Monthly Archives

July 2019

Tearfund pilot eVitabu

By Burundi, eVitabu

“Without eVitabu, essential resources for church and community transformation are difficult to access even electronically.”

Revd Dr Sas Conradie, Tearfund Theology and Networking Engagement Manager (Africa), describes how Tearfund are preparing to use eVitabu to support church and community mobilisation in Africa:

Tearfund’s vision is to see people freed from poverty, living transformed lives and reaching their God-given potential. To achieve this vision, Tearfund partner with local churches to bring restoration to those living in poverty.

A priority area for Tearfund is church and community transformation (CCT) whereby we seek to bring whole-life transformation to communities through local churches. CCT consists of various approaches including the church and community mobilisation process (CCMP). In CCMP, facilitators and trainers are equipped to journey with local churches to help them work with their local communities and together identify and respond to local needs.

In our work with churches and communities, we know the importance of getting good resources to CCMP facilitators and trainers which they can use as they work with churches. This is why we were so excited when we were introduced to APF’s eVitabu app. We immediately realised the potential of eVitabu to provide our CCMP facilitators and trainers with access to good theological resources.

Barnabe Msabah, Tearfund Church and Community Transformation Lead for East and Central Africa, and Martin Uswege, Tearfund Church and Community Transformation Lead for Southern and East Africa, believe that eVitabu will be extremely valuable for their work. eVitabu could support the training of CCMP facilitators and trainers while the facilitators could be encouraged to use the eVitabu app when they work with churches. Barnabe and Martin suggest that the eVitabu tablet is made available to CCMP trainers at a subsidised rate to motivate them and to show appreciation for their work.

Martin has invited APF to equip Tearfund CCMP trainers in Tanzania in using eVitabu during a workshop in September. Barnabe requested APF visit Burundi in early 2020 to train CCMP trainers on eVitabu. By next year, we expect that about 30 Tearfund CCMP trainers will be equipped in using eVitabu. The Tanzania and Burundi pilots could then be expanded to more countries to provide CCMP trainers and facilitators with easy access to resources that can help them in their work with churches and communities.

Without eVitabu, essential resources for church and community transformation are difficult to access even electronically. We believe that eVitabu can greatly enhance the work of hundreds of Tearfund’s CCMP trainers and facilitators across Africa. In time, we believe that eVitabu will also be the go-to resource hub for theological leaders and students across Africa.

Role Model Leadership Academy

By Uganda

Over the last few years, APF have developed a growing partnership with Next Leadership, a Christian leadership consultancy founded by the former President of the Baptist Union and Chair of the Evangelical Alliance, Revd Dr Kate Coleman and Revd Cham Kaur-Mann.

APF are supporting Next Leadership to extend their outstanding leadership training programme into Africa through the Role Model Leadership Academy. As Cham reports, the first of three sessions happened in Kampala, Uganda during March.

A combination of factors meant that Kate and I were working night and day in order to produce exceptional materials and a robust programme for the first gathering of the Academy. We had very little time to pull it all together, yet we sensed God’s presence with us in so many ways. In fact, we were still printing materials on the Sunday evening before our Monday morning departure flight!

As we waited in the departure lounge at Birmingham Airport all seemed well until it was announced that all flights through Amsterdam had been cancelled due to high winds and turbulent weather conditions. We prayed, sensing that God was more invested in getting us to Uganda than we ever could be and was already making a way. Within two hours, we received news that we were to be rerouted, via Kenya. We eventually arrived in Uganda at 5am, seven hours later than expected but in time for our first meeting with the local support team.

With Christian leaders arriving from Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan, the first session of Role Model Leadership Academy started the next day. Participants included creatives such as a short film maker, artist and singer, through to pragmatic business people. There were graduates and senior church leaders from APF partners including the Baptist Union of Uganda and Pastors’ Discipleship Network. The youngest participant was 20 years old and the oldest, 80 years old, but everyone gelled quickly. Teams formed from groups and accountability developed. Obvious stratification lines dissolved quite early in the programme.

We thought that we had set the bar high, but the participants went over and above our expectations. Even though some had undertaken a whole day’s travel to get to Kampala in the first place, everyone remained engaged all the way through the programme. There was a great deal of group interaction despite many of the participants being unused to non-judgemental spaces where they could speak and share freely without criticism.

One story that particularly stands out is Hosannah’s. Growing up as a ‘house girl’, Hosannah never had an opportunity to go to school and did domestic work to get by. After teaching herself to read and write she now works in Uganda’s vibrant music industry. On the Academy’s second day, she served as a Team Manager. With the support of her peer mentoring group, Hosannah was encouraged to present her team’s outputs in front of the entire gathering. She told me afterwards that this was the first time she has ever done anything like this. Her constant refrain was, “I can’t believe I’m here and that I’ve been asked to speak”. Hers, by the way, was the most concise, focused and informative presentation out of all the groups.

During the Academy, all the participants created their own six-month Personal Leadership Development Goals which they shared with the group and presented to God. By the end of the third day, the participants went off to establish work far beyond anything we’d expected. They had also committed to pair up with ‘Accountability Partners’ and to reconnect with each other every month for six months until the Academy reconvenes in October.

We’re privileged and blessed to work alongside wonderful local partners and grateful to APF for your prayerful support of this exciting initiative.

Digging for God’s riches in south-east Congo’s mining region


APF partner, Congo Pastors’ Fellowship, is led by Revd Bertin Mwanya. He supports pastor training within the mineral-rich area of Lubumbashi where impoverished artisanal miners dig for the minerals used in your mobile phone.

My names are Bertin Ngoy Nshimbi Mwanya. I am married to Esther and we have five children (three boys and two girls). Four of our children are at school and the youngest is preparing to start school next year. Our eldest son will soon graduate from high school and hopes to start theological training. Please pray for a breakthrough in funding for his studies.

Both Esther and I are ordained church ministers. I have been ministering as Senior Pastor of El Shaddai Baptist Church in the city of Lubumbashi for over twenty years now. I also lead a Christian organisation called the Congo Pastors’ Fellowship (CPF). CPF is made up of a considerable number of mainly local pastors who come together from different churches, denominations and local Christian organisations. CPF provide pastor training for church leaders and pastors’ wives on issues they identify as important.

Recently, we have run training workshops covering leadership development, marriage issues and various biblical themes. There is a desperate need for poor church leaders to have bibles and we are praying we will be able to provide more bibles, commentaries and other material in print or digital formats.

We also seek to help the poorest pastors to generate a better income so they can support their families. We are praying we can partner with APF to provide bicycles, solar power for household lighting and village phone charging, brick making projects, vegetable gardening or buying and selling micro businesses for women.

Lubumbashi is a very strategic area to minister in. Located near the border with Zambia in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lubumbashi is the second largest city in the country after the capital, Kinshasa. The city’s population is over 1.5 million.

Lubumbashi is a mining hub of global importance. The mines around Lubumbashi produce more than three percent of the world’s copper and half its cobalt. It is likely that the copper and cobalt used in your mobile phone have come from our region.

Men, women and children often endure dangerous and unhealthy conditions to extract these valuable minerals. The industry relies heavily on artisanal miners who do not work for industrial mining companies but dig independently, anywhere they might find minerals, under roads and railways, in backyards, sometimes under their own homes. It is dangerous work that often results in injury, collapsed tunnels and fires. The miners earn between $2 and $3 per day by selling their haul at local mineral markets.

Please pray that CPF builds a strong partnership with APF so we can better support local church leaders as they share the good news of God’s riches with Congo’s artisanal miners.

In 2018, APF made a grant to the Congo Pastors’ Fellowship of £720 for local language bibles.