Published on July 22nd, 2008 | by tdnimz7S0
Change of Ministry Direction
In a recent leadership meeting, a recommendation was made involving a change of direction in our ministry. It is likely that we will be moving to Uganda in March, 2009.
Our initial mandate was outlined in February, 2006, when we were invited to leave our church in Paris, Ontario, to come for 2 years to CREATE, a program to train teachers in Religious Education at the certificate level. The 3-month sessions were a tremendous success in the 90’s, but attendance had declined in the last few years, as teachers sought an upgraded Diploma education. Thanks to supporters, our budget was raised in time for us to move to Kenya in January, 2007. We enjoyed a 3-month class of teachers’ training, “CREATE 66″ and we continue to hear from our graduates. It became apparent, however, that there would not be a second term (like the 2 terms cancelled prior to our arrival). We immediately started offering extension seminars. Leaders from Uganda to Mbale to Mumias welcomed our power-point sessions, sometimes powered by generator. We also invited alumni to come for reunion weekends, and enjoyed Sunday ministry in churches.
Our responsibility became apparent in another area. Ten families maintain our beautiful mission station. They would be unemployed without their salary that comes from our budget. How could we increase their incomes? Another responsibility was this: how can we best utilize the magnificent facilities at Goibei? The conference centre for 120, the dormitories for 100, the classroom, the lounge, the dining hall, the library, and other buildings were not being used.
So our ministry developed in new directions. We responded to the need to use the facilities by opening a Guest House, Conference and Retreat Centre. Our affordable rates have attracted a variety of groups. 70 church leaders from across Kenya welcomed their retreat with us. 100 school “prefects”, or monitors came for a 6-day leadership seminar. We await another similar group later this month. Visitors revel in Marge’s cooking, the great accommodation, and peaceful mountain-top atmosphere.
The teaching aspect of our ministry unfolded in Bible-College teaching. What an opportunity! Influencing future pastors, who will have an impact on church leaders, teachers, youth and children.
Pan Africa Christian University offers a Diploma course. Weekly teaching of an extension class in Kapsabet is an ongoing joy and responsibility. Ken has also begun to write a 13-week course for the Diploma program, with an emphasis on the African context.
Marge initiated workshops and classes for ladies, who flocked to learn about making necklaces, improving hygiene, and learning the Bible. Ken experienced a good response to an invitation to men to learn basics of accounting.
A good missionary works his way out of a job. Indigenization is the key to long-term success. As the retreats were booked and then accommodated, we trained Simon and Agnes, the Kenyan couple that manages and acts as secretary. It is a complex responsibility that they are doing well. Simon is also upgrading his education, hoping to teach at our Diploma course.
So what about the change in direction for 2009? It is another kind of leadership training. This time we will work in Uganda, with General Superintendent Simon Peter Emiau. He was our partner in Uganda 20 years ago, and we look forward to training missionaries. There are young leaders who want to go into the Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, and other location. They need training. The personnel is there. 44 years ago when I started preaching, it was exclusively in French. That language will be a real asset in preparing missionaries for the Congo. A new building is in the process of being purchased in Kampala. The challenge awaits us.
The next six months: Ken will remain in Kenya until the end of October, facilitating the planning of retreats, teaching in the Bible College and in the Diploma program, completing the Diploma course, visiting Malawi to do some research, and visiting Uganda for two different seminars. Then he will be available to visit individuals and churches in Canada. Marge will return to Canada with Sherry on the 24th. She has been accepted at McMaster University in Hamilton.
May God bless you.
Ken & Marge MacGowan