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Togo Fall 2014

Undisclosed Location October 11-25, 2014

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 Fall 2014

Oct  23rd,  2014Wrapping up in Togo

It's Thursday afternoon here in Togo. Tomorrow will be our last day of teaching here at the seminary. I think our entire team will agree with me in saying that we have enjoyed our time here. It's been a blessing to be able to help the students here grow not only in their understanding of God's Word but also how to properly interpret it.

Today we had an opportunity to have a lunch with the seminary faculty (many of them are pastors in Lome) and they very graciously expressed their appreciate for our team coming to help them in preparing the students for the ministry. We also had a brief meeting to evaluate how TLI can improve and be more effective in coming alongside the seminary in the training of these pastors. We look forward to continuing our relationship with them and hope to send three teams here in 2015.

Tomorrow, we are planning to have a brief closing session with all the students at 5:00pm and distribute a few books that has been translated into French by the Gospel Coalition.  After the session, we will have dinner and head to the airport for our flights home. We are all anxious to get home to our wives and families.

We count it a privilege to have served the Lord here in Togo. Pray that the Lord will use our ministry these past two week not only to equip these pastors and church leaders to faithfully teach the Word but also to strengthen the churches in Lome and in West Africa. Pray for the Seminary.

For the Advance of the Gospel,

Weymann (for the Togo Team)


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Oct  21st,  2014The Church in West Africa

On Sunday, we were able to participate in two local churches. Here at the seminary, Andy and I gathered in worship with the International Baptist Church. The church serves both the seminary community and West Africans who are in Lome for business. Andy preached on Ezra 9, pointing us to Jesus Christ, our Mediator. Josh and Weymann attended the church pastored by Kokou Ayadome, the Academic Secretary of ESBTAO. Josh preached from Mark 14. Pastor Ayadome approvingly described the sermon to me as a Christo-centric message. We enjoyed our time worshiping with the church here.

Today, in order to learn more about the church in West Africa, I asked the students what they considered the strengths of the church here. In my class, I have students from Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso. Here is what they mentioned:

  • The church has a strong desire to know God and glorify Him.
  • The church in Benin is one of the fastest growing churches in the world.
  • There are many opportunities for the church to expand. Formerly, there was much opposition to the gospel and persecution of the church. 
  • Schools are starting beyond the seminary to train the increasing need for pastors, especially in Benin.
  • Churches are no longer dependent upon the West for evangelism, but are equipping church members for evangelism.
  • Bibles are increasingly available in tribal languages, which is especially useful in rural villages. 
  • The church is taking a more active role in society, evidenced in involvement in politics, establishing schools and universities, health clinics, and financial centers. More reports of the work of evangelicals are showing up in media reports.
  • The church is beginning to mature. Two examples were mentioned: believers now understand what it means to live for Jesus Christ in an African context and increased training results in the church's capacity to address complex issues both in the church and society.

We rejoice in God for what is happening through ESBTAO and the church in West Africa!

For the team,


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Oct  17th,  2014Halfway Done: Evaluating and Adjusting

It's 10:30 in the morning. I (Josh) am sitting at the back of Duane's OT Exegesis class. He just asked the students to write summary statements on Psalm 27. They've learned how to do the background work that goes into studying a text like this. They've looked at the historical context, studied the grammar, and investigated key words. Now comes the payoff. Hearing students summarize the authorial intent of the passage so they can preach or teach this psalm is when you see understanding come from the hard work of biblical exegesis.

We've been in Togo for six days. A week from today, we'll get on a plane for the long journey back to Minneapolis, Chicago, Phoenix, and Madison. At the halfway point, there's a natural self-evaluation that takes place. We've learned a bit about teaching styles in this culture. We've seen where the students are in their studies at the school so far. We've made the adjustments, shifted some expectations, and continue forward in our task of teaching these dedicated students to think hard about God's Word and its meaning for us. We're no longer surprised by the wave of heat and humidity that hits us when we step outside our air-conditioned rooms.

