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Training

Equipped for Digital Ministry

By eVitabu, Training

In November 2023, APF launched an exciting partnership with Spurgeon’s College to offer APF partners and eVitabu users a unique opportunity to enrol for the Equipped for Digital Ministry course (EfDM). Dave Stedman explains what the course involves and why it is so important.

Ownership of a smartphone is now an essential prerequisite for candidates applying to study at many universities, seminaries and Bible schools in Africa. Digital devices are no longer ‘luxury’ items but essential tools for business, banking, entertainment, travel and study.

With mobile subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa set to reach 685 million by next year, the need for training in the use of digital tools for ministry and theological reflection about the relationship between human beings, technology and God are as urgent in Africa as in any other part of the world.

EfDM is a six-module online course. Students can work at their own pace, and the completed course leads to a college certificate. Learning and assessment requires students to engage at both an academic and vocational level with the following modules:

  • Ministry in a Digital Culture
  • Digital Church: Communications
  • Media Streams
  • Inclusion and Ethics
  • Digital Church in Practice
  • Digital Futures

Over the past two years, as a result of studying for a Masters in Digital Theology at Spurgeon’s College, I now find myself inhabiting a niche area of theological expertise in east Africa with many invitations to open up the subject of digital theology in both formal and non-formal training environments. I’ve delivered numerous Digital Theology Taster Seminars and developed an introduction workshop called The Smart Pastor.

Feedback from these workshops has shown an obvious hunger for more in depth teaching and capacity building in both practical and theoretical aspects of ministry in the digital age. As a result of exposure to The Smart Pastor, there is even a Christian university in Uganda which has committed to introduce digital theology as a core component of its ministry training and is asking for support in developing its curriculum and delivery.

Over the course of this year, through conversations with Spurgeon’s College Principal, Rev Prof Philip McCormack, the possibility of offering EfDM to African clergy began to take shape. Philip recently returned from a visit to Moyo in northern Uganda where he saw first-hand the appetite for learning and the need for capacity building of Baptist pastors from South Sudan.

Spurgeon’s College has generously reduced the price of EfDM for APF partners. Philip sees this as a great opportunity for the college to expand its influence as global

One of the early applicants, Revd Shadrack Koma, a regional overseer in the Africa Inland Church in Kenya, is ambitious and excited about the course and how it will enable his ministry. He writes, ‘[EfDM] will help me to reach out to millions of unreached people in the digital world. By leveraging technology, especially social media and other digital platforms. I look forward to upgrading my ministry digitally.’

Pastor Daniel Masiga from Uganda, who chairs the Christian Leaders Fellowship in Mogadishu, Somalia, is similarly enthusiastic. ‘For me being equipped for digital ministry is an opportunity to be better positioned and better equipped in the cause of advancing the gospel of Christ using technology’ he explains. ‘Technology has a way of magnifying human abilities and learning to use it efficiently is an opportunity I wouldn’t love to miss. Especially knowing that this education is coming from a college and a team of educators such as Spurgeon’s College. In a nutshell, I hope to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency in digital communication so as to reach people and places I may never be able to physically reach.’

At the time of writing, just one week after applications opened, twenty-three APF partners have already enrolled (although only one has paid). Despite EfDM being offered at a significantly reduced cost to APF partners, £305 remains a lot of money for the average African pastor. For many it is out of reach.

We believe it is important that applicants take financial responsibility for their studies so a proportion of the cost will always be met by the student, but we also appeal to our supporters to consider sponsorship so we can fast-track some of those who enrol but will struggle to ‘mobilise the funds’. As one of my African friends told me just last week, ‘the flower is there, the bees wish to come, and when they do they will go and make honey’.

The EfDM Africa partnership is unique and undoubtedly strategic. Please pray for those that aspire to learn to be enabled to access the training: May they fulfil their personal potential and strengthen the church, practically and spiritually, in-person and online, wherever God has placed them.

Healing Bruised Lives in Kenya

By Farming, Kenya, Training

APF partner Transformation Compassion Network (TCN) is an interdenominational network that trains Christians in Kenya in bringing holistic development to their communities. TCN Director Walter Rutto shared Betty’s story with us. It illustrates exactly the sort of transformation TCN seek to bring about in the lives of individuals, households and whole communities.

