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Discovering John Perkins in East Africa

August 30, 2009

A few years ago I was challenging a magazine editor about an article on missions in Africa I found disappointing.  The editor pushed back, “But show me the alternative.”  At the time, while intuition said otherwise, I had few stories to tell.  Since then one of the great gifts of the incredible journey of the African Great Lakes Initiative has been discovering that God is always planting signs of hope under the radar screen.  Three wondrous “signs” that have been uncovered and offered as gifts across national and ecclesial lines in the region are the lives and witness of Maggy Barankitse of Burundi, Paride Taban of Sudan, and Angelina Atyam of northern Uganda.  For me this has been like discovering a John Perkins in each of these countries.  Each of these African Christians is creating a “demonstration plot” on local ground of resistance to war, poverty, and disease.  Each is shaping wholistic witness through agriculture, reconciliation, health, education, new life between enemies, and Christ-centered church life.  Each is a  “long obedience in the same direction.”  Each has suffered for their witness.  I’ll be reflecting more on these three in coming weeks in this blog.  In November we bring Taban and Atyam here to Duke for the 2010 “Teaching Communities Week.”  In the meantime you can get a glimpse of each witness in this short video.

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