We have had two wonderful days of training. Our students are really making progress in understanding the concepts of inductive bible study and the concept of context. We were so pleased with their answers to the home work we gave them to study on the book of Jonah. What a blessing it has been to me to see the gigantic progress since the first time I came 2 years ago. One pastor illustrates the change. He told us at lunch today that he used to go to church on Sunday morning and open his bible to decide what to preach on. Now he realizes that he actually has to study to see what God says in His word and then prepare a sermon on that to give to his people. Others have told us that they are starting to notice how some pastors are preaching passages out of context and making all sorts of errors. They really want to learn how to be faithful to the Word. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to me to see these changes and the sparkle in their eyes as they gain new insights and new skills.
The discussions during the training are lively and the men have a great time critiquing one another in good-natured bantering. They are not at all afraid of being corrected. The really have humble teachable hearts. More than once we have seen the Lord intervene with the timing of questions, etc. to help move the learning process forward. After each session the men continue discussing the ideas in small groups during the breaks. In the evenings they study hard for the next day.
My two training partners, Eric and Brad have been excellent to work with. We are all so different but share the same passion to see our students grow in the Word and in their ability to communicate it. It’s been fun to have a good team pressing forward toward the same goal.
We are concerned with one major aspect of the training process. None of the men we trained last August actually took what they learned and passed it on to other pastors. It is essential that they do this if all the pastors in the denomination are going to learn to study and teach the word effectively. We are really stressing the need to equip others with what they are learning. We will be making some recommendations to the leadership about how they can press this forward. I especially ask for your prayers on this issue.
This has been a very hard trip physically. We have battled the heat, I have some strange rash that started on my feet and gradually worked its way up my back (praise the Lord it doesn’t bother me much), we have had some stomach upset from the food, and sleeping is difficult with a poor ceiling fan, 85 degree nights, and 60 noisy young people staying in our guest house. Edie has had to teach the women in the afternoon when they are all tired and have to sit mostly in the sun. I could go on. I do not say this as a complaint, although sometimes I do complain. On the way home tonight with 4 of us crammed into a tuktuk with wet seats from the rain, I thought about all this. I just want you to know that it is challenging doing this work. We think it is more than well worth the effort and will be happy to come back again in August. But it does take a toll and we covet your prayers and encouragement as we persevere. We are certain of the Lord’s help, “you helping us with your prayers” (2 Cor. 1:10-11). I thought as we rode along that I am happy that it “costs” us something to serve the Lord. What a privilege to do something that requires a little bit of suffering to serve Christ and His church. It doesn’t really compare with what our brothers and sisters here pay but it is our small contribution. Thanks for helping us.