Betty Chepkirui is a real fighter. She is a single mother of three children and a resident of Balek Village in Bomet County, south-western Kenya. She’s an active member of St John’s Catholic Church.

Her past life experiences, however, had left her with much bitterness. The Bible says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45) and her words were an expression of endless pain.
A simple question from anyone would result in knocks, kicks and fights. She just wanted to be left alone and she believed that no one cared about her.

Then Betty joined our Kingdom Business course. Kingdom Business is a six-month course with three modules, each taking eight weeks. Learners attend class once a week for three hours to complete three lessons. This is a training that seeks to work on the mindset change for holistic transformation.
In the course is a topic called ‘Christian growth – experiencing God’s love and forgiveness’. Through this part of the course, Betty began to find some release from the past pain she had suffered from, began to forgive those who had oppressed and hurt her and experienced God’s healing in her life. It was like seeing medicine for the heart in action.

After the healing of her heart and mind, the healing further spread to her entire household. We soon began to see how Betty began to transform her smallholding, following the training we were providing very well. As her garden began to be more fruitful, the whole household began to experience a calm environment and her entire family discovered God’s love through this transformed woman.

Now Betty keeps poultry and dairy cows that help to feed her family. She sells surplus products and the extra income cushions her household budget.

The proceeds from her farm also helps her support her ailing mother. This has not been easy as she is the firstborn in her family. In this part of Kenya, it is said that a firstborn should be like an assistant parent. When the parents are not in a position to meet the needs of their dependants, all those family responsibilities are transferred to the firstborn child.

Since Betty’s life turned around, she has further known to walk in the way of the gospel. Because she has enough for herself and her children, she is now able to give offerings and tithes in church and also support the needy who live nearby in small but important ways. One of the best indicators of successful holistic training is when we look at church tithing records and note a tangible improvement stemming from community and economic development hand-in-hand with Christian discipleship.

Another aspect of our teaching programme covers household hygiene, health and wellbeing. Betty has taken this on board and kept this message close to her heart. Her compound is now always very clean, litter disposed of and the children know how to wash their hands before eating. This is no small thing and just these simple things can stop the spread of germs and bacteria. Diarrhoea remains a leading cause of death of children in Kenya.

When we asked Betty if we could share her story with African Pastors Fellowship and other partners, she was glad to do so to show just how transformative holistic training can be. Out of enthusiasm and without supervision, she is now teaching others in her village how to walk this journey too. Many are listening since it is evident that she’s a transformed woman.

A Flower Blooming in Northern Uganda

By Training, Uganda

In Kitgum Diocese in the far north of Uganda you can find a small rural trading centre near Pader Town. It provides a vitally important market for the many thousands of smallholder farmers who live in rural communities across the area. Pader District was badly affected by the long Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency which ravaged northern Uganda around the turn of the millennium but since then, the area has recovered quickly, in part due to trade up and down the highway to Lira, Kitgum and with South Sudan.

In 2014, without a single Ugandan Shilling of donor funding, the Diocese of Kitgum opened the Bishop Lee Rayfield Leadership College in the trading centre with a mission to train up new Readers (called catechists) to serve across the Diocese and beyond.

In rural Uganda, ordained clergy frequently oversee twenty-five churches or more spread over vast areas. Each congregation needs a trained leader and that’s where the Readers step in.
Readers read the prayer book (that’s why they’re called ‘Readers’) but they also teach, preach and provide pastoral care in their villages.

Based in some refurbished temporary classroom blocks, Bishop Lee Rayfield Leadership College offers a Certificate course in Theology and Development for Readers. It now trains men and women from across northern Uganda and South Sudan, keen to serve in this way in their own communities.

College Principal Rev Okidi Charles has a big vision for Bishop Lee Rayfield Leadership College. He describes the college as a flower that attracts insects. While the insects pollinate the flower, the flower provides nectar to make honey that is beneficial to their community. It’s a beautiful picture, perfectly illustrating the mutually beneficial relationship between the college, its students and the communities the students belong to.

Rev Charles has another metaphor for the work of the college. He says that one person having a monopoly of knowledge is like a tall eucalyptus tree standing in middle of a compound. It can only provide a little shade and is not very useful by itself. Training many people with knowledge and skills, however, is like a swam of caterpillars that can cover the entire community in any given moment. ‘I believe in teamwork and building human resources that will meet the quest of the Ministry of Christ’ he says, quoting an old saying in Acholi ‘Cing acel pe konyo’ which means ‘One hand alone cannot help but many hands put food on the table’.

