September 27, 2016
Written by Karen & Phil Dubert
Karen & Phil moved to South Africa in 2012 to live in the EM community and serve as members of EM full-time staff.
Timothy Fellowship, the one year foundational Bible study cohort in Port Elizabeth. Each month I (Karen) fly to Port Elizabeth to spend a Saturday working with a dedicated group of lay ministers hungry to know God's word more intimately. This year has been an exciting time of intellectual growth, spiritual communion and deep fellowship. We have grown to love and delight in one another. When Nonhlanhla texted that she would not be able to make class last month, Xoliswa texted her:
"This is our third last class. If you are dead can't you ask somebody to stand for you in the mortuary until you come back?"
That's how much this time of iron-sharpening-iron has come to mean to us. Each session includes parts of : a Bible overview, Bible study methods, hermeneutics and exegesis (and yes, we know what those words mean now), Spiritual formation, and learning the Catechism. We have had special guests come to teach: Sue taught us Inductive methods during two classes and Afrika Mhlope (author of "Freed by God Imprisoned by Culture") came to speak to us on veneration of ancestors for several hours. Talk about being challenged and having our worldview shaken!
These beginners' steps into knowing and loving the Word of God for ourselves have been life- giving. Feeling that we are able to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" --or at least heading in the right direction, gives us a sense of awe that we, children of our Heavenly Father have been so entrusted.
We have mourned with each other over the passing of family members, rejoiced over new lives coming into families, and celebrated milestones attained. We laugh. We encourage. We grow. We talk and question. Next year, Lord willing, some of these participants will be facilitating the year- long course in their own parishes.