Africa is entrenched in staggering social challenges such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, genocide, poverty, hunger and corruption. These are not issues that can be fixed by simply relieving one or even all of these symptoms.
For example, its clear that providing food for the hungry is a good thing to do. But that only puts a band-aid on a much larger problem. People are unable to provide food for themselves and their families.
These social challenges are caused by deep-seeded cultural beliefs, such as Animism or ancestor worship, being worked out in daily behaviors.
For example, Animism leads men infected with HIV/AIDS to believe that having intercourse with a virgin will appease the spirits responsible for his condition. Belief drives day-in and day-out decisions that fuels an epidemic.
We all want to see change. To rejoice in a continent living as creative, healthy beings, joyfully glorifying God and flourishing in every way.
But how do we get there?
Well, we don't. But Jesus has, does and will. We need to help people think about the world the same way He does. To have a "Biblical Worldview."
This is true for those who don't yet know Him, as well as for those who believe in Him, but haven't had adequate discipleship.
Why haven't Africans been discipled adequately?
1. They lack access to a Bible of their own.
Many can actually read English. They just can't afford a Bible, or they don't have access to one. Many pastors in Africa don’t even have an entire Bible!
Without Bibles, Christians are struggling to live as Jesus calls us because they don't know what's in God's Word, and neither do their leaders.
2. Untrained teachers and leaders.
The average level of teacher training in Africa is deplorable.
Often, a teacher will be a recent graduate from the school they are assigned to with less than one year of training. Many are equipped with nothing but a hut and a few log benches.
No guides, no materials, no training.
It's tough to meet objectives in such an environment.
It's tough to meet any objectives in such conditions, much less form them from a Biblical perspective.
Many are willing to teach any subject from a Biblical perspective, but they themselves need to learn what that means, and then be equipped to teach it to others.
The Kellers' main work is on a project they've named C23. “C-2-3” comes from Colossians 2:3, which recognizes in Christ all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom can be found.
Through Christ-centered education, the fullness of the treasures of knowledge in Christ can be manifest in Africa.
The C-2-3 Project is a multifaceted discipleship and education initiative equipping Africans to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Keller's purpose is to thoroughly equip God's people for every good work, and enable them to prosper as effective, productive members of God’s kingdom.
Form the future of Zambian Education by:
- Supplying Christian discipleship and education material to community and private schools.
- Equip teachers to use the material to educate God’s children.
- Training practicing teachers in Christian Education.
The Container Project
Many schools have no chalkboards, no paper, often no building, and, worst of all, precious few Bibles and textbooks. The textbooks they do have are thoroughly humanistic. They deny the truth of basic Biblical principles.
The Kellers' Container Project works to supply the immediate needs of teachers by giving them second hand Christian Textbooks, Bibles, and teaching aids. These precious books and stationary items enable them to supplement the existing curriculum and teach the Christian worldview.
18 tons of books and Bibles arrives in Africa!
Volunteers unload the container's precious contents!
A village girl is proud to be able to read and excited to have a book of Bible stories from the Kellers' container to practice with.
Equipping Believers for Impact with Training Seminars
Training seminars are excellent opportunities for discipleship and evangelism. Timothy often gives them for local teachers and law enforcement officers.
Timothy equips attendees to understand the Christian worldview and its conflict with opposing worldviews. They learn how to build a Biblical worldview, and how that changed perspective flows into their work and communal life.
Timothy after a worldview seminar given for law enforcement officers.
Timothy trains village teachers and leaders to use the materials to educate their students from a Biblical worldview.
Timothy ready to equip Chongwe, a remote Zambian village he frequents, with a SALT seminar.
Developing Curriculum for Longterm Impact
For a long term, lasting solution, the Kellers are partnering with successful Christian schools like Excellence Christian Academy in Zambia. With their input, Timothy is creating a Christian curriculum that is:
- thoroughly Biblical
- relevant to the African challenges and culture
After nearly two years of praying, planning, and collecting materials, packing, and waiting, the Kellers saw the safe arrival of a '40 shipping container, packed full of Bibles, education materials, and supplies. By shipping the material directly into Africa, they effectively saved 50% of the distribution cost!
Equipping teachers with materials and training for how to use them to provide education from a Biblical perspective turned out to be quite fruitful.
A Dutch missionary who visits the village occasionally, Marjanne recognized the need for the children of Petauke, a remote village in Zambia, to learn to read, write and know more about Jesus.
She also realized that Esther, one of the villagers, had a passion to teach young children. Marjanne enabled Esther to use her gifts to bless her village by helping her set up a bush school. Marjanne secured some of the supplies shipped to Africa by Timothy and Ashley Keller for Esther's school.
Esther also attended Timothy’s seminar, where she was equipped to teach the children biblical stories, concepts and principles.
After she began teaching the preschool children, Esther recognized another great need in her village. Along with the peanut crop, the village’s lifeline is cattle raising.
The boys aged 6-10 are needed to herd the cattle until they can work full days or are replaced by younger boys, causing them to miss out on school.
Without education, guidance and discipleship, they often end up thieves and drunkards. Esther arranged for the young cattle herders to come to her as they are able between their duties, so they can learn to read, write and understand the gospel.
With the Gospel as a guiding force for their lives, they can work hard, bless their community and live with a purpose.
Thanks to Timothy’s vision, his passion for educating and his work getting the container shipped, many educators like Esther are empowered to provide education and hope where there was previously none.
