Magazine Article

The Kiswahili App

Messaging East Africa with the gospel.

Penny Brink

Adventist Review Ministries (ARMies) publishes Adventist World magazine—hard copy and online—to reach a broader audience with the gospel in more contextually relevant ways. We’re passionate about communicating in ways the reader can fully understand. Listening to one another is fundamental to meaningful sharing in the great diversity that is humanity. Because lan- guage is such a crucial area of our diversity, ARMies delights to be producing—from October 2020—an Adventist World app for Kiswahili readers in East Africa and all over the world. By including content generated by Kiswahili authors from within that region, we ensure local relevance and familiar perspectives for our readers.

The East-Central Africa Division (ECD) currently is the largest and fastest-growing division within the Adventist Church, serving the countries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Soma- lia, South Sudan, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania. Six of these countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, DRC, Burundi, and Rwanda) use Kiswahili, as do people in northern Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and the Comoro Islands. Besides, many Kiswahili speakers live in the Afri- can diaspora, including in North America.

One of the most enjoyable parts of this work is working directly with wonderful people from Kenya and Tanzania, and learning more about their lives and the Adventist work in those regions. Working with the Ufunuo Publishing House in southern Tanzania means I get to work with “The House of Revelation,” providing Adventist materials in Kiswahili for readers in that territory. “Ufunuo” —you guessed it—means “revelation.”

It is also exciting to turn out a product that is delivered digitally on WhatsApp, to be read on mobile phones free of charge! We are reaching people wherever they are and making it easy for them to “click and share” the life-changing material with friends.

Consider the heartwarming testimony of Samuel Garama. Samuel contacted us to request permission to share this material with his students. Intrigued by his request, our proofreader, Lilian Mweresa of Kenya, called him to find out more. He explained that he’d discovered the subscription information while perus- ing a printed edition of Adventist World. He sub- scribed right away.

Samuel is from Kilifi town in Kilifi County on the coast of Kenya and teaches Bible study at Majaoni Primary School, even though he is not a professional teacher. Adventist World magazine provides Bible lessons and short stories that he shares with his students. He has 246 pupils between 8 and 15 years old, and is a Sabbath School teacher at the nearby Kilifi East Seventh-day Adventist Church. When the Majaoni school was looking for someone to lead the program of pastoral instruction, he offered to take on the role. He finds that the Adventist World WhatsApp group has been very beneficial to him, and he has shared it with more than 400 people so far, including those at his church.

Other languages may join this new way of publishing Adventist World in the future, and we look forward to that.

Penny Brink, a pastor living in South Africa, is regional editions coordinator for Adventist World magazine. Penny is passionate about contextualizing the gospel. She’s married to André Brink, a media producer. They are both animal lovers, and enjoy photography and God’s beautiful creation.

How to Subscribe and Share Adventist World in Kiswahili

Method One:

1. Add the number 1-240-540-3000 to your phone’s contacts list.

2. Go to your WhatsApp and send any message to that number’s WhatsApp.

3. You’ll receive a message in return. Choose your menu language—materials are all in Kiswahili.

4. Follow the menu by typing the item number in the message bar and sending the message. In this way, you can choose to read the magazine or GraceNote, send in a message to Adventist World, or share the group with a friend.

Method Two:

Scan this QR code and follow the instructions.

Method Three:

Use this link to watch an animation in Kiswahili about the WhatsApp group and how to subscribe: videos/231863492245749.

Penny Brink