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Trips

Burundi Winter 2013

Undisclosed Location February 14-25, 2013

A full week of teaching, with preaching on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Long days of class sessions with 40+ eager students who have been in this non-formal setting for two years. Excitement, challenging, and very rewarding.

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

Field Notes   Burundi Winter 2013

Feb  23rd,  2013Burundi update 5

Hi Faithful Friends and Prayer Warriors,

Well I just finished (it's now Friday night in Bujumbura) and we finished very well. On Thursday we worked our way through chapters 8-11 of 1 Cor. These chapters focus on idolatry and Christian liberty. Man did that provoke discussions. It seemed that it hit a very sensitive spot especially for their churches. The questions and ensuing discussions were absolutely extraordinary both in content and in query. Let me tell you that the fatigue was really hitting me after those first 4 days of exciting discussion. 

Then today we hit chapters 12-14 and that volatile subject of Spiritual Gifts. It was kind of like the 4th of July fireworks, but not in the sense that they were in opposition to my teaching, but in the sense that they have never had any teaching on this topic and they had sincere questions concerning the Gifts themselves, how they are used in the church, false gifts (and false teachers), problems that Spiritual Gifts has caused in their churches and a ton of other questions. Seemed like every question was a few steps ahead of where we were headed and I had to tell them to be patient and get the foundations before we start to "add other rooms."

Pastor Charles, with whom I have worked closely over the past 3 years, said that this was one of the best, if not the best, week of teaching they have had. He paid me the highest compliment he could have given. It reminded me that it is making a difference, the pastors are growing and their churches will change as a result. We have seen 7-8 pastors who have risen above the ranks and we are planning on how to use them to teach regional sessions as well as looking at the next "new group" of pastors. I was able to take a video of one of the key men who explains (in English) what these courses has done for his ministry. Though I'm not too techy, I'll see what I can do to send it to you (or ??) so you can watch it. It is amazing how they appreciate these courses. 

I want to thank all of you have made this trip (and this school) possible. You prayed fervently, you gave abundantly, you stand by me as one in this partnership of building and training leaders in developing countries, like Burundi. The work and the progress that has been made could not have been done without you. So thank you one and all. 

Well I'm heading home after tonight's sleep. I will arrive in CA on Sunday at noon. Thank you again.

 

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Feb  20th,  2013Burundi update 4

Yesterday, as I had written went very well. Greatt discussion of several chapters and we made a lot of progress.

 

Today, it was like we hit a huge mudhole in the dirt road and got buried above the axles. But it was not wasted time, just mega-discussions. We spent some time finishing up chapter 6 of 1 Cor. That provoked no small discussion--2 hours for 5 verses. Various kinds of immoralities and then homosexuality came up. Some of the pastors from very rural were confused on what that was all about. (They don't read the newspaper much!)

 

Then we hit chapter 7 and Paul's discussion on marriage, divorce and remarriage. You can imagine. We walked and talked through the first 16 verses for the next 5 hours. I had them take some time and work in groups to discover Paul's principles for marriage. When we came back together, it brought a ton of questions about marriage, divorce, remarriage, etc. and situations in their churches.

 

The churches here in Burundi have as many problems in them as do US churches, and maybe more. Polygamy came up, as well as some weird situations that challenged my thinking of the surreal. Questions and situations that normally seem easy to answer, the Burundian pastors seem unconscience of what to do.

 

And although we did not get very far in the text, what we did was exciting since they have not had teaching on these subjects. It seemed that each question that I answered, engendered another 3 questions from the group.

 

Now the challenge is to finish. I have only two days left--tomorrow to get through chapters 8-11 and Friday, to tackle chapters 12-14 on Spiritual Gifts. I need to get through that.

 

Keep me in your prayers. I need strength. So do the pastors. There are only 32 here. Some couldn't get off from there paying job. Others are sick. I eat my meals with people who have malaria, typhoid, intestinal amoeba, and other stuff. Luckily it is not contagious (at least that is what I read from the internet, and everything on the Internet is true!! Right?)

 

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Feb  20th,  2013Burundi update 3

Today was a very good day. We moved along quite well in our study of 1 Cor. Getting into Chapter 6. But if you know the book and its flow, we had some VERY good discussions, spending time on topics that relate directly to their situations.

I was surprised that the section in Chapter 3 about building with either golds, silver precious stones, or wood, hay, and stubble was totally foreign to them and they had absolutely no clue what that was about. So we spent time there and it led into a great discussion. Also, chapter 5 and the immorality in the church was a hot topic of much discussion.

I get very blessed to see their simplicity and eagerness to learn. We're pushing on.

 

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Feb  19th,  2013Burundi update 2

I want to say 'thank you' to you all for praying for this trip. We need much pray for this teaching time. 

We made it through the first day and it went well. As you may remember, we are studying Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. I am putting a lot of focus on asking questions and getting them to dig into the text and discover the answers for themselves. They are not used to this type of method, but we have a good rapport and discussion eventually begins which engenders numerous questions.

I asked them about their churches, if there were problems in their churches, divisions, false teachings, etc. and they exploded with nodding heads and raised hands in affirmation. As they explained some of the issues, I almost felt like Paul writing to the Corinthians. I think this will be a very practical course for them and how to deal with situations in their church. As you well know, practically each chapter highlights a new problem. I think we will find many similar situations in the Burundi church.

The challenge is going to be finishing the entire book. (I was originally planning on doing both Corinthian epistles. What was I thinking??) Each day I will revise my finish, prayerfully hoping to get to the end. Keep me in your prayers. 

Also, I want to tell you that I can see the progress here from the courses we have taught. I want to thank all who have come and been apart of the teaching. You have impacted these pastors very much and I thank you for your sacrifice. I see growth in the pastors. They all desire to be greater students of the Word and are being more faithful in reading and studying. They lack a culture of spiritual knowledge and so, often they don't know what to say or what to answer. But that is changing. Charles, Bolivard, and myself have been talking about who can teach some of the courses we have taught and who could be a "regional teacher?" There are several who, with some advanced training in teaching methodology, could carry on the work. Things are progressing.

Thanks for praying, encouraging, and giving. You are an integral partner in the work.

 

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