One of our goals this trip was to follow-up with some of our former students to assess the effectiveness of our training and, perhaps more importantly, renew our friendships!
We had the chance to do just that in Sesheke when we got together with several of our 3 Weeks Intensive '15 students who are now doing Live School, the 242 hour video mission training produced by the World Mission Center that we recommend. Percy is a Live School trainer and the Inyambo Mission Center has a strong working relationship with the World Mission Center.
Anyway, we had a great reunion and heard some amazing things. First of all, all the students were implementing what they learned in their local churches. And, all of them were benefiting enormously from Live School. It was heartening to hear.
Comments from one of our students really summed it up. Helen, who with her husband, Samson, pastors a Christian Life Church, said: "We have learned that a person without Jesus can be very complicated. We must be careful...We must never underestimate any wounds in others or in our lives...We don't spiritualize now; we face what's there because people have high value to God...We are never the same with these teachings....We approach things differently. We don't take risks with people. We are careful now."
There's a tendency in Zambia (and in the States) to dispense the Gospel to non-Christians without regard for their individual brokenness, to approach people with a one-size-fits-all attitude, expecting that conversion will magically heal all wounds. And, yet, we're all individuals with our particular stories and needs, our particular sin struggles and wounds. The Gospel addresses all of these, to be sure, but it's not magical. It takes wisdom, discernment, and a whole lot of love to help someone turn to Jesus and allow him to transform his or her character over time. It was amazing to hear that Helen and Phiri's pastoral approach had changed in this way.
To be sure, the other students nodded in agreement. It seems that they shared this shift in their own ministries, as well.
Please pray that our former students continue to love people well, and that we do the same as we continue to train leaders to train leaders!