NEWS MID FEBRUARY 2016
Jim’s Journal for February 2016 can be downloaded here.
SEE YOU SOON
Please be informed that I am planning a trip to Europe in a few months’ time. The aim behind this trip is to give me more time with friends and supporters in the UK. Also to enable me to attend a number of missions conferences / events in the UK and Germany. (I do not intend to travel as much as do during regular furloughs. Instead, I hope to concentrate on ministry with the below two churches.)
God willing, my schedule will be as follows:
NCBC (Norwich Central Baptist Church): 1st and 2nd, then 6th to 18th May.
ABC (Andover Baptist Church): 20th to 29th May and 4th to 12th June.
Conferences: 3rd to 5th May, 19th May, 30th May to 3rd June.
Priesting a Loan Company
It seems that yesterday I was ‘priesting a loan company’. Now, that’s quite a literal translation from Luo … so what do I mean?
When working cross-culturally, one has to decide, will I be ‘with the people’, or will I ‘kick against’ the people? It is very easy as a European to tell Africans where they have gone wrong. Often such arises from misunderstanding. If one understood better, one might be less condemning. Acquiring understanding requires working with the people.
I did not inquire details when invited a month ago to this event organised by the youth of the church I visited. I was told the event will start at 9.00am. I arrived just as things were getting going at 11.00am. 100 or so people gathered in front of us, most wearing green shirts as they were members of a particular Western-funded NGO. We were ten pastors (‘priests’) from a wide variety of indigenous churches. Some youth of the above indigenous church had taken the initiative to organise this event. We were in a hall built by the Millennium Development Project.
The purpose of the gathering seemed to be to familiarise people with a special offer of solar panels and lights for their homes from a loan company; get it now and pay for it as you use it. ‘African style’ however, people were uneasy with the idea of launching into such a subject without adequate preparation. Hence the ten of us had been invited. With our chairman in charge, we led prayers, singing, introductions of key people, sharing of the word of God (I was one of three preachers appointed), followed by an offering, followed by ‘acquiring blessing’. In this perhaps to some supposedly secular sales-meeting, we soon had everyone at the front looking for blessing from God through the ‘priests’. (The Luo word is jodolo. To dolo is to lead people through a ceremony. Jo is ‘people of’. Ceremonies almost invariably have an element of sacrifice to God in return for reward from him.) By the end of our 1.5 hour event, we had a small mountain of maize, beans, eggs, soap, groundnuts, sugar, hand-brooms and money given to the ‘priests’ as offerings to God and thanks for their services. We then went aside and shared that between the ten of us. (Thus I had a gift to give to my hosts that night – I spent the night with a friend and his family.) After we had done, representatives from the loan company promoted their products to the assembled crowd.
Please continue to pray for the sick that I visit in the Coptic and other hospitals on a regular basis. Give thanks for recent opportunities to join a local pastor doing visiting in a nearby village. Prayer also appreciated for the various publishing projects I have in various stages of completion, as well as the discussions I am involved in and mentoring I am doing of various young people.
For information on my latest book see: here.