On Resurrection Day (Easter) we are reminded that the power of Jesus’ resurrection is ours today. And one day we, who Jesus knows as a children of God, will be enjoying that glory as an everyday experience. Because of Him we will receive our inheritance, pure, undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven. (1 Pet.1:4) Of course until that day, (1 Jn. 3:2), we look forward to the improvements God often brings with changes in our lives. Many of us are seeing the welcoming hints of the changes of spring popping up around us. With Paul, we look forward to changed bodies (Phil. 3:21) and changed hearts (2Tim. 2:25). In Ministry, we look forward to changes that bring Christ-like maturity and local initiatives and control for those we work with. Our most recent trip was a time of noting some of those positive changes!
Thank you for praying with us for last trip!
UGANDA, KENYA, and TANZANIA
In January and February we were able to revisit 4 sites where we are partnering with the African leaders in the local training programs. We are encouraged as God shows us positive signs of transitions to local leadership in all these venues. Here is a quick overview of those encouraging transitions.
In Uganda, Doug was teaching new classes for B.E.S.T. at the Diploma level. This is the second stage, after Certificate level, towards a full Bachelor degree. More is being demanded of these students and they are responding well to the increased demands on their time in and out of the classroom. They are developing well as students of the Word of God and are applying the truth to everyday life in Uganda. Lord Willing, we anticipate Pastor Robert Sityo, the founder of BEST, opening a new Certificate level vernacular training module this May, while Doug continues to assist in developing new courses for their Diploma level. In the ladies module, Sarah Sityo, the translator for Cheryl, has begun to take initiative in the class’ learning activities and adding cultural applications to the Biblical principles being taught. This coming May 2013, she will be teaching her first module without Cheryl being there. Future plans include ongoing discussions on the temporary nature of TRI-M’s involvement as this training program continues to develop at an encouraging rate.
In Kenya we were joined by a missionary to South Africa, Steve Stairs, who taught with us. Steve was a great blessing to the men and an encouragement to us personally. We saw the completion of the first group of Christ Army Mobile School of Ministry or C.A.M.S.O.M. at the Certificate level. This opened the way to set a date for their first graduation this September. A Graduation gives the School a greater sense of credibility and attention in the community and in Church-wide fellowships. We rejoice that Pastor Thomas has been invited to open up a training site in another village area of W. Kenya. This will be the first venture where Pastor Thomas (and not Doug) will be the primary trainer. For the ladies, two returning capable students were unable to attend during the daytime hours. It was suggested that these 2 faithful women could take the class as an independent study even after a long work day, using one of the class’ translators as a mentor. These both followed through and received credit along with the other ladies. It was an unexpected way to put Rosa, the Mentor in a strategic position for the Ladies’ classes.
In Tanzania we had the blessing of being joined by supporting Pastor Matt Haynes from Calvary Baptist Church, of Wabash, Indiana who shared the teaching load. Pastor Matt did an excellent job teaching N.T. Survey in both venues. We also saw great opportunities of training expanding into other areas of Tanzania through a new program being more fully developed called Reaching through Teaching and Training or RTT. Already Tri-M has been involved in establishing two training venues that are becoming models for these other areas. This June and July will see the first all-African team teaching in the established venue of Turiani and conducting a test module in a new village at the northern tip of Tanzania. On this team one of our translators will teach alongside Prof. Jackson. It is exciting to see God develop His servants and expand their ministry. Please join us in praying for their travels and effective ministry in these areas.
SENSING GOD’S CHANGES…
Transitions are often hard to identify until after they happen. However, we are constantly looking out for God’s still small voice and gracious Hand to be evident in everywhere we go. Often we ask God for wisdom about how not to get in His way. TRI-M founder, Dr. David Haag has said that of all the places he has been, he has never found a place that God had not been at work before he arrived. It is a good reminder that we are continually seeking ways in which we can be a part of God’s plans and work.
As an example, recently, a message on a small scrap piece of paper was handed to me at the end of a very long day of teaching Tanzanian pastors. It said “WAAMBIE WAALIMU KUWA KUNA VYA MASWALI WATAKAPO RUDI WAJIEU” … or for us non-Swahili speakers… “Tell the teacher to return as we still have too many questions we need answers (God’s answers)”. Praise God we are able to assist these Godly men and women and be a part of God’s worldwide plan. But we regularly ask ourselves the question, “Does God want us to continue coming to teach or would He prefer the local African leader to be next in meeting that need?”. Continue to join us in prayer that we will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s clear leading of how best to minister. We do not want to stop teaching too early without giving the local leadership having adequate ability to continue the ministry, nor do we want to stay so long that we could undermine the confidence of local leadership to take over the training themselves. Please pray with us that we can be like the men of Issachar: “who understood the times and knew what was to be done”. (1 Chron.12:32)
SERVING AT HOME…
Upon our return of the 5 week African trip, we had one and half weeks to do laundry and for Cheryl to have oral surgery, before leaving for 3 weeks of traveling stateside. We were involved in two Mission Conferences of our supporting Churches in both Pennsylvania and Maryland. We also got a week in between to rest and work on writing new course materials. The trip was wonderful to refresh our fellowship with so many brothers and sisters in Christ. Doug seeks to present a number of our supporting Churches before each group of Africans we are working with. This assures them that we are there because their brethren (you) love and care for God’s work around the world. In giving through prayer and financial support, You are a powerful testimony to the world that Christ truly is Risen and Alive! Thank you for being a part of Christ’s team working through TRI-M Africa.
Please join us in prayer also for our next overseas trip in May,2013. Doug plans to teach in South Sudan, Uganda and assist Pastor Thomas’ new test module in W. Kenya.