Saturday, November 10, 2012

Field Report from East Africa

Kitui, KE conference participants
 TOT in Eldoret, KE

 The following is the report I sent from the field while I was in East Africa recently:

I am now in Tanzania in the process of doing four conferences on biblical stewardship. Next up will be an important meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, of about 25 leaders from all over East Africa, including Southern Sudan.

Kitui and Eldoret, KenyaI began this trip in Kitui, KE, about 200km east of Nairobi. I had never been there before, but the groundwork had been laid by good all-African teachers. That, of course, points up the importance of equipping the indigenous pastors and church leaders, so that they can teach this material well to others.

George Kariuki, Robert Mwago, and I did a biblical stewardship conference to about 36 participants. The number was fewer than had been anticipated, primarily because it is planting season in Kitui. The fact that such seasons may vary slightly from area to area even in the same country is something we need to take into account in scheduling.

The conference itself went well. We were transported and assisted by Bishop Nicholas Mulea. The host pastor, Rev. Syslvester Kiema, is part of an inter-denominational pastors fellowship that includes several of the participants. He encouraged me by saying that they would be meeting to discuss how to implement what we had talked about in the conference. That is vital.

From Kitui we took the long bus ride to Eldoret in western Kenya. There, George, Bob Mwangi, and Dickson Laizer and Joram Ibrahim of Tanzania all taught a biblical stewardship conference, while I led a 1 Timothy TOT for about 14 pastors. We had spirited discussions on a host of important issues facing the church. We raised issues that generally are not thought about too much. People were challenged. I think it will make a difference. I hope so, because in my view the church, as the embodiment of the gospel, is the last, best (and only real) hope for humanity and our different societies. But to realize that hope, the church needs to change and start applying the gospel in ways that it clearly is not doing now.

Musoma, TanzaniaMusoma, along with my other Tanzanian venues, is near Lake Victoria. As I write this, we have finished a stewardship conference with 30 serious and committed pastors and an important bishop. They were challenged in many areas, and I think all see the need for change and for much greater involvement of the church in "real life."

Please pray for them. I am now in Mwanza, TZ. We have a 3-hour trip early in the morning to our next venue. Also, please pray for the strategic-planning summit coming up in Kigali in less than 2 weeks. I will report again after my return home. God bless you, Jonathan

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