Theological Famine!

J.I. Packer in North Uganda and South Sudan!
J.I. Packer in North Uganda and South Sudan!

I praise God for the work of the Gospel Coalition International Outreach and  Bill Walsh’s leadership! I have seen first hand the impact of the godly resources they have given to me which I in turn placed into the hands of those thirsting for sound Biblical instruction. May the Lord raise up many to support the Gospel Coalition International Outreach!


How You Can Help Relieve Theological Famine Around the World by Bill Walsh

I love this quote from Samuel Zwemer:

The printed [and digital] page is a missionary that can go anywhere and do so at minimum cost. It enters closed lands and reaches all strata of society. It does not grow weary. It needs no furlough. It lives longer than any missionary. It never gets ill. It penetrates through the mind to the heart and conscience. It has and is producing results everywhere. It has often lain dormant yet retained its life and bloomed years later.

I praise God for the way he ordains the use of the written word to call and equip us as his children. The importance of text in the history of the church is difficult to overstate. Whether it’s the Scriptures, the pamphlets of the Reformation, or sermons read by thousands on the internet, God has deployed text as a vital means through the ages. By his design, books continue to be one of the most effective tools for spreading the gospel. And of course, in our day resource formats have exploded to include audio, video, and digital.

And yet, while we in the West often walk out of conferences with huge stacks of free and inexpensive books, much of the rest of the world suffers from a theological famine. In many regions, particularly in the Global South, the cultural, language, economic, and infrastructure barriers mount up. This leaves much of the church vulnerable to false teaching and weakness. God is calling us to address this need.

I’m grateful to Desiring God, where I worked for 13 years, for the incredible platform our team had to launch and grow this effort beginning in 2006. God has overwhelmed us with so many great partners and implemented projects. Now, I’m excited and humbled to join The Gospel Coalition, as we seek, by God’s grace, to expand this mission and its fruitfulness.

The scope of the need is larger than any single ministry can fill. We are looking for publishers, translators, givers, churches, mission senders, and goers who sense a call to engage in Theological Famine Relief. You can help us to create and deploy these resources where they are most needed around the world.

Here’s a quick tour of what you’ll find on our site:

  • Learn about Theological Famine Relief and how you can join us.
  • Explore tools for stirring your heart for the global cause.
  • Browse TGC’s resources in many languages.
  • Consider supporting this effort and our current Relief Projects.
  • Explore our Packing Hope resources for your next missions trip.
  • Pray with us that God will make provision for this ministry to move forward according to his will.
  • Follow our Twitter missions channel on @TGC_IO.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:3)

Bill Walsh is director of international outreach for The Gospel Coalition. He worked for Desiring God Ministries for 13 years. Starting in 2006, he and a small team built a global network of partners for the cause of Theological Famine Relief for the Global Church. This initiative joined TGC in 2012. He lives with his wife, Cindi, in Minneapolis and has two adult children, Beau and Regan. Contact Bill at


Books as Powerful Tools for Theological Famine Relief

If truth be not diffused, error will be.

By Bill Walsh

At a recent conference for Pastors here in the States I witnessed one of the largest conference bookstores that I’ve ever seen. My friends and I commented on the embarrassment of riches that we enjoy in the West. If I desire a certain title, I can have a print copy sent to me in a matter of days. Or I can order the digital version for my iPad in minutes, if not seconds. So much of my Christian growth over the years has depended on books. God has used certain ones to speak to me in specific seasons of my life—with huge results.


The importance of the written word is difficult to comprehend. In terms of church history, its impact would be hard to overstate. God has used the canon of the Holy Scriptures, the writings of the early church fathers, and the pamphlets of the Reformation as vital means of building His church. By His design, the written word continues to be one of the most effective vehicles for passing truth to the next generation.


For hundreds of years, Christians in the West have been privileged to have abundant access to good literature. This wealth of reading goes back to the Gutenberg press, which changed the entire known world in a year. In modern times, access to the written word has greatly increased with the advent of computers and Internet.


Although access to the Internet is increasing, the Global South has generally not yet tasted this bounty. The church there often suffers from a famine of Biblical resources. Many people groups have no Scriptures in their language. Others have no Christian literature to equip pastors and elders to lead their congregations. And where books are lacking, believers are subject to false teaching, undermined doctrine, and weak living.


This disparity of resources gets to the core mission of TGC International Outreach.


When thinking of missions, we typically envision the classic missionary, crossing cultures for the sake of the Gospel. That is still a vital part of God’s plan, especially as we consider the more recent missiological emphasis on ‘from everywhere, to everywhere.’ But many are not aware of the powerful role that literature plays in spreading Gospel truth to the nations.


Here are a few noteworthy quotes that speak to the significance of the written word for the life of believers and for the cause of missions. These are the reasons why text in printed and digital form is at the core of our work in Theological Famine Relief for the Global Church.


