NEWS MIDDLE OF OCTOBER 2012
On 23rd September I was in a church. Two of us were to share. I started off "teaching", then a certain lady was to be the "preacher". The task of the preacher is to be used by God to stir up the congregation so that they end up crying, kneeling, repenting. The lady preacher did this very well. One lady in the congregation had a demon, which we caste out for her. This African power-context is one in which "normal" English style preaching often does not keep an audience for very long. Congregations prefer aggressive African preaching that perturbs the demons and prepares people to live on the paths of holiness. One difficulty with this is that the style and content of such "aggressive preaching" seems to fly in the face of a great deal of "good sense" that is communicated in the typical theological education coming from the West.
A 9 day trip to Tanzania enabled me to catch up with friends, visit and share in the life of a theological college, and walk and talk with some American missionaries who are doing challenging front line evangelism and discipleship work.
All of the teachers at the Bible college, that is under the Mennonite church, are my ex-students. One stayed with me for some 6 months before getting married and once worked with us in Yala. It was good to catch up with them and encourage them. For details.
Missionaries in the town of Mwanza are connected to Abilene Christian University, (in Texas, where we had our conference in March of this year). Their method of operation, deeply rooted in long and careful meditation, scholarship and prayer, is to my knowledge unique. All four American couples in the team are rearing young children, at the same time as ministering in local languages to believers in rural churches. Those churches have been planted by forerunners to the current team who have been in the area since about 1991. Many of the missionaries are very fluent in Kiswahili and/or Kisukuma (the local mother tongue). They are working primarily with about 100 churches within a radius of about 50 miles amongst one of the least-reached peoples in Tanzania.
Here is a book by a friend of mine hot off the press. We are hoping that the author, Jean Johnson, will be able to visit the UK; probably in November 2013.
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