Showing posts with label Secret Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Secret Church. Show all posts

Monday, November 12

DTP VI

On Saturday we had our last Discipleship Training Program session of the semester. We will start again in February, when the students are back in classes after the holiday break.

Kyle finished up the second half of the New Testament and left some time for evaluations at the end. We passed out sheets of paper with a few questions to gauge the program so far.

  • Were the notes understandable?
  • Was the teaching understandable?
  • What can we do to improve? 
  • What new information did you learn that you didn't know before?
  • What other topics would you like to learn about?


Most of the feedback was very positive. We were reminded that the boys talk too fast. It's hard for the majority to follow along so quickly with our funny American accents. Ha! So now they know to slow down a bit.

The notes seemed to be very helpful to people. They liked having the material to reference afterwards and some even mentioned that they use the notes while they read their Bibles now!

Overall, the teaching was understandable. They just wanted more! More detail, more in depth, more information. Which is to be expected since the Old Testament and New Testament sessions were just surveys and there's so much more depth to each individual book. They really seemed to like the teaching and were so appreciative to have learned everything. One person shared that they are able to share and teach the material to other people!

As far as improving, some people said the sessions were too long. We started at 9:30am and went until 1:30pm with only one or two breaks, so it's to be expected that it felt long. However, some people said they wanted more information and time at the end for discussion, which would mean a longer session! Ya can't please everybody, eh?

The most common response to 'what new information did you learn' was context. Lots of responses included something about reading large parts of Scripture, not just a few verses at a time, to understand the context, which is crucial for proper interpretation. They really appreciated learning how to better read their Bible!

As far as other topics that they wanted to learn about, the answers were varied. The most common answer was the Holy Spirit, which should be covered next semester.

Also, they enjoyed the snacks! It's a pretty simple setup with hard-boiled eggs, bananas, mandazi (donut-like triangle pastry), and juice. What's not to like? I certainly enjoyed my fair share of snacks after everyone had some. Pregnancy is a great excuse for going back to the snack table two or three times.

The Discipleship Training Program was so well received this semester. Praise the Lord! It certainly gives us motivation for next semester. These first six sessions covered How to Read the Bible, Old Testament Survey, and New Testament Survey. Next semester will focus on basic theology and discipleship. Not all the curriculum is planned or written yet but we'll keep y'all updated when we know the breakdown of what will be taught.

Thank you for all your prayer and support! It makes it possible for us to do things like this and teach such crucial information to our African friends. They are so eager to learn and so appreciative for the opportunity to know these things. Thank you for helping to make that possible for us and for them!

Wednesday, November 7

DTP V

This past weekend was the fifth session of UCF's Discipleship Training Program. Kyle taught on the first part of the New Testament and did a great job. This Saturday he will continue through the rest of the New Testament and conclude this semester's sessions. I didn't take any pictures because it basically looked like the last few, but with Kyle up front instead of Trey. Here's a picture from DTP III, just replace Trey with a redhead and that's what it looked like.



Next semester the boys will teaching through some Theology curriculum. We'll keep you updated as more DTPs happen but the next sessions won't start until Jan or Feb. And we'll have a kid by then!

Tuesday, October 16

DTP IV

On Saturday we held the fourth session of UCF's Discipleship Training Program. There were over 40 people who attended to hear Trey finish the survey of the Old Testament. The next two will be on the New Testament and Kyle will teach through those.

During the night on Thursday/Friday Trey got sick and was throwing up all day Friday. We were worried he wasn't going to be able to preach the DTP on Saturday morning. But he's a trooper and pushed through the sickness to lead Saturday's session on the Old Testament. A little barfing (actually it was a lot) was not going to stop him from getting to talk about the prophets and prophetic literature of the Bible. In fact he threw up in the morning before we left, threw up again during one of the stretch breaks, and threw up again during a later break. But you would not have known it by the way he was teaching! He did awesome (duh!). I love hearing him preach, period. But I especially love when he gets to preach from the Old Testament. It's like watching Michael Phelps swim or Usain Bolt sprint or Anderson Silva fight. It's that good.

