Episode 45

October 31, 2023


African Missions and Emmaus Worldwide - Marlon Govender

Hosted by

Erik Rasmussen
African Missions and Emmaus Worldwide - Marlon Govender
The Concerning Him Podcast
African Missions and Emmaus Worldwide - Marlon Govender

Oct 31 2023 | 00:33:10


Show Notes

Marlon Govender from Emmaus Worldwide joins Erik Rasmussen on the Concerning Him podcast to discuss growing up in South Africa, his conversion to Christianity from Hinduism, the state of the church in Africa, and his new role at Emmaus Worldwide.
Emmaus Worldwide - https://emmausworldwide.org/
Emmaus Worldwide App - https://emmaus-app.com/

Concerning Him - https://concerninghim.com/
Concerning Him Podcast - https://concerninghim.com/podcast/

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Speaker A: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Concerning Him podcast. For more information about concerning Him visit concerning Him more information about Emmaus Bible College visit emmaus.edu Today we are joined by Merlin governor. Is that correct, Marlon? Governor. I knew I would mess it up. I'm sorry about that. [00:00:26] Speaker B: That's fine. [00:00:27] Speaker A: And you're working at Emmaus Worldwide. How long have you been with EME's. [00:00:31] Speaker B: Worldwide, did you say? Been with Emmaus Worldwide? 16 years now. [00:00:34] Speaker A: 16 years, but just starting a new position. [00:00:37] Speaker B: That's right. [00:00:37] Speaker A: And what is your official title in the new position? [00:00:40] Speaker B: The official title in the new position is International Coordinator for Emmaus Worldwide. [00:00:46] Speaker A: International Coordinator. What are some of the job responsibilities that go along with that? [00:00:51] Speaker B: Well, they're just about 100 countries that doing a Maus with about 65 different National Coordinators just coordinating that work. And the second level of people would be about 1000 people. Okay. So making sure all the countries are encouraged, trained, kind of more or less on the same page with the way we operate and spreading the word of God, the gospel, changing lives through Emmaus ministry and sort of having regional conferences regularly. Country conferences visiting many countries across the world. Encouraging training and allowing the Lord to work through that contact and networking and working with believers. [00:01:38] Speaker A: Sounds like a lot of fun. [00:01:40] Speaker B: Well, I guess if you travel for a holiday, it could be fun. Doing it regularly, long flights, becomes tiresome. But like I said, it's ministry to the Lord, and that's what makes it fun. [00:01:54] Speaker A: And you were currently living full time, you said, in Johannesburg, is that correct? [00:01:58] Speaker B: South Africa, Johannesburg. [00:01:59] Speaker A: And so I think what we want to get to a little bit is kind of the state of the church or the state of Christianity in Africa in general as a continent. But before we get there, I think we would love to hear some about your background. Probably a little different than a lot of the people we have on who've mostly spent time just in the States. But, yeah, I'd love to hear some bit about your testimony and your background and kind of all the steps the Lord has led you through to find yourself where you are now working for Amaze Worldwide. [00:02:30] Speaker B: Absolutely. This Saturday gone past, I was crossing the Mississippi, the mighty Mississippi River, on a ferry. And I don't know if it was the bitter cold wind or emotion that brought tears to my eyes, but when I look back to my own life and where I've come from, it was practically an impossibility for the most of my life to even perceive myself being there, doing this. So really it's all about him, concerns him and what he's done. Born in a Hindu home in Durban, South Africa, in the midst of apartheid. Born in a very I'm a fourth generation South African. My great grandfather came from India as an indentured laborer. [00:03:15] Speaker A: Okay. [00:03:15] Speaker B: And so I'm very much South African, very much African, but still hold on to Indian culture and traditions. Born in a very poor home. My dad became an alcoholic when I was one year old. So grew up in a dysfunctional home. And I was 13 when I drank my first drink of alcohol. Smoked my first cigarette. I was 15 when I was doing drugs. Joined a gang. So no sense of God, no sense of family. It was pretty bleak. Adding for perhaps disaster. I was 17 when the Lord arrested me. Was involved in a motor car accident. Should have died, really, but shook me up. Realized, wow, I'm really living a sinful life. Is there God? Who is this god? What would be the consequences for my sin? Chose to become a good person and decided to find my God. And those answers in my Hindu faith. Became an extremely devout, practicing Hindu. Hated Christians. It's a long story, but