Paul and Carol (CMML), oversee the production and dissemination of films, literature and radio programmes, designed for all ages and cultures across the Muslim World.
‘Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do…’ (Nehemiah 2:12a)
‘And they said to , “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to Me”’ (Matthew 14:17-18)
Isn’t it amazing how the Lord puts something in our hearts to do, and then multiplies our feeble efforts?
As newlyweds living in South Carolina in 1978, one evening after work, Carol and I were flipping through the CMML Missionary Prayer Handbook. In the West Africa section, we came across a family I recognised: Gerhard and Herma. This German-Dutch couple had spoken at my family’s church and spent a few nights in our home when I was a teenager growing up in southern California. I had long lost track of them, but we learned from the handbook that they were now working in the majority-Muslim nation of Senegal. The Lord put into my heart an urge to learn more about their story and work. I wrote to them and Gerhard replied. They were studying French and the Wolof language, had a sewing class for women and a small group of believers meeting in their home. Their co-workers were Eric and Eithne, commended in the early 1960s from assemblies in England and Ireland. They were reinforced by a prayer group in Dublin, which met monthly to uphold the work and workers in Senegal – a prayer meeting that would continue for decades. Little did we know that we would become one of God’s answers to their prayers.
For more than three years, we corresponded with them and the Lord put in our hearts a plan to join the work in Senegal. Invited by both couples, and commended by our assembly in South Carolina, in May 1981, Carol and I, and our one-year-old son, Andy, moved to Dakar, Senegal’s capital city. A year later, we settled in the northern city of Saint-Louis.
Nearly seven years would pass before we would have the joy of seeing any of our Muslim friends turn from Islam to Christ. During those hard but hallowed years, the Lord showed us His faithfulness as our family grew, and as we progressed in culture and language, built relationships and scattered gospel seeds. In times of discouragement, the Lord would meet us in intimate ways, teaching us to let Him be God; that the work was His; that our part was to wait patiently on Him; and to keep sowing, in the confidence that He would produce an abundant harvest in His time. He also taught us how to communicate the gospel chronologically to a people who claim to believe all of God’s prophets, yet, from their youth, have been taught that God has no Son, and that Jesus the Messiah was not actually crucified.
In September 1987, through a series of God-directed events, Malick, a 26-year-old truth-seeker, stepped into our lives. From his childhood, he lived in fear of Judgement Day because of Islam’s incapacity to answer his all-consuming question, ‘Where will I go when I die?’ We put the Scriptures into Malick’s hands. Over a period of seven months, he studied intently and discussed what he read with us. His search led him to connect the dots between the Old and New Testament Scriptures, and to conclude that all of God’s prophets pointed to Jesus, the crucified and risen eternal Son of God, who said, “…he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24). Malick understood and believed this good news. Perfect peace and painful persecution ensued. In the months and years following his conversion, we saw the Spirit do a similar work in the minds and hearts of many others, as men, women and children, ‘…turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God…’ (1 Thessalonians. 1:9b).
Countless stories could be told of God’s truth penetrating marketplaces and homes, minds and hearts
During this same period, the Lord also gave us co-workers: Andreas, Gerhard’s nephew, and Angelika (Germany). A fledgling church was planted, from which has flowed a media ministry that is reaching nations around the world using multilanguage, chronological gospel tools, including books, a film, pamphlets and a radio series. And it all started in Senegal, with a radio programme called ‘Yoonu Njub’ (The Way of Righteousness).
I look back to a scorching-hot morning in May 1992, as the day The Way of Righteousness radio series was born. Two of my Senegalese brothers and I were in a town of 50,000 people, an hour south of our home town, Saint-Louis. Having parked our 4WD vehicle near the marketplace, and using the tailgate as our shop, we began to sell, very cheaply, a beautifully illustrated Wolof-language pamphlet, by Eric, about the prophet Abraham and his sacrificial ram, which pointed to Jesus the Messiah and His all-sufficient sacrifice. After a while, the crowd, stirred up by a couple of religious leaders, began to tear up the booklets and shout religious slogans. As we, with saddened hearts, watched them fling the shredded Scriptures into the air, the following thoughts came into my mind: ‘Return home and create a series of chronological lessons that clearly present the stories and message of God’s prophets; then broadcast them on the national radio station so that people around the country, who want to know the truth, can hear it and those who do not want to hear, can turn it off.’ On the hour-long drive back to Saint-Louis, I told my Senegalese brothers what God had put in my heart to do.
Over the next couple of months, through God’s interventions, a door was opened. We signed a two-year contract with Senegal’s national radio station for a once-a-week broadcast of one hundred 15-minute radio programmes, that would present the stories of the prophets according to the Bible. Malick became the radio voice. Countless stories could be told of God’s truth penetrating marketplaces and homes, minds and hearts, and leading some to ‘…repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 20:21b).
Muslim people are keenly interested to hear stories of the prophets. Some station managers have even repeated our programmes at no extra cost, due to audience demand. Today, these Wolof programmes not only continue to be aired dozens of times a week on many Senegalese stations, but The Way of Righteousness series is being broadcast in scores of languages worldwide. TransWorld Radio considers it their most effective programme for communicating the gospel message to Muslims. God is still in the business of taking our five small loaves and two fish, and multiplying them to feed the spiritually starved.
God’s work of multiplication did not stop with radio broadcasts. Over the past decade, He put into our hearts a desire to produce several other multilanguage gospel tools. In 2007, ROCK International published the book ‘One God One Message’; in 2009, the booklet ‘Your Story’; in 2011, the picture book ‘King of Glory’; and in 2015, a film of the same name and story, which is now available in 20 languages, with dozens more in translation and production. In partnership with other servants of the Lord, publications include: ‘What If Jesus Meant What He Said?’ by our son, Nate (CMML); and ‘King of Glory Illustrated Study Guide’ and ‘King of Glory Colouring Book’, designed to reinforce the truths presented in the original book and film. On an almost daily basis, we are blessed to receive feedback from people and partners around the world who are either being reached or are reaching others via these tools.
However, these multilanguage creation-to-Christ-to-New-Creation gospel tools were not produced simply to reach people living across the sea. They are also designed for the neighbour across the street, or ‘…the foreigner residing among you…’ (Leviticus 19:34), who knows little if anything about the Bible.
Praise God, He is mightily at work in the Muslim world. Pray ‘…that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you’ (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
- for the Lord’s strength and wisdom, and the continuing production and worldwide distribution of these multilanguage resources.
- for more help: it is one thing to communicatethe gospel in one or two languages to a nation, and quite another in more than a hundred languages to the nations; both are awesome privileges, but require more man-hours than we presently have.
- that these effective gospel tools will be widely known and used.
- for an increased and widespread spiritual awakening in Muslim people’s minds and hearts around the world.
To freely access and share these cross-cultural, gospel tools in many languages,