Afterwards we went home and he rested and felt much better by evening and the following day was back to normal. Guess the cure for his sickness was a little dose of the Old Testament!

Friday, October 12

My way of saying Thank You

As Erin will tell you, I have a weird way of expressing myself. I once wrote her a 3 page love letter with the first 2 pages being an argument against fundamentalism. So… I am weird. Here is my way of saying thank you to all of you who support us. Those who leave comments on the blog so that we know you are staying connected to us. Those who faithfully pray for us and our ministry here. Those who sacrifice your hard-earned money so that we can keep a fan on during the heat of the night.

I want to give you a snapshot of the last 6 days (a particularly busy 6 days, so don’t think we are doing all this every week).

Thursday- I teach at A.R.C.C. on Thursdays, so I spent the day there grading papers, talking to the other staff, and then teaching my class. My class has 9 students, 3 of whom are currently pastors and the other 6 whom will be pastors. We were in 1 Corinthians 5 and we got to talk about the importance of Church discipline and fighting for the purity of the Church. We had a great discussion on how Paul calls us to sanctify one another and how that happens.

Friday- Erin taught Ephesians 4 at King's Daughters. They are going through the book 1 chapter per week and she has taught 3 of the 4 chapters so far. She has seen the girls really make the connections between the first four chapters and start to understand how to read the Bible in context. They have consistent attendance and great discussions each week.

Saturday- I taught at D.T.P. It was a surreal experience. About a year after teaching the Old Testament Secret Church in July 2011, I was teaching through the same material in Uganda. I loved teaching it the first time. I can still remember looking out and seeing Charlie Jessup’s encouraging smile and hearing Bill Schmidt saying “Amen”. It was a great night. This time it had a completely different feel. It was during the day, we were in a makeshift tent on a basketball court, and of course we were in Africa. There were several times during the 4 hours when I almost stopped teaching because I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the experience. One year ago at the Secret Church we started off, like at every Secret Church, praying for the global church in general but the persecuted Church specifically. We are in no way, shape, or form in a persecuted Church but we are serving the global church. It was amazing to be among 50 East Africans who desired to know God’s word so badly. Some who have taken precious days off work to be there or had to work a double shift the day before just to come. Sacrificing their wages just to make it. All because they want to know God’s word better. They don’t have the resources America does, so they had to wait for the resources to come to them. So being able to show them how the Old Testament fits together and watching as they connected the dots from what they already knew to what they were learning was amazing.

It was an absolute privilege and honor. One of the coolest things I have ever done and really what we feel God has called us to. Years ago Kyle and I dreamed of coming here and doing just this, enabling the Christians of East Africa with the knowledge of God’s Word. Now we are here doing it. God is so gracious.

Sunday- Kyle began a new series at our Church on the gospel of John. We are so excited that we will be going through a book of the Bible on Sunday mornings. This type of Biblical book series is not typical of Churches in East Africa. Our Church is such a solid place and we love serving there alongside the UCF staff.

Monday- Our Senior Pastor, Micah Rwothumia’s father passed away Saturday night. So on Monday, Kyle and I filled our car with people from church and drove 5 ½ hours North to the town of Nebbi to attend the funeral. It was great to join Pastor and the village as they celebrated the life of His father (who was a pastor and educator in the village). We were glad that we could go and show our love to the family. Then when the funeral ended at 5pm we loaded up and drove the 5 ½ hours back. This would have been a long day anywhere, but when you factor in Ugandan roads and driving in Uganda at night, it was brutal. We are thankful to be home alive and with a fully functioning car.