amazingly, when I was 29 years old, out of very dark, deep, dark Hinduism, possessed by spirits, having hooks and needles on my body, god called me very miraculously to these marvelous light. It's a long story for another day, but I became a born again Christian in the year 2015 of July 2000. Not having an inkling of Christian faith or religion other than knowing I'm a sinner. Christ died for my sins, and I needed to be needed to confess and believe in him as my Lord and Savior. And being born again at that age, very interesting journey on fire for the Lord. Just reading the scriptures, getting involved in church. And in the year 2007, we moved from Johannesburg, from Durban to Johannesburg, and it was a huge cultural shift. All our family, friends, all were in Durban. So wanting to be more spiritually engaged, my wife asked a question the local church, can I help mark Emmaus causes there again, you know that Emmaus ministry was struggling through illness, and they said, would you mind taking over? So the journey started with English Emmaus in South Africa in 2008, the Lord blessed that. And 2010 was asked, won't you look over the work nationally in the four languages, english, Afrikaans, Kausa and Zulu. The Lord blessed that work. In 2017, I was asked, won't you look over it for southern Africa? And so been involved with training and setting up work in different parts of southern Africa. And then in 2020, I got involved with the App, the international App. And that was an amazing blessing. And I just saw the opportunity to serve the Lord and got involved with uploading English and also promoting and working with large parts of Africa with the App. And so over the years, being involved with the mayor at so many different levels. The Lord at this point brought this young Indian boy who ran around barefoot in the streets of Durban with the age of 26. Had not even left my town, leave alone the state or the country. So now called me to this work of International Coordinator for Emmaus. God willing to travel the world and use His Word to change lives. It's all of God. I can say I've done nothing, deserve nothing, didn't qualify for any of it. But through his grace and mercy, he's done amazing things which we give Him all the glory for. [00:07:02] Speaker A: Praise the Lord for that. What role did Emmaus worldwide courses play, if any, maybe not any in kind of your development as a Christian? You talked about when you were saved, you knew nothing of the Christian faith. How did you begin to grow and understand the Scriptures? [00:07:20] Speaker B: And amazing. You know, you can go throughout Africa, the world most assemblies, New Testament patent churches, all have Adamaus, all of Yedimaeus of Emmaus. Mayas in South Africa is 71 years old now. [00:07:35] Speaker A: Oh, wow. [00:07:36] Speaker B: And so when I became a Christian for the first time, one of the first things I was given was what the Bible teaches, pause to study. And it's simple, but yet it's profound. It's a systematic study of theology and yet good enough for a young Christian. And it was exposure to that. Interesting. Just a little digression. Or side note. When we were young Christians in Durban, we were aware of the Emmaus work that was being done in the Zulu language with a neighboring assembly about 80, 90 miles away from where we were. Okay. And I used to preach there and visit and we should hear about the fellowship of the believers around marking and grading this work. So it really sounded good. So when we came to Johannesburg and did not know much people or no family, feeling a bit dry spiritually, we eared of the Emmaus causes in English. That was what prompted my wife to ask this other sister, can I help you to mark Emmaus? So, yeah, it helped us in our journey of studying and knowing the Scriptures, but also lots of fellowship and friends around mayors. Wherever you go in the country or in the world, it's well known amongst. [00:08:53] Speaker A: All the assemblies as you go know you're here in the States for a few weeks, is that right? [00:09:00] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:09:01] Speaker A: When you head back to Johannesburg, what is life going to be like with the new job and your new role just on a day to day basis when you're not traveling? What are some of the things that you're going to be working on? I'm just curious. [00:09:13] Speaker B: So it's a lot of communication. Okay. So with the App, we currently have about 27 different languages and in many countries, so uploading of new causes, editing of new causes, introducing countries that to traditional Emmaus paper causes, to the App, encouraging them to use it, and then working with the team in Germany that's developed the App and administrating. So we have this wonderful Emmaus worldwide family all over the world. And we have this wonderful team in Germany that's developing growing the app