April 22, 2009
Greetings. I hope this letter finds all of you doing well. I heard a turkey gobbling here this morning and it made me wish I was in the woods. Oh well, maybe in a couple of years.
I finally feel like we are doing more than just settling in here. I began leading the Timothy Leadership Trainings (TLT) again on Monday. Monday’s session was in Otuboi. Their topic for the next year will be “Teaching the Christian Faith.” It was fun to be teaching again. I was greatly encouraged that the overseer of Faith Mission (he had attended the last two units of training there) had gone to all the pastors which he supervises to encourage them to come for this training. There were 7 new Faith Mission pastors there; altogether there were 17 pastors and church leaders who attended.
Our lesson focused on what makes someone a good teacher. We came to three conclusions. First, they have knowledge to offer the students. Second, their life exudes the character and truth which their words proclaim. Finally, they teach what is important in such a way that it challenges the learner to follow. We ended by discussing where we get our authority (from the Bible) and what we can do with that authority. Based on 2 Tim. 3:16, we have authority to teach truth, rebuke evil, correct wrong ideas and living, and to train people to live out truth. Things were going well; we were about ten minutes from finishing when a big storm blew in. The roof is metal so it was too loud to hear each other talking. Rain was blowing in the windows (the windows are just openings in the walls where metal window frames can be installed later) so we had to rearrange the benches. The worst part was that the dust from the smeared cow dung floor was blowing all around inside the church. It was visible on everything in the church - my shirt, Bible, benches, etc. It was kind of gross. After about 20 minutes we were able to resume our lesson. Unfortunately we kind of lost our momentum and by then I had to be going so we were not able to work on each person’s action plan. I had stressed early in the day how important action plans were so…I will find out who did one next month.
I was also excited that I was asked to begin leading TLT trainings in another village called Obule. My language helper is trying to arrange a meeting with the church leaders there to discuss details about that training. I am also meeting with a couple pastors to discuss leading the TLT in a week-long seminar either in Amuria or Katakwi. Last year I did the first unit in each of those places. I hope now to go back and train them in the second unit.
Ateso language study is going well, maybe deceptively well right now. Honestly, I forgot a lot of words while we were in Michigan; therefore, during my language lessons I am learning new words and words I used to know (which is easier than learning new words) so I feel like I have made great progress in the last two weeks. I have also learned a lot of transition words (so, that is why, like this, so that) so I am able to construct more complex sentences. On the negative side, it gives me a false confidence to get involved in a conversation then suddenly I hit the end of my ability and the conversation ends awkwardly. (This might actually be a good thing, because I think it helps me learn more.)
Around the home front…Grace knows how to spell her name now. Lydia is suddenly spelling and reading many more words - she has really benefited from the one to one atmosphere of home schooling. Luka is growing and has been very good the last few days, but is not going to bed well at night. It is hard to let him cry it out when his bed is 3 feet from our bed. Thankfully he sleeps 8-9 hours once he falls asleep. Lastly, I finished building the grill. It is nice - looks like an Old Testament altar in our front yard, but it did a fine job cooking hotdogs Sunday night.