CONFLUENCE – The Flowing Together of Prayer, People and Place
The Flowing Together of Prayer, People and Place
by Jennifer Cuthbertson, Langham Preaching
In early February, Mercy Ireri and I journeyed to Meru, a city situated at the base of Mount Kenya about 250 km northeast of Nairobi. Our mission: to bring just a ‘Taste of Langham’ to Reach the Unreached, an indigenous mission group serving the north and north-eastern regions of Kenya. This group of women and men with little formal education has evangelized and planted over 100 churches all the way to Kenya’s border with Ethiopia and South Sudan. God uses these unpretentious, hard-working people in amazing ways in some of the most difficult regions of Kenya.
Twice each year for the past nine years, a dedicated couple from England, well trained in Bible study, have patiently taught groups within RTU to read the Bible well and to tell the Bible story accurately. Some come unable to read and so learn with the Bible as primer. During this time, dramatic changes have occurred among them – reading has opened up new opportunities for many and given extraordinary confidence to each of them. As well, it prepared them for Langham Preaching!
Fifteen of us gathered under the jacaranda trees. Mercy and I introduced the Langham Preaching programme to them and they introduced themselves. What fun to hear Mercy interacting with each of them in Kiswahili and their tribal languages! But the fun really began when we did a simple Bible overview with them. Using images from Preaching God’s Big Story and a clothesline already strung between the trees, we created a basic structure from Creation to New Creation. Then, each was given cards containing other Bible people and events and asked to fit them into place. We had quite a scrum as they corrected one another and moved cards along the line! Their insights after studying this visual representation were stunning.
A father and son in the group allowed me to use their relationship as an introduction to 2 Timothy. The participants told us about this missionary pair from personal experience. Then they listened as I read this emotional letter from Paul to Timothy. ‘WOW,’ blurted one participant as we finished. They were visibly moved by Paul’s words.
We gave each of them the sermon passage (2 Timothy 4:1-5) on a single sheet of paper – the only paper they received for the seminar. Mercy did a thorough observation exercise with them on the passage – all done orally, together and in smaller groups. This is how they do it with their own people, many of whom don’t read and most without Bibles, paper and pen. Together with Mercy, they built a sermon. The amazed participants exclaimed in chorus how much they needed this teaching, how wonderful to begin learning this skill, and that Mercy had come at just the right time.
As God so often designs, for many years Mercy has been praying for an opportunity to introduce Langham Preaching to this vast section of Kenya. What an opening God prepared!