Training Up Leaders in Africa
“The potential for reaching every tribe, people, language, and nation and giving all the peoples of the world an opportunity to hear, understand, and respond to the gospel in their own culture requires an indigenous mission strategy. There will never be enough cross-cultural missionaries and mission teams to reach all the people in the world. The gospel must be shared and planted in a way that it can multiply among those who are receptive."
- Jerry Rankin and Ed Stetzer,
Spiritual Warfare and Missions
While all of our friends and families back home are busy dumping buckets of ice over their heads, we here in Mokhotlong are keeping the anthracite heater fired up and our cold weather jackets nearby. The weather here is so confusing. Everyone says winter is ending soon, but after a warm day will come a frozen one. Just when we think we can unpack the short sleeves we’re back to the hoodies. What an interesting life!
Our Bible training program for pastors is going very well. We have fifteen pastors enrolled in the program and nine of them are keeping pace, now studying books five and six of the curriculum. The others have joined the program after we started in January or are studying at a slower rate (one of the advantages of TEE’s flexibility). I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to see and hear how this work is affecting the pastors’ ministries. Last Sunday, we visited the church of our eldest TEE pastor. He told his church about his studies and was brought to tears when he spoke of our book on pastoral ministry called “The Shepherd and His Work.” He said no book has ever opened up the Bible to him like that one. Another pastor said that TEE is teaching him to preach the Bible’s message, not his own. Several pastors have commented that before starting TEE, they would only pick a verse or two from the Bible and then shout and make a lot of noise about it in their sermons. Our students have sort of labeled the program “Sekolo Sa Baruti” or “Pastors’ School.” We have even overheard church members saying, “We heard that our pastor has joined some type of local Bible school and his preaching has gotten so much stronger.” Another of our pastors cheered, “I have never known how to study God’s Word like this before! Now I will be able to help many of my people. I can’t wait to preach to my church now!” We praise God for giving us this assignment; this is some of the most fulfilling work we’ve ever done.
Earlier this month...
…I completed another of my semesters with Liberty. Again, I tremendously benefitted from my reading and online studies for my courses. I am over halfway finished with my degree now and, Lord-willing, am on pace to graduate during our home assignment in May of 2016. For this fall, I am off of my formal studies and will be working on a few projects I’ve volunteered for. My plan is to take my last three semesters in Spring 2015, Fall 2015, and Spring 2016. We were also very blessed to learn that one of our supporting churches is planning to send their donation this year to a “Continuing Education” fund that AIM set up for us. That means that my last semesters of seminary will all be covered! What an answer to prayer! Thank you, Lord and Fish Camp Fellowship.
…we will be receiving five new members into our AIM Lesotho unit. These are five single men from the US and South Africa who will be living as a team among the shepherds here in Lesotho. This team means a lot to me in particular because of a research paper I was able to write on the shepherds for a seminary class last December. Studying the lives of the shepherds helped me to combine mission theory with a real-life situation and to realize that the label “unreached people group” can go beyond only race and language. Instead, it focuses on any subgroup to which the gospel is not spreading because of some significant barriers. The shepherds fit this category, even though they speak the same language as the Basotho people (who are 89% “Christian”). The shepherds face religious, educational, geographic, cultural, and social barriers. Thus AIM has been recruiting a team of single men to come live with the shepherds for two years and to share the gospel by a series of Bible stories designed to lead them to Christ using oral communication methods. Please pray for this team as they endure the rugged mountain life for the sake of the gospel. This is pioneer mission work!
Kyle and Ellee...
…are very excited to be expecting a visit from Lollee in about five weeks. Abby’s pretty excited to see her mom, too. Ok, we all are! It is very hard to be away from our families over here, so we love when some of our family is able to visit. It will also be a late present for Abby whose birthday is next week.
We do request prayer...
…for the shepherd team as they begin their work and for the continued success of TEE. We thank God for His faithful provision and love each of you who prays for us and gives to help us serve here. May the Lord bless you all richly this day!
- Jonathan, Abby, Kyle & Ellee St.Clair