(Literally: Train your Thoughts)
Course Intake 3 Module 2
Report by Lyndal Webb
I joined a group and one of the participants read aloud the verses of David’s prayer of thanksgiving. “OK,” he began, “Verse 8 says tell God thank you, verse 9 says we must praise Him,” and he continued noting what David wrote in each verse. “Yes, but look at Verse 11 and 12,” added someone else. “We’re to look only to God and we’ve got to talk about his miracles. That means how He has saved us, ah?” I nodded in agreement, thinking, ‘Wow, all this teaching is working!’ “You know,” continued the first participant, “at the first session of Trenem Tingting last year, I didn’t really get it, but this time, I have. I see now that following God is not about ‘prosperity’. No, the good things from God are what’s in His Word. I get it now.” My prayer in our little group was one of praise!
Now the course didn't set out to critique ‘prosperity Gospel’, but we did set out to draw the participants attention to the meaning of God’s wonderful saving ways by helping them to read the precious text carefully, to help them put aside previous side-tracking notions, and to get them to let the text speak for itself, so to speak. The Word is so rich when it is allowed to speak. The participant’s testimony shows that in God’s mercy, the workshop’s goal was met for him.
Another wrote in his evaluation, “For me the course changed my usual practice of generalizing the text into a ‘theme.’” Workshop goal achieved! Each day we talked about analysing what we read, asking questions, answering questions, pulling it all together to discover the specific message the writer is delivering. May God continue to help this pastor and Bible translator in his many opportunities to teach God’s Word in his community, in school and church. He already reported at the beginning of the course that he’d had the opportunity teaching some of what he learnt in the first module to a gathering of about 50 young people.
God’s plan for marriage was a topic we spent quite a bit of time on in this module – doing some careful reading of passages from Genesis and Ephesians. “My thinking changed through reading what God’s Word says about marriage,” said single young man . Good! Yet another goal reached. Our aim was not to solve in a sitting the many current problems within communities, but this young man now has a Biblical foundation to apply to his own life and some skills to think through these issues with his community when he has the opportunity.
There were some days when the thinking training was plain hard as their brains were “stretched” yet their love for God is evident and their desire to learn more about how to find the wonderful truths in God’s Word spurs us on as does their expressions of thankfulness for the course.
To learn more about the Bible translation work in Vanuatu, click here.