We hope this finds each of you in good health, high spirits and unaffected by the recent inclement weather throughout the U.S.
I apologize for the late report. About 3 weeks ago I took a nasty fall and cracked one of my ribs. Wow, that smarts! So, I worked on not sneezing or coughing and taking it easy like the doctor said. In the past week I have felt much better and am grateful for the improvement. While I couldn’t drive or get out much, fortunately my mouth didn’t break when I fell (some who have heard me preach might not think that is good news) so I made arrangements to have the students come to my house for classes. I am teaching 1, 2, and 3 John this quarter. Turns out the students were very excited about meeting in our home. The setting has allowed us another opportunity to get to know each other on a more personal level. As John stated “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us” (1 John 3:23). We have had some great classes and they seem to be learning and growing at a fast pace.
Another way that we are trying to develop these men into effective preachers is through our congregational mentoring program. Our faculty represents a number of area congregations. We have each selected a few of the students to work with local congregations each week. Charles Heberth and I have selected Stephen Odwori, Kennedy Ng’etich, and Geofrey Ondieki to work with us a Kwa Mrombo. Each week these men take part by teaching, preaching, or conducting some other part of the worship service. When services come to an end, either Charles or I will meet with them and offer encouragement and suggestions for ways in which they can improve. By so doing we are offering a level of practical experience they don’t get in school. Book knowledge is imperative but, as we are all aware, it does not stand alone. The experience that comes through the application of knowledge is priceless and we believe this can only help them be more prepared for their future.
One of the greatest joys of living and working in a foreign mission field is that of watching someone grow in their love and thirst for God and His word. In the past you have heard me talk about Nester, my trusty friend and fellow laborer in the kingdom. Nester’s life story, which is still in its foreword, is quite moving. Time doesn’t permit us to detail his life but, to briefly set the stage, suffice it to say that he has gone from living on the street in a cardboard box to being a faithful husband, father of five, business owner and vital member of the Kwa Mrombo church of Christ.
The other day Nester and I were talking and he seemed to be somewhat down. After inquiring as to the problem he said he was upset that he didn’t know more of the bible and that he was sad for the time he wasted earlier in his life. Nester has recently been taking one of my classes at ACSOP and was quick to comment that he didn’t know that such a small book (1 John) could contain so much detail and information. The brain cramp he received in class was both exhilarating and depressing. Exhilarating in that he learned so much and depressing in that he was overwhelmed with the possibility that he didn’t have enough time left in life to learn it all. I explained to Nester that most who love God and the joy His word can offer, at some time, if not many times, during their life as a Christian have felt the exact same way. I expressed that when I graduated from preacher training school I was certain of one thing – how much of the scriptures I didn’t know!
Many who are faced with similar circumstances figure they can’t learn “enough” anyway and go back to their routine, depth lacking, handling of God’s word. Nester, however, has chosen the narrow way and is devouring the word at every opportunity. Several times per day he is asking the meaning of passages and we’ll sit down to study. What an encouragement to see the light switch flipped and the fire ignited in a brother in Christ. I hope Nester’s example encourages you too and that all of us as God’s children will develop within ourselves an insatiable desire to feed upon the vast riches found in the scriptures. “…like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2).
Until next time, take care and God bless,
Sean and Anita
To see Sean and Anita’s report with pictures, please click here.