The Essentiality of Books

Paul is inspired, yet he wants books; he has been preaching nearly thirty years, yet he wants books; he has a wider experience than most people, yet he wants books; he has been caught up into heaven and heard things which it is unlawful to utter, yet he wants books; he has written the major part of the New Testament, yet he wants books.  – C.H. Spurgeon on 2 Timothy 4:13


The Continuity of Books

There are two things in the entire history of missions that have been absolutely central. One, obviously, is the Bible itself. The other is the printed page. There is absolutely nothing else in terms of mission methodology that outranks the importance of the printed page. Meetings come and go and personalities appear and are gone. But, the printed page continues to speak.  –Ralph Winter

The Versatility of Books

. . . printed books are more portable than pulpits, more numerous than priests, and the messages they contain are more easily internalized.  –Elizabeth L. Eisenstein (The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe, p. 169)


The Penetration of Books

The printed page is a missionary that can go anywhere and do so at minimum cost. It enters closed lands and reaches all strata of society. It does not grow weary. It needs no furlough. It lives longer than any missionary. It never gets ill. It penetrates through the mind to the heart and conscience. It has and is producing results everywhere. It has often lain dormant yet retained its life and bloomed years later.  – Samuel Zwemer


The Transcendence of Books

Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being, which we owe to authors…In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.  –C.S. Lewis


The Sanctifying Power of Books

You will be in the company of the greatest minds and hearts for the rest of your life, and you will become their peers if you read for understanding and for life.  –John Piper


The Influence of Books

If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will.  – Daniel Webster

We are asking God for individuals and churches who will help us build the long-term sustainability of this mission by supporting our International Outreach Capacity Fund. Would you prayerfully consider a monthly gift to this fund, so that we can continue to provide Theological Famine Relief for the Global Church? 

(I’m grateful to William Mackenzie at Christian Focus for sharing several of these quotes with me and for being an inspirational force for book ministry around the world.)


Bill Walsh is Director of International Outreach for The Gospel Coalition. He worked for Desiring God Ministries for 13 years. Starting in 2006, he and a small team built a global network of partners for the cause of Theological Famine Relief for the Global Church. This initiative joined TGC in 2012. He lives with his wife, Cindi, in Minneapolis and has two adult children, Beau and Regan. Contact Bill at

For Such A Time As This!

For Such A Time As This

By Carol Lee 

Recently, during one of our Wednesday night care group meetings, Esther 4:14 was brought to our attention in regard to our relocating to Uganda.  This is how it reads:  “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

You know, this idea has not escaped our thoughts!  Jacob and I have often talked about the strategic location and the timing of our move to northwestern Uganda. 

The 17 acres which Reaching Africa’s Unreached (R.A.U.) was able, by God’s grace, to buy is situated near Moyo, Uganda. This land is only a mile or two from the South Sudan border; R.A.U.  land is about 6 hours (in good weather) by Land Cruiser from the Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.  It is exciting to think we will be able to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of people in three different countries from this one location.

So when it says, “For such a time as this“, we believe it!

It has not been long since Joseph Kony and the LRA were terrorizing the northern part of Uganda.  They have been forced out and northern Uganda is experiencing more peaceful times, but struggling with the aftermath of the violence, displacement of its people, and with a slow-moving economy and scarce access to medical care and education. 

So…“For such a time as this”?  We are eager and ready! 

Perhaps you are more aware of the recent struggles being experienced by the citizens of the world’s newest country, South Sudan.  It is also struggling to overcome the oppression and violence of its neighbor, North Sudan.  Again, the aftermath of war has meant the cost and struggle of rebuilding, immense physical and emotional suffering and economic hardships.

Again… “For such a time as this”?  We don’t want to delay and squander the opportunity!


It is a privilege for us to come alongside the people of this area—to bring resources—to take part in the healing process of people who have suffered unimaginably over decades.

We want to see the healing of their souls—to see them reconciled to God through Jesus’ sacrificial love for them; to see the healing of their bodies through medical care and prayer; to see the healing of mind and heart through education and training.

R.A.U has a vision and plans for all of these to take place on the land that has been purchased.  And we really do believe that God has prepared us for such a time as this!


The first phase of the plans is mostly complete (the Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus, where pastors and church leaders can be trained and ministry teams housed).  We want to press on to begin the second phase, which is the Medical Clinic.

We are grateful for the partnership we have with Nurse Sam, who is one of the R.A.U.  Leadership team  members.  He exemplifies what can happen when vision, love and resources are made available to people who might not otherwise have a chance to improve their lives.  Nurse Sam was a “street kid” in Kampala, who, by God’s grace, through the love and vision of a pastor, was rescued from a dead-end, dangerous street life.  He was educated, mentored and brought to Christ.  With the help of strategic givers, he is now a registered nurse, and has relocated to the Moyo area for the purpose of using his healing skills through R.A.U.  in Jesus’ Name ! 

