Dear ITEM Partner,

In Genesis 11:7, 9 we read, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech…. Therefore its name was Babel, because there the Lord ¬†confused the language of the whole earth. . .”

The creation of languages was actually a judgment of God in Genesis 11 and when you are working with an interpreter you get a little taste of the challenge of languages.

Interpreters have a very difficult job. They have to think in two languages at the same time. I have enough trouble thinking in one language, my own. Then there is the size of the interpreters “other language” vocabulary. In our case this week, English is the interpreters third language and I find myself frequently having to rephrase things, change words, simplify words, stop in the middle of lecturing to talk with the interpreter to explain the concept I am trying to communicate. Then there is the Bible translation. Example: Eph 4:11-12 says “He (God) gave pastors. . . . for the equipping of the saints for the work of service (NASB).” I asked them to read the verse and answer the question, “Who is to do the work of service (ministry)?” Those who translated the text into Malagasy didn’t use equivalent terms so the interpreter and I had to compare his Malagasy translation to my English translation to see similarities and dissimilarities. You get the idea.

Well, my two lectures today (Biblical Teaching on Spiritual Warfare, The Theology of Ephesians and Romans) take up a full 45min to an hour when giving them in English. But today it was through an interpreter with the language issues I just mentioned and I had an hour. Sounds like a long time. Well, yes and know.

When in that situation you are constantly filtering out things you might normally say and saying only what seems necessary at the moment. You are thinking about how to phrase things so the interpreter can follow and know where you are going. You learn to speak in full but short sentences. I was SURE glad when my two lectures were over today.


Because of lecturer’s other duties apart from the seminar and business the interpreter needed to take care of, we moved things around. I did the spiritual warfare lecture followed by the theology of Ephesians and Romans. I took a full 30 minutes at the start to try to establish credibility to speak on the topic of spiritual warfare. We white Americans don’t see and experience what they see and experience here (not yet, anyway). Frederick followed me with a review of the themes in the first half of the New Testament. Then Faly covered the lecture on church discipline from Matt 18.


Frederick had an hour to cover half of the New Testament. He barely took 30 minutes. When asked he said he sensed that the biblical literacy of this group is low so he kept it very shallow. NOTE: As a team, we need to talk about this issue. After reflecting back, it seems that this has been a common theme. Only those with little biblical literacy come. We need to correct that. We don’t need seminary grads sitting in these lectures but we need man who can be “brought up to speed” quickly and become models or others to immolate.


There has been a real shortage of questions. This might be related to the biblical literacy level also. Perhaps they don’t know what questions to ask. But there was one today.

Q: A pastor we know of is living in sin, I believe, from how it was described to me) and it seems his church is flourishing. Why is that happening if he is in sin? ANS: We asked them to explain what was the evidence that his ministry was flourishing. The answer, “The church is big and they have a big modern building.” We went on to explain in various ways that the size of the ministry is not the issue. Even cults have big churches. THEN I told them about a pastor who took over a church of 200 and in 15 years it was down to 50 and they legally closed the church. I asked them what their culture would say about that pastor. Answer? He failed because his church didn’t grow. Then I told them, that pastor was me between 1981 and 1996. That led to them asking me to talk more about that and how I started ITEM.


This is Africa and I packed for mostly warm to very warm climates. This week, I have been cold from the time I get out of bed until I get back into bed, except when eating meals across the street. Today had a high of 64, low 48 with a cold wind. Tomorrow 63 and 49 and same wind. And no such thing as a heater in my room. I have only a light light coat that I wear every waking moment of each day. Yikes!

All for today.


Praise for continued health and stamina. (I have not been sleeping enough but am getting by.)

Pray for a strong finish to the seminar and a smooth transition over the weekend to Tanzania.

By His grace,



Not all of the new pics have captions.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *