Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Adventure Continues

Yesterday was the first day of classes, and I woke up sick. Nauseated. Dizzy. Feverish. Overwhelmingly tired. I texted some people back home and asked for prayers -- but I knew it was likely they wouldn't see my text until much later because of the 8-hour time difference. I sipped a Sprite and nibbled on a cracker, then rode with Eric over the bumpy roads to the teaching site -- all the way, trying to keep my stomach from turning over. When I arrived, the Tanzanian pastors were excited about the training, and happy to see me. I told them I was feeling awful, and asked them to pray for me. They made a circle around me, and then they all prayed -- not "going around the circle" like we do -- but all of them at the same time! Quite an experience. We spent most of the morning with Eric doing announcements and housekeeping stuff -- then it was time for me to begin teaching. I stood up, queasy and tired, but excited. My first subject was preaching, beginning with a section on "The Role of the Pastor." I taught from John 21, 1 Peter 5, and Ephesians 4. The pastors seemed to enjoy it immensely. The lunch break is two whole hours! So Eric took me home and let me rest up before the next class. In the afternoon, we turned to Christian Doctrine, using the Apostles' Creed as a framework. The Apostles' Creed is the oldest choherent statement of Christian belief that we have, other than the creeds that appear in the Bible itself (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:3-7). It dates back to the middle of the second century, which is even before the church decided which books to include in the Bible. The Apostles' Creed is also the most widely used and agreed upon creed, at least among the churches in the West. So it's a fairly important statement. We talked about what our beliefs are based on -- Scripture, first and foremost, with the Tradition of the church, reason, and experience as interpretive guides. We talked about the origins of the Apostles' Creed. Did you know it was originally used for baptism? The pastor would ask, "Do you believe in God?" and the baptizee would answer, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth." "Do you believe in Jesus?" "I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord..." and so on. Then we started in on the phrases of the creed. We talked about a biblical view of God and how it differs from many of the beliefs around us. We looked at the phrase "Father Almighty" and talked about how God is both personal/caring and powerful/mighty. There was lots of lively discussion. Especially about baptism. When I mentioned baptism (see above) the pastors wanted to spend a lot of time talking about controversies like baptizing infants and dunking vs. sprinkling. I enjoyed all of this immensely. I felt right at home. It seemed like the pastors and I were connecting, despite the language barrier (I was doing all teaching, and answering all questions, through a translator. A very young man, by the way -- equivalent to a high school student or a freshman in college.) I was having a good time. But I sure felt awful. All day I felt like I was going to throw up. Finally, 5:00 rolled around, and Eric took me home. I took some phenergan -- an anti-nausea medicine that Sherry Goar got for me right before I left. (I would have taken it first thing in the morning, but it knocks me out. Not a good state to be in if you're trying to teach.) Eric fixed me some chicken-flavored Ramen noodles. I ate about half of them, then sat up long enough for the food to settle. By 6:30 pm, I was in bed asleep. But this morning -- PRAISE GOD! -- I woke up feeling fine! Thanks to all of you e-mail prayer warriors at Covenant who prayed. It means a lot. Today the teaching went well again. This time we did Doctrine in the morning, and Preaching in the afternoon. Again, there were lively discussions that I didn't really anticipate, but enjoyed participating in. Again, the pastors received the teaching with great joy and enthusiasm. The following two pictures are the outside and the inside of the church where I am teaching...

1 comment:

  1. Prayers for healing, Claude!! The Spirit is alive and well!!