Working With African Pastors Hungry For Training
The experience of working with African pastors who are so hungry for training so that they can train their people. It was an arduous endeavor; as two pastors were determine to ride their bikes three long days on the dirt roads and trails from Mozambique to Malawi. Set out on a trek to one of ETI’s pastoral trainings, one of the pastor’s bikes was plagued with a flat tire, but he remained relentless, pushing onward toward Malawi in spite of his situation. They did arrive with many other pastors who came from villages all around, were trained, and became effective witnesses for Jesus. Hunger is not an adequate word to adequately describe the many pastors in Africa. Desperate; devouring; determined would better describe their insatiable desire to learn. Most pastors in Africa have had very little or no seminary training at all. Proverbs 27:7 says, “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Teaching is sweet to these men and they are passionate and hungering for the Word of God! A couple years ago, before we went to train these men in Malawi, Pastor Malvory Peffer flew up from South Africa to Malawi to meet and help set up our upcoming training. When he arrived there; to his surprise, numerous pastors showed up and said, “You must speak to us now!” Pastor Malvory ended up preaching 14 times in 3 days because of the spiritual hunger in these men! Later, when we came back to do the official training, these men ate up 5 days of evangelism and pastoral training. They subsequently went back to their villages and have been faithfully leading people to Christ and their churches are growing. I will never forget, when we began training these pastors, I encouraged them to take out their bibles as they were going to make a road-map in their bibles. After about 15 minutes, I noticed that very few were doing what I asked, but were simply writing on paper. I turned to pastor Malvory and said, “Pastor Malvory, they’re not making in their bibles, they’re not doing what I asked.” Malvory whispered back to me, “My brother, that’s because they don’t have a bible.” My heart broke. Malvory and I brought numerous cases of Bibles to give to these pastors at the conclusion of the training, but our agenda quickly changed as we broke out the bibles to give to these men. I wish you could have been there to see what we saw; I have never seen such jubilation! Many of these men had tears in their eyes; numerous embraced with both arms their new and only bible, and held it tightly against their chests. The joy of possessing in their hands what we often take so much for granted. Once they received their bibles, then we started all over and they gladly followed the instructions. I also remember distinctly going into a full church where only two people in the entire church had a bible. It was heart breaking. Malvory has been in countries where pastors take out pages of one bible to pass around to each other throughout the week so they can have something to preach on. I remember how we went into a major city in Malawi, driving from store to store, just to find bibles. They were almost impossible to find. What we in the western world take so much for granted; the majority of the world hungers for, not just in the physical realm, but especially in the spiritual realm. Hopefully you will look at your Bibles differently and never take for them granted. Please pray for these pastors.