Above: Great to see our students graduating at AIU in Nairobi!
News from AIU in Nairobi
I (Steve) am excited for my students who graduated from our Intercultural Studies PhD! Two are now home ministering in Nigeria. Moses (above, on the left) completed the World Christianity track. Michael (on the right) became was my T.A. He graduated from the Islamics track. I continue to supervise Abram (in the middle). He has been teaching in a Bible school Tanzania for many years. Adding a wife and 3 children slowed progress, but he recently sent me a draft of his research findings.
Below: Hannah represented at AIU gradutation, celebrating here with Michael, who became our family’s friend while doing his MDiv in Missions and PhD.
Itinerating: We have visited all of TEAM’s regular church supporters and nearly all of the individuals. In March through May, we traveled from coast to coast. While some have shifted all or part of their giving to other missions, the majority have continued to support TEAM. Many expressed excitement about continuing to participate in all that God is accomplishing through TEAM.
Writing: I completed a draft of the major section on “What the Bible says about witchcraft” as well as some other sections of the “What about witches?” book. I am working with the co-author in Nigeria and editors in UK and Kenya. Writing is hard work! Writing together is even harder, but will make this much better. Jan is nearly done writing up her 4th of 5 dissertation chapters.
News from LVCC in Tanzania
Above: LVCC graduates and spouses celebrate!
LVCC’s 3 residential sites have continued at the doubled rate for the past 3 sessions! (Including spouses, a record 197 studied in the spring.) In fact, they need to split the Mwanza site into 2 sessions.
Below, 23 LVCC students graduated Sept. 3rd in Mwanza (18 men and 5 women). It was a celebration, praising God for his faithfulness, with lots of dancing, worship, and food! See our website for a video: https://youtu.be/SqVsVU-3OH0
Below: Benester is teaching the class in “Christian Family” to students and spouses. (We started giving scholarships for spouses to attend this when Jan taught it years ago.) They taught in the Mwanza PEFA church building, since they could not fit into our one classroom.
550 and more reasons to increase your support for TEAM
For 22 years, God has grown TEAM’s work in wisdom, relationships, reach and impact! Your generous investment has been rewarded! Thank you! And yet more opportunity awaits…
My (Steve’s) ¾ time ministry as Lead Pastor at Bethel Christian Fellowship (BCF) will replace my Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) teaching. I continue as only as an adjunct. In my ¼ time with TEAM, two other important roles will continue at the same pace: My writing and other communication to give wise, Christian responses to witchcraft accusations. My work in advising and communicating for Lake Victoria Christian College (LVCC), including annual visits to Tanzania.
But TEAM is about a BIG team that goes far beyond Janice and me …
Tanzania needs MANY MORE trained ministers!
Why? The number of Tanzanian Christians grew from 5 million in 1970 to 27.5 million in 2010. It is projected 93.5 million by 2050! What kind of Christians will they be? Currently 60% of Tanzanians believe that sacrifices to ancestors or spirits can protect them from harm. But imagine how 93 million well-disciplined followers could transform their 43 million Muslim neighbors, Tanzania, and the world! What an opportunity!
Record 550 minister-students at LVCC in 2016 (growth from 35 in 1995)!
TEAM provides the tuition and a book per class for 550 students who continue to be active in their ministries. 170 ministers, instead of the usual 85, were trained last year in the three short-term residential sites. Almost all of these new students already pastor churches, but have not had opportunity to attend any Bible school before.
Yet TEAM financial support has not been adequate
Over the last decade, inflation doubled the cost of everything in Tanzania. LVCC leaders have continued to tighten their belts, but the budget never had any fat. Regular giving from TEAM to LVCC has remained the same. We did that much by not taking all of our salary for the past 8 years (even though our expenses were higher than the salary). We hope that reducing the salary we take from TEAM further will finally enable us to adequately support LVCC operations.
We would love to do more. We have enjoyed giving personally and sometimes found special grants/donors for some key, extra opportunities. For example, would you like to join us in any of these?[
· Seminars for a Christian response to witchcraft accusations
· Building campuses on land already purchased for LVCC
· Scholarships for missions students at NEGST
· Roofing materials for churches
· Assisting local churches in supporting their neediest 100+ orphans and 100+widows
We want to build higher on the great foundation built by this great TEAM which includes African leaders and you as supporters! Let me encourage you to increase your ongoing or one time investment in East Africa and its ministers.