Digital ministry is also creating new opportunities that Rev Charles is keen to embrace. He has a deep concern for the growing number who he recognises are called to Christian ministry but cannot study full time at a training institute because of work or home situations. ‘Training through digital ministry will rock the world’ he says. The solution is to ‘create digital space classrooms to enhance those God has touch to become tent makers. This is the desire of the college: training should be both physical and online.’

In order to achieve this vision, Rev Charles is aware of the need for investment in IT equipment, internet connectivity and web resources at the college. It is a big ask but he is not deterred. ‘Through digital tools we will be able to give the community and the Church in northern Uganda access to the message of God and developmental skills for holistic transformation’ he says. ‘This calls for collective efforts of all the stakeholders of Bishop Lee Rayfield Leadership College from within and without.’

Parenting in the Digital Age

By Farming, Malawi, Training

New APF trustee Kingston Ogango will be leading ‘Parenting in the Digital Age’, an innovative and important workshop at Canterbury Baptist Church on Saturday 4th November. It is aimed at parents, carers, aunts, uncles, grandparents – in fact anyone with a concern for children, especially with regard to their exposure to the internet.

Parenting in the Digital Age
Hosted by APF and facilitated by Kingston Ogango, Africa Regional Director, Alpha International and recently appointed APF trustee.
This half day conference addresses issues around family dynamics, parenting tactics and how to remain relevant to digital natives.
Saturday 4th November, 9.30 to 14.00 at Canterbury Baptist Church, CT1 1UT
For more information or to book your place, contact:
WhatsApp +256 707 908298

Topics covered include ‘What Must Parents do to Remain Relevant?’ and ‘Parenting Digital Natives’.

If the workshop is of interest but you are in another part of the country, please also make contact to book Kingston when he is next in the UK.

Helping Farmers in Malawi through Environmental Crises

By Farming, Malawi, Training

Rev Lloyd Chizenga leads New Life Christian Church and has been an APF partner for nearly 40 years. With funding from Operation Agri and support from APF, he teaches conservation agriculture with a gospel message in villages across southern Malawi. Here’s Lloyd’s latest update.

I am Pastor Lloyd Chizenga, General Director of New Life Christian Church, a network of about two hundred churches across southern and central Malawi. We also have some congregations in Mozambique. With my small team from Blantyre, we continue to use New Life’s strong reputation in rural communities to provide training on conservation agriculture to village groups.

The last few years have been very tough in Malawi. Erratic weather conditions driven by climate change are becoming a problem all over the world, but especially here in Malawi we are seeing huge impacts. In 2022, Tropical Storm Ana destroyed many crops, left thousands homeless and damaged infrastructure. Then early this year, Cyclone Freddy hit. This affected the Shire Valley area very badly as flooding and landslides washed away many homes. Six months’ worth of rain fall fell in just six days, ripping up roads and drowning farms. The government estimated that over one thousand people lost their lives in southern Malawi during the storm.

When you look at the annual statistics, you might see normal amounts of rain for the year and think everything is fine, but this is not the case at all. The rain used to be predictable and reliable. Now we are finding that we get all of it in torrential storms and then nothing in longer and hotter dry periods. We blame climate change for these shifts which have contributed to a serious decline in food availability.

This year’s maize harvest saw a fifty percent decline in some areas and a corresponding price spike. Prices in Nsanje, in the far south of the country, for example, shot up 400 percent during March. This might sound profitable for a farmer looking to sell surplus crops, but most smallholders cannot do this. They rely on high interest loans to buy food for their families until they harvest, but without crops to sell and with debts to pay, life becomes very precarious.

Changing weather patterns are just one of the reasons we continue to work so hard on our conservation agriculture training programme. Soil degradation is another challenge. Where fields are not protected with a good mulch cover, heavier rainfall and longer, hotter dry periods mean that soils are being washed or blown away. The Shire River basin is a hotspot for this problem. While soil erosion is a challenge for an individual farmer, it is causing knock on problems across the entire country. Nearly all our power is generated from hydroelectric power stations on the Shire River and Lake Malawi but the sediment running off the fields is reducing their capacity and means power cuts.

