Training Up Leaders in Africa
"What happens within the African Churches in the next generation will determine the whole shape of church history for centuries to come; what sort of theology is most characteristic of the Christianity of the twenty-first century may well depend on what has happened in the minds of African Christians in the interim."
- Andrew Walls, cited in Missions from the Majority World, 2009.
Seeing Ministry Fruit
Hello, everyone. I’m sitting down today to write an update letter because of what happened yesterday. It is nothing short of a direct answer to prayer and I am thrilled to share it with all of you. Our pastor, Ntsimane, is traveling this week, so it was left to one of his associate pastors to preach the sermon in yesterday’s service. We first heard this pastor preach a few months ago. At the time, I felt that he was a very good speaker and had a great pastor’s heart, but he knew very little biblical content. I thought he would be a great candidate for TEE studies. After the service, Abby said the same thing to me. A few weeks later, we were invited to start a new TEE group in a village an hour’s drive from Mokhotlong. My colleague, Bongata, who now leads TEE in Mokhotlong, invited this pastor to come along. He heard us share with the village pastors about TEE and asked us if he could join the program and study with that new group. He bought his first two books and has begun his at-home study through those books.
I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to hear his sermon yesterday! It was incredible. He taught on the need for church unity based on 1 Corinthians 1, Ephesians 4, and John 17. He explained the background of Paul’s relationship to the church at Corinth and the divisions they were facing. He then called up several children and gave a visual illustration of how a unified church was more powerful than a divided church. After teaching that each member of the body is necessary and none should look down on another, he read Jesus’ prayer for unity among his followers and concluded with a humble plea for the church members to love and support one another. I came home and looked through my copy of the books he is currently studying. In that sermon he had pulled together the teaching of several different chapters in his TEE books, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and directly applied it to the needs of his church body. All of this was evidence to me that our work here has accomplished its purpose. TEE is reaching those for whom it was intended and has been established in a way that it will continue on without us. When we complete this assignment about 11 months from now, we will move on from here confident that God will continue to use this work to strengthen his church in Lesotho!
In recent days…
…much of my time has been taken up by Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. I am so excited to be able to take part in this excellent missions program even from this side of the globe. The Perspectives textbook has shaped my understanding of missions more than any other book outside the Bible. I am thoroughly enjoying interacting with students as a grader for the Aiken, SC class and can’t wait to teach Lesson 7 via Skype two weeks from now. We are living today in one of the most exciting periods of Christian history and I am eager to share what God is doing around the world in this final era of missions. The slogan of the Student Volunteer Movement, “the evangelization of the world in this generation,” is truly possible in our world today! God has laid the groundwork for the completion of the Great Commission and I pray that we will all be doing our part to get the task done.
…is about to get busy! In addition to finishing Perspectives for the next 10 weeks, I will be doing the final format of another TEE book ready to go to the publisher. We also have a World Race team coming for a month starting next week. Then in November we will be hosting a TEE conference for the Maseru students, TEE committee, Mokhotlong students and graduates. We will also have a short-term volunteer from South Africa coming to observe AIM’s work in Lesotho. We have also met with a potential leader for a new TEE center in Butha Buthe and are praying that God will burden his heart to take on this new ministry within a few months. Then we have family coming to visit us also in November. And I will still be working to get my Sesotho commentary written in time to publish within a year. Please pray that I will especially be able to focus my time and energy to get this project done. I think this commentary project could rival TEE for the most long-lasting effect of our years living here. There just is nothing else like this available for Basotho pastors and Bible students.
…our life in Africa goes on. Abby is back home from her visit to America with Sadie and she is busy with Kyle’s second year of homeschooling. He continues to be a good student who loves to learn and has taken it upon himself to start teaching Ellee her alphabet and handwriting skills. The kids love life in Mokhotlong and are trying to get used to the idea of moving away in about a year. I’m not at all looking forward to all of that, but trust that God will give us just as much excitement about our next assignment as we will have sadness about leaving here. We love and miss you all. Thank you for your investment in our lives.
- Jonathan, Abby, Kyle, Ellee, & Sadie Kate St.Clair