NEWS MID DECEMBER 2015
The internet is enabling a kind of ongoing engagement with academic circles back in ‘the West’ that one could not have dreamt of a few years ago. Possibilities are constantly expanding. This is amazing as increasingly I am able to contribute a ‘voice from the periphery’ to numerous discussions. Just by way of example, over 1,370 scholars on academia.edu read or at least looked at a recent contribution from me on translation between the West and Africa (Here.) that I believe is key for encouraging young people to go into mission.
19 years after having begun teaching at KIST, it is amazing to see where some of our students are now. Many of the young men that sat in class with me between 1997 and 2011 are now heavily engaged in Kenya’s (and neighbouring countries’) booming tertiary education sector. It is amazing to think how contributions I made in class then are now being multiplied through having influenced today’s leading scholars in areas of theology, philosophy and numerous other related disciplines. The way KIST functioned has contributed to many of our graduates choosing academic careers as means of sharing God’s word. Pray for their influences in this critical fast growing sector impacting many young people in Kenya and beyond.
12 or so young men from Kenya and Tanzania are currently staying here at the Coptic compound receiving training for ministry. My role in their training is informal and minimal, but yet a great privilege. I do get opportunity to share with them and to encourage them as they prepare to meet challenges in serving the church in the years ahead. I do very much appreciate the ‘informal’ style of ministerial education practiced by the Coptic Church.
A friend-to-be from Egypt wrote in a recent email: I heard “that you visited [a] monastery and . . . about your spirit in the Mission work, as a vulnerable Mission. I was very glad to hear such a spirit coming from the West. And as you know, the real Coptic spirituality is based on "He emptied Himself", but what impressed me much is that the same spirit is implemented in the Mission work, not only in worship, or common behavior. He showed me also some of your books you gave to their library. I took the titles and my sister ordered them for me from Canada. I started reading them . . . yesterday, I [was told] that you are in Maseno, where I'm willing to go (GOD willing) in few weeks. Is that true? Are you the same Jim I'm writing to?”
There seems to be too much to write! A week or two back, one of my children came home and announced that he was saved and is following Jesus. That was excellent news. We are encouraging him in the same. Two more children are going to a Christian camp as I write this. (Pray for them!) (I plan to share at the same tomorrow.) The daughter of a good friend has come to help out with looking after my children in the month of December, and possibly beyond. Give thanks for her (pray for her, she is emerging from a broken marriage). A Coptic deacon recently spent 3 nights with me, then subsequently I visited him at his home. We engaged in a lot of ministry while he was here. He has been posted a long way from home. It was good to encourage him in the challenges that is bringing him. The PhD student in Mozambique, Xavier, who I am helping to supervise, has prepared two courses for me specifically to help him with. Looks like that will bring many challenging questions very shortly! Meanwhile in November I purchased a 50W solar panel and lead-acid battery. I have been busy learning the rudiments of home-solar lighting and wiring. I now have 7 rooms lit, with light switches that make you think you are in Europe … more rooms still to go! Last but not least, a paper that I presented at KIST in 2013 is now published on the web here.
Swahili course information here. BOOK SOON! Here.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all,
For information on my latest book see: here.