Joel Hogan describes what COSIM has meant to Christian Reformed World Missions

An insight from the Sumburu in Kenya

True partnership means helping our indigenous pastors find culturally appropriate mechanisms for packaging and delivering the Gospel message. During a pastors’ conference among the Samburu in Kenya, Africa, I watched a group of church leaders do just that.

The Samburu have a story about a rope that once led to God. The Samburu people would climb that rope to make their requests known to God. But one day a man came along and cut the rope. Since then the Samburu have searched for God in the rocks and in the trees (animism), but their search has been in vain. But (as one pastor put it) John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is the way to God. In Samburu terms, “Jesus is the rope back to God. And now, there is no sweat getting to God!” Upon hearing this well-known story used to present the Gospel in Samburu terminology, the entire group of pastors at the conference leaped for joy and broke out in a song of praise.

Partnership helps our national brothers and sisters “discover” culturally appropriate ways of presenting the Gospel rather than imposing on them Western ways.

–Phil Thornton, PhD, Global Impact Missions

An insight from Haiti

The myths and folk stories in a culture often give you “tools” with which to work in teaching the truths of the Gospel.

On a recent trip to Haiti I was working with a group of seminary students. They told a folk tale about a cat and a dog in a race for the destiny of humanity. The cat wanted man to die; the dog wanted him to live. The sly cat contrived a plan to distract (and deceive) the dog by dropping bones along the way. As a result, the cat won and death is our lot as humans.

In the conversation which followed I talked with the students about deception and asked them this question: What are the “bones” Satan uses in your cultural context to keep people from finding and/or following God. This simple act of tying the work of Satan to a well-known folk tale turned the light on for these young men of God.

True partnership means that we “come along side” and enable through discovery rather than imposing Western thought and illustrations through lecture.

–Phil Thornton, PhD, Global Impact Missions