and really will become the conduit of the channel by which the worldwide Emmaus gets to be familiar and learn about the app and also the point of contact in Administrating and coordinating for the Germans and the Emmaus team. So it'll be a lot of that, a lot of meetings, people come and go, training of keeping standards, so lots of communication and lots of networking across many time zones. So it's going to be fun. [00:10:24] Speaker A: So I want to talk about today some about the continent of, you know, probably famously Americans know very little about Africa, right? Africa. People talk about it as if it's just one know you've heard that the country of Africa, I'm sure people might have connections to maybe some specific places. People probably know more about South Africa, maybe more than any other country. A lot of the other countries in our minds tend to blend together. I would say there's a general lack of awareness what's going on, right. Especially from the Christian perspective. I think people will know, okay, there's missionaries that go to Africa, but what's going on there? What's the need, what's the state of the church, what's the state of Christianity? If you could maybe just start in general with the state of the Christian church in the continent of Africa, which I understand is talking about millions and millions of people over a massive land space. [00:11:27] Speaker B: Absolutely. Probably about 54 countries in Africa. Okay. And from South Africa, we're the southernmost country to way up north where Egypt and others would be. Such a vast difference in culture, languages and just continent apart. So you can't really put it all together in one lump and say it's all the same. But if you look at the church, church in Africa is alive, it's vibrant, there's amazing things God is doing in church is growing in a massive way. But there'd be big differences. Now up north it is much more difficult in that it is predominantly Muslim nations, churches, much more smaller, much more persecuted. Very difficult and many challenges, but very faithful work. So they've been tried and tested and they come out shining as silver together with the poverty and much of the difficulties in southern Africa, the church is also really good and strong, but really major difficulties with poverty. Strangely. We in 2023, but you go to Mozambique, as I've been, and you come to the capital, Moputu, and you want to travel up to a church 1000 km up north to central Mozambique. It takes 40, 50 hours on road, there's no roads, there's no infrastructure. It's terrible. So the work of the gospel is challenging. Challenging. And this great poverty, this great mean, if you look at the abundance you have in America and the churches mean, recently we were able to get a few used plastic churches to a church in Malawi. There was a massive celebration. You go with parcels of food and help and aid and the people are starving, they don't go for the food first. They look at those ten Bibles you brought. I mean, there's a whole church that shares one Bible in the villages of Malawi and it's in the midst of that kind of difficulty and challenges that the church is thriving and there's solid faith. So yes, the church is doing very well. One of the perhaps greatest challenges in the church in Africa is that it's growing so fast that there's a lack of leadership, there's a lack of teachers and preachers because the church growing faster than that can be developed. And with that shortage seems to be a lot of perhaps false doctrine or poor teaching. And churches are tending to go in the way of a fivefold ministry, which is obviously debatable, but also in a more prosperity gospel. So you could go to a church of 1000 people and the number of true born again believers we'd have to question. So that's probably the biggest challenge in a very thriving, growing church. Even in the midst of great difficulty, persecution, unimaginable needs, the church is doing so wonderful. We need to pray. And if we pray specifically for good, solid leadership and teaching so that people would be able to know and understand the word of God for themselves and it would be a more solid, real faith that would summarize it in a very broad perspective. [00:15:05] Speaker A: You can correct me if I'm wrong, but my assumption would be thinking about the church growing and then a lack of leadership, trained leadership would open the door, I think, for a need for Mayas worldwide courses, is that correct? Where 100% coming in and providing solid teaching and solid training when you might not have the leadership there to do so, is that correct? [00:15:31] Speaker B: That's 100% correct. What we're finding now as the app work is growing. And like for example, in southern Africa, we have five, 6000 students right now in southern Africa that are using the app. Now, many of them historically in the paper causes was more