Good news out of Africa

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This will make your day. It made mine.

In December, Times columnist , Matthew Parris, returned to Africa after 45 years absence. He was there to report on The Times Christmas Appeal which was devoted to providing clean water for rural communities.

Listen to what he says about the impact of Christianity in Africa. Did I mention he was an atheist?

It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

There's more. . .