Visiting TEAM’s supporting churches & friends
While back in the US, we have also participated in Duluth Gospel Tab’s 100th and Hope Christian Church’s 95th anniversary as well as Lake City Church’s missions convention in Madison, WI and FCA family camp in Fosston, MN. We have also enjoyed seeing most of our individual supporters and hope to see more of you soon!
The dynamic duo above are off to a great start at NU, found a good church and have plugged into a campus ministry.
Steve has been able to share in variety of churches and with supporters as well as to continue supervision of AIU students. His half-time interim lead pastoring has begun well. He has enjoyed working with the leaders at Bethel Christian Fellowship.
Jan finished transcribing her 67 research interviews, with the help of the twins. Her article was recently published at http://henrycenter.tiu.edu/
Justin got an exciting job in the field he wants to pursue!
Hannah finished edits on the Africa Study Bible, started as Acquisitions Editor and her new book is out!
LVCC continues well with its doubled classes of ministers.
Please pray for…
Rachel and Isaac: Being light and salt at Northwestern University
Steve: Effectiveness and balance: Leading Bethel Christian Fellowship including weekly teaching at on “Treasuring One Another Across Cultures” and preaching every other week from Genesis on “Thriving in Tough Times.” TEAM ministry including writing on witchcraft accusations.
Jan: Efficient analyzing and writing on “Teaching International Students” and for us as we enter the empty nest phase!
Justin: Settling in well to work and life in Mbarara, Uganda & finding a church and community
Hannah: Balancing work, study, book promotions, and friends
AIU: Vision, leadership, and encouragement for faculty and staff in changing times
LVCC: Strength, wisdom and provision for training more students. For God to prepare the next generation of leaders.
They are settling in well – Isaac is majoring in mechanical engineering and Rachel, in human development & psychological services (pre-social work). They joined the campus ministry called Chi-Alpha and are excited to go to a church in Chicago with a Swahili service. They coach kids for work study. For a glimpse of us saying good-bye, see https://www.facebook.com/
Justin has a job! In November he is moving to Mbarara, Uganda to do public health research and community health education for 18-24 months. He joins a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital and Mbarara University of Science and Technology in southwestern Uganda. He sends a big thanks to all of you who prayed and helped him along in his search this summer. If you want to hear more from him directly, send him an email.
Family milestones and job changes from Hannah
This May, all of my siblings graduated! A perfectly timed work-trip allowed me to be in Minnesota for Justin’s birthday & graduation from Macalester College (photo above), as well as Grandpa Rasmussen’s 90th birthday.
Then I flew back to Kenya just in time for Rachel and Isaac’s high school graduation (above photo)! My family is now in the US for college / a year-long sabbatical, and I’ve welcomed two friends as housemates.
For the past two years I have been editorial managing the Africa Study Bible. We have completed all editorial! PRAISE GOD! See more at http://oasisint.net/africa-
Now I am doing my new dream job! I am an Associate Acquisitions Editor with the same publisher, Oasis International. I find African Christian authors and work with them on developing their book concept into a final manuscript. I do this role half-time and am taking Master of Divinity classes at Africa International University for the next 3 years (pictured above).
Thanks for your prayers. The Witchcraft Accusations and the Church Conference in early March in Nairobi went great! Over 200 scholars, students, and church leaders participated for two days – double the number and time we have had at any previous Africa Society of Evangelical Theology (ASET) meeting. We also plan to produce two books. (ASET is finishing its first book from last year’s conference.)
What does the Bible say on witchcraft?
The first day, various experts, mostly African elders, shared their expertise on the topic. Steve connected the research, the practical situation in the villages, and the Biblical teachings. He really challenged us to trust in God’s power (not fear deceivers and accusers), and to care for the accused (usually widows, orphans, and the vulnerable). Steve’s hard drive crashing that morning made him trust God – and the Holy Spirit REALLY enabled him!
Before the meetings, Bishop Sam Kunhiyop and Steve, with writing expertise from Hannah, discussed the book they are writing on witchcraft accusations for pastors, funded by Tyndale Foundation. Pray for this book to come together. This will be a priority in our sabbatical this next school year.
