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By Eric Bohman
Africa is a land of vast resources and abundant opportunity. Very few
places in the world today have as much untapped resources as this second
largest continent on our planet. However, this statement is not just true
economically, but more importantly, it is true spiritually.

As we have advanced two decades into this new century of missions in
Africa, it is important to glance back and learn some lessons of the past in
order to achieve future victory. Then with that knowledge, coupled with
faith and dependence on God, we can reach forward into the regions beyond.

Glancing back, we note that the early missionaries possessed three distinct
attributes. No matter what their background or training, most were
characterized by a deep devotion to God, a willingness to sacrifice, and a zeal
to do His will. The wonderful thing is that these attributes are not limited to the
past generation. Fast forward to today—it is thrilling to see new missionaries
with the same devotion, commitment, and zeal, willingly following the call of
God no matter what the obstacles!
A glance back over the past ten years shows a decade full of activity with over
163,000 decisions for Christ reported by our missionaries! Furthermore, this
present generation has responded to the need in Africa, and we rejoice that 61
new missionaries have been approved to serve on the African continent. They
were sent by their home churches to 17 countries—10 of which were brand
new countries for BIMI. Those new countries were not just in one area of the
continent; they are represented in every region of Africa. I would like to briefly
highlight two of these areas.

Sending new missionaries into new countries is always exciting, but our new
missionary into The Gambia (a small country in the northwest part of the
continent) is a special blessing. More laborers into this area is an answer to a
longtime prayer. Since we have launched a new project into the 10/40 Window
part of Africa, the Lord has blessed by calling several young families to labor
in this predominately Islamic region. Challenges abound, but God is definitely
opening doors in this difficult area.

A new missionary to the central region has been a long time in coming, and
it is wonderful to see a new family on their way to the Republic of Congo.

While this country is mostly made up of dense tropical forest, half of the
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country’s population lives in its two largest cities, Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.

The potential to reach these cities is immense as well as paramount in order to
spread the Gospel throughout the country.

Reaching forward to the future, we see an incredible potential that lies ahead.

That potential lies mostly in colossal growth. In just a few years, it is predicted
that Africa will host most of the fastest growing economies in the world as well
as 10 of the fastest growing countries and 15 of the fastest growing cities! Africa
is also a young continent with more than half of the population under 18 years of
age. There is phenomenal potential in reaching these youth—especially the urban
areas—with the Gospel.

As we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of BIMI, it is a good time to glance back at what
those who went before us did for God—the foundation they laid, the churches they
established, and the sacrifices they made. However, it is only a “glance” backward,
long enough to gain motivation and to increase our momentum, and then
our focus must once again be on “reaching forward” to the
task God has placed in our hands and the people in
our generation to be reached. Reaching forward
for the prize of the high calling of God in
Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). W
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