Thursday, February 5, 2009
Today was the first day of preaching. It went well. Japeth, the youngest of our students was first to go. He had never preached before today. When he started out, I was blown away. This clear, concise voice came out of this young man. Each word well spoken. He is clearly gifted to speak. His content was good for one so young and though there were issues with eye contact, being tied to the notes and hand gestures, the over all impression was very favorable.
Raymond was up next. He had a great theme and illustration, but really missed bringing it home. It wasn’t an awful message - I’ve preached far worse, but it just fell short of what it could have been. He also was not prepared to speak when it was time, he was still filling out his forms for the observers. This provided a teachable moment to talk about being ready to preach and not being distracted by last minute details before the sermon starts.
Moses, though hard to understand at times, clearly hit a home run with his message. The content was clear and right out of the text. I found almost nothing to criticize. He did a masterful job of bringing out the best in the story from Daniel 1. He got an A for the sermon and for the class as long as he finishes up his practicum.
After class, I worked on getting ready for the afternoon meetings and then relaxed for just a couple minutes. Rev. Joe and Rev. Nathaniel (the District Superintendent of East Buka) showed up and asked if I could help them. It turns out that the President and Vice-President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) will be coming to church this Sunday. Joe will be doing the preaching and they will then tour the college facilities after.
Joe and Nathaniel needed to write a letter to both men letting them know they had accepted the invitation to have them present this Sunday. They wanted help typing the letters and it also involved recreating their letterhead and updating it. We had already printed the letters and were getting ready to send them when we discovered the address still said N.S.R. P.N.G. - (North Solomon Region - Papua New Guinea) the old designation for Bougainville before gaining autonomy. This would have been a very big gaff since the fight for independence. Fortunately we caught it. They also needed a program printed up, so I did that for them as well.
I finally got a late lunch and then it was time for my three interviews with the men who had preached that morning. I really enjoyed my time with each of the men. I showed a video of them preaching to each of them, and gave them their grades.
Once finished there, I went to help Jonathan with some wood working. He is building a table for the laundry room and a screen door for the flat. I’ve been helping him by being an extra pair of hands. I also took some more photos of things around the area - animal and human.
It has been a long trip and I am ready to get back to Marcia and the family. I miss them, but I will miss Bougainville also. This morning I came across Marcia’s study notes for her Bougainville presentation for WKFM from 2001. In it she mentions to pray for a community leader who is trying to overcome betel nut habit. His name is Ezekiel - Yeah, that would be chief Ezekiel who I have come to love and who is free of the habit, and whose son, Lesly, is one of the star
students in the class. Then there was a story by Frank Midivane, the former missionary here, about a boat trip they took. In it is mentioned the church secretary, Dudley (see photo) - who I have also met. He is now pastor of the church in Bukatown and former National Superintendent. Who knew I would meet all those people or be here when she studied that back eight years ago. What a coincidence! (Funny how many of those happen to those who follow Christ, isn't it?!)