What’s more, they are equipped to do so using the Biblical story as the overarching guide. Children who might otherwise grow up neglected and hopeless due to the nature of village life, are loved, valued and invested in.
As they learn the story of the Bible and their own unique place within that grand story, they have the opportunity to be equipped and guided by the Holy Spirit to serve their villages, people and countries with the quality education they are recieving.
Esther teaching the children of Petauke.
Learning with math manipulatives - unheard of for an African school!
Pastors and leaders from rural areas pick out books and materials from the container Timothy transported to them in his field vehicle.
Timothy grew up in Arizona and began his work in Africa in 1998. Since then, he has traveled across Africa 17 times, covering more than 150,000 miles by road (and those are African miles) and an inestimable amount by air.
He has worked in many African countries including South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Sudan - many times in places where the Gospel has never before been heard.
As an ITMI missionary partnered with Frontline Fellowship, Timothy has delivered 28,000 Bibles in many different languages, some of them to villages that had only a small portion of a Bible until then.
Often these Bibles had to be taken through hostile borders where their discovery would mean imprisonment or worse. Through distribution, training and personal evangelism he has taken over 353,000 tracts and Gospel booklets into Africa.
Timothy has delivered 28,000 Bibles in many different languages, some of them to villages that had only a small portion of a Bible until then.
Over the years, Timothy has become more involved in leadership training. Through the opportunities of preaching, teaching, leadership and discipleship conferences, he has taught leadership skills, Biblical principles and much needed practical application techniques to pastors and teachers throughout Africa.
"One of the most rewarding aspects of being a missionary over the last 12 years is seeing the growth in the people we work with. It's amazing to see people who were brought to the Lord as young men now becoming ministers and evangelists. Seeing people take the lessons they've learned and multiply them by teaching others shows me how effectively the Lord can use His people in Africa."
Ashley first experienced Africa in 2001 as a short-term missionary in Botswana. She returned for full-time missions training in 2006. While training with Frontline Fellowship in Cape Town, South Africa, she met Timothy.
They were married on May 5, 2007. Ashley enjoys the work of a missionary wife and mother, and raising up the next generation of missionaries in Africa while ministering to the needs of those around the family.
- To train African teachers to effectively teach the Gospel of Christ and disciple children through regular school studies.
- To provide Biblical and physical aid for Christian brothers struggling to evangelize and disciple in their areas of ministry.
- To affect lasting change for Christ in Africa through evangelism, discipleship and education.
- To raise their family to glorify God.
- Used Bibles and Education materials for filling containers.
- Monthly support for the Keller family.
- Funding to cover the continued cost of periodic replacement and continual maintenance of a field-worthy vehicle.
- Prayer for health, wisdom and protection as they serve the Lord in Anfrica.
- ITMI to provide oversight and US presence, exposing Timothy’s ministry to like-minded supporters.
Village or remote outreach is a regular part of our ministry in Zambia. Over the years I have learned that if there’s one thing you can expect in Africa, it is the unexpected. In spades. We even have a name for it: “The Africa Factor”. (I hope you hear ominous music in the background, because believe me, you should.) A few weeks ego I experienced an epic edition of this phenomena.
“I used to think, ‘All for one and one for all,’ is what village life is all about, right? That the villages are populated by the “noble savage” and lead a connected, unified community life,” says ITMI’s Timothy Keller. But unfortunately, this version of village life may be popular in Hollywood and children’s tales, its simply not what Timothy has found after over a decade of ministry in African villages. “Rural Africa is
Timothy held his breath, wondering if everyone in the room would stand up and walk out.ITMI’s Timothy Keller was at the front of a room full of Zambian leaders and pastors. He had just…
My one-year-old son dreams of playing professional sports. I know this because I was tackled and fouled throughout the whole night. He also scored a couple of goals with my nose. Morning breaks me and I get up. I’m suppose to share devotions at the police station, but I’m not sure if I can make it. Between my overactive MVP son and the continuously barking dog, I don’t think I’d slept at all.I try taking multiple doses of caffeinated starting fluid, but my brain still maintains its hazy fog.
Revealed in this article:
The simple idea that shockingly, many in remote villages don’t know exists.
An exciting example of the impact you’ve had in Zambia.
How discipleship can work even when you don’t live near those you disciple.
Three groups that have received 2 amazing and important benefits from the Kellers’ Container Project.
A few years ago, the plight of the Zambian villages isolated between Zambezi River and the Angola border came to our attention. They were so remote that they lacked most of the necessities for life, but the most concerning was their lack of access to water.
Charl and Cozmore brave the roads in a small car to a tiny village in Zambia. Read their story!
“A nine-year-old little girl was the victim of the most unbelievable atrocity. At the hand of her own father.” A heart-breaking story doesn’t have to lead to feeling helpless. The Kellers have a two-pronged plan.
During the dry season, ITMI’s Timothy Keller travels to remote villages encouraging, preaching and delivering bibles and discipleship materials. As they enter rainy season, Timothy has a new ministry opportunity and a new temporary role serving God’s people in Kabwe.
This is an excerpt from something originally posted on the Keller’s blog. The Kellers are ITMI partners serving in Zambia. Ashley Keller’s unique perspective and witty honesty pulls back the curtain into their unique life. “What’s it like, raising kids in Africa?” is naturally one of the questions we get asked quite often. Sadly, because we […]