Church leaders and researchers go deeper
Then, as a follow-up from our 2013 conference, 20 of us committed to working on this issue met for two days to share in depth what we are learning and doing about witchcraft accusations around Africa, and to make plans to collaborate more. Steve’s mentor Dr. Priest led us.
We discussed some of the things we had been posting on the blog at http://henrycenter.tiu/
From the DR Congo, we heard Rev. Abel Ngolo report how families and some pastors identify children as witches and even torture then to exorcise the witchcraft. However, he is ministering to these children and teaching pastors how to better handle the situation. (In Kinshasa, 70% of 20,000 street kids were chased from their homes for such accusations).
Members of this group conducted and conference and then a survey of 700+ pastors. One result of the survey was that pastors with less theological education were more likely to be accusing children. Because Pentecostal pastors have less training, they are also more likely to be involved. (Training saves lives!)
Reporting on village seminars in TZ
Many were impressed with the training being done by the Pentecostal pastors we work with in Tanzania. The Lake Victoria Christian College (LVCC) deans presented with Janice their approach to this hot issue in 19 seminars to over 1000 villagers. Jan contributed her expertise in adult education to the whole four days. She submitted a post for the blog so you can read more soon..
We enjoyed this conference because we got to introduce our friends to each other: 10 church leaders from Tanzania we have worked with for decades, colleagues and students from AIU and other theological schools, as well as Steve’s mentors from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago, who sponsored it with ASET. Above, Steve is with the former Dean Tienou of Trinity International University, Chicago and the LVCC Deans from Tanzania: Revs. Benesta Misana, Raphael Okeyo, and Nestory Lunyilija.
Out of the desire to make a difference we formed a coalition: Light: Christians Addressing Witchcraft and Witch Accusations. Steve was encouraged to lead this group into vision, a mission statement, etc. We formed a board of ten top scholars and church leaders, which includes the heads of three churches based in Nigeria, Ghana, and Malawi totaling more than 14 million Christians. Other members are from Kenya, DR Congo, Burkina Faso, USA, and UK. Please pray for this community of Light to move ahead in bringing light to local communities.
- Thanks, too, for your prayers for Chinyere Priest. She is recovering.
- Jan got ethical review board approval. Pray for the Kenyan government research permit to come quickly and for her interviews.
- Jan and Steve have 3 intensive courses to teach in April as well as Steve finishing his regular semester courses.
- LVCC in Tanzania: Record numbers of students in the one-month intensive terms (53 now studying in Musoma and 59 in Mwanza) have brought great opportunity and challenge.
- Thank you! We appreciate your concern and prayers. God is faithful!
Witch Accusations and the Church conference
For the next four days, Jan and I will be staying at another university. Wednesday and Thursday we will discuss with a small working group what we have done related to Witch Accusations and the Church since the 2013 conference and make plans for next steps. Friday and Saturday we will be presenting to 150 leaders on these topics.
We are sponsoring 12 top Church and Bible College leaders from Tanzania to come and be part of this. I look forward to friends who I have worked with for decades meeting each other: from Mwanza, Chicago, Nigeria, DRC, Ghana, Malawi, Canada and Kenya.
I and others have been working hard to pull this all together. But this will only be worth anything if God does his work. I know that Satan loves accusing, deceiving, and threatening with this, but I also know that God is trustworthy and all-powerful. He loves the vulnerable especially (who are often accused). Please pray!
Please pray for complete healing for him and also for Chinyere Priest. She is my teaching assistant, PhD supervisee, and an enthusiastic learner from Nigeria. She planned to be part of this conference. She had an operation, but they cut her colon so she needed another operation to fix that. She just got home after 24 days in the hospital – mostly in intensive care. She is still in much agony, but praising Jesus for sparing her life.
Pray for Jan. She completed all revisions on her PhD research proposal. Now she is completing a detailed ethical review process, but is running out of time to do her interviews and survey before summer.
We also appreciate your prayers for our daily life, relationships and tasks. We are well and our teaching is going fine. Pray for our revision of our MA theology curriculum. Continue to pray for AIU leadership, vision, finances, and future. God enables us through your prayers.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Thank you so much for your support to us and to Training East African Ministers in 2015! God and you have been very gracious!
