|Clockwise: Daniel addresses the graduates; |
the graduates stand to receive their certificates;
the graduates pose outside the church building.
The Mtu Wa Mbu (which means "Mosquito River") congregation began an intensive Bible school last year. Don't confuse that term with the way it is used in America to refer to Sunday morning and Wednesday evening Bible classes. This Bible school requires students to study for 8 hours a day, 3 days a week, for 1 year. Such Bible schools are used with great effects in our area. Similar schools have existed in Arusha, Moshi, and Kisongo for years.
These schools are open to the general public and are tuition-free. They are a great evangelistic tool, targeting those who have a serious thirst to know more about the Bible. They also accelerate the maturation of new converts by giving them more organized Bible study in a single year than many Christians might get in 10 years of church attendance alone. This also better equips the graduates for the tasks of teaching Bible class and of sharing their faith with others.
Julius Gasper, the preacher at Mtu Wa Mbu and director of the Bible School, invited me to be the keynote speaker at their inaugural graduation. I was honored to be a part of the event. The program also featured a local government official who offered his support to the new school, pointing out that such institutions improve the community. He is quite right. Truly, righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to any people.
After the graduates received their certificates, then their well-wishers hurried forward to congratulate and decorate them with various brightly colored items to drape around their necks. It added a very festive flair to the occasion. Afterwards, we were treated to an authentic African lunch which is always one of my favorite parts of any event!
I wish the best for the school as it gets off the ground. Right now their facilities and resources are extremely limited, but hopefully it will be able to advance with time. In the meantime, I pray this group of graduates will be useful in the service of our Lord.