In 1926, PAOC global worker, Charles Austin Chawner, heard the call of God to reach the Tsonga people of Mozambique with the gospel. From a small hut, with just a cast iron hand-operated printing press, Chawner used his skills as a trained linguist and educator to begin writing, translating, and publishing much needed materials for the Tsonga. Emmanuel Press was born! Soon he was printing and distributing translated Bibles, gospel tracts, hymnals, correspondence courses, and Christian literature, seeing hundreds give their lives to Jesus!
Charles Austin Chawner preaching at a Thonga village in 1940
Now, almost ninety years later, Emmanuel Press continues Chawner’s legacy and has grown with outreach into schools and prisons across southern Africa. It has also expanded internationally, creating gospel materials for Europe and South America. In the last decade, they have distributed more than three million tracts in twelve languages and issued over twenty thousand Bible Course Completion Certificates. Currently, over eighty thousand people are enrolled in six different Bible courses, all of which are offered in multiple languages.
Dumisane shares the impact that the press has had on his life,
“I was sentenced to serve 12 years in prison, and I did not believe in anything. I was young and bitter about my circumstances. My cellmate shared an Emmanuel Press tract with me, but I resisted. I asked him to show me God was real, for a miracle to happen. My mother had never visited me in prison, so I asked him to pray for that. He said he would do this but only if I prayed with him too. We prayed together for weeks, and one day my mother came! I couldn’t believe it; I wanted to know more about God, who reunited me with my mother, so I started the Emmanuel Press courses. I came to know God and began to share my story with other prisoners. When I was released from prison, I went to Emmanuel Press and asked to work for them. I have been a community outreach worker to the prisons, trying to connect youth to God so they can know true hope and relationship with Him. I also have the privilege of being a pastor too in my community. I am now reaching the "least of these" the way He reached me.”
Looking to the future, Emmanuel Press is excited to reach more people like Dumisane, through the use of digital technologies. A recent Pew Research Center study shows that roughly 89% of South Africans, 86% of Ghanaians, 82% of Kenyans, and 73% of Tanzanians have cell phones, compared with 79% of Canadians. This offers Emmanuel Press an incredible opportunity to reach the 295 million Africans who have never heard about Jesus!
Emmanuel Press in South Africa
Phase one of the E-Learning Program is to create additional online courses, translate them into multiple languages, and adapt the format to be responsive on a variety of tablets and smartphones. For this project to be successful, we are asking you to partner with us to raise $10,000. The next generation of Africa is waiting to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, and soon it will be as simple as a text message to reach them.
Please join us as we “press into Emmanuel through the written Word”.