|A Global Mapping International Newsletter||Summer 1996|
In the colonial era the West, including too many Western missionaries, looked down on Africa intellectually and morally. Anything African was deemed pagan and rejected. That view is now being recognized as errant, a mistake that hinders communication of the Gospel.
In our day the pendulum is swinging back toward a critical appreciation of African traditional cultures and societies, a trend we are happy to see and to participate in as we announce the forthcoming release of the African Proverbs CD: Collections, Studies, Bibliographies.
African proverbs encapsulate much of what was best in traditional societies, and they do it in sparklingly thought-provoking ways. For example, the Bassa people of Liberia say, "The elder is a bathtub." What does it mean? As you bare your body to the bathtub, so you bare your soul to an elder, and neither the bathtub nor the elder ever says anything about the ugliness you reveal. The Akan people of Ghana say, "It is not the one who is ill who dies, but the one whose time has come." The Oromo warn of greed by saying, "The cow looking at the green grass [at the cliff's edge] fell over the cliff."
Proverbs can also be reinterpreted to communicate Christian truth. Rev. Joshua Kudadjie, general editor of the Proverbs for Preaching and Teaching Series, gives this example: a Ga proverb says, "If you go through the high grass where the elephant has gone through, you do not get soaked with the dew." Traditionally this meant, "Keep to the path of the elders who have gone before you," but he now uses it to mean, "Follow Christ's path through life." By using the proverb he provides a powerful new image for understanding Christ and our relationship to him.
In compiling material for the African Proverbs CD, GMI worked with numerous African scholars and especially with the Missiology Department, University of South Africa (Pretoria); African Studies Center, University of Ghana (Legon); and Hekima College (Nairobi).
This CD represents the culmination of a three-year international research project coordinated by Dr. Stan Nussbaum and supported by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The release of the CD is expected in the fall of 1996 and will be available through GMI and distributors in both Africa and North America.
Sometimes God allows me a more direct glimpse of his gracious wisdom. Let me tell you a rather technical story.
A few weeks ago I received news that SMI, the software company we get our mapping software from (which we've distributed to over 350 sites around the world) had just been bought out by a large corporation. The new owners had no interest in the missions ministry of GMI.
Worse yet, they didn't seem to care about mapping software. They clearly bought the company for its other assets. Now it looked as though our mapping software was dead, and that we and the many Christian ministries we serve around the world would have to switch to a very different, much more expensive software system.
A few days later, however, ESRI - the undisputed world leader in mapping software - announced that they had purchased from SMI's buyer the original Atlas GIS mapping software assets of SMI. (Stay with me here.)
Then it hit me. The president of ESRI had phoned a few months earlier, and we had talked for over an hour as he expressed his desire to support GMI and the people we serve. Putting his words into action, he then arranged for ESRI to provide generous support to GMI's mapping ministry. In short, ESRI has committed to do for missions everything SMI did, and much more.
Today, GMI is in a better position - to provide the best mapping software and services to Christian ministries at the lowest cost supported by the strongest commercial company - than we've ever been before. What first appeared to be "the bottom dropping out" of GMI's mapping ministry, turned out to be a tremendous blessing!
This year's ICCM (International Conference on Computing and Missions), held at Abilene Christian University (Texas), was one of the best, and certainly the largest! You can now access much of the presentation material via the Internet - the next best thing to being there!
Check out the ICCM Web site at: http://www.iccm.org
Or, subscribe to the ICCM e-mail conference, by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with only the following words in the body of the message: subscribe ICCM96
Once subscribed, you will receive instructions on how to download the transcripts of the conference sessions.
ICCM '97 is being planned for June 6-10 in Abilene, Texas. For more information, contact: Tom Dolan at Abilene Christian University ACU Station, Box 83871 Abilene, TX 79699 USA. Tel: 915-674-3706 E-mail: Dolan@Bible.acu.edu
The Overseas Ministry Study Center will host a "how-to" workshop on "Researching Mission in the New Information Age" May 1-3, 1997, sponsored by GMI. For more information, contact: OMSC, 490 Prospect St., New Haven, CT 06511 USA. Tel: 203-624-6672 Fax: 203-865-2857 E-mail: email@example.com
A European Internet Conference is planned for November 22-23, 1996 in Frankfurt, Germany for European Christian ministries and churches to explore use of the Internet and other information technology. Designed as a working conference, organizers hope to see the formation of a practical co-operative European network. For more information, check their web site: http://ecic.ucsm.ac.uk
To participate in an on-going discussion about international Christian research issues and projects, join the Lausanne-Research e-mail conference. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with only the following words in the body of the message: subscribe Lausanne-Research
Brigada is a large and rapidly growing family of e-mail-activited Internet conferences that link those with common interest in reaching the least reached peoples and cities of the world. Send e-mail to email@example.com with only the following words in the body of the message: subscribe brigada
The 20:21 Library of Mission and Evangelism Resources on CD-ROM is available at greatly reduced prices via scholarships for Christian organizations and educational institutions in special financial need. Contact Global Mapping International, 7899 Lexington Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80920 USA. Fax: 719-548-7459; E-mail:
Dave came to GMI in 1992 after a career in the US Navy during which he lived in Asia and Africa, followed by a decade of mission research. Dave's heart for directing mission researchers and strategists to where they can find the specific information they need led him to begin the Directory of Mission Information Sources program at GMI. Dave and his wife Clara, who serves in the finance department of the mission agency OC International, are active in the Evangelical Free Church in Colorado Springs.
A senior geography major at Appalachian State
University (Boone, NC), Mark chose to do his required internship working
here this summer. At GMI Mark has been involved in a variety of specialized
computer mapping projects, mostly in support of the African Proverbs Project
and the Language Mapping Project. After college graduation, he hopes to
go on to seminary and to use his training in geography and geographic information
systems as a missionary with the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board.
One of the most popular overhead transparency map sets GMI distributes covers the "10/40 Window," that area of the world from 10°N to 40°N and from North Africa across Asia.
Now all the 10/40 maps and graphics have been updated with the latest statistics, and two additional new maps have been included: "Joshua Project 2000" and "100 Gateway Cities."
This set, with full-color transparencies, B&W paper copies for duplication, and a new motivational article by Luis Bush, is available from GMI.
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