Hey, it’s good be back home again…

After four encouraging weeks in Africa with Bible hungry students, I’m home.

The first week in Makeni, Sierra Leone, we completed Course One our nine course curriculum with thirty-two students. In the video below you can see the two men from the Bridge of Hope who came to help mentor the pastors. It was a privilege to be a part of their team.

Then another week in the capital, Freetown, preaching through 1 Timothy. It was a missionary dream: motivated students, hard discussion, and always going back to the Bible when things were in question. Each attendee received a copy of Conrad Mwebe’s book, “God’s Design for the Church: A guide for African Pastors and Ministry Leaders.”

I preached in two churches, in Makeni, with home country singing! Very nice rhythm section.
Sierra Leonian elementary school track meet. Lowering the flag with panache.
Our team of trainers. They left Monday morning, I stayed to teach Romans.

My first week in Liberia with a super team of trainers was hot and hard, but super cool and rewarding. We covered Course Three: the art of interpreting biblical narrative and Old Testament Law – it never ceases to inspire. My last week at GraceLife College I read and explained Romans for 20 hours, verse by verse, line by line, following Paul’s reasoning closely. We read the whole book except for a few verses.

Progress at GraceLife College and Seminary. Second floor of the education wing well underway. It will include: dorms with real beds, showers, bathrooms, a library, offices, classrooms, and apartments for interns. Thank you for praying and giving!!
When there is no other way.
Getting the rebar ready for concrete pillars.
Ben rides his bike 1 1/2 hours each way to come to the training. A snooze at lunch is a needed comodity..
Romans class.
Abraham’s a new daddy. His wife delivered their third girl – that morning!
My view.
Hot days. Teaching.
Figuring out Romans 7 – Paul is looking back at the conundrum of being a religious person, without Christ, struggling with keeping the law but succumbing to sin.
Dad showing Harper a sonogram pic of identical twin brothers coming in July. Vickie’s mom is on the right.

Our world map reminds us to pray for the 2.3 billion people who have never heard the name of Jesus.
An authentic Liberian sunset to close the letter.

Thank you for reading, looking, praying and giving!


Great Week, Great Students, a Full Heart

Morning devotions.
Find your name and come to class – on time.
My students figuring it out.
Abraham and Phil. Very bright!
Evening recap of the day. There were 5 of us from the U.S.
Friday. Ryan (beard on the left) lives in Liberia full time with his family. This is most of the class.
The following pictures are of the second floor construction. The first floor is mostly completed and in full use. The second floor will provide more classrooms, dorm rooms with beds, showers, bathrooms, a library, and apartments for families who come for an internship.
They make their own blocks. Stronger.
Behind the building staircase and beginnings of a fence.
Current shower
Future apartments for interns and families
Liberian dinosaur
Our gardeners at home. They work hard and cheap.
This is Pastor Margaret’s song. She pulled this one out of the hat after hearing Mike’s sermon on Gideon to the inmates in prison!! She is in the pic below.
Born in Sierra Leone, she works as an RN in Texas and runs a Christian ministry, in Makeni, to out-of-wedlock mothers and rape victims to save children from abortion. She knows Margaret (see above). We met her at the hotel while eating breakfast. That’s Mike on the right. He is TLI’s Africa director. He taught in Makeni and shared the teaching at the conference.

Help for African Pastors – Africa.TheGospelCoalition.org

Growing their own cassava on the north side of the school. It is used for seasoning, making tapioca (who knew), flour, assorted dishes, and snacks.

African pastors need resources. The apostle Paul asked for parchments/books at the end of 2 Timothy and so we too need resources to help us with the book of books – the Bible.

Our beliefs come only from the text. We ask repeatedly, “where is that in the text?”

On this trip we brought a handbook on church/pastoring for African pastors, written by an African pastor. Every single attendee wanted one. But in the absence of books there are some great online sites. I’ve listed them here.

Cassava tuber https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava

And these are not just for African pastors. They are for pastors, church members, churches in the United States, and around the world.

Looking from the school building. Photo credit Mike Rudolph

Challies.com His name is Tim Challies – a Canadian. He has a web site and a daily blog with links to Kindle deals, somewhat uneven in their quality, but some very good books at hugely reduced prices. I have reverted to Kindle books because of my travel. He also has links to other sites every day. Hardly a day passes that I don’t read something he has posted with great benefit.

The Gospel Coalition. A warehouse of great articles, sermons, and blogs. Trustworthy. GospelCoalition.org

Sierra Leone is 60% Muslim

Desiring God. A treasure: sermons, articles and free PDF books. John Piper and others. DesiringGod.org

NetBible.org An all purpose site with Bible study materials.


9Marks.org A ministry founded out of Capital Hill Baptist in Washington D.C. Great resources and handy 9Marks books on the church.

I watched him and hopped right in, gracefully. Not. Train wreck.
The ladies shared freely, and proved to be great additions to our meetings.

World Magazine. The news from a solid Christian worldview. World.wng.org

School building for 120 students.

The Berean Test. A Christian song review site. Give it a try. I like it. TheBereanTest.com

Ligonier.org Everything from a gentler Reformed perspective. You’ll enjoy the material. R.C. Sproul was the founder.

Future classroom in Freetown.

Gospel Coalition Africa! Yes. A great resource for African pastors and churches. There’s a link below that I’m requiring my students to read and write about. The prosperity gospel, not really the gospel, has invaded the continent like a hoard of locusts. Brought from the U.S. and syncretized with ancestor worship and witchcraft, it has taken on an existence that will move you to your knees. I pray daily for God to open eyes to see the error. They have taken the Holy Spirit, put him in a Trojan Horse, and now they’ve let him loose so they can play with him. That’s one of the reasons I’m here now. https://africa.thegospelcoalition.org/article/a-trojan-horse-in-the-african-church-deliverance-ministry/

Happy students. Many/most? are Muslim. Pray for them and their teachers from the church.
Last but not least. Grandson!

Fabulous week in Freetown

Possibly the only one in Sierra Leone!! At my hotel.
These are great men who lead this little church in the middle of Freetown.
Two happy pastor wives and kids.
A police officer at our training conference being presented with a book on the African church by an African pastor, Conrad Mbewe. Everyone received a book.
The church has a school for the neighborhood children. I counted 120.
The new classrooms. They build as the church has the funds. There is progress from when I was there in December!
We teach. They break into groups and discuss with open Bibles.
No words.
Happy pastor who loves and serves his wife as Christ loves the church.
Seven women came to our conference on 1 Timothy. We had some lively discussions on why God calls men to be pastors. And they came back!! for all three days.
My friend, Pastor Francis, one of the elders at the Freetown church. They cared for us well.
Animated teaching to some who may have never read 1 Timothy or preached a verse by verse exposition. We try to teach simply, phrase by phrase, verse by verse, paragraph by paragraph, through a book, hopefully in a way they will emulate.
He joined us on the small craft across the bay to the airport. It was an ADVENTURE!! We arrived on the airport side fully acquainted with the taste and feel of the Atlantic. Today I leave for two weeks in Liberia.
Sympathy for the disciples as Jesus slept.
My grandkid pic as usual.