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Geoff Holder

Deepening Bonds Down South

By Environment, eVitabu, Farming, Malawi, Zambia

While the UK roasted at 40°C, our Projects Coordinator escaped Britain’s summer heatwave by traveling to cool southern Africa. Geoff Holder reports on a busy but productive three weeks catching up with APF partners in Malawi and Zambia.

Extreme weather driven by climate change is causing shocks all over the world. As new temperature records were smashed back home, I visited communities supported by Pastor Lloyd Chizenga (pictured above) and Hunta Faeti from New Life Christian Church (NLCC) in Malawi’s Shire River valley.

Earlier in the year, the area was devastated by two huge tropical storms. Flooding washed away crops, homes and livestock. Your gifts helped APF provide replacement seed and training delivered by Lloyd and Hunta which was now ripening into a lifesaving harvest.

Outside of the flood-affected area, we heard how the training given by the church was having a huge impact. Global energy prices have made fertiliser unaffordable. I was told, “Pastor Lloyd is a prophet! He saved us with the message of composting now we can’t buy fertiliser anymore”.

In Liwonde, I met with Pastor Patrick Stephen Mateketa. He runs village discipleship training workshops in rural churches using our library resource app eVitabu as a reference tool. He found APF online and downloaded eVitabu on his phone. “It is good having a library there in my hand when I am teaching untrained pastors in the village” he explained.

Back in Blantyre, I ran workshops for NLCC pastors and leaders helping them also get onto eVitabu. Pastor Sousa travelled all the way from Mozambique to attend.

In Zambia, I joined Pastor Lawson Limao (pictured below) in Shibuyij, a village several hours’ drive outside Lusaka, to see him teach in a tiny mud and straw church using resources on eVitabu. The training was fantastic! He’d gathered leaders from local churches and the community to learn about agroforestry and faith, meeting the community’s physical and spiritual needs. It was inspiring to see the power of eVitabu in the dedicated hands of a brilliant young leader. In Lusaka, Lawson and I were interviewed about eVitabu on a Zambian Christian radio station with an audience from across the country.

Finally, in Luanshya, a town in Copperbelt Region, Revd Charles Mwape and I ran a workshop helping Baptist pastors use eVitabu. It was especially useful seeing how the pastors used their phones in different and sometimes unexpected ways, lessons that will help us improve the app and make it easier for African users in the future.

For Prayer…

By Prayer

Please pray with us for our partners in Africa.

“As a trainer working with widows and single mums helping them identify local resources to improve their livelihoods, we need your prayers for funds to travel to the places of training and for new training materials.”

Winnie KoechTransformational Compassion Network, Kenya

“Most women in South Sudan are single mothers due to civil war. They have hardships caring for their families. Pray for me and my vision to train them in tailoring and to open a nursery school for children from poor families.”

Harriet Namirembe SokiriNew Nation Church, South Sudan

“Women comprise over half of the membership of churches in Uganda yet face many barriers to fully participating in leadership. Pray that women would be allowed to lead at church and community level in Uganda.

Rose MugabiPastors’ Discipleship Network, Uganda

“I have a few prayer requests so this intercession is highly appreciated. Pray for financial independence for New Beginnings Foundation in our work with victims of abuse and violence, for a lifetime companion and for my health.”

Ivy KabagambeNew Beginnings Foundation, Uganda

“Pray for women ministers in Africa who have to minister and take care of their families, especially now as costs go up and money is a bit tight here in Mombasa and also worldwide.”

Catherine Wanjuguini NgariCatherine Evangelistic Ministry and Vocational School, Kenya

“As we serve our clients, we’re praying we will provide relevant guidance for their organisations. We have some interventions and we really need God’s guidance and the right resources to design and execute them well.”

Brenda AbejaEaglelite Associates, Uganda

“Besides my role as college principal, I was also given responsibility over a local parish while the college was on holiday. However, there is no recess in the college administrative duties. Please pray for me in this challenge.”

Revd Elizabeth CheruiyotSt Paul’s Theological College Kapsabet, Kenya

Digital Theology in Africa

By eVitabu, Kenya, Training

Transformational Compassion Network (TCN) is responding to the rapidly changing context in Africa. Revd Walter Rutto explains why Digital Theology is so important in Africa and introduces the pioneering work they’re doing.

We live in a digital age. That is true in Africa as much as anywhere else in the world. Mobile technology has changed the way we interact, do business and live our lives. Here in Kenya, we send and receive money by Mpesa, we text to get information on market prices, we speak to our family on WhatsApp, we get our news through Facebook.

