Saturday, October 11: Yesterday was our first day of training in NW India. Our travel here from the US was uneventful, just the usual marathon trip.
Several of the men we train were not in attendance this time because of illness and one because his wife is giving birth. During our introductory time, we discovered that the men were not well prepared for the workshop this time. We are having them preach through the book of Habakkuk in this workshop, and they all had prepared a sermon but not done any of the other preparations we required. They were supposed to break the book into preaching sections and summarize the message of the whole book. As usual, these challenges offered an opportunity to gain some insight into their study and preaching habits. We were able to give them some help in these areas and learned some things about our approach to training as well. We will need to incorporate more training on progressively building study habits into our curriculum. The development of good habits is as essential as learning the tools of study, for without good habits they do not use the tools well. We learned that only one of the men was preaching through a book, something we strongly encourage them to do. I was able to encourage them to begin working on the book of Colossians, which is the book for the next workshop. For their preparations, I asked them to start preaching through the book ahead of time, which I hope will help them prepare better and that they will begin learning the value of preaching through books.
In spite of this, all the pastors in the training network are making substantial progress in preaching the Word of God more effectively. The leader said that one outcome of this was that the churches were now growing for the first time. In the past, many people would come to Christ in the course of a year and come to the church but just as many would leave. The result was that the churches would never grow. I think that is because in the past the pastors had a limited bank of sermon topics that they could preach and after a couple of rounds of the same thing over and again people would choose to move on. Now that they are attempting to preach the text and not just topics, the people are choosing to stay.
Edie has only three women to work with and one of them speaks a language the other two do not understand so everything that is said must be translated twice. These women have been with Edie before but are of limited education so the learning is slow. The more educated lady that came last time had to stay home to take care of her mother who broke her hip. It is very hot here and especially so in Edie’s small room, but in spite of all these things Edie was pleased with the progress of her group.
Thanks for your prayers,