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.
TLI International Trainer