News from the other side of the globe

I’ve been teaching this week at Central Africa Baptist College in Kitwe, Zambia. The course is entitled “Philosophy and Methodology of Expositional Preaching” and it includes all of the regular students from the college, a significant number of men who are taking the block class in a certificate program, and also a large group that is simply auditing (i.e., treating it something like a conference). Most of the men are from Zambia, but there are also men from Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. All totaled, I believe there are over 150 men taking the course in some form.

I came into the class with a fair amount of concern about how well what I teach on this subject would fit this particular context. I teach homiletics to seminary students in America, so they all have undergraduate degrees and most of them are Americans (although I’ve had men from Spain, Mexico, India, and Canada in my classes as well). The particular approach I teach is not the standard fare, so it is sometimes harder for men who have already been preaching to think differently, and this week about half of the students are senior pastors. The way I teach it is very interactive because I’m trying to teach a skill, not just theory, so having 150+ men in class was something I was very concerned about.

We’ve only got one full day left and I am very thankful that I can say that the class has been going amazingly well. The men seem very excited about what they are learning and my heart has been made full by the privilege of teaching them. I told them in class that I attribute the success so far of the class to the many people who are praying for us and to their hunger to learn God’s Word. These men really are serious about God’s Word and about learning how to communicate it accurately. I told Phil Hunt, the college president, that this has been as good a group of students as I’ve ever taught in one of these block settings. I am very encouraged about what God is doing here in Zambia.

Another highlight of this trip was sitting down for dinner with two faculty members who are graduates of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary and, more importantly, members of our church who are serving as short-termers here. Jeremy (and Jenny) Pittsley and Kevin (and Sarah) Sherman have jumped right into the work and it was incredibly encouraging to see these families diving into the work of training men for Gospel ministry. Jeremy already has a semester under his belt and is having a great ministry. Kevin got here just a few days before me, but already is eagerly embracing the task.

Frankly, I am sick of flying and really don’t enjoy traveling overseas, but when I hit the ground, see what God is doing, and have the privilege of equipping men who love God and hunger for His Word, it is hard to explain what a blessing that is. I’ve taught for 8 hours under a tent six time zones away from my home and family, but at the end of the day I’m still so pumped up I’m having a hard time getting to sleep. Our God is doing awesome things all over the globe for His glory! Seeing them firsthand is an amazing gift of His grace.

Well, it’s late over here and I’ve got 8 more hours to go tomorrow, so I’m going to go to bed praising God. If you’d pray for class tomorrow and Friday, I’d really appreciate that.

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