One thing about working at the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies, you can always find something to do! Over the past month I have filled the role of teacher, administrator, accountant, librarian, contractor, personal worker and preacher. I can’t say I always enjoy every role I am called upon for, and I am certainly not the most qualified for any of them, but God is using me as He sees fit. I am ever thankful that as He uses me He is always there to help me do the things that are necessary.
I just finished my second (and final) class for this school term, a mini-course study of the Great Commission. Part of the class work involved putting the great commission into practice through in class exercises designed to help build personal evangelism skills. The students really seemed to enjoy the role playing exercises and the opportunity to talk about ways to “preach the gospel to all creation.” Much of the role playing centered on fulfilling the Great Commission in Islamic areas, a necessity for those who are going to work in the northern regions of Ghana. We also had some fun with the students trying to evangelize while I played the part of the unwilling and obnoxious prospect. My prayer is that exercises such as these will give our students the confidence to go out and fulfill the Great Commission in their own villages.
The administrative and accountant duties are probably the least favorite things I get to do each month. They are probably the ones I am the worst at as well, but since they are necessary I do my best to stay on top of them. A large part of the administrative work this past month was trying to teach the Institute’s staff how to prepare and document campaign plans and budgets. Accounting wise, keeping on top of the Institute’s monthly budget as well as the building projects budget keeps me on my toes. Budgets are a nightmare, as I have learned that whenever you get quoted a price for anything that it is never going to be the real price. There will always be something you have to go buy for the person to do the work. It can be quite maddening at times!
My librarian duties is a side project I decided was necessary, create an electronic card catalog system to make it possible to find something in the library. This project came about after I spent hours looking for books the students could use to write an assigned paper for the Gospel of John class. I concluded that if I couldn’t find anything that it might be hard for the students as well. So far I have about one third of the books identified and entered into the system (a simple searchable database) and hope to have the complete project wrapped up by December.
Then there is the contractor job for the new building that is being worked on. Did I say administrative and accounting is my least favorite? Let me take that back. Trying to get things done at the building site drives me crazy! Much of it is due to my lack of understanding regarding local building practices. I am trying to learn to go with the flow, but it is not easy. I have learned that if someone says it will take two weeks to complete a task, it will take at least four. Despite the headaches the building continues to come along as we have begun installing doors and windows and painting some of the rooms. The hope is to move into the building sometime during the next school term.
For as much as I dislike some of the tasks that are necessary to keep the school running, the opportunity for personal evangelism and preaching more than make up for them! This past weekend I joined the students and two other members of the staff for an evangelism campaign at a local college, the University for Development Studies (UDS). The church that meets at UDS asked for our help in order to introduce the church to the new students who have arrived. Another thing I have learned is that door knocking here in Ghana is different than anywhere I have been before. Here, when you knock on a door you are not trying to set up a Bible study, you are planning to have a Bible study! In the three days we spent going room to room through the UDS dormitories there were very few people who declined to have a study right then. We studied with Muslims as well as people from many different denominations, resulting in a number of visitors at this past Sunday’s worship service. We are working on a plan now to continue to go back to UDS at least one weekend each term and continue the work began this past week.
The next evangelism opportunity for the students and staff is coming up in a couple of weeks as we will be traveling to the town of Bimbila for the all-school fall campaign. This campaign takes place during the week after classes are completed, and is one of the two major week long campaigns that are part of the school’s curriculum. Bimbila is a larger town, but there is no church of Christ that meets there. We will be working with some of the leaders from the surrounding village churches to establish a congregation of the Lord’s church in Bimbila by doing house to house evangelism during the day and public preaching each night.
There is one more project I am working on as well that is outside of my responsibilities at the Bible Institute. When I was in Ghana last year I saw an opportunity to teach children about Jesus and the Bible by offering English classes that used the Bible as a primary textbook. I thought it would be a way to begin teaching children, with the goal of expanding over time into a Christian elementary school. There have been a number of issues and changes necessary to actually put the plan in place, but this weekend I will be traveling north to visit the Bawku and Kuka congregations to finalize plans for the school to be part of the church of Christ Kingdom of Hope Orphans Home. I hope to provide more details on this project next month.
As I said, if you are working in Ghana you can always find something to do!
Did you know?
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Ghana is 64 degrees.
Thank You Supporters!
I greatly appreciate those who are part of this ministry. Over half of the support I receive each month goes directly to help the people and the work here, and most of the rest is spent in travel costs to do the work. Some of the things your money has done these past few months include purchasing an additional water tank for the school, purchasing the necessary tools to allow the students to make their own meals at the school, providing transportation to the hospital for a sick baby and his mother, providing doctor visits and medicine for a number of sick children, payment for a room for visiting preachers to use when working at the church planted in Cinkasse, food for the orphans home, campaign expenses, and so much more. I am currently seeking to raise my monthly support from $1250 per month to $2000 per month. Won’t you consider being part of this work, or passing this information on to others who might want to help? Please send all contributions to:
Did you know that I write a blog about what it is like to live and work in Africa? Every week or so I post a new article at http://thinkingsouls.wordpress.com/. I hope you will check it out. Some of the recent stories include:
Road Trip - My adventures driving from Accra to Tamale.
My Test Garden - Learning some valuable lessons while trying to grow tomatoes.
Just What Am I Doing Here - Sometimes the real reason we have to do something is as simple as “because I can.”
Bear Valley Updates
Did you know I also write an update every couple of weeks regarding what is going on at the school that is sent out as part of Bob Turner’s Bear Valley Weekly Report on the extension school programs? You can access all of the reports from the Tamale school at /extension-news/tag/tamale. Here is a glimpse at the most recent report.
Work Accomplished By TIBS Students And Graduates... SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2012 AT 12:56PM
Work in the Salaga Area
Current TIBS student Matthew Donker comes from the village of Mbauwndo, located near the city of Salaga, here in the Northern Region. During the break between terms in August Matthew returned to Mbauwndo to do personal evangelism work in the village. Matthew reports that four souls were taught the gospel and added to the church through baptism for the remission of sins. Matthew will be returning to Mbauwndo after he graduates to continue teaching the gospel in the Salaga area.
Work in the Saboba Area
TIBS graduate Bisaan Tibei Richard visited the Institute this past week with a report on the work that is going on in the Saboba area. We were extremely happy to see Richard as the school had been expecting to hear from him for some time. Richard’s report reads as follows:
I am very sorry for delaying in giving my report to you. It is not because I have had a chance but did not come, but because of sickness and other problems. This sickness and problems did not mean that I forgot the school or that I am putting aside God’s work which had been given to me by His grace. I am very seriously working, and others as well. On 9th June 2011 by God’s grace I have been able to establish one church at Buegmal, which now has 29 members. I was also able to renew the congregation at Tunbu in November of 2011. This year I baptized four additional people in Tunbu, raising their number from 32 to 36 members.
Check the Bear Valley Extension School webpage for the remainder of this article and more about the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies!
Thank you for your interest and support of the work in West Africa! Please share this newsletter with others who may be interested.
Greenbrier church of Christ Attn: African Missions
12 Wilson Farm Rd. Greenbrier, AR 72058
Thank you for your help!
Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies P.O. Box TL 925
Tamale, Northern Region
Ghana Phone - 011-233-0248216622 E-Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org