January 8 2021

West Africa for Phase 2 Course

I’ve been working on the Phase 2 Training course, specifically trying to think about how to introduce the complexity of all of the different nationalities, tribes, languages, and backgrounds that we work with here in Catania. My initial plan was to try to work through it by region – for example, West Africa, East Africa, North Africa, etc. The peoples in each of those areas are very different, and see themselves as different, despite living on the same continent.

I think I’ve arrived at the idea of introducing these different nations and people groups through our times of prayer. Our weekly prayer calendar already reflects prayer for specific nations and their top people groups by population, so as people come in to train and work with us, I think they can learn about these different nations and peoples in preparation for our times of prayer and then experientially as they meet them during the day.

I’ve created a template per country that uses various resources for Geography, Culture, and Spiritual background information, and just started to fill it in. It certainly doesn’t feel complete, but for the breadth of people that we are working with, the likelihood that we will ever learn any of these in-depth, especially when we are meeting them in a third culture in Italy, seems low to me. Here is what I created for West Africa to date with more to come in other regions of the world.

Prayer Walk

On Friday, we have been going for a prayer walk, praying specifically for Muslims in our area given that their Friday (Jumu’ah) is similar to our Sunday in that they go to the mosque for congregational prayers and a teaching by the imam.

We know the imams in each of the mosques and have enjoyed spending time with them and sharing with them. During this prayer walk, we met an assistant imam at one of the mosques. We had previously given him some food as part of Covid relief, so as we were outside of the mosque praying today, he saw us and called and greeted us. We spent a few minutes talking and he invited us to come visit the mosque next week, so we’re hoping to take some time together one afternoon next week to visit their prayer time and then sit and visit together, hopefully having an opportunity to share our hope in Christ with them as well.

Abiding in Christ

We have been working to disciple a man that was baptized in this last year. As part of our discussion in the afternoon, we read John 15:1-8 and talked about what it means to “remain” or “abide” in Christ, as some of the translations say. As part of that process of abiding, we discussed three ways that we believe that we can do that:

  • Reading the Word of God
  • Obeying what Jesus tells us to do
  • Praying and hearing from God

There are probably other ways as well, but these were the ones that we identified and discussed. The result of this conversation is that we’ve decided to start meeting for a short time each day, even online as needed, to read God’s Word and pray together. This particular man has no background with the Bible, so I’m looking forward to see him grow as he learns what the Bible says.

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