I asked Solomon and John to visit the 14 rural pastors that we trained on our recent trip.
I was hoping to hear some great stories (see below) and to get answers to four important questions.
- Were the pastors following the five guidelines we gave them about using the AudiBibles (solar powered MP3 players with the Bible in their languages) for group listening?
- Had our exhortation for the pastors to be trustworthy and to work together taken hold?
- Had our exhortation for the pastors to be creative in earning income while looking to Jesus for physical provision? (These pastors average $450 of income each year.)
- What did the pastors think about the group texting initiative that we started after our trip? (Essentially, group texts from me to them in Swahili containing a Bible verse and a question or thought. These texts are designed to encourage them to trust God and to be trustworthy so that they and their churches can be a light in their communities.)
While it is too early to declare victory, three out of four are going well.
What follows is Solomon’s report. It is largely unedited because I think there is something special about reading the first-hand account.
When I read these stories, it seems like I am reading about the early church in Acts. I hope (and pray) that the Holy Spirit is moving in that way in that area of Congo!
Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
If you have questions, please email me.
For His glory,
Report from Solomon – April 4, 2018
Concerning the seminar that took place in Bukavu, pastors told us that it was very helpful because it addressed the issue about trust. Pastors learned to speak truth and this is changing the face of their churches.
Concerning the Audio bibles, pastors said the new ones they got are better than the ones they got the last year.
They said this one has some comments that allows everyone to listen, to understand and to share. It is a powerful tool especially for new evangelists.
Concerning the audio bible: the new ones we get are different from the old ones. In my family I used to talk about the word of God but now it is the bible talking and we all listen.
Second, people who cannot read are enjoying these bibles.
Church A: in Lemera we have listening groups. We have four groups. Every group has 20 members. They listen three times a week. On Sunday after service at 12:00, on Tuesday at church at 4:00, and on Friday at church at 4:00. These groups used to listen since before. In every group, we used to listen at the number of 5 but it has increased now to reach 20 in each group. And it keeps increasing. When a group meets, they pray first, then they sing, turn on the bible, listen and then discuss. The responsible of the group pays visits to people who do not go to church and takes the bible with him. When he gets there, he turns on the bible and then starts to talk about Jesus to that person, this according to their spiritual needs. The person gets interested and then he invited him to come to the listening group.
Testimonies: I have a boy who used to have sex everywhere, from the bible he has changed and became now a good christian. Also 7 drunk young people have come to Jesus and get baptized.
Church B: the only woman who attended the training.
In our church we created two groups: the youth group has 15 members and the fathers group has 10 members. They listen three times a week. The fathers listen two times a week. The meeting takes an hour.
Church C: We created 10 groups based on the place where christians live. And we created also a non-christian group of muslims. Most of these muslims are taxi drivers. Now they want to become christians. When we started, no one of them wanted us to start by a prayer. But now they have started to learn the Jesus prayer.
The most populated group has 25 people, they meet two times a week. In this big group there are two sub groups. These sub groups meet twice a day as there are members who are only available in the AM and others only available in the PM.
The second group has 5 members, the third group has 7 members, the fourth has 7 members, the fifth has 9 members, the sixth has 4 members, the seventh has 6 members, the eighth has 7 members, the ninth which is of muslims has 13 members, but divided into two groups: 7 members and 6 members.
Church D: my son was a thief who stole the first one I got (the AudiBible) and went to check what is in it (a micro sd card), but the second one I brought he said he wants to listen to it. After a week of listening, he decided not to steal any more, then he became a singer and now he got baptized.
It attracted also a military who has become a good Christian.
Also, I am the head of nurses in our area of Pentecostal church. Thanks to the audio bible, six people decided to stop drinking.
We have a group of soldiers: it has 13 members, there is a youth group: it has 38 members, and the group of young evangelists: it has 9 members.
Challenge: sometimes it refuses to turn on. Second no paper on which to report and third we do not know how to respond to Greg’s text messages.
Church E: in Luvungi church we have three groups: the group of prayers, the group of singers and the group of evangelists. They listen once a week, they have one bible that rotates from a group to another.
Church F: we have three groups: the first group is of youth group and has over 70 members, the second group of women has 20 members and the third group has 18 members. We gather once a week. We pray, then listen and then discuss and follow the comment. It helps even pastors to prepare their sermons because it has comment and train other people on how to preach. People are curious to come and listen. And one member of the third group started another group that is in the process of becoming a church. Most of its attendees are soldiers. We want that church to be under control of the methodist denomination.
Church G: six people are coming to my home every evening to listen and pray with me. This is helping my family a lot. John suggested that next time they go listen and pray in the family of another attendee.
We have 4 groups: every group has 8 members. Now the church has started to grow. People are coming to Christ.
Church H: 5 groups: the first is for youth: 17 members, group of women: 25 members, group of old people: 8 members, group of Christians: 25 members and the group of former soldiers: 20 members. Youths gather three times a week, mothers or women two times a week, old people four times a week and militaries two times a week. Women cannot preach in the evangelical Anglican church, now they are claiming to preach because they think that they have learned a lot about the bible.
Church I: 4 groups: youth group: 35 members, mothers group:25 members, fathers group: 20 members, church leaders: 8 members. On Friday: all the groups meet together in the church to listen and discuss the bible. The bible goes from every member of the group to another.
It helps us prepare well what to teach in our churches.
Greg sends us messages but how to answer them? They suggested that if they can get phones that use whatsapp, it could facilitate the communication between you and them. They have no airtime to answer the messages you send from their cell phones.
From this trip, we see some good results from the Seminar that took place in Bukavu and we pray the Lord that the audio bibles ministry will grow and spread the word of God. These bibles make evangelization an easy task.
Thank you so much and may the almighty God bless you.