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Togo Summer 2013

Undisclosed Location June 28 - July 15, 2013

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 Summer 2013

Jul  12th,  2013Last day of class

We're finishing up our last day of teaching here in Togo. We've been encouraged these past two weeks to have been able to teach folks who are excited to learn more about God's word. We cannot say enough about how gracious and accommodating our hosts, Sylvan and Sabine, have been. They have made us feel at home here at ESTBAO and have kept us well fed. The quality and character of the students in our classes testifies to the good work being done at this seminary. We are thankful that the Lord has allowed us to be part of that work for these past two weeks.

John Morrison

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Jul  11th,  2013Finishing strong.

For many of the teachers, today (Thursday) marks the end of their teaching. Tomorrow, the students take exams or give presentations. The goal is to finish grading and return scores to the school before we leave on Saturday night.

The Lord has been so gracious to us in how He has blessed these classes. The students are eager and bright, the teachers have been able to convey their material cross-culturally, and it appears that these two weeks will increase fruitfulness in many ways. Though each of the teachers differs in style of teaching, all of them have come back with stories of excellent discussions and meaningful dialogues with the students.

Some highlights from this second week:

John and Antoine got to visit an orphanage a couple hours north of here. They reported many great things happening in that ministry.

Students have been applying what they learn in one class to other classes. They’ve been seeking to integrate their learning.

The women’s class has been going well, and these pastor’s wives are being encouraged with ways to be Godly wives and mothers.

The team has been able to reflect on what’s worked well and what we might suggest for the next trip to ESBTAO.

The class on the gospel of Mark wrapped up with a powerful proclamation of Jesus’ passion, causing the students to rejoice and worship.

Everyone seems prepared for tomorrow’s exams.

We’re so thankful for how the Lord has been working in us, and we’re looking forward to praising Him even more tomorrow on our last day of class. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. We look forward to sharing stories of God’s grace with you!

~Merissa Scheumann

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Jul  9th,  2013Tuesday, 9 July 2013

We apologize for the lack of regular posts. The interent access was spotty for several days, and we sort of fell out of the habit of updating regularly.

We've already begun the second week of classes, and by God's grace, all of them have been going really well. The students' questions and their active participation keep the leaders thinking. The men often come to lunch or dinner puzzling over a passage that the class was discussing. Everyone is challenging one another to stay true to our authority, the Word of God, to study it responsibly and to apply it eagerly. It appears that these pastors are learning principles that will impact their Bible study and preaching for years to come.

This weekend, we were able to tour Lome, the city in which the seminary is located, and much of the countryside along the coast. We saw the last standing slave house in Africa and experienced a small, bitter taste of what the first stop on the slave trade triangle was like. We visited a village or two and enjoyed trying bread and bananas from roadside stands along the way. As we drove, we were talking to Sylvian about the biggest needs for the seminary and Christians in general in Togo.He said these are their biggest issues:

  • Few qualified teachers (and the few are already pastors elsewhere)
  • Not enough funds to pay the teachers a fair wage
  • Women not knowing they’re valuable for the Church at all (opposite of some of our American issues)
  • The issues of demonology and polygamy, more than theological differences such as Calvinism vs. Arminianism

We appreciate your prayers! It's been beautiful to see God at work, answering the requests you make on our behalf. Thank you.

~Merissa Scheumann

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Jul  8th,  2013Week 1 finished; Week 2 starts.

We have finsihed the first week of teaching at ESBTAO (École Supreriéure Baptiste Théologie de l'Afrique de l'Ouest). It went very well. Each of the five of us got into great discussions during the first week. Of course, there was the usual opening shyness on the part of the students, but by Friday that had dissipated and great discusion has been happening. I have enjoyed watching my fellow team members teach. Some have not taught much; others have more experience. Some have no cross-cultural experience; others more. But they are all doing very well in communicating their material. Three of them are working through translators; two us us are flurent in french. We have had some great interaction as team members, talking about culutral things, mannerisms, and worldviews.

Yesterday some of us went to a church outside of the school. That was exciting. I preached there on "What is a disciple?" Good interaction. Antoine preached at the church on the campus.

Now we start week 2 and race toward the finish line. Keep us in your prayers: to stay strong, to finish well, and to be a blessing to the students. Heaven knows what the impact of our time here will be. Soli deo gloria.

Howard Foreman, team leader

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Jul  5th,  2013First week of classes

Our first week of class is almost complete. It is a joy to see the attention and participation of the students. Following a two hour class on Abraham last night, the entire class stayed an extra 45 minutes for continued discussion. It is exciting to see the "light come on" as we study the Theology of Genesis. 

My translator came to class last night not feeling well. Following the class he said that he felt that God really helped him and that he felt he was getting progressively better throughout the duration of the class. I attribute that to the prayers of those that are interceding on our behalf. Please continue to pray that our time would be profitable and produce lasting fruit among the pastors here. 

The hospitality of our hosts has been tremendous and the spirit of our team has been great. It has been a joy to discuss how each of the classes are going. I think that all of us have enjoyed the high level of participation and discussion. We are sometimes surprised by the questions and the situations but it helps to broaden our understanding and show the sufficiency of Scripture in a diversity of contexts.


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