These are just some of the reasons that the training programme we provide in villages is even more important now than when we started in 2016. This year, with further funding from Operation Agri and support from African Pastors Fellowship, we are working with a new cohort of villages in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Blantyre Rural, Ntcheu, Balaka, Mangochi and Machinga Districts.

The training we give has adapted with our experience and the changing pressures on farmers. We still focus on good soil management, such as creating planting stations rather than following the traditional practice of earthing-up which damages soil structure, and mulching. As the price of fertiliser has doubled, knowledge about making thermal compost is a lifeline.

Now, however, we also promote ‘climate smart’ agriculture by teaching about trees like the acacia tree Faidherbia albida which add fertility to the soil and protect crops. We include more about managing farm finances, helping farmers to think carefully about borrowing, saving and marketing surplus crops. We also think it is important to create opportunities for communities to come together and discuss the traumas they have faced over the last few years and begin to heal.
One of the most exciting aspects of the training is that we now include teaching about animal care. This is because farmers who follow the training make a profit which they invest. Livestock provide an excellent income stream as not only can the young be sold but they also produce manure for compost. One important aspect of our training is linking our faith and farming practices to our responsibility to care for creation. It is so important that Christian farmers know that caring for the land God has given them is central to their faith.

Over the past seven years, the Growing Greener project has seen so many changes in the lives of people and communities involved. As soil fertility and yields have grown, lives in the villages have changed.

We see food security, livestock purchased, school fees paid, and homes roofed with iron sheets. We are especially grateful for the additional support we received to help farmers in the Lower Shire Valley buy seed to replace the crops lost to flooding after Cyclone Freddy.

Thank you for all your support.

Lloyd

Raising Christian Leaders in Malawi

By Malawi, Training

Central Bible College of Malawi (CBCM) was founded in 2007 by Pastor Goodwill Logeya while he was studying for a Diploma in Biblical Theology. He was motivated to provide training to the thousands of rural pastors in Malawi who had not been able to access training as he had, due to training centres being so few and fees so unaffordable. Pastor Goodwill writes:

I experienced a difficult life in college. I was expelled from class, thrown out of dorms, chased out of the kitchen and denied access to an exam. All because I missed school fee deadlines. At one point, I found employment at the school as a computer administrator and my wage was credited to my school fee account. This, in addition to buying and selling various goods at school and typing projects for my fellow students, just about kept me going.

Once I was stranded in town after being chased out from Bible school owing school fees. I went to some leaders of a Pentecostal church to ask for help but they refused. Then I went to Capital City Baptist Church in Lilongwe and explained my ordeal. The pastor gave me a cheque of 10,000 kwacha (about £8). A concerned Muslim also gave me K10,000 which meant I could return to study.
Eventually, I completed the diploma and was able to study for a master’s degree in theology at the University of Malawi. During this time, I joined forces with leaders from Baptist, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Adventist and other denominations to offer basic training in the Bible and in ministry to rural church leaders. We would hire a venue and invite the pastors to come and stay with us in cities like Blantyre. We used our own money to pay for the training.

Finding this approach cost too much, we decided to move from the city to rural areas, basing our work in Chikwawa and bringing the training to the people. Chikwawa is a rural district in southern Malawi and its accessible location meant it was easier for us to meet with Christian leaders from village churches in both Malawi and Mozambique.
This is how Central Bible College started, offering affordable training to rural church leaders from Malawi and Mozambique. Things were going really well with a growing number of pastors graduating. Then, in 2020 we were interrupted by Covid and Cyclone Anna. In 2022, Cyclone Gombe hit. Then, in February this year, Cyclone Freddy came. The storm swept through the whole building leaving us completely stranded. We agreed that we could no longer continue in Chikwawa because the area is so vulnerable to flooding. So recently we reestablished our training programme in Blantyre.

We have tailored the curriculum to the needs of the local church, responding to the trends in society and with a practical emphasis on mission. More precisely, the formational and ministerial training we provide combines with mission and evangelism outreach during weekends where students demonstrate and practice what they learn.
The curriculum is rich in content, enough to impact the head with knowledge, touch the heart with passion and give ministerial skills to the hands. Towards the end of their studies, each student presents a research topic which they put into action in their church after graduation.

