God has answered your prayers to open doors. He has given us many opportunities.Now please pray that God will enable us to do his will going through those doors.
Research and Writing – I have been called to minister through writing. At first, I only met closed doors, but now doors are opening faster than I can go through them. Thankfully two book chapters and a book review were published early this year. The top journal in Missiology is reviewing another article.
The first of March I led the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology conference as vice chairman and became chairman. I was invited to write up an article from my conference presentation on “Money, Ministry and Middlemen.” This week I have been analyzing the surveys and interviews from our three-year Africa Leadership Study (ALS) and will write a chapter from them.
June 19-22, I and many of my African colleagues will be presenting on the ALS and also on witch accusations at the American Society of Missiology meetings in St Paul, MN. Afterward, Samuel Kunhiyop and I will meet to work on a book for pastors on how to respond to witches.
Jan (see left) has finished a 220 page MPhil thesis draft on international students at AIU! She has also begun the new PhD in Education here. All of her MPhil credits will apply in the PhD. Pray for how she should use her MPhil thesis.
Teaching – Steve is teaching Intro to Missions and a PhD class on Advanced Contextualization. He taught Leadership Development and Anthropological Research Methods last term. Jan taught Spiritual and Personal Development.
Pastoring & Administration – For two months I have added another job – Acting Dean of Community Life. This means that I am pastor for the community, including overseeing chapel, grace group, bereavements, etc. but also that I am in meetings most days, sometimes for much of the day. Jan has settled in another batch of international students and set up a fun hike for international student families in April (see below). 170 international students study at AIU.
Pray for AIU Transitions – Please pray for the transitions at Africa International University. After the sudden death of our vice chancellor, the top management is almost all new. Many of our friends and neighbors have also left. Transition to a University is bringing many changes. AIU is trying to sell land to get out of major debt.
AIU gives us opportunity to invest in influential students. They make good impact for God’s kingdom. Some of our alumni and students are former Mus!ims. They have been part of more than 10,0000 Mus!ims following Jesus and more than 100 churches of Mus!im background believers. According to this article, they are not the only ones seeing breakthroughs in the Mus!im world:
In June and July, we have opportunities in the USA to speak in churches, professional meetings and visiting family, friends and supporters. We hope we have opportunity to see you. Email us or call BCF at 651-645-1534.
Thanks for your prayer and support!
My Leadership Development class met at AIU’s downtown location evening class. Therefore 16 Kenyans and one Nigerian. Great group of mostly pastors (some over multiple churches), plus school principles, administrators, and people who have retired from other careers like Parliament to do something new. May God help us all to be more Christ-like developers of leaders who develop leaders who develop leaders. Banana not Banyan tree leaders. Now the fun work of class moves to the necessary work of grading, but I still learn a lot from some student papers.
Thank you for your prayers for the research workshop on “The Church and Witchcraft / Witch Accusations!” God enabled people to safely come and go from 9 countries in the week after the elections. They received no pay, only learning. Since people come from such diverse experiences and perspectives on this topic, I was not sure that people would be able to listen and respect each other deeply. However, the participants were moved by the suffering of those accused of being witches, especially those the Bible tells us to protect and provide for: widows, orphans, grandparents, and strangers.
I was especially proud of my students and how much they have learned. They presented well their research and experience on this to these 50 scholars. There were also excellent presentations from others. For example, Opoku Onyinah presented from his pastoral experience and excellent research how local and global influences have combined to create a new “witchdemonology,” often with negative effects of accusations. I appreciated his humble, pastoral heart even though the Church of Pentecost which he leads is the largest protestant denomination in Ghana with over a million members as well as being in 80 other countries. The USA faculty also did well listening to the Africans as well as giving short presentations related to the witch accusations from expertise in Anthropology, Church History, and Bible.
Jan and I are relieved and grateful that this went so well since we did almost all of the preparations for the conference and hosting people on this side of the ocean (while Dr. Bob Priest did most of the rest). Please pray for the participants to be able to do research, writing, curriculum design, teaching, and networking to address witchcraft and witch accusations as a result of this conference.
Research consultation on “The church and witchcraft / witch accusations” March 6-9 at AIU
In my research in Tanzania the issue of witchcraft and witch accusations emerged as extremely important. Every year, just in NW Tanzania about 300,000 people are accused by diviners of being witches. The woman pictured above was accused and attacked with a machete. Many are victimized including 100-250 being killed by relatives. In other parts of Africa, some pastors take the place of diviners in prophesying who the witch is that caused your suffering. Yet the church has little guidance on how to address this in Africa or the world. Partially as a result of reading my PhD dissertation, two of my professors at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School – TEDS (Bob Priest and Tite Tienou, dean) pursued a research consultation here at NEGST – AIU in partnership with TEDS. I have been working hard with Bob to prepare for the conference, invite key participants and host the 28 arriving from the outside.
The workshop will bring together 52 Christian scholars from Malawi, Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Central African Republic, Kenya and USA. I am excited to learn together with these participants. Some of the participants are not only great Christian scholars, but also top church leaders. For example, J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu (Professor of African Christianity and Pentecostal Theology from Ghana), Timothy Nyasulu (head of the 1.3 million member Presbyterian church in Malawi) and both the current (Samuel Kunhiyop) and former (Yusufu Turaki) general secretaries of ECWA in Nigeria (with 5000 churches, 5,000,000 attenders and 1600 missionaries). Opoku Onyinah (PhD) is the Chairman of the Church of Pentecost worldwide.
Pray for safe travel (in the last elections travel from the airport was not possible the day after elections, when most are arriving). Pray especially that we would listen deeply to each other and the Holy Spirit and make plans that will bless and protect many through the church in Africa.