Christianity in Africa is not immune to the consequences of this digital revolution. Digital Theology is the study of the connection between digital technology and theology. It reflects the digitisation of our society and the implications of this for our faith and worship.

Like many different religions practiced in Africa, the Christian Church is changing through its engagement with social media, its conversation through websites, and the growing use of digital resources in worship, pastoral practice, and evangelism. The primary premise of Digital Theology is engaging with this new virtual tradition and reflecting on the new context the Church finds itself in. It demands sparkling theological conversations and new approaches.

With the support of APF and our partners, TCN aim to be at the forefront of this revolution. We are formulating a digital curriculum for our certificate-level pastor training programme. This is critical in preparing leaders for ministry in the digital age. It covers topics such as theology and technology, reading the Bible digitally, theological thought in digital culture, online worship, living ethically amidst digital technology, online liturgy and online church.

In July, we organised a workshop as a fact-finding mission for the Digital Theology programme. It was attended by 60 participants in-person and over 100 online. APF helped us facilitate the training. The sessions underlined the huge need for Digital Theology training in the Africa context. With the majority owning a smartphone, they already have the key tool they need.

TCN are grateful to APF for their support in this endeavour and invite any other interested party help develop the curriculum with us. The members of the team may be from any country as we can easily meet together online.

eVitabu expansion to Church of Uganda clergy

By eVitabu, Uganda

 There is a really strategic and exciting partnership developing with the Church of Uganda. Dave Stedman explains:

As you may recall from earlier editions of Impetus, during lockdown I was introduced to the Archbishop of Uganda, Rt Revd Stephen Kaziimba. When I was in Kampala in March of this year, he kindly invited me for a breakfast meeting at the Archbishop’s Palace, close to Namirembe Cathedral.

As an outcome of that meeting, I returned to Uganda in July to speak at a conference attended by all the principals of Church of Uganda universities, colleges and tertiary institutions at Namagongo Martyrs University (pictured above). This was with a view to APF providing IT training and sharing eVitabu with Group 2 clergy in the Church of Uganda.

‘Group 2’ is the label given by the Church of Uganda to pastors who have theological education to certificate or diploma level, and work in poorer informal urban parishes or rural communities. Group 2 clergy represent the largest proportion of Anglican clergy in Uganda and characteristically have very limited access to ministry resources.

By helping Group 2 pastors access eVitabu, we’re helping the Church of Uganda with their vision of building digital, pastoral and theological capacity amongst their clergy.

APF is also seed funding a smartphone loan scheme for clergy who don’t have an adequate Android phone. The loans will help clergy purchase a device to run eVitabu on, giving them access to local language Bibles, Church of Uganda liturgies, everything on eVitabu, and more.

I will be delivering induction training over three days in early November to the first cohort of 100 Group 2 clergy. An APF team will return in March 2023 to work more closely with selected users identified by the Church of Uganda as having the capacity to become eVitabu trainers … Then the process repeats!

This is a very exciting development for APF and eVitabu. It promises to add many new users to the app and grow its profile across Uganda. The Church of Uganda will also become an eVitabu contributor, making use of the platform to publish their own resources, liturgies and higher-level academic research papers.

Download our October 2022 newsletter

By Impetus

October 2022 Impetus.

Welcome to the latest edition of Impetus.

You’ll notice that it’s a little slimmer than normal. Reducing the number of pages in our newsletter is just one of several small steps we are taking to try to minimise costs to the charity.

Despite there being fewer pages in this edition, I think you’ll agree, there is no less activity being reported and exciting opportunities coming up.

With costs increasing, we’re working hard not only to maintain our work in Africa but to grow it. Please pray for our staff team and trustees as we make important decisions about doing just that.

How you can help

Firstly, if you use email, we would encourage you to receive Impetus in digital form rather than on paper. Please let us know using the enclosed form if you would like to do so in future.

Secondly, we always love to meet supporters and share what God is doing through his Church across Africa. Why not invite us to a Sunday service or midweek meeting at your church? We’re taking bookings for online and in-person engagements during 2023 now.

Perhaps you might be able to host a fundraising event for APF? Invite friends and neighbours to an advent coffee morning and we’ll help by sending you some resources to promote APF.

Or you can get in touch to order your Christmas cards or purchase some beautiful African notebooks from us.

Finally, we’d be very grateful if you might consider including a gift to APF in your will.

Most of all, we continue to value your interest and prayers.

Thank you!


Revd Dave Stedman
CEO

For Prayer…

By Prayer

Please pray with us for our partners in Africa.

“Pray that God will give us the resources so the community of Kibalya can have a maternity health facility, that we would be able to buy bibles for rural churches, and have the resources to train pastors for ministry.”

Bishop Nason BalukuSouth Rwenzori Diocese, Uganda

“With AMISOM peacekeeping force came Christians in uniform and other humanitarian peacekeepers including myself. Pray for all working for the salvation and restoration of this beautiful nation and its people.”

Daniel MasigaChristian Leaders Fellowship Mogadishu, Somalia

“Pray for the economic stability of Uganda as the inflation rate keeps rising. Lack of essential items always triggers a wave of crime so please pray for those who find themselves in desperate times and cannot afford basics.”

Brenda AbejaEagleLite Associates, Uganda

“Our prayer for our ministry at Juba in South Sudan is for funds to buy additional land for new churches. Secondly, we need a financial break through to open a school to provide education for local children.”

Alex SokiriNew Nation Church, South Sudan

“Please pray for me as I try and publish two books , for Judie’s PhD studies, for our three sons at university and for my elderly parents. Pray for Kenya and the continued spread of God’s transformative Word across the nation.”

Chris Khatela and Judie MmosiNgong Restoration Assembly, Kenya

“We’re constructing one of our local church’s buildings, please pray so we can complete the building soon. Our church community school want to construct a school building so please keep us in your prayers..”

Clinton GbawohCentral Christian Assembly, Liberia

“Give thanks that our training in marginalised areas of East Pokot is going on well. Please pray for the Pokot Bible Project and for the Pastors Camel Project. Also please pray the nation of Kenya as we prepare for elections.”

Shadrack Maiyo KomaNorth Rift Pastors’ Fellowship, Kenya

“Thank you for your prayers for my sister-in-law, Sally. Her operation was successful but doctors found cancer. She begins chemotherapy soon and has lots of pain. Please keep her, her husband and children in your prayers.”

Abraham KoechAfrica Inland Church, Kapsabet, Kenya

“Pray with me for donors to help fund ABS student tuition and administrative costs, and that ABS will be chartered to offer Certificate of Theology courses by National Council for Higher Education in Uganda.”

Francis EsomuAtirir Bible School, Soroti, Uganda

“TCN members elected a new board last year. Lets pray that they will catch up and take TCN to greater heights. Pray with us to get enough funding for income generation projects and for leaders graduating from TCN courses.”

Walter RuttoTransformational Compassion Network, Kenya

“Please pray with me for the funds to pay for my Master’s Degree in Theology and for our plans to start a Bible School in Lumbumbashi. Pray also for clean water provision in the local communities as this will raise the standard of living.”

Bertin MwanyaCongo Pastors’ Fellowship, Lumbumbashi, DRC

“Pray for my ministry as I am planning to do church planting in another area within Lusaka. I believe it will be a great opportunity to share the gospel and train new leaders using the eVitabu resources in this new area.”

Lawson LimaoWord of God Ministries, Zambia

“According to Rwandan law governing churches, an uneducated pastor cannot lead a church. If APF did not support my theological studies our church would now be disqualified. Give thanks to God for this support.”

Victor ImanaturikumweEglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté au Rwanda

“I feel a heavy burden for the pastors in this generation who need help. Pray that I will remain focused and for our coaching, counselling and training activities and programmes in Mukono and ministry target areas.”

Peter MugabiCephas Leadership Foundation, Uganda

“Pray for pastors who are suffering due to inflation to reach their churches in remote areas, and for 25 Baptist churches closed by the government as their buildings only have grass roofs or are too close to other churches.”

Jean Jacques MasaboBaptist Union of Burundi

“Please pray for revival in our churches in the Central Rift Region, pray for peace for our country during this election period, and pray for God’s provision as I attend a conference in the US in October and November.”

Simon LabosoCentral Rift Baptist Regional Convention, Kenya

“Following tropical storms and Cyclone Gombe that devastated our crops and infrastructure, praise God that we have replanted the maize we lost with assistance from APF. Pray now for a good winter crop harvest.”

Lloyd ChizengaNew Life Christian Church, Malawi

“Please pray for me as I pursue my Doctoral program in church ministry and leadership. Pray for the provision of ministry partners who will walk with the PDN women’s ministry team to bring training to women leaders.”

Rose MugabiPastors’ Discipleship Network, Uganda

“We pray for the ministry of evangelisation in Gakenke and Rulindo Districts in Rwanda and for students at Wisdom Bible School. Heavenly Farther, let the Word of God become light in these days affected by war in Ukraine and DRC.”

