Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Report from East Africa--Part 1

Obed Magoko teaching in Arusha, TZ

Obed Magoko (teacher), Dickson Laizer (organizer), Peter Minja (teacher)

Mount Kilimanjaro

Last Friday evening I returned from East Africa (Tanzania and the coast of Kenya). Here is the report I emailed while in Tanzaia:

It is good to be back in Tanzania. This trip is, like all of them, proving to be very interesting. I have had at least 2-3 or more good African teachers with me at the different venues. This is important since it enables me to teach only 1-2 sessions per day and enables the Africans to do the bulk of the teaching. That is good because they teach in Kiswahili, can relate very well to the pastors, and that makes it much easier to facilitate discussion and Q&A. The pastors appreciate that, and it epitomizes what I am trying to accomplish with EPI.

We began in Arusha, then travelled to Boma (outside of Moshi), in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. At the Boma conference one of the teachers was Peter Minja, a Moshi native who has taught with me before. At the end of the conference some of the participants exclaimed, "Is this the same Peter Minja? As a result of your working with EPI your teaching ability has gone way up!"

The Boma conference was held at the Tanzania Assemblies of God Church where we previously had taught Biblical Stewardship. The pastor pointed out how what we had said concerning stewardship of the environment obviously had made a difference: the church grounds were immaculate, the walkways were lined with whitewashed stones, and the church had planted a beautiful garden since we last had been there.

From Boma we took a 10 hour bus ride to Dar es Salaam, where we held two overlapping Stewardship conferences in different parts of the city. Having a good number of African teachers enabled this to happen. At the conclusion of the first conference, we talked of forming an inter-denominational pastors fellowship. There had been no such fellowship before. Although the host bishop did not use the word "miracle," he expressed his amazement that the participants (who included Pentecostals, Mennonites, Anglicans, Lutherans, and others) wanted to create such a fellowship. At the conclusion of the conference they planned to form the initial organizational pastors fellowship committee! Praise God that the pastors "get it" and have begun to apply some of the things we talked about even before they left the conference. Given such commitment, I look forward to returning to Dar, and hearing what else they are doing to apply what we have taught.

I am now on the island of Zanzibar in the middle of doing an Expository Preaching workshop of English speakers. Joram Ibrahim has been meeting with non-English speakers. Tomorrow is preaching day, when I am some of the others will preach and critique the sermons. Sunday morning we leave for the mainland, for a Marriage and Parenting conference in Tanga. I then conclude this trip with two conferences in coastal Kenya.

Thank you for your prayers and support. This work has its challenges, but is bearing good fruit. I hope to see many of you when I return to the States in early July. God bless you, Jonathan

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