Tuesday- Uganda celebrated 50 years of Independence. Along with being a great milestone for the country, it was also a public holiday. So the girls planned a party for the ladies of King’s Daughters. We spent the morning preparing, cooking, cleaning, and setting the house up for the 40 ladies that occupied the downstairs as I sat upstairs writing this blog. (As I wrote this part the girls were downstairs singing an African spiritual, which sounded amazing, it’s not racist or generalizing, it’s just true, all Africans can sing!) Erin and Sarah organized a day of events for the girls: games, painting each others nails, cookie decorating, prizes, food, and more games. It always makes me smile when our house is filled with Africans.

It has been quite a week! We are tired yet energized at the same time! You might be thinking, “He is talking a lot about himself to be thanking me,” but here is my point: Look back through that schedule, literally all of it is because of your support. It is your prayer that has upheld us and paved the way for our ministry here. It is your encouragement that keeps us focused and emotionally stable. It is your money that literally pays for the fuel to drive and the food we serve. Thank you so much. Because of your faithfulness we get to serve God’s Church in Uganda. Thank you so very much for allowing us to focus on the people we are serving without having to worry about how to pay the bills. It is such a blessing.

 While we are on the topic of your financial report I want to say two more things.

1) If you question whether what we are doing is worth your prayer, support, or money, I want to assure you it is. I know that doesn’t mean much coming from me but I want to say it anyway. I truly believe in what we are doing here to the core of who I am. (And if you know me, you know I can't really do things that don't care about or believe in, so if I didn't think this was worth it, we would be back in the States already). I am convinced that what we are doing here, our work and ministry, is Scriptural. God continually confirms to us that this is where we are supposed to be. We really see the Spirit at work through what we are doing.

2) I often times feel selfish. We get to see God work, we get to drive through the Ugandan countryside, we get to teach through the Old Testament, we get to share meals with Ugandans, etc. All because of your financial support. And all you get to do is read about it. I am so thankful that you sacrifice your money so that we can live here. Many of you probably can't imagine doing what we are doing here but it's the opposite for me. I can't imagine doing anything else but this. I am so thankful for what you do that so we can be here. Thank you for your prayer, your support, your encouragement, your finances, and your sacrifices. We are blessed to be doing what we are doing because of all you do for us. God will reward your faithfulness!

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 10

DTP III

On Saturday we spent the day up at church for UCF's Discipleship Training Program. We introduced it here. It started the first weekend of September and Kyle taught the first two sessions. Trey taught this past Saturday on the Old Testament and will continue this upcoming weekend. (You could also say Trey praught, as Kyle and Trey do. Teach is to taught as preach is to praught. They think it's quite funny.) It was basically an Old Testament Secret Church like the one he did over a year ago at Sugar Land First United Methodist Church. Only this one is broken up into two different sessions and held in the morning instead of at night.

He did wonderful, of course. If you know Trey, you know he is a gifted preacher. And you probably know of his love for the Old Testament. So preaching through a survey of the Old Testament was his cup of tea- or more accurately, his glass of Dr. Pepper.

And here's my glass of Dr. Pepper... darling African children.

They stayed busy by drawing. I assigned each of them a specific Old Testament Covenant to interpret artistically. It pretty much looked like squiggly lines and a few stick people but I could see their vision.
(P.S. That was a joke) 

Here's Trey preaching. Anyone surprised by how animated he is?

There he goes moving around again. You probably recognize some of his signature hand gestures.


Some nearby goats came to hear Trey.

But when Trey got to the part about the Day of the Atonement and the priest sacrificing a goat in the Temple, they left in a hurry. 


There were around 45 people who came to this session. Hopefully the same folks (and more!) come back to hear the second half of the Old Testament this Saturday. 

Wednesday, September 12

UCF Discipleship Training Program


Those of you who know me well know that I am not good at doing things I am not excited about. I worked at Sugar Land First United Methodist Church for almost 3 years and only turned in 2 weekly reports during that time, (Sorry Linda!). Blogging is one of those things I just don’t really get excited about. So naturally I am so thankful for Erin and how great she does. She works really hard to keep you all informed… and entertained. However, Erin likes to deal more with the day to day activities, so she has asked me to write a few blogs updating you on the big picture on how ministry is progressing. And I should probably start sharing some of the load anyway!

