Thirty two students
After a busy and fruitful 2021, almost 5 months in Africa, it’s time to return to my second home. I leave Friday.
Week One, March 4-13 Makeni, Sierra Leone. I will be teaching Course One of TLI’s curriculum, “Knowing God, Knowing Scripture, Knowing Ourselves,” to a new group of pastors and church leaders. Joining us will be staff members from The Bridge of Hope, Makeni, Sierra Leone. This site has huge potential for impacting Sierra Leone in the future – please pray for our students! Here’s their website if you’d like to know more, https://www.thebridgeofhope.us
Week Two, March 13-18 Freetown, Sierra Leone. I will be team teaching the Gospel according to 1 Timothy to a group of approximately 50 pastors and church leaders. This will be a three-day conference similar to the one on Colossians in December of 2021. We are bringing copies of Conrad Mbewe’s book, “God’s Design for the Church: A Guide for African Pastors and Ministry Leaders,” for each of the pastors. Pray that they read it!
Week Three, March 18-25 Monrovia, Liberia. I join four TLI trainers and we will be teaching Course Three of our curriculum, “Understanding and Communicating Narrative and Law: Genesis and Exodus.” This course is one of the more difficult ones, but it also has great potential for spiritual fruit.
Week Four, March 26-April 2 – I will teach the book of Romans to a group of Bible College students at our training site in Monrovia, GraceLife Church. I am very excited about teaching Romans. It’s been a few years, but my first time teaching through the book changed me in significant ways.
NEWS!! Some generous donors have contributed to the construction of the second floor of the education building at GraceLife Church and schools. When the project is completed the students will have a place to sleep and bathroom facilities. There will also be additional classrooms and 2 small apartments for a couple of families to stay at GraceLife for pastoral internships. The picture shows the first stage in the construction process: electricity! Please pray for the remainder of the funds to be donated and for the students as they come.
Update: Burris extended family
We were all together for Christmas, a Christmas that didn’t disappoint. Our youngest daughter and her husband, Andrew and Katie, right, announced that they are expecting identical twins in August. We will transition from four grandchildren to six!! And Ryan, back left, has snagged a job in Southern California, which will begin in August also.
I’ll send another update next week in Sierra Leone. Thanks for reading.
When I was preparing to preach on Sunday morning in Liberia I found these thoughts from Don Carson. It sums up why I go to Africa. Dr. Carson is possibly the foremost NT scholar alive today and an avid campus evangelist. Please take the time to read it. This is why I go to Africa. His words express my feelings.
“Should the Lord in his mercy ever pour out large-scale revival on any part of the world where I have influence, I shall devote all my energy to teaching the Word, to training a new generation of godly pastors, to channeling all of this God-given fervor toward doctrinal maturity, multiplication of Christian leaders, evangelistic zeal, maturity in Christ, genuine Christian fellowship. All over the world, the cry is for trained, strong, Bible-saturated leaders.” John Piper comments, “In other words, he would do what Barnabas and Saul did. They saw a great ingathering, and they taught and taught and taught. They strengthened the believers. They sank the roots of the people down deep. They brought stability. They built a foundation for missions.”
Africa has seen an explosion in the number of professing Christians in recent years but it has not been tethered to biblical teaching and training leaders. The church there is underwater with the health, wealth, prosperity, and deliverance false doctrines. Everywhere I go this disease is rampant. Thanks be to God, everywhere we teach and train, pastors and church leaders are understanding the error of this teaching and changing.
Above are three families from GraceLife church in Liberia being sent to plant a new church. All of these men have been in my classes. I gave the commissioning sermon, Acts 11, 13.
Below you can see the group of trainees in Liberia. The picture was taken on Friday afternoon. I was on my way to Sierra Leone early that morning.
I spent a week in Liberia and then traveled by car to Sierra Leone and visited two potential training sites. At the second location in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, I spoke at a three day pastor’s conference. It was exhilarating, hard, fulfilling, and eye-opening. I really have no words to describe the experience. I hope these pictures help.
The young girl is washing before going to prayer. She is Muslim.
The building below hosts an elementary school, which is a ministry of the church that hosted the conference, for approximately 60 children in a Muslim majority community of very low income families. They teach reading by teaching the Bible.
We led the men and a few women through nine lessons in the book of Colossians. They were excited and soaked up the teaching like sponges. They asked great questions, and they want us to come back.
Below you can see downtown Freetown and the beginnings of a new building for the school and for our future training.
We hope to begin a Training Leaders International non-formal site here sometime in 2022.
This is the new school under construction in Freetown, Sierra Leone. This will replace the dilapidated warehouse they meet in now. These rooms while host our non-formal site when they are finished.
Tomorrow we begin three days of sermons/lessons on the book of Colossians. I met a wonderful group of eager students Monday when we arrived in Freetown and made arrangements for 50+ pastors and church leaders. Please pray for a profitable time and that we will be able to begin a TLI non-formal training center here and in Makeni.
Crossing the boarder from Liberia to Sierra Leone. It was a little hot.
On the right is a funeral procession.
Eleven of us in a Toyota Land Cruiser for 3 hours. Three in the front, three in the middle, five in the back, luggage on top.