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It has been a while since my last prayer update. It surprised me this month that it has been a year since I started working with Africa Rural Trainers (ART). Time has gone by very quickly and it’s amazing to see the way the Lord has brought me thus far! Since my last trip to Kenya, the pastors I visited and interacted with during their training completed their 3 years of studies in November. 175 of them are due to graduate in April. We rejoice with them and praise the Lord for helping them to endure having overcome so many obstacles and challenges. 

Most of my time is spent preparing the training manuals that the teachers and trainers use to teach these pastors. I look back at the past year with amazement in the way the Lord has borne me on wings as an eagle. Thank you for your prayerful support. I started off by drafting manuals that would be used for the modules that were currently being taught. These were Romans and Galatians; Wisdom Literature and The General Epistles and Hebrews.

I then spent some time in Kenya with the pastors in training and the teachers. In a couple of workshops, we reviewed, evaluated and re-developed the course in the light of the feedback both from the pastors’ perspective and the teaching experience of the teachers and the volunteers. Reviewing the curriculum in the light of their teaching experience in the past 6 years and discussing the objectives and how they ought to relate to the studies was a great help for me. The great need I witnessed has been the encouragement that spurs me on day by day and it has also helped to shape the way I write the manuals. 

So far I’ve almost completed drafts for 12 modules (they include: How to study and understand the Word of God 1&2; Old Testament Survey; New Testament Survey, Doctrine 1; among others). 

This has been providential because, late last year, a church in Spokane, USA donated funds for starting a new training centre. It is in a place called Kandiege, near Homa Bay (Lake Victoria region). The group of pastors had been waiting for training for a year!  

This was launched in October 2016. The manuals are being used in this cohort and the feedback has been encouraging.

We are grateful to the Lord for graciously providing funds for the beginning of seven more training centres. The training in these centres will begin in May 2017. I’m due to travel to Kenya for six weeks from 6th April to 19th May. We also thank God that Jan and Jeremy Peckham are now able to travel and they will be in Kenya to officiate the graduations in April. These have been combined to take place in five out of the eight centres where the training took place. 

Please uphold these pastors in your prayers. Just early this month, one of them (Pastor Kennedy) who was due to graduate in April was killed in a motor-bike accident. Remember his family and the church where he was the pastor that the Lord will draw near to them in great mercy.

Amidst the great challenges that pastors in rural areas face, they are enthusiastic and determined to study. 

The training is an opportunity for them as many of them have not received any formal bible training yet they seek to teach and pastor churches as best as they can. They meet one week every month for their training in order to complete the 3 year course. They cover 36 modules during this period.  

Pray that the Lord will equip them to better understand His word and in turn to teach their congregations.

After the graduations, this trip to Kenya will give me the opportunity to spend time with the teachers and the volunteer trainers – first of all to discuss about their experience in using the manuals and to get feedback of the modules that they have taught so far. I also plan to spend time mainly with the volunteer trainers, especially the new ones coming on board to do orientation with them.

We are grateful to the Lord for the three teachers and seven volunteers who have worked so hard not just teaching but also ‘pastoring’ and mentoring these pastors. Such training is much needed and there is such a great need in other places where pastors are still waiting. The plan is therefore to open new training centres in phases as the Lord continues to provide. Pray with us in these plans. Pray that the Lord will send the help that is needed with administration and management and that He will guide in the way forward as the work is rapidly expanding.

Thank you so much for being part of this work and for your prayerful support, Judy