Saturday, July 10, 2010

Return from East Africa

Peter Kololi teaching in Singida, TZ Bus accident on the way to Tanga, TZ

EPI team on the east coast of Kenya

Tanzania and Kenya
One week ago I returned from Tanzania and Kenya. This ministry is all about equipping the African pastors so that they can become better teachers. To that end, I always try to have a number of Africans teach with me whenever possible. In Dodoma and Singida, TZ, Wilbert Seme, Peter Kololi, and Peter Minja all taught with me. At our final conference in Kilifi, KE, 4 Africans taught with me: Ernest Mwilitsa (my host); Michael Taari from Nairobi; George Kariuki from Murang'a; and Obed Magoko from Karatina. They did excellent work. A number of people commented to me especially on Michael Taari's applications and examples drawn from real life. That is why I always tell my African friends: "You can teach this material better than I can, because you know the language, you know the culture, and you know the people because you are one of them."
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Equipping the African church leaders enables the work of EPI to spread to new places indigenously, without my presence. A perfect example of that is what is happening in DRC. Theophile Rugubira of Rwanda and Martin Odi of Uganda led an all-African EPI team to Bukavu in eastern DRC, and just completed EPI's second all-African conference there. Here is part of Martin's report to me on the work in DRC: "The work in DRC is excellent. In my opinion I am praying that the Good Lord will provide more funding to us to teach in Congo than any other place in the great lakes region of Africa, apart from the mentoring classes we want to do in all places. I think the DRC is more hungry and thirsty for these teachings than any place I have ever been in my life! and I mean it. Brother Theo will give a better report than me. But it is awesome! Wow, the army chaplains where drinking everything we said, and have invited us to talk to them in all places. There is a wide open door of ministry in this area than any other."
The value of translating EPI's written materials
An important part of the equipping process is providing the African pastors with excellent biblical materials, and then translating them into their own languages. Thus, while I am home I spend most of my time researching and writing. The value of this was brought home to me in an email I recently received from a Kenyan pastor, Samuel Mwangi. He said this: "I have gone through the EPI website and read some of the materials you have posted in it. I am greatly impressed by the level of research potrayed by those Pastoral Training Materials. They are simple to understand and relevant to our context. The depth and the organisation of the materials is commendable. It is easy to read and its stimulating. Any serious minister will find the truths you have written relevant. You have done an in-depth look at the themes you selected. It is a carefully structured research work. Your work covers a wide range of spiritual issues touching the pastoral ministry. Your resources are the kind of materials I have been longing to come across for my spiritual growth and also for those the Lord has entrusted to my care. It will help us equip a generation of church leaders."
Fun on the road
African travel often presents some challenges. This time, on the lengthy bus ride from Singida to Tanga, TZ, there was a large, disabled lorry parked on the road. As our bus approached it, another vehicle was coming in the other direction. Consequenly, the bus driver slammed on the brakes and jerked the wheel to the left (vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road in TZ) to avoid smashing into the back of the lorry. The result was that the bus went off the road and into the ditch. The bus ended up at an angle, but fortunately did not fall on it's side. Thanks be to God that no one appears to have been hurt (with the possible exception of one woman who had leg problems, but I don't know if that preceded the accident or not). The accident happened at night. We were still about 30 miles from Tanga. Everyone had to find alternate modes of transportation. Passing motorists picked up some people. I was able to call my friend Joram Ibrahim who, fortunately, owns a car and was able to come and pick me up. I often think that it is the prayers of you, my friends and supporters, that make a difference in situations like this. Thank you.

No comments: