So what actually happened in TEN3 during our conference in Zambia? First, of course, we prayed and worshiped together each day. There also was just the joy of being together, and the affirmation of our love for one another and our work together. Our four countries each reported the state of our ministry. The US side of TEN3 is going to have to be mostly on auto-pilot for the coming year, with Ken retiring, Jim and Karen slowing down to focus on health problems, and me having a baby.
Nigeria is advancing on many fronts, with the Families and Media ministry still reaching thousands of women and, as we had hoped, creating interest in the CTO. They are also continuing workshops for secondary school students on break, technology training for underprivileged groups, and now an outreach in the prisons. Our Nigeria director has also been invited to a curriculum conference for an association of Christian schools throughout Nigeria, which yields rather exciting possibilities for shaping the education across the country.
Tanzania is in something of a reset mode. There was a center running in Bunda last year, but Tukiko admitted that he had other priorities in his church that kept him from supervising it as closely as it needed. Then the location was no longer available and the teacher wanted to move on. However, his church was impressed enough with the program that they decided to construct a new center, with more resources and attention devoted to it. They are finishing that up. Ray went on to visit Bunda after our conference and got to meet the new young man who will be the teacher, and so we have him set up on our training site. Ken likewise got to visit Miriam, who is working toward opening a new CTO center in another city in Tanzania, encouraging her and her staff and leaving then with eight computers to get started.
Collins is still just getting started with the ministry. Thanks to partnership with another gracious ministry, we were able to ship him eighty-four laptops earlier this year, and he is starting in five locations with those, some doing the CTO for adults and some doing "Learning with Computers for Primary Students." I got to meet Charis and Zangi, the two girls helping edit the reading books.
We also discussed the next needed steps and perceived obstacles. The biggest obstacle is our standards/certification process. Christie told us that they cannot get people or institutions to pursue the certifications we offer because the requirements are seen as rigorous for little immediate benefit. On our side, I pointed out that we have not done a good job of recognizing and keeping track of those steps that are taken toward certification (mainly because we don't really have anyone assigned to do it). Her idea is to use equipment as an incentive for certification. Our three national directors together also discussed that they would like to begin evolving the programs somewhat on their own, starting with an upgrade of our "Pastors and Technology" seminar that could be used in seminaries. What Anthony picked up from those things is that the standards and certification process needs to grow organically as our national directors respond to the needs and desires in their contexts.
In a way, we are seeing exactly what this ministry was geared to do--the US side diminish while the Africans advance. We will still be their secretaries, writing down what they find and accomplish to share and formalize. And we will still look to raise equipment for them to use. Please pray for us as we continue to navigate these changes and seek to follow the Lord's direction. May the gospel go forward greatly as our ministry takes advantage of each of these opportunities to make disciples.