What a privilege to have several supporters/family/friends visit us this year. (Maybe you should come to?) Pastors Jim Olson and Tom and Alice Flaherty came as well as my sister Leann and her whole family of ten. We ended the year with a visit from Jan’s brother David Horsager, his wife Lisa, and their four great kids.
We got to show them Nairobi and introduce them to our friends, church, schools, and ministry.
David spent a full day teaching the advantages of the Trust Edge and the 8 pillars to build it with a group of senior church leaders. We also met with several of these leaders separately. We really enjoyed learning from him and seeing the excitement of about these truths from the leaders. We praise God for how he is using David’s books and teaching with many leaders, businesses, and government organizations in the USA and other countries.
A little update on our family: Janice passed her proposal defense with just some minor revisions while David’s family was here. Hannah finished her first semester of her MDiv with Hebrew and Biblical theology of mission. Rachel and Isaac have been doing well in so many activities like leading National Honor Society fundraisers and service projects. Isaac is going to Northwestern University in Chicago. NWU is also Rachel’s first choice of the eight colleges she is applying to. Justin has been leading the Intervarsity group at Macalester as well as dorm residents as a senior RA. He has enjoyed learning more about the field he hopes to serve in after graduating in May: global mental public health.
My (Steve’s) research on sickness, death and witches taught me how critical this is to people’s life and faith in Jesus in Tanzania, Africa, and the world. For example a person suspected of being a witch is murdered every day in Tanzania alone. But at first, my attempts to teach and write about this met with repeated closed doors. So we kept praying and talking.
God has now opened many doors! Now we really need YOU to pray us through them!
Teaching counselors and teachers
In December, John Jusu and I taught probably the first class ever in “Witchcraft, Accusations and Counseling” at the request of the psychology and counseling department at AIU (below).
I have also been asked by the Henry Center for Theological Understanding to join a team of mostly African scholars and church leaders who will be blogging on this topic for the next 10 months. I will write 10 blog posts and respond to others.
I am nearly done with the first draft of an article and 18 notes on particular scriptures related to witches for the Africa Study Bible.
Samuel Kunhiyop, Hannah and I now have Hippo Publishers committed to publish our book on “What about witches: Christian response to sufferers and suspects” – once we write it.
ASET – I am currently chair of the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology. This Saturday (March 7) is our annual meeting. We focused the theme on Christian Response to Suffering and more than doubled the number of presentations on everything from terrorism to Job. Presentations somewhat related to witchcraft will include Janice, myself, Bob Priest (my former supervisor – USA), and 2 students I am supervising. Dr. Isaiah Majok Dau, bishop of the Sudan Pentecostal Church will be flying in straight from the fire of war in Sudan. We have an agreement with Langham literature to make a book from the best of the presentations.
The following week (March 9-13) Jan and I will go to a writing retreat where I and others will revise and finalize our chapters for a book from our Africa Leadership Study. I am writing about the top African leaders’ use of intercultural skills – NOT about witchcraft for a change.
Please Pray! So far, writing has been a struggle. All of these have something due in the next week and more in the months ahead! Only the Holy Spirit through your prayers can enable Jan, myself and others to write what will reduce fear, ostracism, beatings and murders. Only God can give us the focus and fruitfulness to write all of this in addition to all of our regular responsibilities (For example, Jan is teaching one class and finishing her last PhD class. I am teaching three and supervising 7 student’s research projects.)
Other prayer requests:
- Good guidance for Janice as she writes her PhD dissertation research proposal.
- Challenges at AIU: Clear vision, Student – management disagreements, Finances
- LVCC: Now teaching an intensive month of classes in both Mwanza and Musoma, Title deed for the 17 acres in Mwanza, Finances
We are so thankful for YOU! Why?
January 8th marks 20 years since we arrived with two babies in East Africa. All of these years, we have worked side by side with the wise, faithful Tanzanian leaders below.
Front Row, L to R – Raphael, Benester, John, Nestory. In addition to running Lake Victoria Christian College, these men each pastor a church, lead a region of churches (totaling 280 churches) and are recent or current national leaders. Back Row- 5 of our family – Janice, Isaac, Steve. Rachel, Hannah
The top leadership of LVCC met our top leader at AIU – the VC, Prof. Dankitt Nassiuma. Nice for us to have our bosses meet one another so they know about our responsibilities in both places.
