Christian Evangelization Gone Global - Part 1

“Sent to Every Town and Place” (Luke 10:1).

Though CFC has gone global and will continue pursuing this course, there is still a great need to win more countries for Christ. This can only be achieved through the BASICS - renewal, formation, structure, our life and activities as a community, and service. We have God's anointing in these, but we have to do our part. He also called on each member to appreciate being UNITED, that we are one body with one work throughout the world. A deplorable aspect in our life in the community is tithing and that personal finance is an area of growth where we must learn to give all to God. Everyone is encouraged to “look outward” (regional mission bases) and not just remain content in our own parishes, areas, and countries. Everyone is urged to reach for the goal of winning the world for Christ.

“Evangelizing Culture and Society” measures up to evangelizing the world. An analysis of the world's present situation (wars, crime, corruption, injustice), poses a challenge to CFC's globalization efforts particularly when there is a need to uproot cultural obstacles so that the word of God can shine through. The social ministries of CFC (which affect all areas of culture and society) work towards total human liberation. Indeed, ours is a work for justice, equity, human dignity, freedom, peace, common good and the work for the poor. He reminded everyone that the goal is to establish Christ's kingdom in our midst.

“Evangelizing the Poor” which was both Jesus' mission and CFC's way of bringing glad tidings to the poor. The poor have been deprived of what God intends, and that they need liberation from Satan's oppression. A third of the world is poor, and corruption and greed continue to widen the gap between the rich and poor. This gap continues to exist, even with renewal, because of lack of sharing of one's resources, lack of justice, stewardship and solidarity. How the Gawad Kalinga Program of CFC Angkop helped in our goal of building the Church of the Poor through its territorial presence, spiritual foundation, holistic program, and its outstanding reputation in society.

CFC in Kenya

It is important to realize, in our work of evangelization, that a nation's culture plays a major role in ensuring the success of our efforts. Let's take the example of my country, Kenya.

When Christianity was introduced in Kenya, the Western traditions of the shaking of hands, hugging and kissing were also introduced. These are all practices that you are accustomed to and, especially in CFC, part of your normal routine but we in Kenya are not used to that. Our culture dictates that I cannot kiss my daughter; her grandfather cannot shake her hand; physical contact between men and women, whether young or old, is not allowed. So if CFC brings these practices to us, you will find total rejection, not just of the practices but also of the mission.

Change cannot be effected overnight. Kenyan laws and practices pertaining to women are even more difficult for you to understand.

You might say is even anomalous. The law does not allow them to own property, not even a bank account. If there is a village meeting, only the gentlemen are allowed to attend. The ladies may come but only to serve the men when they get hungry. The whole issue of equality is alien to us. What the women do is, when the men say “No way”, they resort to other means of persuasion.

What about jobs? There are some duties which can only be performed by ladies and others only by men. For example when you are building a house and a lady climbs up the roof trying to put the grass thatch or the corrugated iron on, that is totally unheard of in African culture.

Christianity has encountered a lot of cultural obstacles in Africa. You are so used to mixed prayer meetings. We are not. We have Catholic women's associations and Catholic men's associations because men don't want to sit with the ladies, much less have a serious spiritual discussion with them. It is the same at home. The man is usually the treasurer so if the wife wants to buy something and the husband says no, there are no two ways about it. The women may want to go into a detailed discussion but the men will just sit there and just say nothing. At the end, he will finish the discussion and that is the end of the matter.

When brother Ponet and sister Kit came last April to give the very first CLP in Kenya, they did encounter these problems. There were 13 of us 6 couples and 1 handmaid. When it came time to meet as a group, I told them: “Now you want to put men and women together to discuss. I don't think it will go very well in Kenya.” Ponet simply said; “Let's pray about it. Let's just give it a go and see what happens.”

Well we are still praying about it. We hope we will eventually overcome these barriers. We have had minor successes. When we had the last pastoral council meeting in our parish, CFC managed to bring the Catholic Men's association and Catholic Women's association together.

The biggest obstacle in African culture is the issue of recognition. An African man is recognized and admired by the wealth he has, the number of his goats, the extent of his lands and the number of his wives, not necessarily in that order. So if you tell him to have only one wife, he will say you are crazy. If you tell him to leave his property and devote his time to God, he will say you are even crazier. All of Christianity's revolutionary concepts have to be brought in very slowly and very carefully. But I personally believe CFC's work in my country is going on very well and that things will eventually work out.

I thank God very much for having given us the chance to come to your country and share with you. In fact He even worked His miracle in the matter of our coming. We didn't think we would be able to come for this congress. My wife fell sick three weeks before our scheduled departure and we didn't think she would be well enough to travel. We kept praying and God was good. Two days before our flight, the doctor gave her clearance to travel and so we are here. Praise God! Peter Atambo

Continue to Part 2

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