As we continue to provide affordable training that really helps untrained rural pastors, we have learnt that there is huge spiritual hunger in Malawi. There are many unreached areas especially in remote village communities, but churches are clustered in towns. We must take a risk and equip leaders for ministry in rural areas.

Then, we know that untrained Christian leaders are spreading errant messages. Sadly, Bible verses can be used to damage and hurt if they are not well understood.

We have also found that churches in Malawi struggle to work outside of their denominations. For example, it is hard to go to a Presbyterian church with an advert while you worship in a Baptist church. We work hard to break down these divisions.

There is a very big misconception among many people. When you give personal funds to support ministry, some assume that you are sponsored by Western donors. This misconception has led to many Christian leaders envying each other for no reason. Funding is desperately needed for ministry but without openness and transparency, relationships can be damaged.

From everyone at CBCM, thank you!

Helping Uganda’s pastors through a hidden crisis

By Training, Uganda

Peter Mugabi is a former General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Uganda. He knows far better than most the pressures dedicated pastors in Africa face as they try and balance huge ministry demands with simply making ends meet. Peter now runs Cephas Leadership Foundation, an organisation that supports grassroots Christian leaders with leadership coaching, spiritual direction and mentoring. He writes:

There is a gap in psycho-social help for pastors in Uganda who are serving in a very difficult social environment. Stress, depression and mental health challenges are becoming more common among pastors and young Christian leaders. God has called Cephas Leadership Foundation to answer this need by providing a wide range of services that support those who are called to lead the church in Uganda. These include leadership coaching, mentoring, workshops for married couples, skills and business development programmes, leadership hubs and schools ministry training.

Last year, we worked with 158 pastors equipping them in discipleship, biblical counselling and training in good governance across four districts. In addition, we helped 54 young leaders through training on ministry competencies and best practice. Young leader trainings were held in schools, camps, and conference sites located in Mukono, Jinja and Kampala districts.

We met with over a hundred couples, and provided mentoring and support. Church ministry takes a heavy burden on relationships so we work to help them rekindle relationships and balance the pressures of ministry and family life besides breaking down traditional gender stereotypes.

“I have found these prayer breakfasts helpful because of peer learning. In these discussions there is openness and I find many solutions to my issues as I hear from the trainers and from my peers.”
Naphtali Makosya

“As a young couple we struggled with communication. This communication problem was also present in our leadership in church. But after our counselling sessions with Cephas, we have mastered the art of listening well and not only is our marriage thriving but our leadership in general is better. We are grateful for Cephas.”
Jacob and Lillian Eyeru

“The Lord has inspired me and given me guidance in my career and ministry path through Cephas. May God bless this ministry and allow it to touch many more young people like me who are growing without parents.”
Bridget, Kampala (pictured above)

“Our students really needed to hear what you had to say about dysfunctional relationships in homes between parents and students, students and their step siblings.”
Teacher at Kyambogo College School

“I lacked knowledge on team formation. I didn’t know which parameters a good leader used in selecting, orienting, and preparing new team members. I had made many mistakes and entered conflict before… After training, I have been equipped in team member selection, I have applied this knowledge, and now I have a very solid team that is making a difference.”
Pastor Thomas Kigeyi

I’d like to thank African Pastors Fellowship and all of our faithful partners for your support that has enabled us to make a difference among pastors and emerging leaders in Uganda.

So many lives have been touched and many more have been impacted beyond the conference halls and office meetings. This all would not be possible without your generous support.

The battle for healthy leaders today continues and we must stay the course. Every pastor and emerging leader needs and deserves training, coaching and help. Thank you, again, for your generosity.

“Thank God for Google Maps”

By eVitabu, Training, Uganda

At time of writing, APF CEO, Revd Dave Stedman, is in Uganda where he’s been working with the Church of Uganda, Somali Christian Fellowship and other long-term APF training partners. He reflects on the exponential growth in digital technology in Africa and the opportunities and challenges it presents for ministry.

Delegates arriving for the APF African training partners conference at Papaya Guest House announced happily on arrival, “Thank God for Google Maps!” The couple had travelled from Mukono to get there, a distance of less than 20km all within the Kampala metropolitan area, yet they found the venue with digital assistance.

