Thursday, August 25, 2016

Is Africa Blessed or Cursed?

Image result for africa outlineWhen I first heard this question at the Disciple the NationsAlliance  training, I looked around to see how others would respond. Our group was a mix of American missionaries, Kenyans and Ugandans in full time ministry, local pastors and a few lay members of the church. The answers given were a range of answers, and showed us glimpses of each other.

What do you think? Is Africa Blessed or Cursed?

Africa is BLESSED:
  • ·      Natural resources

o   Rivers and lakes
§  The Nile is the longest river in the world
§  The Congo River runs through most of central Africa
§  Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Wonders of the World
§  Lake Victoria is the second larges fresh water lake in the world
o   Minerals
§  Precious metals such as: gold, diamonds, copper, manganese, nickel, platinum, cobalt, radium, germanium, lithium, titanium
§  Others: iron ore, tin, zinc, lead, zirconium, salt, graphite, limestone, mica
§  Largest radium supply in the world is in D. R. Congo.
§  90% of the world’s known cobalt is in D. R. Congo
o   Energy
§  Petroleum, gas, coal, solar and serious hydro potential
  • ·      Culture

o   Strong families
o   Strong sense of community
o   Loyalty to their tribe, and yet welcoming to the visitor

Africa seems CURSED:
  • ·      Poverty
  • ·      Bad governance
  • ·      Hunger / lack of proper nutrition
  • ·      Tribal clashes
  • ·      Corruption
  • ·      Diseases
  • ·      Political instability
  • ·      Lack of jobs

After sharing this the facilitator looked at us and said, “WHY?! Africa has so much potential, and yet struggles.” This lead to an interesting conversation. Some of our pastors shared that the struggles were too big and too hard. That they had no way to get out of them. Another American said it was because sin has come into the world. Things are no longer operating the way God intended and people are also now sinful. One African leader said that the people don’t trust God. We certainly didn’t have the answers that many scholars have tried to find over the years, but it was a great conversation.

Our facilitator ended our time with the following story.

Image result for national bird of uganda crested crane
The crested crane is the national bird of Uganda. It is protected. You may not kill it, and they are worth a lot. Their picture is everywhere, on the flag, on the money, on official documents. If the crane went to the government, it could ask for anything. It could say, “I want you to give me food and shelter and a life of luxury.” It has a very high value. And yet we find it digging in the dirt for worms. It doesn’t know its value. It doesn’t know where to look for resources.

She told us that Africa is very similar. They are used to doing what they have always done. (If we are honest, there are many things us Americans do because it is the way it is done too) Our African friends don’t see the potential all around them. But the truth is that Africa has been so blessed by God.

What about us? Where has God blessed us that we are missing? What do we see as “normal” or maybe even a burden, that God designed as a blessing? For me I knew right away. My boys. Some days feel more like a burden, or at best just normal. But the TRUTH is that each life is a blessing from God. Daily I have the same choice as my African friends. Am I going to take this blessing and nourish it and use it to bless others, or am I going to ignore the blessing. So I ask again, where are you blessed? Where is the potential that you are missing? And how can you take the blessings God has given you to further His kingdom?