or less confined or restricted to New Testament assemblies. They had pretty good teaching already. But now as the app expands and there are people from all denominations and all walks finding the truth of God's word through the Emmaus, causes are asking questions. For example, in a very hypercharismatic church, a student studying Emmaus causes then asks a question about the work of the Holy Spirit. And they've never seen it that way before. So it's filling the gap of bringing the people, the education and the level of teaching that they otherwise not getting. So yeah, it's taking on a very important role. Currently. [00:16:37] Speaker A: The app is pretty new. The amazed worldwide app is just within the last couple of years, is that correct? About 2017, 2017. Is this replacing a lot of the old Emma's courses then? Is it? You can do everything on the app that you could do on the course with the paper courses? [00:16:54] Speaker B: The answer to that is yes and no. Okay. So for example, majority of the good work that goes out all over the world, a big percentage is prison work. And perhaps here in the United States they're now starting to introduce state sponsored tablets to prisoners so they have access to certain things. That's not the case all over the world. The rest of the world's still way behind it. So paper causes play a big role in inputting in the lives and the salvation of prisoners all over the world. A big percentage of Emmaus causes and then again, large parts of Africa, Asia, South America don't have easy access to data into Wi Fi. And so the app isn't as readily available in most areas. So paper causes still gone very strong there. But a large portion of the non prisoner in the more developed world is finding great joy in working with the app and they can do the same causes. So yes, that it is replacing and becoming a great substitute for big portion of the world but not so much for the others. So it's what we're finding that a good balance between the two is the ideal and not one completely replacing the other. [00:18:15] Speaker A: Back to talking about was very helpful. Back talking about Africa though. I'm curious if people are listening and obviously starting with prayer and praying for the continent, but if there are specific ways that people might have a heart for Africa, are there ways to get involved or certain things, specific prayer requests that you think you talked about just in general for leadership. But if people hear that and say what's going on, are there certain missionaries that we could support? Are there certain places to give funds or things like that? I don't know if you have any advice for somebody that might be interested in getting involved specifically, I don't want. [00:19:01] Speaker B: To be just selling Emmaus worldwide and. [00:19:04] Speaker A: The mayor no, please sell Emmaus worldwide. [00:19:06] Speaker B: But let me just say I'll give you a kind of strange example. There are some housewives felt pretty useless in not being able to do much stuck in their homes in South Africa. Fairly decent, well to do people but no opportunity for ministry. And suddenly we've trained them how to do counseling on the app and now they're sitting with the computer and they are counseling and praying with and teaching people all over mean they're reaching people in Burundi and in Egypt. And able to speak into their lives and pray with them and educate them and counsel them and the way they have been blessed and fulfilled. It's amazing. They're sitting in the comfort of their homes and touching the world. [00:19:59] Speaker A: Wow. [00:20:00] Speaker B: If somebody's listening and feel wow, that sounds amazing. Well, this app needs development, it needs funding, it needs support, needs your prayer and you could get involved and the work grows. We need so much of people that will work with it and then of course the paper causes massive just over a million causes get distributed into Africa and that's massive and that's two thirds of the mayest work worldwide. It's all in mean you think of up to a million causes of printing and distributing that's heavy overheads and costs and the Lord provides and we trust and look to him but just the support wherever the Lord leads you. There could be different ways I'm sure they engage with Emma's worldwide through the website or through contacting me or others. There's plenty of ways to support the work practically, financially, prayer wise, lots of opportunities. [00:21:09] Speaker A: I think that's really helpful. Thank you. I'm also curious, you mentioned you yourself growing up in a home, correct. And you talked about in Northern Africa kind of the impact of Islam and I'm sure this is very geographical but over the course of the continent or maybe you've spent more time in Southern Africa, what are the competing religions or the competing worldviews with the Christian faith? What