I immediately reflected that in nearly twenty years travelling the length and breadth of East Africa – on tarmac highways, maram roads, dusty tracks and dodging potholes – I’ve never seen my driver or fellow passengers refer to a roadmap for directions. We just head in the general direction of our destination and make friends along the way.

I’ve been lost in urban centres and sugar cane plantations, I’ve broken down ‘deep in the village’ and deep in the Rift Valley. Finding the way or mechanical assistance was always a social event, accompanied by smiles and a lot of indiscriminate arm waving. “Just branch at the big tree and continue!” We always reached our destination, sometimes several hours late, but we got there.

It struck me as significant that even in Africa some are now seeking a digital solution in preference to asking their neighbour. At another conference the wife of a senior official passed the time taking ‘selfies’ during a rather dull Zoom presentation. ‘Michael’, a Somali convert to Christianity living as a refugee in Kampala, has launched a YouTube channel targeting Somali youth with the gospel. In Rwanda, churches and Bible schools that remain closed due to government regulations have found creative ways to continue using digital platforms to teach and for fellowship.

It is estimated that by 2025 there will be at least 685 million mobile phone subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa. That means, statistically at least, there will be a mobile subscription for every adult.1 Urban youth in Nairobi spend more time ‘on screen’ every day than any comparable group globally (7 hours, 40 minutes).2

The mobile phone banking service Mpesa has transformed how business is conducted throughout Kenya. In 2019, 87% of Kenya’s GDP was transacted using Mpesa and similar mobile banking platforms.

Africa is changing and the change is rapid. The changes also have huge implications for mission and ministry. What does it mean to be an African pastor in the smartphone era? How is APF responding?

Digital Tools

When we launched eVitabu in 2018, little did we know that a pandemic was coming that would accelerate the use of digital solutions globally to enable communication, training and church online. eVitabu continues to position APF ahead of the curve by offering a digital tool to resource African pastors across the continent. eVitabu currently reaches an estimated 1.5 million believers with contextualised materials that enrich faith, resource ministry and contribute to healthy Christian communities.
Increasingly APF receives requests for phones, tablets and laptops to be used as ministry tools and we invite you to consider donating your used devices to help us respond to such requests.

Digital Training

Having a device is one thing; using it effectively is another matter. For example, at our conference for Church of Uganda clergy in June, two major training needs were identified. First, there were leaders who wanted to learn how to unleash the full capacity of the phone in their pocket. They wanted training on using office apps, advice on protecting themselves and others online and help developing a digital strategy for their church or community organisation.

Another group needed much more basic support such as learning how to navigate a touch screen or discovering that a smartphone can be used for much more than just Facebook, text messaging or mobile money. As APF seek to identify and release African Training Partners in every African country we work in, the ability to teach such skills is an increasingly important pre-requisite.

Digital Theology

We are all being shaped by the rapid advance of digital technology, and it has become an important topic for theological reflection globally. Theological reflection around the use of technology is arguably even more vital in Africa, however, where society has leaped from an oral tradition into the digital age so fast. How does technology impact our understanding of who we are in Christ? What does this mean for our sense of belonging to the Body of Christ? How can we share the love of Christ with our neighbours both physically and digitally?

As a simple example, look at the cartoon (above) and reflect on whether what you see is good or bad (or both). I find this cartoon provides a wonderful discussion starter in APF’s ‘The Smart Pastor’ digital theology workshop which has been very warmly received in Bible colleges, universities and amongst networks of Christian leaders in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda recently.

Thank God for Google Maps? Maybe. What is certain, however, is Africa is changing as the internet becomes ‘embedded, embodied and everyday’4 across the continent. APF is uniquely well-placed to seize the moment and continue its pioneering ministry to enable effective ministry in the digital age.

People for Jesus bringing hope to Maasailand

By Kenya, Training

Between 2019 and 2021 Pastor Tom Opiyo, founder of People for Jesus Ministry (PFJM) in Kenya, received an APF scholarship to study for a bachelor’s degree in theology at the Pan Africa Christian University in Nairobi. He graduated in July of last year and recently sent a very full and encouraging annual report.

