Growing up in Central Africa, the Emmaus Bible courses were familiar to me. I was born in the city of Ndola, Zambia, the grandson of missionaries. That meant we were surrounded by other missionaries much of the time, many of whom came for a meal or stayed with us for extended periods. At conversations over dinner, the topic invariably turned to ministry, with missionaries sharing what the Lord was doing in their part of the world. Many of the discussions included a reference to the “Emmaus work.” At that time, I wasn’t exactly sure what that work was, but I knew it involved translation, printing, distribution, and grading. And I certainly did not know the incredible breadth of the work around the world.
The international aspect of our ministry has been one of the key components since the Emmaus Correspondence School was established in 1942. Some of the first courses that were produced were sent to men and women in the armed forces in Europe and the Pacific during the Second World War. In the early 1950s, Cyril Brooks in the Philippines took a brand new course (What the Bible Teachesby William MacDonald) and began broadcasting sections on the newly created Bible School of the Air radio station. They offered the full courses for free if listeners would write in to request one. Originally broadcasted in English, translations in Tagalog, Ilocano, Cebuano, and Hiligaynon soon followed. Millions of courses were requested and distributed over the next twenty years.
Meanwhile, at about the same time but on the other side of the world, a young Gertrud Koppel translated the same course in Swahili and the Emmaus work started in Africa. I was blessed to hear much of the growing “Emmaus work” as a young boy and later as a teenager as I did my first Emmaus course. This ministry has always had a special place in my heart as I saw the impact on the lives of those who studied the courses and as I was personally impacted by completing many of the courses myself.
We are so grateful to those who were led by the Lord to establish the ministry and for the hundreds of thousands of people who have been involved in the Emmaus work since then. We are reminded of the words that the Lord spoke to the disciples after His ascension. In Mark 16:15, the Lord said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” and then reminded them again of His great commission in Acts 1, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Today Emmaus courses are found in 108 countries of the world in over 80 languages. The courses are available in print, can be found on the radio, in online courses, and even through a mobile app.
Please read on in this edition of the Emmaus Connectionand praise the Lord with us for the places where the Word of God is being studied with the help of an Emmaus course.
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