Saturday, May 25, 2013

To make disciples is to tell stories

I wonder sometimes if, amid all I tell about operating systems and curriculum plans and the pictures of a zillion computer cords, I fail to share the real spirit of our workshops--they are very much discipleship events. We talk about what transformation really means, and what it takes to see that transformation happen. It only happens as we walk with Christ, and we won't see transformed society unless the individuals are transformed. And "it begins with me."

For instance, our second day I think in Ndola, Anthony spent nearly the whole morning talking about sharing the Gospel. He talked about how Jesus taught with stories, because our minds don't work like Greek logic, they work with stories. He talked about how it's important to have the whole story, because psychology studies have shown that if the mind doesn't have the whole story, it fabricates. Anthony told the story of the New Tribes mission, which was trying to share the Gospel with as many new people groups as possible. So they would go in, learn the language and gain enough entrance to tell them that Jesus died so that their sins could be forgiven before God and they could have eternal life, and then quickly move on to a new tribe. Well, they would come back and find that the converts weren't living at all as Christians ought to. They had made up the rest of the worldview they hadn't received. So New Tribes sought the Lord, and He replied, "Tell them My story. All of it."

We've learned from this story, which is why the first course we developed along with the computer course, and require to be taken with it, is one that goes through the whole Bible as the story of God's redemption. God works His way past the defenses of our minds, shows us who He is and how He redeems us, with a story. Let's tell the story.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2000 Laptops

I never thought I'd need to know how to tell a computer to commit suicide. But that's the way we described the command to write zeros over the entire the hard drive. Apparently John 12:24 can also apply to machines! After wiping the hard drive, we installed Puppy Linux, the operating system we base our computer training on (see Puppies and Gnomes and eternal Truth for Africa as to why). Now that laptop, and the thirty others we took to Africa, will be used to give practical skills and the word of God to a new student every six months with the Computer Training Outreach. The old laptops that someone no longer considers useful now have new life, and give new life to those who through it learn the whole story of redemption God offers through Christ.

So part of our focus this year will be to raise laptops. And the cool thing is, as teachers make disciples and become discipled themselves by TEN3, more laptops will mean they will be able to spread even more. For instance, we have a contact in Rwanda who wants our CTO there. TEN3 doesn't have the people and resources to send somebody from the US to get things started in Rwanda. But Christie could send one of the people she's training in Nigeria to reach villages as a missionary, with a mobile lab, to do just that.

So that's why we're praying for 2000 laptops to be donated to send to Africa this year. Laptops alone won't make much of any difference in Africa. But laptops with accessible curriculum that gives desired skills as it presents the gospel powerfully, as tools in the hands of people who are growing in the Lord and taught by Him to make disciples, can indeed be the tools by which Christ transforms lives and communities across Africa.
I, Gilbert, Anthony, and Christie setting up the systems

Christie, Fanny, Gilbert, and Beevern practicing with our systems and materials

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

GLO with hope

If I were a follower of this blog, I would wonder why it takes two weeks for that missionary to post anything after she gets back from a trip. I hope I would understand when she apologized and pleaded that when one gets back, there are family things to see about, stacks of mail and e-mail to deal with, reports to type, receipts to submit, pictures to share and sort ... it goes way beyond that jet lag thing!

But, enough excuses. JennyBeth, here reporting. A good initial overview from our trip can be found on my newsletter, which I also just finished today (see my newsletter archives page). 

We basically held five seminars in the two and a half weeks we were in Zambia. First was an intro seminar in Lusaka. An "Intro Seminar" is how we acquaint people with TEN3 and how they can offer a CTO to make disciples using computer training. (If you're confused by the acronyms, see my FAQ page.) Then we headed north to Ndola and stayed there for a week and a half to do two intro seminars. Over the weekend, we went to a city called Kitwe where Christie and I gave our first-ever Mothers and Media seminar. The last few days were spent back in Lusaka, where we did some computer setup, meeting with potential partners, and a second Mothers and Media seminar. I'll try to explain more about all those (with stories and pictures!) in separate posts in the upcoming weeks.

But where I'd like to start is the ministry that housed us in Ndola. In the midst of the polluted and historically exploited Copperbelt, there is a ministry that GLOs. GLO stands for Gospel Literature Outreach. It is a seven-month program for students who just finished secondary school. It teaches them servant leadership, Bible, and other topics to prepare them for university and adult life. I really enjoyed eating and worshiping with those kids. They reminded me so much of my own teen years in youth group.
Some pictures from around GLO:

The cabin where Christie and I stayed. We shared the left-hand side of the duplex with Rachel, a lady from Australia.

In addition to classes, morning runs, and service projects, laundry must also be done--by hand!

This is where the guys stayed. That van took us and the 31 laptops everywhere!

Anthony and Christie, the evening we arrived at GLO

These little guys, Ezra and Micah, belong to David and his wife Nana, who administrate GLO. Yes, I am up in a tree with them :)
Dinner was eaten with our hands that night.
Clockwise from left: David, Ray, Gilbert, I, Christie 
GLO didn't just host us. The administrators, David and Samuel, came to our workshops because they want to give their students the CTO. These two really understood our ministry, probably because discipleship education is already what they do. Samuel is eager to help me with material development--he has such a heart to see practical education integrated well with biblical understanding. I pray I'll get to work with him on this. A cool thing is that GLO is basically ready to start the CTO--they already have a computer lab, and they want to be a model for other interested ministries like Youth For Christ and churches to follow.

The nearest guy is Samuel
I think what told us that there's going to be something special about this partnership is when David showed us what a disciple he is himself. At dinner one evening, he came up to Anthony, who had been teaching with stories all day, and told him "You have a very special way of communicating. Very quiet, and yet shouting to the soul."