Reports from the Field: South African Connections

ASB Editorial Assistant Hannah Rasmussen

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a conference that the IFES, or International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, held in South Africa.My main purpose in attending was to recruit writers and partners for the Africa Study Bible. Fifty staff members who attended represented countries from all over the African continent: South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Lesotho. After presenting on the Africa Study Bible, I met with several other young leaders over dinner. Encouragement overflowed as I listened to the stories of how God using the youth of Africa to advance his kingdom. It was wonderful to build relationships and connect with these amazing leaders.

At this IFES conference, there were many different training sessions that addressed issues facing the African church. In the Southern IFES region, they’re confronting many false teachings (e.g. prosperity gospel), experiencing frequent staff transition, and trying to develop a local donor base. Health and sexual ethics are also on their minds, as they had sessions on how to respond to homosexuality, AIDS, and Ebola. The church’s involvement in politics was another hot topic. One speaker has been jailed for his activism against Uganda’s government corruption, and two delegates had to leave early to help with Botswana’s elections. We also visited the apartheid museum and mentioned South Africa IFES’ integration struggles.

I unfortunately had to leave the conference a little early, but before I left, I was invited up and presented with a thank you gift. I felt that I truly made a strong connection with the IFES staff, and I look forward to a long and fruitful gospel partnership between Oasis and IFES.