PFJM is a registered Kenyan non-governmental organisation. It is based in Narok County in the south of the country and works in Maasailand in practical and pastoral ways. Tom’s report ran to nearly twenty pages so here is a brief except and a few of the highlights:

Adult Literacy Programme

PFJM churches are being encouraged to address the education gap experienced by many Maasai women and girls that drop out of school due to early marriages. The classes combine basic literacy with income generation skills and advice to enable adults to earn as they learn. Although the overwhelming majority of pupils are female, around 15% of the cohort is male.

Support for Flood Victims

During 2022 there were severe floods in the Kandaria area. Many local residents were housed in the compound of Kandaria Secondary School, a PFJM foundation establishment. Even after the floods subsided some people remained due to food and economic insecurity with more than 350 people displaced from their homes that were lost to the flood.

Outreach to the Nations

During March 2023 PFJM teams were visiting Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Iganga in Uganda for short term missions. The outreach involves evangelistic crusades and intercessory prayer gatherings, as well as support to local projects and churches. Closer to home two churches have been planted at Loita, near the Tanzania border and Nyang’ande in Kisumu County in the far south west.

Care for Vulnerable People Groups

In Nyang’ande, People for Jesus Ministry is giving a helping hand to more than 80 children living with disability through socialisation activities and around 40 senior citizens at the Bigoma Community Centre. The community is not connected to the national grid and lacks power, lighting and access to clean water. Tom hopes that once the power supply is installed a well can be drilled if resources allow.

In addition to these ministry needs Pastor Tom requests prayer for his family, especially his wife Eunice who shares much of the ministry burden in church and managing the many women’s projects, and their children: Joy (studying Public Health at university), Joshua, Deborah and Peter who are still at various stages in their school careers.

The PFJM motto for 2023 is Isaiah 40:31. Let us pray with them as they reach out to the hungry, thirsty, helpless and oppressed that, waiting on the Lord, Tom, Eunice and all the team will “mount up with wings like eagles … run and not grow weary … walk and not grow faint.”

Team ministry in Africa’s Great Lakes Region

By Burundi, eVitabu, Rwanda, Tanzania, Training

Victor Imanaturikumwe and Heavenlight Luoga met at an APF event four years ago and have stayed in contact ever since. Recently, with APF’s support, they met up once again to run training workshops for rural pastors in western Rwanda. Victor explains what happened.

Many local churches in rural Rwanda are fragile as pastors have few opportunities for training. This makes tackling the spiritual needs of the community a constant struggle. As I am a beneficiary of APF theological scholarship support, I am now committed to spending my time contributing to effective ministry here in Rwanda by running pastors’ conferences and trainings in rural contexts.

Recently, Pastor Heavenlight and Kesia Luoga from Deeper Life Church in Karagwe, Tanzania, travelled to join me in Rwanda and together we led a training conference for rural church leaders. Some of the leaders had received almost no in-service training so this is vitally important work.

I found APF’s eVitabu app a very helpful tool when I was studying for my theological degree. As textbooks are so hard to find in Rwanda, all the materials used during the conference came from eVitabu. Pastor Luoga and I selected and adapted resources on eVitabu and developed a conference programme to equip the pastors with skills in teaching and preaching the Word of God and in leadership.

We also trained the pastors on how to set up small income projects and adapt their farming practices to meet the challenges of a changing climate and poor soil. The overall theme of the conference was ‘Being a Good Shepherd’ and the leading Bible passage was John 10:1-21.

The conference hosted forty pastors and church leaders from different churches and communities in western Rwanda. We are already registering a lot of impact in their communities and churches and we want to continue to invest in them so they become agents of spiritual and community transformation.

I first met Pastor Luoga in Uganda at an APF regional leaders’ conference in 2018. Since then, he has become like a spiritual director to me. He is a very experienced pastor, ministry trainer, teacher, preacher and mentor. I believe APF is helping to break barriers by encouraging fellowship with other pastors from different backgrounds and cultures. We all benefit from one another’s insights and expertise when we work together in partnership.

I would like to thank all APF donors, friends and supporters who give generously of your money and your time in prayer to support APF and its partners in Africa. Know that your gifts are being used well and are making a big difference here in rural Rwanda and across Africa.

After training in western Rwanda, Heavenlight travelled south into Burundi to work with groups of untrained pastors serving in churches near Gitega. Gitega is the new capital of Burundi and it is the newest capital city in the world, replacing Bujumbura in 2019.