At 24 years old, I embarked – alone - on a journey to Africa. Feeling frustrated with corporate America, I longed to dedicate myself to a more altruistic cause, especially one that benefited the Kingdom of God. Because I spoke fluent French, I chose to go to Niamey, the capital of Niger, to serve with a team of teachers and evangelists through Sudan Interior Missions. It was a life-changing decision, one that would launch me into full-time ministry when I returned.
Here’s what impressed me most about that missions trip. Like every missionary, I needed to raise support before I could go. It was the first time I had ever “walked by faith” in the area of finances. I gave a presentation at the tiny Baptist church I attended and hoped for the best.
To my surprise, an elderly woman approached me after my talk to speak with me. She looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “As a rule, I do not support short-term missionaries, because I don’t believe in it. I prefer to support those who commit themselves to serve long-term, for the sake of the people they are serving. However, I believe that the Lord asked me to give you my support as you go to Africa.” And with that, she handed me a check. A large check. And I went.
There were others who gave and prayed, of course. But I will never forget this woman, because she believed in me and demonstrated her willingness to let the Lord lead her, even beyond her “usual” convictions.
That trip to Africa changed my life. After two months in Niamey, I seriously considered leaving my job and living – full time – in Niger. I received a love for those people that has never gone away. And now I have a chance to serve again, in a different way.
One of the challenges Africans face is the lack of Bibles and relevant Bible literature. By relevant I mean suitable for discipleship in their language and culture. Americans can lose sight of the differences in education, financial stability, and cultural innuendos that separate us. What is “normal” even to a child in Western nations – take Kool-Aid for an example – is a novelty to an African child who may not have access even to clean drinking water.
Matthew Elliot of OasisNet, in partnership with Tyndale Publishing and numerous other international partners, is seeking to change that. Together, they are creating the brand new “Africa Study Bible.” An NLT Bible, it includes study aids written by Africans, relevant to African people. This unique Bible uses African insights and illustrations to help connect Africans to the faith.
I am part of a launch team that is spreading the word about the Africa Study Bible. Oasis is praying to raise $1M by June 16th to send 100,000 Bibles to Africa. I want to ask you to consider being part of that. (And there are some fun rewards for doing so!)
Click the links below to view the campaign details or watch the video on YouTube for more information about how to get involved. I am passionate about getting God’s Word into the hands of every one, in every nation, who needs it. It’s a chance to fulfill the Great Commission in a nation you may never get to visit yourself. And your gift will change someone’s life.
Deborah Perkins has served in Christian ministry for over 25 years. From her first mission trip to Africa to her current roles as an inspired teacher, wife and mother of three, and prayer warrior, she has always been passionate about helping others find life-giving communication with God. For more information, visit her website and blog at His Inscriptions. Or join her on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.