Our excellent cooks at Kiria-ini, KE
The 5 who preached at Webuye, KE: Emmanuel Wasike; Moses Wanjala; JMM; Vitalis Job Ekuru; Isabellah Inyele Okapesi
Torrential rain & hail at Webuye, KE
I made it back from a successful 4 weeks in Kenya yesterday afternoon. Was pretty tired, so went to sleep about 8:30PM, but woke up at 2:00AM. After thrashing about for 45 minutes I decided to just get up. It usually takes 3-4 days to resume a normal sleep pattern.
Following our 1 Timothy conference in Nanyuki, we (my friend Stan Schug as well as my African EPI teaching partners and I) did another 1 Timothy conference in Kiria-ini, where I never had been. We then travelled to Nairobi where we premiered our course on Biblical Theology. This course is a little more "theological" than some of the other more practically-oriented courses--but is of huge foundational importance. In Biblical Theology we discuss: (1) the overall story-line of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation; (2) two important themes that pervade the Bible (God's dwelling with humanity as expressed in Eden, the tablernacle, the temple, Ezekiel's vision of a new temple, in Jesus, the church, and the new heaven and new earth; and God's relationship with humanity as expressed in terms of sex and marriage); and (3) how Christ and the church fulfill everything that the OT was about (e.g., the covenants, Israel and its institutions [the feasts and festivals, the priesthood and sacrificial system, the law and the sabbath]). It is these latter aspects of Biblical Theology that I found most fascinating when preparing the written material. I hope this will give the pastors a much greater appreciation of the depth, profundity, and coherence of the Bible. It certainly did that for me.
We ended in the western Kenyan town of Webuye where we did another Expository Preaching TOT for 20 pastors: 10 Anglicans and 10 Pentecostals. That was put together by EPI's western Kenya coordinators Isabellah Inyele Okapesi (Anglican) and Justus Wafula (Pentecostal). Some strides were made, but further work remains to be done. We all agreed that, when I return to Kenya in the fall we will try to do "round 2" of Expository Preaching with the same group in western Kenya. I am convinced that it probably will take 3 rounds of 4-day TOTs for the participants to really get a good grip on what we are trying to do with respect to preaching. When that happens, it can be transformative (and I think the participants got a glimmer of undertanding that).
Thanks to my friends at Desiing God Ministries, I was able to distribute copies of John Piper's The Supremacy of God in Preaching to both the Nairobi and Webuye Expository Preaching classes. That book complements my Expository Preaching written notes and, if digested, will help the pastors appreciate the importance of preaching and become better preachers. Since preaching is perhaps the number one responsibility of a pastor, and is the one activity in which he or she regularly interacts with all of his or her parishioners, I want to try to do as many Expository Preaching sessions as I can in the future.
I will now be home until June 3, when I leave for Tanzania and the coast of Kenya. While home I will try to finish my notes on Biblical Eschatology (although I may not be able to complete them until July, after the TZ trip). I am about 4/5 through what will end up being around 160 pages or maybe even a little more. It is an important subject, and we received several questions concening eschatology during the Biblical Theology conference. All of my notes are available on EPI's website: http://www.equippingpastors.com/ (click on "resources").
As always, I thank you for your prayers and financial support. Stan's and my health remained good, and we had no real logistical problems (those are always two of my primary concerns when I am in Africa). Further, Stan is planning on returning to Kenya when I go there again next April! He made several contacts with respect to prison ministry and even with respect to motorcycle ministry (both of which he has been involved in for several years). You never know what doors God will open for you when you take Him seriously (so consider coming to Africa with me)!
Take care. I will stay in touch. In His Name, Jonathan