Monday, March 16, 2009

Report from African-led TOT

One of the keys to success in equipping and building-up the East African church is the in-depth "Training-of-Trainers" (TOT). By selecting some of the pastors who have participated in an EPI course for further, more intensive, training, we make it possible for them to personally teach EPI's courses and train other East African pastors and church leaders. We began our TOT program about a year ago in Kenya and Uganda. Photos of EPI's initial Kenya and Uganda TOT graduates are above.

Each of the TOT participants underwent an intensive 4-day course on 1 Timothy. Each TOT session consisted of a small group--so there was plenty of interaction, Q&As, etc. Further, each of the participants had to do 2 oral presentations on various passages from 1 Timothy--and was then critiqued not only by me, but by the rest of the group as well. Their progress, and insights, were obvious.

The Kenya and Uganda TOT participants were required to be fluent in English, since I led the sessions. However, last year we also began our work in Tanzania, where most people do not speak English. Therefore, I commissioned Rev. Andrew Ngugi and Bishop Justus Wafula to lead a TOT session in Arusha, TZ for Tanzanian pastors who may not be proficient in English. Both Andrew and Justus are from Kenya, have themselves been through TOT, and have taught 1 Timothy to others. By having African-led TOT, EPI is now able to greatly increase its outreach and impact. By doing this we are also demonstrating our solidarity with and confidence in our African brothers and sisters. Here is Andrew's report:

Dear Jonathan, Supporters, and friends,
It is now 4 days after a very successful EPI mission in Tanzania. This time around, we were with my dear friend, Bishop Justus Wafula who had never visited TZ before. Our mission was three-fold: 1. Teach TOT from 1 Timothy; 2. Get report from the follow-up; and 3. Plan for conference in June 2009.
Pastors in TZ were eargerly expecting us, to know more about EPI and learn together the TOT programme. On our arrival, the openning ceremony was marked with alot of joy with shinning faces. Rev. Swai, the Oldest in the group, said "It is a real miracle to be away from busy homes and churches, meet together, stay in a good hotel with good meals, study and pray together." It had never happened to him [before].
1 . TOT.
Our Trainers of Trainers was a 4 day programme from 23 to 27th Feb 2009 with 12 members. We had an in-depth training in 1 Timothy. What impressed me was that some of them were very fresh from the conference we had last year. They could outline the Book. In our learning together, we had time to Teach, Discuss, Question and Answer and each of them had time of presentation from the verses our of the teaching (I recorded that in the video tape). Hot discussion and inputs came from chapter 2, vss. 8-15 on the issues of women in the ministry, and also on chapters 4-6 on various practical issues. It was very wonderful. After the conference, they made various comments, but allow me to quote Pastor Ombeni Mafie: "I had never learned any book of the Bible verse to verse and have such a deep survery. From this, I see heaven so near to me." I can say much but since it is recorded, Jonathan you will see it together with the application forms.
2. Follow-up.
We did not have much time for this but each Pastor was saying how his church had been doing since last year's conference from the some book. They have witnessed great changes in church, spiritually and numerically. Leadership is changing and the community is receiving the church. Rev. Mlay of Moshi said that, due to this, the church has been involving in community development and he was elected as one of the leaders. Many said that such conferences are very useful because various denominations are now working and preaching the gospel together with any boundaries. So there is unity.

The conferences scheduled for June in Tanzania are still being worked out. I will report on that at a later time. Thanks to your prayer and financial support, EPI is now beginning to implement the 5-point program I outlined in my December 2008 end-of-year letter. As you can see, we are making a difference. Particularly in these tougher economic times, your giving to EPI is much needed and very much appreciated. Please make checks payable to EPI, and send them to: EPI, c/o Jonathan Menn, 714 S. Summit St., Appleton, WI 54914. All such donations are tax-deductible.

I'll continue to keep you advised of the great work that God is doing through your participation with EPI in East Africa. God bless you.

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