Taking the Training to Them
Many people around the world dream of coming to the United States. Some desire political or religious freedom. Some are fleeing war and seeking peace. Others long for prosperity. They're looking for a job or an education in a land of seemingly endless opportunites. But for a growing number of international Christians, their reason for wanting to come to the U.S. is very different. They desire theological training.
This was the case for Peter. He's a young Liberian man and one of TLI's students in Monrovia. His ministry is among the youth in his hometown just outside the capitol, where his vision is to see them come to know Christ and live for him.
During a recent training on the book of Genesis, Peter spoke with his TLI instructor over one of the class breaks. The topic of travel came up, and he mentioned some of his friends who had obtained visas to move to North America. In fact, for some time he too had wanted to visit the U.S. But that had recently changed. His teacher, curious what brought about Peter's change of heart, asked why he would no longer want to come to the states.
Then Peter gladly explained, "Because TLI brought to Liberia what I wanted from the U.S." He had desired to come westward for the sake of theological training. But because of TLI's ministry in Liberia, he no longer saw the need to travel abroad for it. The training had come to him!
People like Peter are a significant reason why TLI exists. Statistics show that the vast majority of church leaders who come to the West for theological education never return to their country of origin. But we want them to stay. We want pastors and students like Peter to remain and serve in their own churches and contexts. They shouldn't have to come to us. We should go to them.