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Challenged to change: Applying truth in Tanzania

CMS missionaries Mike and Katie Taylor teach at Munguishi Bible College in Tanzania. Here Katie tells of how God’s word is shaping and challenging the presuppositions of all who read it. 

Mike has been using a simple Discovery Bible Study Method with many classes: Read the passage; think about what is important; see what it says about God; think of how it relates to your life. It’s such a great way in to studying the Bible and becoming more familiar with it. In one of the classes, the students have been reading 1 Peter. In the second half of chapter four there is much about suffering. Every student commented on this, and Mike paused the class to think more about it. 

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10) 

He asked, “How does this compare to what you hear in our churches?”  

“Oh, it’s very different”, they said. “There we just say that God will bless you and if you become Christian all your problems will go away.”  

“But,” Mike said, “what does this say?” 

“This says that being a Christian means we will suffer for Jesus.”
It was wonderful to see Mike and the students go through this process, and for them to think together about how the Bible speaks to them, and how perhaps they don’t always have the right ideas or practice. It was such a contrast to another class that same week, where one student was offended by Jesus’ teaching that you can’t serve both God and money, and was desperate to find a way to interpret it so that he could, in effect, love money and God.  

In our context, although the discussions are not always straightforward, it is a joy to learn together to listen to God’s word. 

There is an associated challenge as we learn from the Bible. The class on 1 Peter and suffering was great, and we finished by thinking about what to do next. That is a difficult step, not only for the students but also for the teachers. We need to ask ourselves, just as we ask the students, questions about how we take that word we have understood and believed, and let it change our behaviour, our teaching and our ministry practices. And how can we take those steps of change when many face opposition even in their own church and from their own pastor?  

It takes time, prayer and patience to make progress. Will you pray for us and our students, as together we work, by God’s grace, to hear and obey what he has to say to us. 

PRAY 

Pray that all who are part of CMS, whether on location or within the wider CMS family, will hear and obey the words of God.