We began our training with a number of logistical challenges
that altered our already altered schedule. We were advised by Josh Montague, a
Training Leaders International (TLI) leader from past trips that we should do a
significant review of the Hermeneutics curriculum before pressing on to
Biblical Theology the topic of study for the week.
Philemon Yong of TLI is traveling with us (Pastor Ron Weller
and Zack Szyman of River Falls, WI, and myself-Larry Szyman, Hudson, WI), and
we would devote day one to be a review of Hermeneutics, because of its critical
nature. This left us with only four days to do Biblical Theology. It would also
give us the benefit of watching Philemon use some of the curriculum that he
The “normal” schedule for our trainings has been
Day one was far from normal…we have come to expect a late
start on the first day because of the logistical challenges for some Ugandans
traveling in from the villages. So we prepared to start as late as 10:00am. At
11:30 we thought we should do something so we held a discussion with those who
were present doing a recap of their first training (Attributes of God) and a
time of introduction.
I led the discussion on Attributes. One area I highlighted
from that training is that God shares some attributes with us (i.e. mercy,
love, faithfulness) and others he does not share (i.e. omnipresence,
independence). I asked if anyone could tell me the big English term we use to
describe those traits that God does not share with us…silence…until a hand went
up from the back by a lady name Jennifer and the word “incommunicable” came out
of her mouth! I was so excited that a simple woman from a village (way out there!)
remembered this truth regarding our amazing God.
At 13:00 we finally got to lunch as others were trickling in
to start the training. In addition to the normal challenges of getting there,
we were in a new location (nicer, cheaper!) than the previous trainings, and a
leadership transition had recently taken place that resulted in a few gaps in
At 1400 the scheduled training truly began with Philemon
leading a review of the Hermeneutics curriculum. It showed that retention was
real, but the review was necessary as well. Hungry participants were highly
engaged for the 2.5-hour review.
We went to our hotel and I jumped in the pool as a reprieve
from the 96 degree heat and met two hours later for dinner. The table next to
use had six men from Russia who began their meal with two bottles of whiskey
(we did not follow suit!) and the next had a person with a Wisconsin shirt on
(of course I asked, Milwaukee).
We made our way back to our rooms to prepare for day two,
the beginning of our Biblical Theology training.
When we pulled up at 08:32 we heard singing from the meeting
room…they were ready! After some prayer and praise we split into three groups
(Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria) and began an introduction on the subject,
followed by a break and the rest of the day we learned how the Bible is one
story in seven stages. It was a fun exercise as we made some laminated handouts
to use as a tool for telling an overview of all Scripture.
We found that while many of those in attendance were
familiar with many of the stories of the Bible, there was very little knowledge
of how the Bible fits together as a cohesive story –the curriculum appears to
offer real help to the church in Northern Uganda. It was fun to see light bulbs
go on and to see them quiz each other from the laminated handout. To be able to
help them understand how each lamb that was sacrificed in the Old Testament
pointed to THE Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the word, was more than
informational…they were pleased. When we showed that the paradise lost in
Genesis three is restored and more in Revelation 21 and 22 they applauded. It
was quite a day.
We assigned them to share the story of the Bible using the
laminated handout with one other person overnight and be prepared to do so in
the morning as well. I think they will