A remarkable mission field
More than half the 6.6 billion people on our planet already live in cities, and this proportion is set to increase to 70 per cent of the world population by 2050.
According to United Nations forecasts, the number of megacities – metropolises with a population of more than ten million – will increase from 22 today to 26 by 2015. Already there are more than 300 cities with over a million inhabitants.
Every year, cities for 13 million additional people are built from scratch. If urbanisation continues on the same scale, there will be 6.4 billion city dwellers by 2050(Sustainable urban development, Siemens).
As urbanisation increases, evangelistic endeavour in towns and cities touches an increasing number of people. And sharing the gospel through literature – whether out on the streets or in other ways – enables the message of salvation to enter workplaces and homes and reach a significant cross-section of society.
The fifth outreach to Pretoria (20 March – 17 April 2010) was both meaningful and eventful. The opportunities for offering literature in the city centre were tremendous and many booklets were taken. Almost daily I met men and women who had received Ultimate Questions during previous outreaches and were eager to read additional material.
With these encouragements, however, came three potentially life-threatening incidents. Firstly, a man, giving every appearance of being a sangoma (diviner), sought to incite the public against me and said that he would kill me.
Secondly, in broad daylight and confusing circumstances, I was manhandled and robbed; and, thirdly, a Muslim threatened to call his friends to ‘deal with’ me.
I am deeply grateful to the Lord for his protective care. To date, over 20,000 Ultimate Questions have been distributed in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital.
In the summer, the outreach ministry focused on Cape Town. Throughout the soccer world cup (11 June – 11 July), several hours a day, six days a week, were spent in the city bowl area – a hive of bustling activity on event days.
Of the many visitors who were offered Ultimate Questions, only a few individuals accepted a copy; the vast majority evidenced no interest in the things of God. But as the work continued week by week – in the city centre and suburbs – it was moving to witness the many locals and nationals who took a booklet.
It was a particular joy to give Ultimate Questions in the languages of Chichewa, French, Portuguese and Swahili to men and women who have relocated to South Africa from countries within Africa, or who were visiting to pursue business ventures.
Over those 6 months of summer, 13,197Ultimate Questions, 407 booklets and 115 other books (all evangelistic and apologetics titles by John Blanchard, EP Books) were distributed.
I am ever indebted to our God and Saviour for the privilege of sowing the seed of the gospel and, whenever possible, of giving out follow-on literature.