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Greece Fall 2012

Athens, Greece October 19-28, 2012

Over 80% of the immigrants in Europe have come through Greece! You will primarily be working with Muslim background believers who have very little training, teaching the Hermeneutics class from TLI curriculum. The team will also have a change to work with the leading evangelical church in Greece to promote unity and cooperation among the Greek and Ethnic churches.

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

Field Notes   Greece Fall 2012

Oct  31st,  2012Highlights from Teaching Persian Pastors

By Duane Tweeten

The day before leaving for Athens, the plans for my teaching assignment changed. I was to teach the Romanian class, which was part of my preparation for leading a trip to Romania in January. When those plans changed, I was disappointed. But I was unprepared for the blessings God had in store, as I taught a Farsi-speaking Iranian class (with one Afghan student as well).
  • Evangelistic Zeal - While there, the students in my class were busy sharing the gospel with other Persians. By God's grace, six men responded to the message, as repentance and faith were granted to them. One of the students has led over twenty to faith in the past six months. They asked on Friday night for prayer, that God would continue to bless their efforts.
  • Hunger for Learning - Each of the students was committed to the learning process. The class started right on time, because they came early and were prepared. Many took notes. Several recorded the class sessions. One student took page after page of notes, so that he could have record of the additions made in the teaching.
  • Commitment to the Word of God - On Tuesday night, when we talked about the doctrine of Scripture, the students responded with their affirmation of what was being taught. Affirming the authority of the Bible in their lives, they agreed on Friday that false teaching was a greater danger to the church than persecution. This despite the fact that several either have or know of those who have been persecuted for their faith.
  • Progressing Understanding - The last two nights we took time to practice what we had learned. The first night we looked at 2 Timothy 1:3-14, discovering Paul's intended meaning for Timothy. They did well, but it was clear that this was a first attempt. The second night, looking at Revelation 2:12-17, we followed the four questions of interpretation that we had taught. This time, through wrestling together through the text, it was clear that they began to see the profit of our study. They began to use what we had taught.
  • Earnestness to Pass on Truth - During the testimony time on Friday night, two different students spoke about the need to pass on what they had learned to others. One spoke of 2 Timothy 2:2 as the model that he would follow. Another spoke of sending an e-mail of the notes of the class and the material from the book to Iran for the believers there.
  • Joyful Faith - The warmth of this group was evident, especially when celebrating the five men who committed their lives to Christ on Friday. There was great joy, accompanied with spontaneous singing and applause. 
Pray for these dear men and women, that God would enable them to be faithful to His Word.


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Oct  30th,  2012Highlights from Teaching Arabic Speakers

By Mark Young

The Arabic group concluded their class on Friday October 26. After a slow start out of the starting blocks on Monday, the week ended with the students understanding the need to consider the context of a passage and importance of seeing Christ in both the Old and New Testaments. On Wednesday a student asked why some countries persecute believers in Jesus Christ. That provided the opportunity to discuss suffering and persecution on three consecutive nights. 
Some of these students have endured significant amounts of suffering. They are wrestling with that it is better for a church to endure suffering rather than endure false teaching.

I am thankful for the opportunity I had to spend a week with these dear Arabic brothers.

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Oct  29th,  2012Highlights fro Teaching the Urdu Speakers

By Jerry Scheumann

1.) Hearing hearty 'amens' from Urdu believers as they were taught different ways in which the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ. They were especially excited when they found out that the 'Son of Man' in Daniel 7:13-14 is fulfilled in Christ and the saints will share in his eternal kingdom on account of their union with him. They saw that no matter how much beasts rail against the people of God, they have an unshakeable hope found in the firm work of Jesus Christ. 

2.) Seeing the change in how the Urdus handled the Word as the week progressed. In the beginning of the week, they immediately jumped to application and did not understand what it meant to see what the text said and how it was said. By the end of the week, they understood that they could only rightly apply the text if they first understood the sentence related to one another, how the passage fit into the book as a whole, and how the passage fit into the storyline of the whole Bible. 

