Dear ITEM Partner,
Today, I finished up the planned ministry part of my trip, meeting with the ITEM team from Madagascar. The first item of ITEM business was to debrief the meeting we had yesterday with Baptist and other evangelical leaders from around Madagascar. The feedback from the team was encouraging. The second item of ITEM business was outlining where we need to go from here. And finally, we reviewed the first several meeting that are outlined in our mentoring syllabus.
Najo Emmanuel is a part of our team. He teaches at the Baptist seminary and at other seminaries and Bible schools in the area. The Baptists, he said, are completely on board with having us work with them. They take training seriously. That is demonstrated by having a seminary and several “college” level Bible schools around the country. How we can best serve them will be a matter of discussion. Perhaps we can be an entry level training resource. Another area is preaching. From what Najo told me, they offer training on how to study the Bible but they do not emphasize any style of preaching. That is definitely one area where we can come along side to support and assist them.
TEN (Transafrican Education Network)
TEN, as they are referred to, also does training for pastors around Madagascar but what they offer is more topical (e.g. “discipleship”) where ours is broad in scope. Theirs is more practical. Ours is more biblical and theological. But good practice is the result of good theology.
They were represented and like the idea of working together.
Julien (ITEM Coordinator) will be following up with the other groups that were represented at the meeting.
WHERE FROM HERE?
We have not been as intentional and systematic here in Madagascar as we have been in other countries. Two earlier attempts to assemble a team didn’t work. This time, it’s working. But I have been guilty of trying to cut corners and in the process have neglected some of the things we are now doing.
- I told them we should have had this meeting with leadership last year, or earlier.
- Our team comes completely from the area around the capital city. We need to expand our team to other regions where mentoring will be taking place.
- As in all other countries where we have established ministry, we need to gather all records of previous seminars to determine who has attended which seminar. Then organize the records and plan accordingly.
- Julien has been asked to submit an 18 month plan that will lay out a strategy for Madagascar over that time period. This is being asked for from all of our coordinators.
Next Monday three of the team members will be traveling to Toamasina to conduct ITEM’s Bible and theology seminar. This is one of the areas where we need representation on our team as we move forward. (See a map showing its relation to where we are in Antananarivo.)
Tomorrow, I’ll fly back to Kenya where I’ll spend two nights. Then Saturday I’ll start for home on the “redeye” flight out of Nairobi back to Amsterdam and on to Portland. I am scheduled to touch down about 11:17am Sunday.
In Nigeria we had a good meeting with our team and an incredible three days with about 90 ECWA pastors and believe it opened doors to a closer partnership moving forward.
Here in Madagascar, we had a very successful and strategic meeting with leaders from various Christian groups and a good meeting with our team.
Thank you for coming along and for praying. And to those of you who can and do support this ministry financially, a special thank you for partnering with us in this way as well.
By His grace,