MWCA 4 MWCA

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It isn’t often in our lives that our passions collide. This fall my passion for preaching collided with my passion for the work I do in West Africa.

The story begins when I was asked, the first time I visited Liberia, by the bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL), to bring Black American preachers to Liberia to teach pastors in Liberia their preaching style. This was amazing. He had no idea that I had received a doctorate of ministry in preaching. He had no idea that my thesis was about putting the best of Lutheran theology, with the best of the Black American preaching tradition to preach God’s love and grace.

It took me almost four years from the time of the request to facilitate this workshop in Liberia. With much help from my colleagues in Global Mission and the aid of some leadership development courses that helped me imagine a project, put in on paper and pitch this project in order to receive funds to make it possible, the project happened. img_1427

In November 2016, the first ever MWCA 4 MWCA Preaching Workshop took place in Totota, Liberia. It was part of the LCL’s regular pastoral training program. There were eighty two pastors present. This included pastors from two additional churches invited by the LCL; they were the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone and the Lutheran Church in Guinea. There was also a pastor present from Ghana. Of the 82 pastors, seven were women.

The workshop consisted of 15042205_10211353825990791_629561353844302200_ounderstanding who we are as Lutherans, claiming law and gospel as our starting place for preaching, talking about the freedom of being who we are as we preach, and celebration as we “repeat what is worth repeating.” The workshop was led by myself, Rev. Themba Mkahabela, regional representative for GM/MWCA, Rev. Yehiel Curry pastor of Shekihan Chapel in Chicago and Rev. Lamont Wells, African Descent Lutheran Association (ADLA) president.

Each day began with one of the facilitators modeling preaching law and gospel, and celebration. There were plenary sessions that centered us with worship, music and prayer; along with small group sessions that helped the participants explore scripture for the upcoming church season. There were six small groups.

The last day of the workshop was amazing; twelve pastors preached, two from each of the small groups. What was absolutely incredible is that of these twelve preaching opportunities four were taken by women.img_1410 The preachers were asked to keep their sermons to twelve minutes and they did! The sermon that absolutely blew me away was a sermon preached by a young pastor from the Lutheran Church in Guinea. He is French speaking; so, he read the scripture text in French and began to preach in English. In the middle of his sermon he broke out into song. This style of singing in a sermon was modeled by Pastor Lamont. This young Guinean Lutheran pastor preached law and gospel, celebrated and incorporated what he had seen modeled by one of the facilitators. This helped me call this workshop a success.

While this was the first workshop and it was focused on preaching the MWCA team and project guiding coalition are planning others. We are hoping to offer workshops that lift up women and girls, teach stewardship and Lutheran Identity. Pray for us in our work.

Readers, I am still westafricabound.

 

 

What I Did on My Vacation, Try To Learn French

I was in Quebec in August; I thought I would take vacation and take three weeks of French Language Study. Some of you know I have been trying to learn French since I started this job and to my surprise it is much more difficult than I thought.

Conjugating verbs has gotten harder as I’ve gotten older….
and I use to be so good with language. I learned Spanish over 15 years ago and surprisingly every time I try to think of a French word, a Spanish word pops into my head. It doesn’t help that many of the students studying in the language school were from Latin America and when they didn’t understand what was happening in French they would break off into Spanish….I was so confused.Yet, I progressed.               11863357_10207669569646685_3927787318104798669_n

I took my vacation to do this. I had to admit: “je suis un peu fou.” I could have been laying on a beach somewhere. Yet it was a great experience. Quebec is beautiful. The weather when I was there was tres bon. There were a few days of rain, but only a few.

I was about a twenty minute walk from the school and a twenty minute bus ride from the old historic city of Quebec. During the week I went to class until 1:00 p.m., answered work e-mail and stuff (Global Mission staff really don’t vacation. There is always some crisis going on in the world). If I was not doing that I would visit rue Cartier and its many shops, and this wonderful place apelle Chocolat Favoris, go to the movies, or visit a museum.                                                                      11855812_10207628464219075_7568113856936811608_n

On the weekends I was able to visit the old city and sit by the port, enjoying a leisurely meal and soaking up the sun. So the trip had some aspects of vacation. I found an Anglican Church to visit on Sundays. The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The priest there was a Lutheran from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bavaria….How cool is that? I went to the English service because the French service was at 9:30 and since I get up at six every week day morning I thought  since I was “on vacation” it might be nice to sleep in. The service did have some prayers and readings in French. That was nice.

I managed to learn a little French too. I left at the point that I could understand almost everything said. That seems to be where I am stuck. I can understand but not answer back. I can read, but not talk. So I am still struggling trying to learn French. Wish me luck!

Learning French helps in my work because as always, I am westafricabound.11898780_10207716036328323_3512698265057364125_n

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