September 15, 1999

World War II veterans
needed for campaign in Africa

___By Mike Creswell
___SBC International Mission Board
___LONDON--More than fifty years ago, many Texas Baptists went to war to liberate North Africa. By 1943, U.S. forces had defeated fascist forces in a mighty effort called Operation Torch.
___Now those same Texas Baptists are being asked to enlist again in a new Operation Torch. But this current drive is intended to liberate North Africa barriers that keep people there from knowing of Jesus Christ.
___Southern Baptist workers assigned to North Africa started this new Operation Torch to enlist World War II-generation Baptists to return to this earlier conflict and help them in the current battle for souls.
___They hope these GI Generation Southern Baptists will "pass the torch" of responsibility to their children and grandchildren--and even accompany the younger generations to North Africa and make the spiritual liberation of North Africa a personal commitment.
___Those former GIs can show younger family members and colleagues where they fought in earlier days for political freedoms--and see what the present spiritual needs are.
___Operation Torch's goal is to send more than 1,000 Southern Baptists--many from Texas--into the North African region to pray intensely and directly on location that the gospel can prevail in North African lands.
___Most North Africans never have a chance to hear the gospel because of the traditional barriers of religion, culture and fear.
___Southern Baptists are assigning new workers to North Africa every month now. These committed workers are being asked to figure out how to share the gospel with scores of unreached people groups in countries like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
___It seems like an impossible battle to win, but victories are being seen daily.
___For example, a church planting movement has begun among one people group in Algeria, and new churches have sprung up in many places there, missionaries reported.
___To further this kind of response, Southern Baptist personnel want to bring small groups of six- to eight-member teams to North Africa, guided by one of the workers.
___Each trip will last around 10 days. Activities will vary, but every team will spend time praying for a targeted people group. Some volunteers will distribute gospel literature or Bibles.
___Repeatedly, in North Africa, Southern Baptist workers have seen that prayer walking helps break down barriers. For example, when the results of one evangelistic campaign were analyzed, missionaries realized many more people responded to the gospel in villages where earlier volunteers had prayer walked.
___Prayer walking is a relatively new concept whereby Christians silently pray for the spiritual needs of an area as they physically walk throughout it.
___The Northern Africa region once was a Christian area, known for its strong churches and influential Christian leaders. Much of this presence was snuffed out by the forces of Islam in the last millennium.
___Southern Baptist workers believe the region can be Christian again.
___For more information on Operation Torch, contact Lannie Wilbourn by e-mail at lwilbourn@aol.com or Gerry Volkart at gerry.volkart@ imb.org, or call (800) 999-3113. Also, more information is available on the Operation Torch website at www.optorch.com.


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