Charles MunyamahoroWisdom Bible School, Rwanda

“Please pray for me, for more grace in my God given gift to help pastors and church leaders. Pray for Tanzania, we’re facing inflation and life seems to be so tough as the Russia-Ukraine war shakes out our country’s economy.”

Heavenlight LuogaDeeper Life Ministries, Tanzania

Download our July 2022 newsletter

By Impetus

July 2022 Impetus.

I have always prided myself on being able to recall names, faces and details of the people I meet. As a pastor, it’s a very useful skill. In many African contexts where local dialects and languages make pronunciation and recall more difficult however, this can be more challenging. But I think the same is true in reverse. Only this morning, I received an email from someone I recently met digitally addressed: ‘Dear Steve’!

Names are important.

This is especially true in Biblical thought: Adam means ‘man’, Eve means ‘life-giver’, Ruth means ‘friend’ and David (I have always liked this one) means ‘beloved’.

Above all, Jesus means ‘God who Saves’.

Ever since my early involvement in APF there have been conversations about the name ‘African Pastors Fellowship’. How does it communicate to a largely white British supporter base? Does it adequately describe organisational priorities around training and equipping Christian leaders? To what extent does it suggest a forward thinking and pioneering 21st century mission?

The most common response I get when I tell people I work for African Pastors Fellowship is, “but you’re not African!”. We need to be serious about the possibility our name could actually be a barrier to some opportunities.

The conversation is on-going and I would warmly welcome comments from supporters and friends of APF, both positive and negative concerning our name.

In the meantime, I hope you will be encouraged by this edition of Impetus which contains a significant section of prayer requests submitted by African friends and partners and has been prepared in response to your requests for more of a focus on prayer.

Every Blessing,
Dave (not Steve!)


Revd Dave Stedman
CEO

Celebrating 60 years of St Paul’s College

By Kenya

On a recent visit to the Anglican Diocese of Kapsabet in Kenya, APF’s Chair of Trustees, Rev Canon Richard Suffern was able to attend the 60th anniversary service and celebrations of St Paul’s Theological and Bible College. Richard writes:

At a colourful and vibrant service members of staff and students, present and past, celebrated the diamond anniversary of the establishment of St Paul’s College. Five hours of worship, testimony, prayer and presentations followed by an excellent lunch made for a day of praise and thanksgiving to God for all that He has done through the College. St Paul’s serves four Dioceses in particular, but students come from all over Kenya. Over 600 students have trained here, the largest Anglican theological college in Western Kenya.

St Paul’s has always aspired to be at the cutting edge of theological training, both academic and applied. This makes APF’s involvement in the life and teaching of the College very relevant. St Paul’s has devised a five-year development plan which includes APF’s flagship eVitabu. As College Principal Rev Elizabeth Cheruiyot says: “Our priority areas include utilising modern technology by going digital and exploring the opportunities therein.”

Many of the graduates have gone on to senior leadership positions in the Church, and the preacher for this occasion was the inspiring former student Rev Dr Sammy Wainaina, Provost of Nairobi Cathedral. The training is also very relevant to ministry in remote and less developed areas of Kenya which include West Pokot district where I worked for five years with Tearfund. I was also able to go to West Pokot to visit the newest Diocese of Kenya, Kapenguria, in May. This Diocese was a parish when I lived in Kenya! There are now hundreds of local churches with their leaders who need resourcing in the way that eVitabu makes possible.

I returned from Kenya even more convinced of the great value of eVitabu training and resourcing work of APF. I give thanks to God for calling APF into existence for such a time as this as well as for times and conditions of the past. Well done to all our team who work in such a dedicated and inspired way to see vision become reality!

Village discipleship in Malawi

By eVitabu, Malawi

The church in Africa is growing faster than anywhere else but training leaders for the new churches isn’t keeping up. The vast majority of rural church leaders have never had even a single day of formal training. In Malawi, Patrick  Steven Mateketa is finding eVitabu to be an invaluable tool to support his vital training work with village church leadership teams.

My name is Patrick Steven Mateketa. I am a Malawian from the Central Region, District of Kasungu but I was born and have lived most of my life in the southern region. For ten years now, I am living in Balaka District.

I joined African Pastors Fellowship in the year 2020 and was introduced to the eVitabu app. I am a pastor and teacher by calling. Teachers need to be very resourceful so that they can better communicate hidden meanings of the Word of God, so I wanted to see how eVitabu could help me.

