I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go … I myself will go down with you …
and I will also bring you up again. Genesis 46:3,4
Usually my work is done in front of my computer - writing, making cultural adjustments, rewriting, consulting, formatting, rewriting, rewriting. BUT – going to Africa meant that I could see all those typed words come to life.
As I look back on the time given to work with leaders at a theological school and coach trainers so that they in turn can train teachers, I would summarize this way:
I experienced the love of Jesus in Africa...
1 – in that the Lord gave me promises – and fulfilled them. Jim pointed me toward Isaiah 42 and I read it repeatedly while I traveled. I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness. I will take you by the hand and keep you. Isaiah 42:6
2 - in the way He preserved my health. I prayed for head to toe protection and He gave it. The inoculations and malaria medications gave me no problems. I had sinus issues before I left and even in the perpetual smoky air I breathed freely.
3 – in the cool evening breezes and deep quiet He brought at the end of days filled with constant noise from traffic, crowds, Muslim calls to prayer and even the angry, fear mongering voices which blasted across the valley every evening from "provocative evangelists." (From this I learned that there is no deep peace in revival generated by the angst of men.)
4- in the sweetness of His presence as we met with our trainers for a day of spiritual retreat. Oh, the beautiful continuity of His care! Meeting with Jesus was not radically different in Africa from when I meet with Him here. It was familiar. Just more. More of the same abiding friendship. More of His deep, deep love.
5 –in the enduring community He is building. My US teammates (Gordon and Becki West and Adam Ormord), the Ugandan (Grace) and Kenyan (Edwin) teammates, the pastors and leaders at the Training Summit, and the leaders at Kampala Evangelical School of Theology. The amazing hospitality given to us in Grace's home and at the theological school (KEST) nurtured true community.
I experienced the love of Jesus in Africa...
[Be sure to watch the video at the end of this post.]
Great Trainer Summit
Imagine for a moment that you have traveled for 6 hours to get to Kampala so that you can gather with about 15 other teachers and pastors in a third-floor classroom to be licensed as a KidZ at Heart trainer. You have already traveled multiple times to complete eight separate modules of teacher training. You have already learned
- How to introduce kids to Jesus
- 8 wonderful ways kids learn
- How to nurture the spiritual formation of children
- How to love your class into good behavior
- Ways to connect kids to God
You have shown yourself faithful in teaching and gifted in leading others. Now you are ready to learn how to train others.
This is not imaginary - this describes Patience.
I watched as Patience joined in one of the small groups that are the typical starting activity for every KidZ training class. She shared what God was opening for her to do and naturally encouraged others who were downhearted or frustrated. She prayed for others in familiar conversation with her Friend and Savior. She was truly ready to train others to teach.
This is the transformational work we ask God to do in all of us!
And then to start the next level of preparation we, as a group, asked the Holy Spirit to be our teacher during the Great Trainer Summit. And He did such good things among us!
The Great Trainer Summit included presentation tips, a deeper understanding of Christian community and the invitation for trainers to nurture their own spiritual life by coming to a day-long spiritual retreat. The trainers spent a day practicing and presenting and learning from peer evaluations.
Think of the multiplied benefits for children as each of these trainers equips groups of teachers who will help children love Jesus deeply and completely!
Kampala Evangelical School of Theology
We also pursue our goal (to equip teachers so they know how to nurture the spiritual formation of children) through partnerships with schools of higher learning.
Our time with the leadership of KEST reinforced our partnership with them as they use our curriculum in their accredited courses. And now we will be investigating online learning options together. Exciting things are ahead of us!
In this video you will see that we …
… worshipped together
… prepared together and trained teacher trainers
… enjoyed a day of spiritual retreat with new KidZ trainers
... consulted with the leaders at Kampala Evangelical School of Theology (KEST) to consider how to incorporate our curriculum into their accredited coursework
… enjoyed Ugandan culture together
You will get a glimpse of God’s church half way around the world and how they are working together for the sake of his kids.
Watch the VIDEO.