3.) The joy of the brothers in the midst of so much trial was such a blessing. Many of these men are away from their wives and their children. Many do not have jobs and have trouble finding just the bare essentials for life. But how they LOVE Jesus! They would hug, laugh, and sing praises to Jesus. They were so thankful for the good news that they could be forgiven of their sins. The Gospel is really just about all they have...and it is enough for them. 

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Oct  28th,  2012Highlights from Teaching Iranian Men and Women

By Jim Rairick
  • I was encouraged to see a husband and wife taking the course together.  They would encourage each other during the lecture time, take turns reading from their Bible, ask questions, and help each other understand how to interpret the Scripture.  There were many times when they would look at each other, acknowledging that they were understanding "how" to read the Text.  
  • It was encouraging to hear the students answer questions about how the immediate context is necessary to understand individual sentences and paragraphs.  The students commented that they were understanding more how the immediate context and then the redemptive historical context is important to have a whole-bible interpretation of a particular Text.
  • I was encouraged by the discussion we had on Gen 47, which reflects on the "land" (geography) and the multiplication of God's people, which gets picked up as a fulfillment in redemptive history; Israel is presented as a type of Adam.  As we went back to Gen 1-3, 9, 12. . . 47, the students were able to observe how the theme of land and genealogy started with Adam at creation and in the garden.
  • It was encouraging throughout the week to watch the "light bulbs" go on for the students.  Their questions would reflect that they were grasping more of the content on hermeneutics, but still had questions seeking greater clarity.  
  • It was encouraging to hear the students share that they were understanding more clearly the inspiration, inerrancy and authority of the Bible.  They were encouraged to see that there is meaning in the Text, and that the Text provides the principles/rules to interpret the Text and observe the meaning.  The students commented that they were encouraged by reading the Text more slowly, reading more of the context, and understanding how things relate to Jesus.  As the students realized that there is deeper and fuller meaning in the Text, as we read a particular paragraph within its context, the book and the canon, they were encouraged to read the Text more carefully.  They also express a desire to know the Bible better so that they could see how everything fits together.  
  • I was encouraged to see the students connect the 'truth' with 'love'.
  • I was encouraged to hear the students talk about the danger of false teaching and that from their perspective, false teaching is more dangerous for the church than suffering.  This seemed to provide motivation and sober-mindedness to the task of hermeneutics.


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Oct  27th,  2012Highlights from Teaching the African Group

By David Crabb

We finished our time of teaching tonight and the goodbyes were bittersweet. We focused our time tonight on expository preaching, showing from the Bible that it was not an American or denominational phenomenon, but the Scriptural expectation of preaching. We had a wonderful time of worship and testimony as well. The testimonies were immensely encouraging. The students each shared what they had learned from the class. Here were a few highlights:

-A Ghanian student said that he never knew you could learn so much from one passage. He testified to the fact that he had spent most of his life reading and teaching the Bible at a very surface level. He joyfully acknowledged that his eyes were opened this week.
-A Nigerian student was particularly helped by our lengthy discussion of tithing/giving in the Scripture.
-A Philippino student was encouraged to dig deeper into God's Word as an act of worship to God.
-Another Nigerian pastor was encouraged by the need for prayer and dependence on the Spirit as we study the Scripture.
-A brother from Eritrea said he found the concept of the hermeneutical spiral particularly helpful.
-A few said they had already begun to teach the material to others. 
-All testified to their gratitude for this course and for the education they are receiving through TLI's modular classes. Most of them have almost no theological education whatsoever and it is almost impossible to come by here.
It was particularly encouraging to begin to see the cumulative effect of the teaching on the lives of these brothers and sisters. This is third class (they've taken Attributes of God and Biblical Theology) and the instruction is bearing fruit. For instance, when I asked them to briefly share what they thought the basic storyline of the Bible was, one brother gave about a minute long answer that was about as good as any I've ever heard! Their questions were thoughtful and reflected an increasingly mature understanding of God and the Scriptures. What an immense privilege to be a part of the ongoing growth of these dear people! 
It's been a joy to teach these brothers! They're eager to receive and humbly receptive to the Word. There is still so much need however. So many dots to connect, so much false teaching seeking to influence these churches. Pray for these brothers and their churches that they might aim to exalt Christ and faithfully preach the Word.

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