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News for Middle of July 2006

Dear Friends,

Opportunity / Temptation .

Two secondary school English teachers collared me, and offered me an opportunity to spend 4 to 5 hours sharing with 700 of their pupils. I would be free to talk of what I wanted provided that I used English, and encouraged the students to value English more than their own languages."If I did this" my colleagues told me "I could soon be widely known and get many audiences with whom to share God's word."

The temptation was real. If instead of saying "God loves you and values you as you are" I would instead say "learn the White man's language and you will be a good person who God loves" then I would get schoolchildren perhaps around the whole of Nyanza Province (of Kenya) to hear the Gospel!

But this Gospel would be a foreign Gospel. It would be the Gospel associated with colonialism. It would be saying (implicitly) "to be a Christian you should despise your parents" (who don't know English). I pointed out to my colleagues that forcing children to learn in a language foreign to them was denying them an education. I encouraged them to help children value themselves as they are and learn by adding to what they already know.
"If someone speaks their own language here we cane them" I was told in response. My colleagues conceded that forcing irrelevancies onto children was holding
them back educationally, but said that they had no choice but to do what they were paid to do.

Pray for me to know how to respond to such temptations / opportunities. Pray for the children who are forced to despise their own language and culture and learn foreign things that make little sense. Pray for communities living under this system.

Best wishes,