Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ECLEA: Greetings from East Africa

This post was emailed from Tanzania during my recent trip to East Africa:
ECLEA's Rwanda committee
I am in Tanzania right now. After a productive meeting with my ECLEA-Rwanda committee, here are some things you might like to know.

Bukoba, TZ
I thought that the trip from Kigali, RW to Bukoba, TZ was going to be on one bus. Not so. At the border we had to walk more than a mile to the various immigration stations. After that, we waited for an hour or so. Then it was three separate, crowded vehicles for the last 6 hours of the journey. A small station wagon jammed about 11 people in: 4 in the front (where I was); 4 in the back; and 3 in the way back. Then 2 matatus, which jammed up to 25 people in vehicles designed for 17. And all over unpaved roads. As an older African man said to me on the last leg of the trip, "this is Africa."

Bukoba itself is in a hilly area on the western shore of Lake Victoria. I was met by Dickson Laizer and Joram Ibrahim. It was the first time for all of us in Bukoba. We did a 1 Timothy conference for about 50, primarily Pentecostal church leaders. Despite pouring rain for several hours the second day, the conference went wonderfully well. Here are a few comments by some of the participants: "I learned the importance of teaching books of the Bible." "I learned to read and take notes and preach and teach in context." "I saw how to remain on our goal, which is love. It has expanded my understanding of how I should preach and teach through Christ's love." "It seemed like we learned the whole Bible through the book of 1 Timothy."
Bukoba, TZ conference
Mwanza, TZ
From Bukoba we took the bus to Mwanza, on the southern shore of Lake Victoria. We were going to do 2 TOTs on 1 Timothy, one in Kiswahili (led by Dickson and Joram) and one in English (led by me). However, because of the large number of church leaders who wanted to attend (over 60), we converted it into another conference. Dickson, Joram, and I again taught, and were joined in teaching by ECLEA's lake district regional coordinator, Godfrey Ongiri. The reception by the participants was again very good, several commenting that this came at just the right time and was an answer to prayer. I am grateful for this and hope it will bear much fruit.

Joram teaching at Mwanza, TZ
Arusha, TZ
My last venue in Tanzania this trip is Arusha, Dickson's hometown. We have been doing 2 Expository Preaching TOTs (Kiswahili and English). I had approximately 8 students in my class; Joram had about 12 in his. Today was "preaching day." In my class three students preached and the whole class critiqued. Joram had six preachers (he had given them a shorter preaching time limit). Joram said that one of his preachers understood and did everything almost perfectly. I could not say the same, but all of the preachers in my class made reasonable efforts to apply the things we had been emphasizing. The critiques and the discussion also showed that everyone learned quite a bit. May God be with them as they try to apply what they have learned back in their churches.
Arusha, TZ: My Expository Preaching group
Tomorrow we conclude with a 1 Timothy conference. This weekend I will take the bus to Kenya where I will be in Maasailand for a week. Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support, both of which are very much needed and very much appreciated. Regards, Jonathan

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