Monday, November 22, 2010

Return from East Africa

Rwanda 1 Timothy TOT Group 1 Timothy group at lunch

Overlooking Kigali, RW

The remainder of my trip since my last update went well. We had a very good 1 Timothy TOT in Kigali, Rwanda with 15 pastors, and a Biblical Stewardship TOT in Mbale, Uganda with 12 pastors. The TOT in Mbale was particularly fruitful in that it took place at the Pentecostal Theological College. One of the participants was a professor at the college. I talked with him and one of the students, and both expressed interest in translating EPI's material into the Ateso language, and perhaps other languages.

I want to make most of my conferences closer to the TOT format: i.e., participants selected by the African leaders with an eye toward those who are sharp and can be good teachers; smaller numbers; more Q&A and discussion. I think the impact will be greater, as well as the costs held down.

I Guess I am Officially Old--This is the first trip I have made to Africa in which several people have called me "mzee" (i.e., "old man"): a boda-boda (motorbike) driver, someone on the street while I was walking, and a few others. One woman guessed that my age was 60 (I am 58). That is the first time someone over here has erred on the high side of my age. As I was leaving Mbale I was talking with the girl who had been primarily in charge of the food. I said something like Ï hope to see you again if I am back here next yeear." She responded by saying, "Yes, I look forward to seeing that grey hair again." I replied, in as measured a way as I could, while trying to maintain a smile on my face, "Thank you . . . that's very nice of you to say . . . I'm sure."

An Opportunity for You--At the meeting of the EPI East Africa national coordinators, one of the things we talked about was concentrating on creating and equipping core teams of committed, passionate, capable, and well-equipped national teachers in each of the countries. One aspect of equipping them is technologically. Right now, very few of the pastors, including the good teachers I need to rely on, have their own laptops. I would like to help them to get laptops, which I can load with excellent biblical resources. This is where you can help. If you have a used (or new) laptop, would you please donate it to EPI? The donation is, of course, tax-deductible. You could deliver/ship it to me at: 714 S. Summit St., Appleton, WI 54914. The effect in the lives and ministries of these men and women would be tremendous, and it would greatly facilitate our work in East Africa. Please consider this, especially as it is now approaching year-end.

Biblical Eschatology--I am currently working on a set of teaching notes on Biblical Eschatology. This is quite a challenging project, especially since there are 5 main views on the subject. I took 4 books on the subject with me to Africa, as well as the 50 pages of manuscript that I had completed before I left (which is about 1/2 of what I want to write). While in Africa I made copious editorial revisions. I will be spending my time while I am home working on this project. Undoubtedly I will be going down to Deerfield, IL to use Trinity Evangelical School's excellent theological library more than once before the project is completed (which I project for sometime in the Spring). This is an area that sparks great interest in Africa, but is one on which there is much heat but little light. Please pray that I will be able to bring some needed light and clarity to the subject.
And Finally--I hope and pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas season. I will be home until early January, when I will leave for Florida for EPI's annual meeting and, probably, from there back to Rwanda and Burundi. With the laptop project, translation of multiple sets of teaching notes into several East African languages, and the prospect of many new all-African conferences and TOTs, the need for financial support, of course, is growing rather than diminishing. I thank everyone who has supported this important ministry over the last few years (you know who you are, I know who you are, and God knows who you are). I would simply ask you to prayerfully consider this, and, as Paul says in 1 Tim 6:18-19, be generous and share because, by doing so, you are "storing up a good foundation, and taking hold of that which is truly life." Thanks, and I hope to see many of you before I leave again for East Africa. Take care and God bless you, Jonathan

PS--I have to close now because it's time for my warm milk, and then I have to take my teeth out.

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