In February, 39 students in a Christian minority area in northern Ghana graduated from the nine-course curriculum cycle of TLI. But that graduation almost didn't happen. At one time or another everyone involved in the project wondered if it was worth the trouble and whether they were making any impact.
"We almost quit twice," admitted the pastor of a Dallas-area church that had supplied most of the teachers and funds to train these Ghanaian leaders. At one significant moment, after he heard the students' sermons from Ruth and Jonah, he returned home discouraged. Five classes in, over half of the training done, and by any objective metric, the students' sermons were bad.
But in February, that same pastor who was ready to quit now described his students' sermons as "awesome." Students who at one time struggled to preach—literally telling everything they knew about a passage in five minutes—could now give 15, 20, or 30-minute sermons based thoroughly on scripture. Trainees whose first sermons were given simply by repeating what their teachers said earlier in the week could now defend, using only the assigned Bible passage, the teaching from their prepared sermons.
“Students who at one time struggled to preach—literally telling everything they knew about a passage in five minutes—could now give 15, 20, or 30-minute sermons based thoroughly on scripture.”
"I never thought this day would come," confessed Silas, our national partner. "It was hard," he continued, a frank admission coming from the one who initially invited TLI to his country and who dreamed for years of training pastors in this area. "Several times I almost called the American teachers and told them not to come back."
But instead of quitting, Silas and TLI persisted. The students finally graduated. Now, along with all of our partners, we have agreed to start a third cohort in northern Ghana in June. Silas has even identified three graduates with whom we will team-teach as we seek to raise up a new generation of national trainers. In fact, we are praying that God will supply a total of 15 graduates who will agree to serve as mentors for the incoming students.