in neighborhood settings such as homes, backyards, schools and community centers all over the world. These fast-paced, one-hour programs are designed to bring the Gospel of Christ to children on their level in their environment.
Welcome to Food for the Hungry International (FHI). We are comprised of many organizations who are unified in the pursuit of ending physical and spiritual hunger through community development.
We believe that a Vision of Community is needed to rise from poverty whereby churches are reaching out to their communities, leaders are solving the problems of the community and families are increasingly meeting each other’s needs. FHI also provides the basis for unity in the Food for the Hungry family. The family is comprised of the FH Association and FHI Federation and is represented by Greg Vestri and Rev. Tuk Su Koo respectively.
Did You Know:Around the world, billions of people live in fear and desperation-with impure water, inadequate food, and little or no access to health care.?Moe than 1.2 billion people survive on less than US$1 per day.?Nearly 50% of Africa's population has no access to a hospital or a doctor?More than 6 million people die each year from completely preventable disease like malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia?But behind every statistics is a story , a life- a person waiting for hope and healing.
Mercy Ships, a global charity, has operated a fleet of hospital-ships in developing nations since 1978.
Youth With A Mission is an international volunteer movement of Christians from many backgrounds, cultures and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world. Also known as YWAM (pronounced "WHY-wham"), our purpose is simply to know God and to make Him known.When YWAM began in 1960, our main focus was giving young people opportunities to demonstrate the love of Jesus to the whole world, according to His command in Mark 16:15. Today, we still focus on youth, but we have members (known as “YWAMers”) of almost every age and many of our short-term efforts have grown into long-term endeavors that have impacted lives and nations.
YWAM has a decentralized structure that encourages new vision and the exploration of new ways to change lives through training, convey the message of the gospel and care for those in need. We are currently operating in more than 1000 locations in over 180 countries, with a staff of over 18,000.
Africa’s Children is the official child-care agency for Assemblies of God World Missions – Africa. We believe that this ministry happens best through compassionate care that not only talks of God’s great love, but models that love in action. At Africa’s Children, we care about every aspect of a child’s life: their physical, mental and social well-being; and above all, that they would be spiritually whole." AFRICAS CHILDREN ONLINE"
official website of U.S. Assemblies of God World Missions - Africa. Church planting, discipleship and expansion in Africa combine to form an incredible story. Multiple partners, from throughout Africa and other non-African nations, join with us in our work across the continent. That is what this website is all about.Here you will find information relative to each of the administrative regions of our work in Africa. (Those nations north of the Sahara Desert are part of Another administrative region. The Africa region is the sub-Saharan nations.) You can also visit and learn about a variety of ministry efforts impacting Africa as well as link to other important websites representing our work. Mechanisms for making online contributions, as well as contacting us, are also available.