I really look forward to working alongside him.  Our opportunities will be endless!

One particular area of concern for us is the suffering of women and children:

(The following statistics were taken from “Maternal and Child Health: Uganda”, put out by the Inter parliamentary Union and the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda)


*For every 100,000 live births, 440 mothers will die.  Most of the deaths are directly related to pregnancy and childbirth complications; other causes are disease related.

*In Uganda, for infants and children under age five, in 2008, 135 out of every 1000 (or13.5%) died–and this was an improvement from previous years.

*About 1/4 of these deaths were neonatal or within 1 month of birth, and about 3/4 of them were postnatal, or between one month to five years of age.


These figures are calculated for the general population of Uganda; the statistics for rural areas (especially northern Uganda) vs. urban areas are even higher.  This means that in the region we will be serving, we have our work cut out for us!  The people there do not have medical care and medications readily available to them.  And even if these services were available, most people cannot afford such luxuries.  We want to come alongside them and serve them by:

·         Providing medical care through the clinic, making it more accessible and affordable. 

·         Taking medical care to more remote areas as well. 

·         Providing community health/hygiene education for prevention of disease

We are eager to get a medical clinic going!  We have the land and we have the plans drawn up! All we lack are the funds to make it a reality!  Just recently, we began a partnership with Mission World, who is committed to seeing the funds raised.  It will take approximately $85,000 to get the clinic built.  We are asking you to partner with us, to share the burden—to be a part of Reaching Africa’s Unreached!


On a smaller scale, and for a more immediate need, I would like to put together two medical backpacks, or order them already equipped with stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters and other assessment tools and basic first aid supplies to take with us when we travel to Uganda in June.  Donations for these items would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for, not only being a hearer, but a doer of the Word! 

Carol Lee

R.A.U. Grounds Layout
R.A.U. Grounds Layout

Crawling Through The 10/40 Window

I found this post at the Gospel Coalition by Mike Pettengill– very thoughtful.  R.A. U. is located in the extreme northwestern part of  Uganda and will be primarily training and equipping pastors with godly resources ( like the ESV Global Study Bible) from three countries,Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our model comes from 2 Timothy 2:2. Our strategic location places us advantageously to be a part of sending brethren to the unreached in North Africa.

Pettengill’s exhortation is a timely and pertinent one for the church in the West!

“…Let’s give the churches in the Global South the training, resources, and financing they need to reach the 10/40 Window. Churches in the United States and churches in the Global South can partner together to evangelize the billions of lost souls in regions that need to be evangelized with ferocity….”

R.A.U. is privileged to be a part of God’s action plan to do this!


Crawling Through The 10/40 Window

By Mike Pettengill

For more than two decades, much of the Christian world has been turning its gaze toward the 10/40 Window. Increasingly the North American evangelical church, the richest church in the history of the world, has been redirecting its missionaries and other missions resources toward the darkness within the this area of the globe. The goals are highly commendable, but are these methods prudent?

Argentine-born evangelist Luis Bush coined the phrase “10/40 Window” in 1989. The Joshua Project currently defines the 10/40 Window as those 69 countries that sit between 10 and 40 degrees north latitude in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. This is the heart of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. It has been estimated that 90 percent of the 4.4 billion people living in the 10/40 Window are unevangelized; yet only 10 percent of our global missionary force serves there.

Why Not the West

According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, in 2010 the U.S. sent out 127,000 of the world’s estimated 400,000 missionaries. It is wonderful to see U.S. churches accepting their role as senders. However, missionaries sent from the United States may not be the answer to opening the 10/40 Window.

In the current geo-political environment the United States and its citizens are not favorably viewed by a majority of the governments in the 10/40 Window countries. Of the 10 countries in the world that are classified as hardest for U.S. citizens to receive visas, seven of those are located in that area. In much of the 10/40 Window, missionary visas are simply not granted to foreigners.

The U.S. Department of State has issued travel warnings and recommends U.S. citizens avoid travel in 23 of the countries. The Open Doors World Watch List also counts the top 10 most dangerous countries for Christians in the world within the 10/40 Window.

Women account for a disproportionately large percentage of U.S. missionaries, with single women outnumbering single men 4 to 1 on the mission field. While our culture views the involvement of women in missions as a blessing, much of the rest of the world disagrees with us. In fact, many of the cultures contained within the 10/40 Window are hostile to women—especially Western women.

The United States and its missionaries are simply not welcome in much of the 10/40 regions. But this doesn’t mean Americans should fold up our missions tents and ignore the billions of unsaved in these parts of the world. Jesus promised us hard times: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11). John Piper echoed this same sentiment when he wrote, “If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full.” Nobody said missions was easy. Still, there may be a better approach.

