Heavenlight Luoga is a key APF training partner from north-west Tanzania. Alongside Kesia, his wife, they use eVitabu to run workshops for untrained pastors from rural communities such as the recent programme they provided in Burundi.
The training was an amazing time. My wife, Kesia, and I based our training on resources from APF’s eVitabu app. eVitabu was a great help in preparing the programme for the pastors and wives. The key resources we chose on eVitabu were from Next Leadership and written by Revd Dr Kate Coleman.
Revd Kate’s material covered many important aspects of family life and marriage. We explored together how marriage was designed to reflect the God who created us in His image, both male and female, and who is recreating us to be like Him in loving relationships, deeply connected with each other and in partnership through agreement and cooperation in a way that honours the marital bond.
We looked at how unresolved issues can wreck marriages and destroy families and discussed problem solving and conflict resolution in marriage.
We also talked about repentance and forgiveness within family and married life. At the end of the training, there was an opportunity for husbands and wives to renew their marriage covenants together.
So many pastors told me that this teaching was completely new to them. Wives were praising God and even during breaktimes they gathered into groups to continue to discuss the teaching. Pastors were so happy to sit down side-by-side with their wives. This is not a normal thing!
Altogether, over 60 attended the training. We had hoped for 50. But success is not just about numbers, it was found in seeing husbands and wives together, repairing and building their relationships and hearing their testimonies after the training.
One of the pastors at the training was a Church of Burundi pastor called Revd Maendeleo. He enjoyed the training so much that he made a call to Bishop Evariste Nijimbere from the local Buhiga Diocese. I then received a voicemail from the Bishop asking me to come and join him in June to lead some seminars for the Diocese.
In more good news, a wider door has been opened for the next year. All pastors in the training programme agreed to sponsor themselves for three days of training next year if I can cover the transport cost for Kesia and myself. Kesia will facilitate the pastor’s wives training and I will facilitate the pastors training, then in the evening all of us will come together. We are told to expect 100 or even 150 for that training. I am not the one who asked to do this but the idea came from within the group themselves. Of course, for me this is a great fruit.
The journey from Karagwe in Tanzania to Buhiga in Burundi and back is long. We travelled by bus, taxi and motorbike and had to negotiate the Covid-19 testing challenges at the border between the countries. I was tired and suffered from fatigue at the end of training and after the journey but I had no regrets at all.
I look back to what God has done for me and for all participants and, for the sake of God’s Kingdom, I am full of joy in my heart.