Mrs Mercy Mungai – the BUILD programme coordinator for the Anglican Church of Tanzania’s Lake Zone – reports steady programme development and ongoing training over the past six months. It is simply encouraging to hear testimonies to the impact of the work, and to read of plans going according to or better than plan.
First, some testimonies, which continue to be inspiring. Evangelist Henerico shared with the local trainers how, “the BUILD training has transformed his understanding of the Bible. He now allows the Bible to speak for itself unlike before. He is now confident when preaching from the Bible and can make connections and bring the message to the people. He specifically mentioned the picture of the track carrying the message across the bridge to the people today.”
Another evangelist, Azigad explained that “he has learnt to handle the Bible correctly. He is happy that he can now get a structure of a given portion of scripture unlike before when he used to go forth and back without a clear structure. He also says his leadership skills have been transformed and he specifically quotes Module Four, Strategic Leadership. He has learnt to mobilise the people like Nehemiah.”
Revd. Zakayo says that, “his way of preaching from a Bible passage has been transformed for the better, and even his congregation has commended him on the same. He says he now takes time to study a text, understand it and come up with a message for his people.”
And, finally, Revd. Reuben is “grateful for the BUILD trainings that have stirred him up for ministry. Not only has his understanding of scripture been transformed but he has gone a step further and trained the evangelists in his parish on correctly handling the Bible.”
Mercy explained that, “These are a few among many other testimonies of the great transformation that the BUILD training has brought to our participants. We have continued to receive positive reports from the churches that sent them to the training.”
Mercy herself has been instrumental in building the programme. Core to it are the ‘block-release’ events at the two main centres, which have been progressing well. There have been recent residential blocks at Nyakato Bible College (NBC), in the Diocese of Victoria Nyanza, and at the Mission and Evangelism Training Centre (METC) in Shinyanga Diocese, led by the growing BUILD ‘faculty’ or training team.
The 27 individuals in the core NBC block-release group and the 21 in the main METC one have completed three of four training-of-trainers blocks, and will complete that two-year programme later this year, before continuing with follow-on-training work locally. And at the METC a further 16 have been threaded in to this cadre of trainee-trainers through additional classes with their own identity.
The locally developed and supported ‘day-release’ classes are also continuing well on both sites. It is interesting to hear how those have been configured in the two centres to meet the different local contexts. At NBC take place three evenings a week, which fits with the more urban setting. The pattern at METC, in more rural Shinyanga, is to have classes on Fridays from 4.00pm which then continue for the whole of the Saturday, a short block that draws people in from a wide area. There are currently a further 40 individuals in that locally supported, day-release work, with their own follow-on-training beginning to take shape.
On that note, the Lake Zone office at Nyakato recently sourced a bulk printer to help with that important work that is now underway – a bulk printer is exactly what is needed to help reach out to the large numbers of untrained leaders in the arc around the south of Lake Victoria.