Monday evening we arrived at the Reach All Nations compound. The rest of the team had flight delays, and would not arrive until late Tuesday, so it was just my wife and me. It was hot -- we were dripping -- but we soon forgot that as we met the 25 pastors who had come for the training.
These men lead churches in difficult areas. Many of them face danger and public opposition. To come for this training, some had travelled over eight hours through difficult roads. As they greeted us their faces lit up with love for Christ. We immediately felt right at home.
Tuesday morning, after a bucket shower (a bucket of water and a dipper -- what more do you need?) and a breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, toast, and Nutella, the training started.
We met on the second floor of an unfinished school building in the compound. There were no walls, just pillars holding up the floors. It was open on all sides, so from where I taught I could look out and see buffalo grazing, thatch-roofed huts, and women cooking over fires.
All the students sat at tables with their Telugu Bibles open. The interpreter and I sat at a table in front, facing them. We prayed for God’s help, and then I taught the first class giving some background for understanding Genesis 1-11. We also talked about how the Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament, and how the book of Genesis is the foundation for the Old Testament.
Then we looked at Old and New Testament passages which show that Moses was the author of Genesis, and how what Moses wrote was for both the nation of Israel, and the church today.
I ended with an overview of Genesis 1-11 -- showing how Moses describes God’s goodness in Creation, Adam and Eve’s sin, and the spread of sin and God’s curse throughout the world to set the stage for God’s promise that through Abraham’s seed he will overcome the curse and bring the blessing of salvation to every people group on the earth.
Then after a break, we started the second session -- on Genesis 1:1 - 2:4. We explained that our goal was to see what Moses is saying in this passage, by reading carefully and noticing what he repeats and emphasizes.
Then we worked on the passage, by having a student read a section out loud in his Tegulu Bible, talking together about what we observed in the text, having another student read the next section, and so on. We saw how Moses wants us to understand that God created everything by his sovereign power. They also noticed how often Moses repeats the word “good,” showing that the God who created everything is good and does good. We rejoiced together in this God who is perfectly good, infinitely powerful, and flawlessly wise -- and talked about how he deserves our complete trust.
Then after a lunch break we studied Genesis 2:5-25. Again, we read through this passage verse by verse, working on reading carefully, noticing what Moses said, and trying to understand his flow of thought. We saw that one point was to explain the origin and sacredness of marriage -- which gave us an opportunity to discuss the importance of loving our wives, and how we must not let the ministry cause us to neglect our marriages.
It was pure joy seeing these pastors studying their Bibles, carefully reading God’s Word, and rejoicing in the God they saw displayed.
Then after another tea break we tackled Genesis 3. We saw how Adam and Eve stopped trusting God’s goodness (and how one way to fight temptation us to read Genesis 1 and 2, focusing on God’s goodness). We saw how sin brought God’s curse into the world, but how God promised to raise up one of Eve’s descendants who would crush the serpent’s head. As we celebrated this prophecy of Christ’s victory over sin and Satan -- the men burst out with Amen’s.
That wrapped up the teaching for the day, so we went back to the house we were staying in. Soon we were joined by the rest of the team, went to a local restaurant for dinner, and then back to the house. I went to sleep thanking God for a day of feasting on his goodness.