Back in this morning's class after a brief moment of terror when the fans stopped working, the students dissected this passage and saw David's confidence in God despite trials and adversities.

Tomorrow is a day off and we'll rest up for Week Two. We're looking forward to seeing more of Lome as we go out to lunch at "King Burger" with local missionaries.

On Sunday, Andy will preach at the church that gathers here at the school. I'll preach at another church here in Lome. Be in prayer as we lift up Jesus through the preaching of his word.

It's been a good week. The team is adjusting to the heat and the teaching styles and needs of the students and we're thankful for God's grace in these adjustments. Just like David in Psalm 27, we're confident in God despite trials and adversities.

On behalf of the Togo Team, Josh Montague 


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Oct  16th,  2014Theological Education is Difficult

Let no one tell you differently. International theological education is hard.

For instance, I'm teaching a class by speaking English (I don't really have any other option). However, I'm teaching about a text originally written in Greek. My translator is translating into French, but neither she nor any of my students are native English or French speakers. They speak an African language, of which there are three of four represented in each class. I would draw that up in a flowchart, but I got lost just in that paragraph.

And we're not just discussing our day or a meal. We're talking about a 2,000-year old document written in a culture very different from both West Africa or the Upper Midwest.

On top of all that, the TLI teachers aren't accustomed to teaching in 95% humidity. I'm pretty sure I lose five pounds during each of my classes.

There are times I'm amazed that anything is communicated, but God is good and he is at work as these dedicated students are receiving solid biblical and theological teaching. Today we finished our third of ten days of instruction. In my class on New Testament Exegesis, we've talked about why we study the text in-depth, we've covered various process of interpretation, and we've looked at ways to find themes and structures in various New Testament passages. The ten students in this class have read through the book of Mark and are working hard on exegetical papers in various sections of this great book of the Bible.

Later their papers will be translated into English, I'll grade them, my comments will be translated back into French, and we'll move onto interpreting Ephesians. No problem, right?

Please be in prayer for these students. Many of them are seated in up to seven hours of class a day, covering a wide range of material, and working on assignments in their free time.

Please be in prayer for the teachers. It's a lot of work to teach and it's mentally exhausting to try to communicate through the language barrier. It's physically exhausting to teach in the heat and humidity.

And please pray for our translators. They're job is massive as they try to interpret difficult theological and biblical terms.

Josh Montague
TLI International Trainer 


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Oct  14th,  2014First day of teaching

After many hours of travel our team arrived safely in Togo on Sunday evening about 6:30pm. It took us a while to get through immigration. They were checking everyone temperature as a safeguard against ebola. Line were long and slow as expected. We thank the Lord that all of our bags arrived safely as well. 

Several from the seminary came out to pick us up from the airport and drove us to the campus. We had a little time to get settled in our rooms, check our emails and have dinner.  We were completely surprised that each of our rooms had an AC unit... a blessing in 90% humidity weather.

After dinner, we found out the teaching schedule for the next day. I (Weymann) was "first up to bat".  I was teaching the next morning at 7:00am to 10am. Each team member is teaching at different hours:  Duane teaches at 10:30am - 12:30pm, Josh teaches at 3:00-5:00pm and Andy teaches at 6:00-9:00pm.  We had a time of prayer and retired for the evening. We were all exhausted from the days of travel.


After a good nights rest and breakfast, we had a great time teaching the first class on Monday. After we introduced ourselves to our class, we asked students to introduce themselves.  Many in my class were first year students who had a desire to become pastors after they graduated. The students actively participating in class discussions and asked many great questions. It's always great to teach a students that have a hunger to learn God's Word.  I also had a great interpreter who was very helpful.

We are learning more about the needs of the seminary and thinking through how TLI can more effectively minister to the students here.

We're looking forward a great week of ministry. Thanks for your prayers.

For the team,


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