Report from Africa #18
These last few weeks have been busy and very enjoyable. God has been very gracious to us and found us useful in many ways.
Each Wednesday for the last three weeks I have traveled with missionary Darryl Mather-Pike to work with pastors in the rural area of Ehlukwatini. It is a two hour drive from where Cathy and I are staying in White River.
We are walking through inductive Bible study methods with a large group of pastors from several villages. The first week had an attendance of forty, the second fifty and last Wednesday we had sixty people in attendance. It is growing each week and we have two more Wednesdays to go. Very few of them have had any formal Bible training at any time. This is a new experience for them.
We meet in the tribal community center for three hours each time. I have been amazed at the hunger of these pastors. I give them assignments and they do them. They ask great questions and are learning how to observe and question the scriptures. Each week I have been surprised that so many come back and more join us.
I have given them difficult scriptures from Jim Jones book on Eighty-eight Errors in the Bible. It has been fascinating to walk through those complicated stories and wrestle with them together. I break them into groups and give them a story in the Bible and have them spend thirty minutes observing and writing down what they see. Then they formulate questions and we share as a large group.
By the time we are finished it is dark. One single light bulb has been used to light the room for all these people. I found myself struggling to read my own Bible when guiding their thinking and discussion. But what a joy to teach people who can’t get enough of God’s Word.
Most of them speak Siswati and I have to work through an interpreter. It is fascinating to capture their thinking on specific English words. Very often they describe their understanding of a word and I discover significant differences and amazing similarities. They cheer each other when good observations are made.
I wish you could come with us one day and see their hunger and love for God’s Word. This week the hosting pastor spoke of his dream to develop a pastoral training center with resources for study. He has even gotten the chief to approve the use of a plot of land. Their appetites warm our hearts and souls.
Thank you for praying as we finish the last few weeks of our African mission trip. Soon we will have been here for eight months. Words seem so useless when we try to describe all of the experiences, people and communities we have visited. God has been more than gracious.
Cathy and Danny Sartin
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Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.