earthen vessels, East Africa, and the gospel
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Posts from — August 2013

Fishing with Bible Stories

Last week was the beginning of a new evangelistic push involving Bible storying. The concept is similar to the ways that each of the existing churches have started in that the biblical story will be shared in about 10 segments beginning with creation and concluding with Christ’s resurrection. This effort will be different in that it will involve previously untrained church members sharing the stories in homes, on the street, etc. A few people from each church have been volunteered, though we fully hope that every church member would eventually be participating.

While my teammate is carrying the responsibility to share each story in Swahili with the participants, I can focus on absorbing the story in Swahili and getting out into the community to share it. Last week I shared a basic creation story with about 7 people. The prospect of the next few months is exciting. Though this past week showed that most people are basically unfamiliar with the material I shared, they are also generally eager to listen to a story.

The exercise is also good for my practice Swahili. The greatest challenge is not the story itself, but the questions which follow. This is what I was asked following the creation story:

  • What kinds of trees and plants did God create?
  • Where did death come from?
  • If God created white people on the sixth day, when did he create Africans? (Please note: I did not mention any ethnicity whatsoever. I told the story of mankind’s creation.)
  • Why do some people say we should rest on the seventh day of each week while others disagree? Didn’t God give us an example?
  • If God told man to fill the earth, does it please God that some couples only have a few children?

These questions may betray the fact that the listeners are also getting the most important implications of the story: namely, God’s ability to create, his right to rule over what he has made, and man’s special purpose among God’s creation.

Please pray for us as we share God’s word. I will be glad to keep you informed as the work progresses. Tomorrow we begin practicing the story of man’s fall (Genesis 3).

August 29, 2013   No Comments

Apologetics and Missions

During the second week of August the Bible Institute met for 40 hours of instruction on the defense of the Christian faith, or apologetics. Dr. Mark Snoeberger from Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary co-taught with Dan Eads; Dr. Snoeberger provided the bulk of the course content while Dan translated and elaborated for clarity and relevance. By the last day the students were discussing ways to witness to unsaved relatives and navigate a few ethical minefields. You can read more about the week from Mark and Dan.

Mark and Dan teaching apologetics

Dan Eads and Mark Snoeberger explaining the presuppositions of the Christian faith

In spite of the difficulty of this subject, I have become a firm believer in the importance of apologetics in the task of missions. If we don’t seriously consider how to adorn the gospel before unbelievers in those ethical minefields, the gospel message loses its influence in daily life. In my opinion, that is basically tantamount to disregarding God’s intentions for us in Jesus Christ.

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August 25, 2013   No Comments

August 2013 Ministry Update

At this time in August one year ago we had already moved out of our house and had begun the last few church meetings of our pre-field ministry. There has been a lot of change for us in the past year! But by God’s grace our language learning and adjustment have moved along very well.

Last week’s excursion to Nairobi, Kenya, was indicative of the progress in our adjustment. Adjusting to life in a new place has a lot to do with learning how to meet basic needs and resolve problems. This trip required navigating a border crossing and working through a vehicle problem. In order to get the services we needed required some networking and learning how to get around the biggest city in East Africa. Since trips like this one are part of our life here, learning how to make these excursions successful is an evidence of God’s grace.

We are excited that Matt is now making preparations to directly participate in evangelism and discipleship ministry to begin in the next few weeks. We look forward to sharing news of the progress with you. Here are a few ways you can be praying with us:

  1. Our one-week trip to Nairobi was safe and successful. Matt was able to get started on a treatment for his tooth and all the rest of our checkups didn’t result in any unpleasant surprises.
  2. Another Bible Institute session begins this week. We have invited Dr. Mark Snoeberger from Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary to teach the class on the defense of the faith. The material will be challenging to teach and grasp, but the teacher, translator, and students are up to the task. Please pray that the material will be communicated effectively and that the students would be well prepared to “give a reason for the hope that is in [them]” (1 Pet 3:15).
  3. Please pray for wisdom and clarity in the proclamation of God’s word. We pray that God will be merciful to help us work past difficulties in communicating effectively.
  4. The church in Sweya has been without a pastor since October. Since they are still not financially able to call a pastor and the members are struggling to satisfy all the ministry needs, they have asked us, the missionaries, to help. Please join us in praying for wisdom as to how we should be involved and that, one way or another, the congregation’s needs would be met.

August 7, 2013   No Comments