This summer I had the opportunity of teaching one of our first-ever on-site bible courses to a group of cooperatives in East Africa. We have been working with our cooperatives—three men from Central Uganda and two men from Central Kenya and their families—for the last seven to ten years (respectively). During that time, their hunger for the Word of God has been made quite apparent. A few years ago we began sending them DVDs of some of our bible classes from the Institute for G.O.D. Int’l (Literary Analysis and Old Testament Survey). They would watch the classes together, participate in discussions, and complete homework assignments, which they would then send back to us for feedback. When members of our team have been on the field, we have then been able to offer reviews of these courses, or supplementary teachings and seminars from the Word of God.
My family travelled to Bombo, Uganda for 3 months (May through August). During this stay, it was my main objective to teach a full bible class, this time on site! This opportunity was very exciting as one, the students have been longing for this occasion for many years, and two, I was very honored to teach in such a different environment. Upon arrival, I began teaching a 10-week course on the Book of the Psalms. The men were also honored to receive Paul Olson, who on a shorter trip to Uganda taught a weeklong seminar on the book of Ecclesiastes.
The 5 men enrolled in the course revealed incredible natural gifting, coupled with a humility that allowed them to learn from a woman who, for half of them, was young enough to be their daughter. Women are often not as educated as men in East Africa, and even if they do receive education; culture often keeps a woman from holding a place of respect, especially among grown men. These men, however, exemplified maturity in their humility. Our twice a week gatherings in a small room with sporadic electricity left me reminded of Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28 There is no longer Jew or Greek (or African or American), there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. I am forever grateful for the lessons I learned while teaching this summer—namely, that we must move beyond the ‘laws’ of our cultural heritage in order to gain the freedom that results from learning the truth in the Word of God.