Here is an article I received by email from Agape Press:
Ministry Finds Many Obstacles Complicate Latin Amer. Bible Distribution
The head of the Bible League’s Latin American Ministries division says there are many challenges when it comes to distributing scripture across the continent. That is why the League recently launched its “Defy the Darkness” campaign, a massive effort to encourage Christians to help spread God’s Word throughout Latin America.
Recently, the Bible League put together a Christian media trip to Ecuador in an effort to showcase how God’s Word makes a difference in Latin American countries and how much that influence is needed. John Wagenveld, the organization’s Latin American Ministries director, says issues such as poverty and the strong arm of the Catholic Church make it tough for outside Christian groups to get Bibles to many citizens.
“The Catholic Church has been an institution that in years past was actively inciting people in some of the indigenous communities to not allow the evangelical Christians in,” Wagenveld explains. “Sometimes this meant beating them up with sticks, stoning them,” he says.
“Thankfully here in the year 2006 some of that is changing, and there’s a little bit more openness,” the Bible League spokesman continues, “but in some communities, there is still persecution [of Evangelicals].” And another obstacle to spreading the gospel through foreign missionary efforts, he notes, is the cost of equipping these evangelical workers.
“It is very expensive to support a foreign missionary,” Wagenveld observes. “In a country like Ecuador, where you have ten percent Evangelicals, the best way we can invest our funds, our money, our prayers, is to send the nationals, who already know the language,” he says.
“What we need to do is provide them the tools and the training, and specifically with the Word of God – both in Spanish and in the indigenous languages,” the Latin American Ministries director points out. Providing the appropriate scripture translations for the targeted people group “is another area that we touch on,” he adds, “so that they can read it in their heart language.”
Christian nationals can make a big impact for God’s Kingdom, Wagenveld asserts, especially if they have copies of God’s Word to distribute. The “Defy the Darkness” initiative focuses on encouraging Christians to give towards sending Bibles to Latin America at a cost of $4 per Bible.
When I read Defy the Darkness, I wondered if they were going to bring the Church in and sure enough they did.
I’m sure the Church took efforts to ensure that the flock was not set upon by those bearing false doctrine but using sticks and stones? Is there any way to either verify or debunk this story?