By the time I was joining APF, I was running village discipleship training workshops with rural pastors and leaders not far from where I live. I had prepared three lessons from the books given to me by an American pastor from California which I translated into Chichewa. That was the beginning of my village discipleship ministry programme.

In our villages, most of church pastors and leaders are handpicked. They don’t have any training or even basic knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. You find a pastor leading a big congregation but lacking both theological understanding and the resources to guide them.

After six months of village discipleship training, the American funding ended. I was also concerned about a training focus that seemed to me to be about personal gain. Nevertheless, other pastors and leaders in villages also called me, asking for training. This made me realise exactly what office God set for me in my calling.

I now started searching for resources to use to train and coach village pastors in depth. Among them, I found the eVitabu app from APF which I use regularly. In eVitabu, there are resources touching almost every area of ministry. For example, when I am teaching on discipleship, I look for discipleship books. When I am teaching on pastoral formation, I look for resources focused on theology, the art of preaching, eschatology, and the like.

eVitabu is simple to use and very handy. Once, a pastor from the UK bought me a laptop but it was not safe to carry it on the bicycle I use to cycle very long distances. I ended up breaking it, soaked in the rain. With eVitabu, I have many powerful resources just there on my phone, but it is easy to carry and protect.

Sometimes, a learner asks me a question from a topic that I don’t have much knowledge about. When this happens, I ask them to let me finish the current teaching point and say I will come back to that question later. I can then get my phone, open eVitabu, search for that topic and I have this great support. This is only a problem when I am in areas where the network is weak.

Many of the resources on eVitabu are in English but I teach in our own languages. One of the things I do is to choose a portion of a relevant resource and translate it either while I am preparing or even while I am teaching. I would love to see more resources on eVitabu in Chichewa, Tumbuka and other languages spoken in Malawi.

Another thing that would be a great help is for supporters of APF to support my training by donating data bundles for my phone. Data bundles are a problem to most of us here.

In our monthly APF discussions on Zoom, I heard APF staff Dave and Geoff talk about a future development of doing formal Bible school training by extension learning through the eVitabu app. This idea must be promoted, encouraged and marketed with a catchy advertisement.

I like the eVitabu app because it does not only teach about the spiritual things but also covers agriculture, economics, the environment, our society and other people. Christian leaders are agents for change and positive change should be seen across all aspects of our lives.

In the village where I borrow a piece of land to grow my crops, people do not believe they can harvest good crops without first securing the farm with magic. But of all the village farms this year, my small field has better crops than any other fields. Villagers are now beginning to trust God in their farming.

God bless you!
Patrick Steven Mateketa

Fostering fellowship across Africa

By Rwanda, Zambia

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a very challenging time for many of our partners right across Africa. But tough situations inspire creativity and new ways of working. For example, instead of travelling to meet with the pastors and church leaders we work alongside, we set up monthly gatherings on Zoom. Now travel is possible again, our online meetings are continuing especially because they are creating a greater sense of fellowship between our African partners, something that was lacking before.  It’s great to listen to church leaders from Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Mali and DRC discussing and learning from each other’s experience. Recently, one of our partners from Rwanda spent several months in Zambia to study English. While he was there, he sought out a familiar face from the APF online meetings. Emmanuel explains…

My name is Revd Emmanuel Gatera from Kamembe in Rwanda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. I lead a network of churches called Word of Life Church.

I would like to share with you something about the connection I made while I was in Lusaka, Zambia.

Since March and up to June 2022, I was in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia at English language school. During the time I spent there, I had the privilege of creating friendships with pastors and organisations.

Through the connection with the APF Zoom meetings, I had already met Pastor Charles Mwampe from Zambia Youth Ministries online so we met in-person while I was in Lusaka.

Pastor Charles then invited me to attend the Zambia Youth Ministries conference. It was wonderful to speak at this conference on the theme “Why is it wise to trust in God not in men?” using Psalm 146:1-10 and Psalm 125:1-2. Many of the youth responded to the message and decided to put their trust in God.

There are many benefits of networking with pastors and organisations pan-Africa. It is so important for African pastors to grow in friendship and work together in growing the Kingdom of God by sharing the opportunities they have.

During the three months I spent in Lusaka, I was hosted in the home of a ‘bishop’ of a young Pentecostal church group. He is the Chairman of 100 different churches in this network and these churches showed me love as I ministered with them.

It was good to learn about their unity as churches. They meet each Monday between 4pm and 6pm for praying, sharing God’s word and helping each other so that each one can have a business of doing.

My prayer is that this fellowship can grow up.

Thank you!
Emmanuel Gatera