My family moved to Africa in 2012 so that we could be involved in theological education. For the first four years I served as Academic Dean at Evangelical University (EU; formerly the Theological College of Central Africa) in Zambia. For the past five years we have served in South Africa. I have been Senior Academic and Head of ICT at the South African Theological Seminary (SATS) for the past two years, but my involvement with SATS began in Zambia. Since Evangelical University didn't have a Masters-level programme, we partnered with SATS to enable our students to further their education. I taught a small but influential cohort of students, including the head of a major denomination and several Bible college lecturers. I continue to assist a few of them in their studies and ministries even now.
SATS recently held their first graduation since the COVID-19 lock-downs began. I was encouraged to see a number of Zambian students finally able to celebrate their graduations, along with several I had supervised through their master’s research. The impact of student ministry at the graduate level is profound, since many go on to teach and train others.
One former student had been serving for many years at a small college in rural Zambia. Here is what he wrote on completion of his Master’s programme:
I will forever remain indebted to you for your insightful instruction in Biblical theology during my MTh studies at EU from 2015. My next step is to try doctoral studies.
Since then, after helping him prepare his doctoral thesis proposal I received this update:
I am delighted to inform you that my preliminary research topic finally passed and I have since been accepted into the PhD programme. Thank you for your relentless mentorship!
Another graduating student wrote these words, clearly showing the impact that theological education has already had on the life and ministry of our students:
I appreciate the kind words and, most importantly, all the comments, ideas and encouragement you provided as I worked on the thesis. Now I often wonder all-the-more, as I read the scriptures, why a particular (sometimes odd) word or turn of phrase was chosen. I cannot help but think of the impact of language, location and culture as each story unfolds.
Ministry allows me to be part of the ongoing story. God continues to work in the student’s lives. The impact of this ministry will live into the future. Another former Zambian student recently wrote:
It has been long time since our first conversation. It is good that you still sense your call to serve in Africa. A good number of those that passed through EU during the time you served there, including myself, testify to the wealth of knowledge that we acquired through your service.
May God receive all the glory for what he is doing in the lives of these students! Please pray for them as they continue to serve God, and for our family as we serve God and the church in Africa.
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