One of the things we have aimed to do, and in retrospect was absolutely the right thing to do, was inject ourselves into the Church itself. This allowed us to see how things ran here while still learning a lot about the culture and people (not that we are done learning). This was a very valuable time but often made us feel like we weren’t doing much. So we are very thankful that the students are back and that things are starting to pick up around here.

We are constantly wrestling with how much to do at UCF. The goal of our work here is to one day leave. I know that sounds bad but it’s true. We want UCF to be able to stand on it’s own, without help from outside. So whenever we take something on (like Erin with King’s Daughters) we always have an eye on who can we train to replace us. This involves one on one discipleship, however there is more to it than that. One of the things we have noticed is that quality Biblical education is difficult to come by here. The same books you can read in the States to learn about how to read the Bible or understanding Jesus’ work on the cross are not available here. Not only that but the typical Ugandan church is not concerned with teaching these sorts of things. The Ugandan style of teaching and preaching does not lend itself to enabling the audience. There are Bible schools around where people can take classes to get a certificate in theology but most people do not have extra funds for things like that. And on top of this, most to all Ugandans are reading the Bible in their second language (English) because they are not taught to read in the mother tongue.

This is something that just breaks my heart. I can’t imagine where I would be if it were not for the guidance, peace, understanding I have received from the Word. Not just from reading the Word but from a deep study of Scripture and the theology it contains. It gives me a sure footing as I walk through this life, it helps me understand the things I experience and helps me make sense of it all. There are devout Christians here, who love the Lord and could teach us all about what it means to ‘pray without ceasing’ yet they struggle to read the Bible. They are completely dependent upon what they hear for their understanding of who God is. This is especially heartbreaking when you think about how many false teachers are out there misleading well meaning Christians into a false understanding of God, life, and salvation.

So we really felt the Lord wanted us to do was come up with some way give people this kind of training. To help people learn how to read their Bibles, understand basic Biblical theology, the cross, and things like discipleship. What we came up with is being called the UCF Discipleship Training Program. We meet 6 Saturdays in 3 months (2 Saturdays per month) for four hours in the morning. For those of you in Sugar Land this similar to the Secret Churches we would do. Kyle and I have come up with a core curriculum that we are planning to teach through. The goal is not for people to gain information alone but that they would be able to reproduce this knowledge. Not necessarily that they would be able to teach a class like this but that in some way they would be able to take someone through the basics of Christianity.

We had our first D.T.P this past Saturday.

(If I was Erin there would be a great picture here of the event, but I didn’t take any pictures and would know how to upload them even if I did.)

There was a great turnout and Kyle did a great job teaching on how to read the Bible. There are 5 more sessions to come in the next 3 months. Please pray along with us that God would use this to enable people to dive into the Word themselves.

Saturday, December 3

Secret Church: The New Testament

On Friday, November 11, Trey preached his final Secret Church on the New Testament. It was so good. As usual.

We went through every book of the New Testament in one evening. 5 1/2 hours to be exact. And worth every minute.

I've bragged before about how great of a preacher Trey is, especially at Secret Church (Cross of Christ and Old Testament), but I'll say it again, He is so blessed with the ability to convey God's word!

Here's the link to the audio, video, and notes:

http://sugarlandmethodist.org/secretchurch/new-testament-nov-2011.htm

Even if you don't listen to all the audio recordings, at least download the notes. There is so much good information in there! It would be great for personal Bible study, or a small group, or home group, or community group...

Wednesday, July 13

Secret Church Next Friday!