are a lot of people being saved out know here in the states? Obviously there are some other religions but it's a very postmodern, maybe a mix of the new Age movement. But most people getting saved would be some form of atheist agnostic. Correct? And I would guess that that's not the case in Africa, is that correct? Most people have some sort of religion or god or gods, is that correct? [00:22:09] Speaker B: That's quite correct. So I'll take my own country, South Africa because it's a very good example and it speaks largely to most of the other African countries. We have a population of approximately 62 million people, okay. And we considered a Christian country because 85% of the population consider themselves Christian. That would be true and that's great. But the largest population, which would be the black population in my country and rest of Africa there is what we would call a Christ plus faith. So there is the spirit belief where the African culture across Africa historically believed in the ancestors. So ancestral worship is a major part of Africanism that's the religion. If my grandfather died then his spirit is here and I've got to worship his spirit. And those spirits guide just about everything in the African culture. So here comes along the church several hundred years ago and many many Africans then get saved or let's rephrase that become Christians and have a Christian faith plus ancestor worship. So a large percentage of so called Christian states and Christian countries have this Christ plus. So what would be the true reflection of solid born again believers in a country of 60 million that boasts 85% Christianity? Way less. Okay, so that's the biggest competitor is ancestral worship and many say we Christians but have a form of ancestral worship. And that's the greatest challenge, that's the greatest thing that we have to get people to be born again saved. Love the Lord and the Lord only. And to reject give up all form of ancestral worship that would be the greatest challenge from a religious perspective in Africa. [00:24:22] Speaker A: Was there an aspect of that mixed into your growing up in the Hindu faith or the Hindu religion? Did you have an aspect of ancestral worship as well? No, not quite. [00:24:34] Speaker B: Ancestral worship. But Hinduism is complicated. It can't be given in a short answer. Many people? Actually, probably not. The forum just stopped me. But many people misunderstand Hinduism. Yeah, they worship millions of gods and animals, but it's a little bit more than that. And I think if you really want to reach Hindus and you got to try and understand a little bit more than what you see on the surface, they do border onto animals and form of animals and have millions of gods. But it's not the entire picture. But ancestral worship is not. There'd be a lot of respect and. [00:25:11] Speaker A: Honor, but not a worship. Yeah. Okay. That's interesting. Well, now you have me curious. We've got a couple of minutes here. Peel back the curtain a little bit. Take us behind the scenes. What is maybe a bit deeper of an understanding of Hinduism. [00:25:29] Speaker B: Okay, Cool. Yeah. So Hinduism has many, many gods. So it's a pantheistic religion. So if you read the scriptures and study it and understand it well, there is one god entity, okay, one god entity and has three forms or three aspects. And it is Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer. So as you can see, some parallelism here that no one talks about but one god entity called Brahman. Okay? And in three aspects or three forms brahma the Destroyer as creator, vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. Now they have consorts. So they have a male aspect and a female aspect. So now we've got three sets of gods and goddesses, and they have ten demigods and children. And then there's a demigod that looks after this. And looks after that. But essentially they believe all of creation, all of life is a microscopic part of the divine Godhead. So you you have what's called an Atma or a soul. And that is a microscopic part of God. And this microscopic part of God yearns and desires to go back to God. And death doesn't give you that freedom because you go through the cycle of karma, rebirth and reincarnation. And so when they do look at an animal, they're not worshipping the animal, which is such a big, poor misconception. But a true hindu would understand these scriptures would be worshipping the god that is in the animal. Okay, so there's a subtle difference. People don't realize that I've just touched the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot more. And how do you attain salvation or liberation or moksha? Well through the cycle of rebirth, reincarnation the Karmic law. But The Different Aspects Of Hinduism teach Through Seva, Good Works and devotion and forsaking the things of the world and focusing on God, we can shorten