We had the first of six trainings for 2014 from 15th. to 22nd. January.
The students come to Nairobi for 8 days bi-monthly. The first and last 3 days are full time in class, where they are introduced to the studies they will take home to complete before returning for the next session. There is a lot of reading and writing to be completed, and it can only be done if they learn to organize themselves. Then I have 2 months to mark their work so they receive it back when they return! My approach is that the discipline of thinking through issues, and accomplishing the work faithfully is as important as learning the facts.
This time we devoted ourselves to two courses.
· Unit N is Preaching. Expository preaching is rare in Kenya. Few preachers pay attention to context, even to whether it is in the Old or New Testaments. Going through books or large portions of the Scripture is rarer. But we are not merely interested in expositors, but those who preach persuasively in the power of the Holy Spirit.
· Unit T is Missions. We start with the history of Christianity in Africa from apostolic days, then to the modern missionary movement, particularly as it impacted Africa. We finish with an in-depth consideration of our country of Kenya. I lay particular stress on the so-called 10-40 window of the world’s least evangelized people, and the 22 people groups in Kenya amongst whom less than 2% are considered Christian (many less than 0.1%, i.e. almost none). We are convinced that unless a person hears the gospel of Jesus Christ he cannot be saved.
· One of the students leads devotions each morning. We have introduced a ‘Debate’ in order to encourage ordered and concise thinking and presenting persuasive arguments. The motion was, ‘Christians ought to be involved in politics’. I am looking for them to define what they mean by the terms. Interestingly, no one carefully defined ‘involved’. Judging by a later discussion with them, it seems to have been very profitable, and enjoyable! Saturday afternoon they go to evangelize in the area. Sunday they are expected to be fully involved in all activities in order to learn about the local church in practice.
1st. year seated [left to right]: Caleb, Geoffrey, Willis, Benson, Stephen.
2nd. year standing [left to right]: (KU), John, Erick, Peter, Noah, Vincent, Hezbon.
3rd. year standing right: Dominic, Barnabas.
We admitted 5 new students, making a total of 13.
(1) Caleb Jaoko – He is from Upendo Reformed Baptist Church, Oyani near Migori, in the far south-west corner of Kenya. He is a Pastor together with the former student Fred Lodeki. The 2nd. year student Erick is in the same church fellowship and ministers in Nyamanga.
(2) Geoffrey Isambo – He is from the Church called Gospel Missions Agency in Mumias, the same as 2nd. year student Noah. Geoffrey is a mature man, and has gone through the ‘School of Wisdom’ run by Pastor Elly Achok (also a former student) in Mumias. He makes bricks to support his family in the morning and then will devote himself to studies for the rest of the day.
(3) Willis Okello – He is from a Seventh-Day Adventist Church near us. We have warned him that if he begins to receive the teaching it will probably give him difficulties in his church. In particular we cited Arminianism and the Investigative Judgment. But he seems determined.
(4) Benson Kambi – He is from Trinity Baptist Church Boyani, near Mombasa. The Pastor there is George Mwanjisi, a former student of many years previous. Benson supports himself by growing vegetables on his land.
(5) Stephen Ongulo – He is a member of Trinity Baptist Church Kasei, Pokot North. He is from Soroti in Uganda, and works in the building trade in Pokot. At the end of the studies he wants to return to church plant in the Soroti area.
Please pray for all these men as they study the word of God.