Publishing and circulating sound Reformed literature in local languages has from the very beginning been at the heart of MERF's indigenous strategy. In addition to several simple evangelistic tracts and pamphlets, MERF has been involved in translating and publishing more substantial works in local languages. As a result of training endeavors, the Fellowship has decided to encourage gifted nationals to write suitable materials in their own native language. MERF's literature projects fall into three categories:
1. Evangelism and Discipleship
Especially designed to meet the growing needs of inquiring Muslims.
2. Bible Study Aids
Materials which encourage the proper study and understanding of the Scriptures, including commentaries.
3. Theological Resources
Designed to help indigenous churches become better grounded in the different aspects of Reformed theology.
Solid English books are being put into the hands of bilingual church leaders, but translation of key materials into local languages benefits many more. Because few churches and Christian workers in the Middle East, North Africa, and Muslim lands have the means to invest in a library, MERF heavily subsidies the cost to those in service to Christ. Literature is made available to evangelical and reformed churches in these nations by special notices at conferences and assemblies, Bible schools, and training events. It is also much appreciated by members of traditional churches (Orthodox, Maronite, Catholic, etc.) and Muslim seekers. Literature is also an important part of follow-up of Gospel radio broadcast listeners, and it figures prominently in the Arabic website outreach. The following are some projects we are currently working on:
In Ethiopia there is much interest in the Amharic commentary on the epistle to the Hebrews by Hailu Mekonnen published last year. Just off the press is the Amharic translation of the Heidelberg Catechism. Literature distribution to outlying areas can be challenging in vast Ethiopia and in the recently divided country of Sudan.
A golden opportunity came late last November, when southern tribal Christians living in Khartoum, North Sudan, packed up to return south to vote for partition in their home communities. MERF printed 5,000 simplified Westminster Children's Catechism booklets in Nuer, a major tribal language, as a home-going gift. The Nuer pastor organizing buses of returnees sent these for pastors, evangelists, and school teachers in villages and towns across South Sudan. In this largely rural, undeveloped infant nation, books are scarce and schools are few. These little Catechism booklets can serve as the backbone of a Christian school curriculum. Please pray with us that pastors and teachers will catch the vision of using the Catechism to ground the next generation in the truths of God's Word.
Farsi & Arabic Titles
In Iran the growing underground church hungers for sound biblical literature. Thus, the Farsi (Persian) language translation of Stuart Olyott's The Three Are One (on the Trinity) and Son of Mary, Son of God (on the two natures of Christ) are being reprinted together in a single volume. The Arabic translations of commentaries by Stuart Olyott, Confessing Christ by Calvin Knox Cummings (used for discipleship of Muslim converts and to prepare individuals for public profession of faith and church membership), and the Arabic summary of Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion are in high-demand and are thus being reprinted and distributed.
The Arabic Heidelberg Catechism will be ready to print soon, as well as a volume on biblical worship and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Literature for Closed Countries
The internet is opening up doors for literature distribution. All the Arabic books mentioned, and more, can be downloaded from the ministry website from any "closed" Arab country.