Next Friday, July 22, Trey is teaching another Secret Church. This one is on the Old Testament! And if you know anything about Trey you know that he LOVES the Old Testament and is a budding scholar on the subject. He may not say so because he's modest so I will say it: The man is brilliant and passionate about the OT. He has such a deep understanding of the Pentateuch, the Covenants, the Prophets (major and minor), the Wisdom Literature, the Law, the rich history, the meta-narrative, and so much more...

I love seeing him prepare to teach something that he knows and loves so well. When editing the notes beforehand I am always blown away by how good it's going to be. I learn so much just from reading the notes, then I learn so much more when he actually teaches through the material. I feel like I get a special double dose of learning every time!

I know I'm gushing but A) he's my husband so I am totally allowed to, B) I'm right so I'm totally allowed to, and C) once you come you will totally gush about how great it is too!

So, if you will be anywhere near the Houston area on Friday evening, I highly recommend that you come to Secret Church. It will change your life.

Secret Church- The Old Testament
Where: Sugar Land First United Methodist Church
When: Friday, July 22, from 6:00 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
For more information or to sign up to attend (which you should do!) click the link below (or the one at the top of the post, or the one at the top of the paragraph. See, how easy I've made it for you to come?).

http://sugarlandmethodist.org/secretchurch/index.htm

Tuesday, April 26

Secret Church: The Cross of Christ

On Good Friday Trey preached another Secret Church, from 8-midnight after the Good Friday service!

It was awesome.

He got rave reviews from the adults and high school students who attended. Lots of really great feedback. And in my totally unbiased opinion he was absolutely incredible. He taught with passion, deep knowledge, and conveyed the complex ideas in an understandable way.

He taught through a) Why Jesus had to die, b) What happened on the cross, and c) The effects of the cross on our lives. It was serious theology. Even though I learned a lot of this stuff back in my Biola days, it was such a needed reminder of how holy, loving, and good God is.

I'll post the links for the video and notes as soon as they are up on the church website.

Monday, February 14

Secret Church

On Friday we spent the evening at church for an event called 'Secret Church'. The idea comes from David Platt who spent time in the underground church in China teaching groups of Christians who, even under threat of death and persecution, hungered and thirsted for God's word in a mighty way. The teaching times would be hours long in crowded rooms with very little comfort. He brought the long intensive teaching sessions back to his home church in Birmingham and called the teaching times 'Secret Church'.

Trey pitched the idea to our church and got approval to do a Secret Church this past Friday. It was AWESOME. Trey did an AMAZING job. I can't convey how proud I am of him and all his hard work. He put in hundreds of hours of reading, studying, praying, typing, practicing, and planning for this event. And created 40 pages of notes (!) so everyone could follow along. Trey worked tirelessly for weeks to put this together and loved every minute of it.

And it was such a success. 39 people (three high schoolers and the rest adults) came to the event where he taught from 6:00pm until 11:30pm (with four short breaks and three short prayer times)! Everyone paid attention very well and asked great questions. We have heard nothing but GREAT feedback from everyone who attended. At the end of the evening several people asked if he would do another one soon. One lady wrote him a thank you note, another lady wrote him a thank you email, one couple took us out to lunch on Saturday to say thanks and talk about everything, five people stopped us this morning at church to thank him again, and at least four people who weren't even there said that they had heard about how great it was and hoped he would do another one so they could come. And yes, we are planning on doing several more.

God is good. All the time.


P.S. The teaching was recorded and will be available (along with the notes) on our church's website soon. Let me know if you want a link. I will be more than happy to pass it along. 4.5 hours of listening but so worth every second of it!
P.P.S. The teaching material is based on Jonathan Lunde's new book:
Following Jesus, the Servant King: A Biblical Theology of Covenantal Discipleship
Buy it, read it, pass it on!

Wednesday, September 16

Our apartment.

(Better late than never...)

The living room:

The dining room (the door goes to our patio):

The kitchen area:

The hallway:

The bathroom:

The bedroom:

The writing on the wall (Jeremiah 7):