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The many worries of training

CMS missionaries Norm & Janelle Gorrie assist the Diocese of Marsabit in the Anglican Church of Kenya with Bible training at many levels. They served in Marsabit from 1989 to 1998 and returned two years ago. Janelle shares the many worries of the job and how Christ shines through the hardships.

You could say Norm and I have all 20 fingers in many pies. Although we both love the opportunities God has given us in bringing in his kingdom, training future and current trainers can be discouraging.

Many worries

There are so many things to consider in preparation for training in Marsabit.

  • The travel, the venue, the environment; dusty, hot, or cold.
  • Moving a table or blackboard.
  • Interruptions (say, a cat bringing a rat through the door and then through the window).
  • Latecomers
  • People who are thirsty, sick or lethargic.
  • There won’t be resources on site. Pencils, sharpener eraser and clipboards—I take everything with me, sometimes four plastic chairs with a rope to tie them on top of the vehicle if everyone needs a lift home. I even bring eye spectacles. I take five litres of water, cups, kid’s books and even tissues for snotty children.
  • How many copies of a worksheet will I need? Will I have electricity to print them?
  • Will they have Bibles?
  • What if I hit a fence in the mud, or my tyre blows up, or I hit a goat on the highway? All these things have happened. The drive is awful—every bump is a shocker, I have passengers, and the setting sun is in my eyes. Children from the mosque are all over the road. And cows’ bums. How do you drive patiently behind cows?

And cow’s bums. How do you drive patiently behind cows?

And kingdom progress is also slow. I am training 11 people to learn to read Borana, focusing on Bible texts with discussion and prayer. They write and read a simple story and then help me edit the lessons. My Borana is growing slowly. Class members are all different: different gifts and challenges. Some are good attenders, others not so good.

One of my students is experiencing domestic violence, so she is not living at home. She slept through most of yesterday. All their lives are complicated. I have lost sleep over some.

I usually have a baby to carry while they practise handwriting and they chat about me.  My love for them grows. Norm will tell you I talk about the class for hours.

But Christ shines though

But, once we get going, the students it. They all love the focus on God’s message to them, the Lord’s prayer and the Apostle’s creed. Our sleeping student wakes up a little when we talk about the Pharisee and the tax collector, and hears how true repentance is the way to Jesus and real righteousness.  My Borana reading ability is still better than theirs (few people are brought up in a reading culture) and good enough for Mumina and Garo to remember the story between them. Then they tell the story to everyone, pushing each other along, with commentary and discussion along the way. They correct all the things I mispronounced. I emphasise trusting in Jesus.

I think many of them will go on to be excellent trainers, and in the meantime, all are promoting a culture of Bible reading in their homes. Right now, I already supply my materials to three other remote centres, and God willing, there will one day be many more.

2Give

It takes a lot of time and resources to equip followers of Jesus in the gospel. CMS missionaries like Janelle give their time, are you able to give your resources? To find out how your blessings can serve the kingdom, visit give.cms.org.au