The peoples of the world can be categorized by language, country, ethnicity, socio-economic status and other categories. A significant distinction is urban vs. rural. Most missionaries go to cities to reach larger and broader populations. The Gospel Fellowship Association (GFA) just broadcasted a new podcast on Reaching the Nations in the City. While the cities should have a critical role in our missions strategy, the rural regions should not be forgotten either. Below is a blog post written by ODBM missionary Seth Meyers, serving in rural South Africa. You can find his original post here. Learn about rural societies and their men's greatest needs through the eyes of a missionary who has endured hardness, labored hard, and loved the often forgotten. - Dave, ODBM Director
Preaching in a rural village in South Africa
My life is devoted to the rural areas of Africa. I love the people who live with little access to English, jobs, or cement roads. But neither they nor I love the poverty and environment in which they live. The solution to the poverty, crime, witchcraft, fear, and sense of hopelessness that many feel is the Christian religion. I am a missionary because I want to prove with my life that Christ is not only worthy of my devotion, but that He alone can change the backward condition of the endless string of villages in which the majority of Africans live. The problem in the poor villages is religious and thus the solutions are also religious.
I offer here three lists as broad evaluations of the society as viewed through the lens of Scripture.
9 benefits that would come to the rural areas if men acted Biblically
Crime would decrease because men would take responsibility for their sons and also, though to a lesser degree, for their neighbors.
Businesses would begin to flourish because men would try to support their families.
Education would improve as fathers start attending meetings, talking with their children, and actively involving themselves in the next generation.
Roads would be repaired by individual men, families, or committees who care about saving time and money on vehicle spares.
Title deeds would be obtained for individual property in the place of “permission to occupy” papers as men see the value in owning and improving their own land.
Churches would move away from offering entertainment and acting as witchcraft reinforcement camps as men demand a logical, spiritual religion for their families.
Black languages would see a new flowering in anticipation of Heaven when the nations bring their glory and honor into the New Jerusalem.
Confidence, hope, and optimism would replace doubtful low expectations in the sensibilities of the youth as the see more clearly the dignity of the image of God in their fathers and uncles.
Rural areas would give way to developed and prosperous areas as the citizens reflect Christian virtues.
Training men to work hard and build their own church building.
8 ways men in the rural areas are neglecting their duties
They are not restraining their urges within marriage.
They are not redeeming their moments and days as precious gifts that could create wealth.
They are not leading their communities in integrity, honesty, and diligence.
They are not multiplying their wealth in a moral and lasting way.
They are not improving themselves as they should in skills, philosophy, religion, and art.
They are not promoting true religion in their families and communities.
They are not protecting women, children, and the weak from present and future calamities.
They are not taking responsibility for training and disciplining their children.
Church planting among the rural Tsongas in South Africa.
7 reasons we should pity men in the rural areas
They have lived for generations with animistic paganism and all its demonic effects.
They have grown up without active fathers in the home.
They have been raised without books commonly in the home.
They have learned patterns of communication that stunt the acquisition of knowledge that could be gained in common conversation with adults.
They have a feeling of hopelessness when they try to imagine a path out of cultural practices and toward practical success.
They have very few examples near to them in the village of those who have reached a middle-class level of success in character, finances, and life.
They have the debilitating consequences of sin along with the fear of death and eternal damnation with almost no true churches or Christians within their reach.
My focus is on the men because that is where the Bible focuses. As the heads of their homes and leaders in society, men must be truly Christian in order to see any large scale social change.
by Seth Meyers
ODBM Missionary to the Tsonga People in Rural South Africa
Pray for the Meyers Family!