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Togo Spring 2015

Undisclosed Location April 11-25, 2015

We are collaborating with École Supérieure Baptiste de Théologie de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ESTABAO). This is a French speaking Baptist seminary.

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Field Notes   Togo Spring 2015

Apr  22nd,  2015You Have Need of Endurance

You Have Need of Endurance

We are into the second week of teaching.

Over the weekend, we were able to enjoy relaxing, after a busy first week. We joined the missionary family at ESBTAO for a time at the beach. On Sunday, Jim and I both preached at local churches. Jim preached at the church of my translator, Pastor Happy, on Jonah 1. I preached from Psalm 27 on the campus at the international chapel, with Director Allaboe serving as my translator. We were thankful to be together with the church to be an encouragement to the believers here.

As our teaching has continued, I have been reminded of the amount of work faced by the students. They have work for courses that are on pause while we are here. Most of our students are graduating in June, so have final projects to write and submit. And most are in both of our courses with assignments to complete. This is all in addition to family life for those who are married. And this is not to mention the work of pastoral ministry for those who are already serving in churches. It all came to a head on Monday night, when my students thought I was giving them too much work, or at least that the deadlines for the work needed to be adjusted. We are seeking to be gracious, while also considering the needs of the school.

Tonight, we are looking at Hebrews 10:19-39. One of the key themes throughout the book is the need for persevering faith. In verse 36, the author says, “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”

In a practical way, we long to finish this week well. And we want the students to finish their studies at ESBTAO having completed the work they set out to do. But much more, our prayer is for the endurance of their faith, so that they might receive the fulfillment of all God’s promises in Christ in the midst of many challenges.

Pray with us to that end as we finish our time here. 



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Apr  14th,  2015Teaching - Days 1 and 2

Teaching – Days 1 and 2

On Monday, Jim and I began our teaching. We were glad to get started with our courses. We each have nearly twenty students in our classes.

It was good to enter the class last night and see familiar faces. Many of the students in my class were also part of my course last October. I could immediately see the benefit of returning, as they were much more comfortable engaging and interacting with me.

Our first night mostly was spent introducing the book of Hebrews. On the second night, I was encouraged as the students had returned to class, having read carefully the book of Hebrews before class. Their observations of the book as a whole demonstrated that they grasp the main point of the book. They are learning more about how to interpret the book, so that they can communicate the message carefully.  

This is important because the majority of the students are currently serving as pastors. My prayer is that as we reflect on Hebrews, they would gain skill in order to preach this book and to use it pastorally with their congregations. I also pray that God would use His Word to deepen our faith, as we encourage and exhort one another. Pray with us to that end.



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Apr  14th,  2015When 2+4=4

Jim and I arrived in Lome at ESBTAO Saturday night after a long journey. Getting off the plane, we were greeted by the warmth of Togo as we waited in line to get through customs. Our desire was to clear customs quickly and claim the four bags of luggage, so that we could greet Trevor and Kimberly Yoakum and their children. Unfortunately, neither happened. We were at the back of the line and none of the four suitcases appeared on the luggage carousel. The bags were filled almost exclusively with items for Yoakums. We were glad to be their carriers, but disappointed with them that their items had not arrived.

After a good night’s rest, we joined the international church on the seminary campus for worship on Sunday morning. I had attended there on the first trip and recognized many familiar faces. Because we did not have a translator for much of the service, we worshiped with joy through the body of Christ. One of the men of the church sat between us for the sermon, so that we could understand the message.

Late Sunday evening, we found out the teaching schedule for the next two weeks. Jim is teaching Psalms each morning from 7-10, and I am teaching Hebrews in the evening from 6-9. Trevor is translating for both of us until he leaves midweek.

While I taught last evening, Jim, along with some of the Yoakum family, returned to the airport to collect the luggage. After a two-hour endeavor, all four bags made their way to the campus. Each member of the family was excited to have these items. And we were glad to serve, even if the math did not add up.


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