We took these pictures a week before Christmas when they came from Tanzania to Nairobi for an LVCC board meeting. During our meetings, we thanked them for all of their wisdom, faithfulness, and hard work for just $150/month. They said “Look at all that has transpired because of your perseverance, especially in those tough early years,” and “You have done something no missionary has ever done – continued financial support even after moving away” [from Tanzania to Kenya to teach missions at AIU]. But all of that is really YOU who faithfully pray, give, encourage all these 20 years. YOU are key TEAM members. You pray perseverance and fruitfulness into us. Only God records your faithful prayers, but my records show your faithful giving to TEAM – in fact more than 20 of you churches and individuals have supported TEAM monthly for all 20 years. You have prayed and given even though most of you have never heard the encouragement from these leaders or met the ministers and missionaries being trained.
When we came to Mwanza, Raphael was head student of 35. John and Nestory had recently graduated in the first class. 465 ministers are studying now. The deans told of the reputation our graduates have given LVCC in many denominations through their very effective pastoring. Tens of thousands have been trained in seminars. They talked of how the marriage seminars continue to be taught spontaneously although TEAM sponsorship ended a decade ago. They told Hannah that when they give money from her to orphans and widows they encourage Tanzanians to continue to give because “this comes from students like you.”
We discussed the seminar we conducted on witch accusations, the 4 follow-up seminars, and the plans for more. They discussed how engrained and disastrous misunderstandings on this were in local villages and even churches, but how our teaching is slowly changing worldviews and community relationships. They were excited about my writing and teaching on this and that their research with me has become part of an international movement.
John also gave the great news that the 17 acres of land in Mwanza had been resurveyed and the legal obstacles removed. It should be ready to build on this year (and will need to be built on within 3 years or the government will give it to others).
Although we apologized that TEAM had been unable to give 3 months of our regular support in 2014, Benester responded with faith, “let us just pray that God will supply by the end of the year.”
[If you want to give a special gift as part of answering that prayer, you can donate online here or to avoid having any percentage taken by credit card companies send it to TEAM, 1466 Portland Ave. St Paul, MN 55104. As always, 100% of your giving will go to ministry in East Africa; nothing is taken for administrative charges.]
Again, I cannot thank you enough for all of your prayers, giving, and trust through the years! God has used you to do amazing things in Tanzania and across Africa!
Sometimes friendship, teaching and research overlap. We discovered in our Africa Leadership Study that a number of the most influential Christian organizations in Kenya have AIU-NEGST graduates as both the top and assistant leaders. Two prominent examples: The sister organization to InterVarsity in the USA – Fellowship of Christian Unions (FOCUS) has 42,000 university students involved in its ministry in Kenya and has evangelized, discipled and trained many Kenyan leaders. National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) influences everyone from the government down.
Now some of these leaders are being replaced….by more recent NEGST graduates and friends of ours. Please celebrate with them (and yourself for your indirect impact). Also pray with them as they take up these significant responsibilities.
Below…I taught George in a couple of my classes and Mary in many since she graduated with her MA in Missions. Both are now PhD students. They also are great parents.
“Mr. George Odhiambo Ogalo (pictured with his family) has been appointed as the next National Director of FOCUS Kenya with effect from 1st December 2014 for an initial period of five (5) years.
(From the FOCUS facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/
“The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has a new Deputy General Secretary. Dr. Nelson Makanda Ndonga was today appointed by the NCCK’s Executive Committee meeting held at Limuru to succeed Oliver Kisaka who formally retires next month.
General Secretary Reverend Canon Peter Karanja, the incoming Deputy General Secretary Nelson Makanda and his predecessor Mr. Oliver Kisaka [All of these are NEGST graduates]
Makanda has vast experience, and holds a PhD in Biblical studies from Africa International University, Masters of Biblical studies and a Bachelors of Education degree from Egerton university.”
(From the NCCK page through this link http://www.ncck.org/newsite2/
From our ALS report: The Deputy General Secretary is the principal assistant to the General Secretary. His office facilitates the theological aspects of NCCK’s work, which includes promoting spiritual formation, cooperation among members, and unity of vision in NCCK’s work. Key engagements by this office include curriculum development for theological training within the membership.