Sending from the Global South

In recent decades we have seen an eruption of evangelical churches in Latin America and Southern Africa. New churches and individual conversions are emerging in the Global South. Many of these newer churches now have a generation or two of spiritual maturity and are sending out their own missionaries.

As churches in the Global South have developed, many U.S. missionaries and churches have changed their approach to these regions and are beginning to transition into supporting roles. Churches in Latin America and Southern Africa are now seeking theological resources, biblical training, and assistance in forming seminaries. In many of these countries, U.S. missionaries are focusing more on discipleship and theological training.

Already missionaries are going out from these regions. But why not send more? Compared to those from the United States, missionaries originating from the Global South can gain easier access to countries in the 10/40 Window. For instance, Latin American passports can gain access to countries that U.S. and Western European passports can’t. It may be time for our churches to embrace the shifting landscape. Rather than sending missionaries from our home country, we can send to the 10/40 Window our brothers and sisters from the Global South.

Embracing Evolving Dynamics

The lives of our U.S. missionaries are no more valuable in God’s eyes than our Latin and African brothers and sisters. But the issue is not about danger or ease of passage. This is about wise use of the resources God has given us. Churches in the United States possess wealth unmatched in Christian history. Those vast resources could be effectively used sending U.S. missionaries into the Global South and providing discipleship and theological training to our brothers and sisters in Latin America and Southern Africa. Let’s give the churches in the Global South the training, resources, and financing they need to reach the 10/40 Window. Churches in the United States and churches in the Global South can partner together to evangelize the billions of lost souls in regions that need to be evangelized with ferocity.

After decades of taking the lead, we in the Western world may need to take a more supportive role and let our brothers in the South handle the face-to-face evangelism. What matters most is that we work together as a global church to find a way through the 10/40 Window in order to share the gospel with billions of the lost who are not being reached. In the end, what matters most is not who was sent but that God will receive the praise and the glory.

Mike Pettengill is a full-time missionary serving in La Ceiba, Honduras, with Mission to the World. Mike is a team leader of a 12-person mission team. To learn more about the Pettengill’s work in Honduras visit Pettengill Missionaries.

Aiming at Heaven

If we understand that all that we have, including our lives, is a gift from God we will not “cling” to things which are transient and will set all hopes and plans upon that which will endure throughout eternity. The exhortation below highlights this truth well for all followers of Christ not just missionaries. Thank you for this wonderful exhortation Amy!

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Colossians 3:2


Aiming at Heaven

by “Everyone needs a little Grace in their Lives”

It was May of 1989.  I was 12 years old, and my family was getting ready to leave the country where I had spent most of my childhood.

We were leaving Liberia to go back to California for a year-long home assignment.  We packed up our house and put all our personal belongings into the spare room.  Another family would stay there for the year we were gone.

The plan was that we would return in the summer of 1990, and would live in Liberia for my four years of high school.

But during that year we were gone, a civil war broke out in Liberia.  It got worse.  And worse.

And finally it got so bad, that all the missionary women and children were evacuated.  Then the men were evacuated.  The compound where I grew up was bombed.  Many Liberian friends were killed.  We never returned.  My family was re-assigned to Ethiopia.

We lost everything.  Everything we owned was in Liberia, and it was all looted.  I lost my sixth grade journal, the painting my grandmother made me, and my childhood treasures.  More significantly, I lost my home country, my identity, my innocence.

I never got to say good-bye, either to the country or the people I loved.  Liberia haunts my dreams; it remains an unfinished part of my life to this day.

Now, it’s May of 2013.  I am all grown up now, and our family is getting ready to leave the country where we’ve spent 10 years.  We are leaving Tanzania to go back to California for a year-long home assignment.  I am packing up our house and putting all our personal belongings into a spare room.  Another family will stay in this house for the year we are gone.

And I must admit; I am anxious.  The feelings are too eerily familiar to what I experienced as a child–packing up, leaving everything behind, assuming I will return.  So I find myself worrying that the same thing is going to happen again this time….that I will lose everything.

It’s a mostly irrational fear.  Tanzania is a far more stable country than Liberia was in 1989.  But the truth is, you never really know what’s going to happen in Africa.

If there is one thing this life has taught me, it’s that I must hold loosely to everything.  Everything.  I can’t put down roots anywhere; I will never find stability.   I will never grow old in one house.  I may someday have to evacuate with the clothes on my back.  Or, I may just get robbed blind.

But it’s okay.  Because it reminds me that I shouldn’t love this life too tightly anyway.  This life is not all there is, and it’s definitely not worth fretting over.

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in.  Aim at earth and you get neither.  C. S. Lewis