that journey. So, yeah, it's a lot more complicated. [00:27:50] Speaker A: It sounds like it. I think that's really helpful. I would tell you I know next to nothing other than a bit of time spent in a college course on it and I'm sure I've forgotten most of that. So I think that's really helpful. I think this has been a helpful conversation. Is there anything else you want to, I think, maybe plug or talk about when it comes to Emmaus Worldwide? And I think you've mentioned a lot of ways that people could be mean. I'll put a link to the Emmaus Worldwide website in the description, both on YouTube or just the audio form of the podcast as well. But anything else? Can people access the app just on their smartphone? [00:28:33] Speaker B: Smartphone or PC? [00:28:35] Speaker A: On both formats and tablet as well? Yep. [00:28:38] Speaker B: Okay. [00:28:39] Speaker A: And if you open up the app, what's somebody going to find first time they open up the app? [00:28:43] Speaker B: Well, firstly would be to just get an account, email address and name. Very simple, just so that you can keep it across devices. And once you do that, choose your language and then there you go. The menu is there, all the different courses. You don't have to follow a set curriculum. So if there's one particular thing that interests you, you can go straight to that course, study the course content. But what's really beautiful about this is we have the Bible embedded on the app. Okay? That's number one. So it's not just the cause material, which is secondary, it's the word of God, which is primary. So the Bible is embedded in the app. And the other beautiful thing is, so compared to sitting with a Bible, with the Amaze, workbook with a notepad, with a pen and paper, now you have everything on your mobile and you can read the Bible. And when there is a verse that is referred to in the course content, it opens up to the verse. It's linked to the verse because the idea is there's no value in the mayor's cause, but it's what it's pointing you to, the word of God. And so the other lovely thing about the Mayus app is that it can work offline. It's not a big download, but once it's on, you have access to the Bible offline and to the Emmaus cause offline, and you can work wherever you are, whether you have a WiFi signal or not. The Lord has blessed Emma's Worldwide for 81 years now and I've been for a meager part of that 16 years, but I have seen lives changed. One of my personal ministries over the last eight years was I go to a place called Leocop Maximum Prison in Johannesburg. Believe it or not, there's a population of four and a half thousand prisoners in this one prison. And for eight years I've been going every single week on a midweek and occasionally on Sundays to preach. I've had multiple murderers, really heavy guys, tattoos, and you want to be scared and preach the gospel to them. They got saved, but if it ended there, I think they would have just failed. But you leave them with the Samaeus cause and it fills their lives. And I follow them over eight years. They've actually become a friends. They've become men who know the word of God. They can have some conversation with you about doctrines, about Christian living. Where did they get this information? In this deep, dark pit of hell in this prison? From the Emmaus causes that point them to the word of God. And this is what he's doing and has been doing for 81 years. And the Lord has blessed it and he's continuing to bless it. And I would encourage listeners, wherever you are, tap into the blessings God is using, providing it by using Emmaus and in whatever way become a partner. If it's just prayer, wow. But just being informed, getting the regular updates and being informed and praying and God will clearly direct them as to how they can get involved and partner with. And I think we seeing the Lord moving and working and instead of getting stagnant and perhaps suffering, it's just wave after wave of God's wonderful way in dealing with and through Emmaus Worldwide. And we thank Him for that. [00:32:17] Speaker A: That's wonderful. Those are amazing. And I know that you are not the only person with tons of stories like that about how the Lord is using these courses. So for those listening, check out the Amaze Worldwide website. Check out the app. I'll link to the website and probably the app too as well, in the description. And thank you so much for coming on the podcast. [00:32:37] Speaker B: Thank you for having me. God bless you, god bless the listeners and thank you so much. [00:32:43] Speaker A: Thank you very much. Thank you for listening to concerning him an Emma's podcast. Ministries like Concerning Him are possible because of the generous contributions from our partners around the world. For more information about partnering with us, please visit emmaus.edu Partner.

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