On Sunday around noon we finally meet with the Apostle Liberty Atawa for the first time in person. We were speaking with him about the problems in Zimbabwe for the spread of the Gospel. He complained that no one wants to listen to teaching. “They will say, ‘yesterday we were dancing and singing and today we are only talking.'”
Liberty gathered twelve men for us to meet briefly with on Sunday night, and another five for a total of seventeen which gathered together on Monday for study. Again since it was our first meeting with these men we went through the CLC statement of faith and purpose. Already in our brief talk Sunday night many of the men were eager to be taught. They expressed a great desire in the possibility of going to school at the Bible School in Tanzania, even though that would mean leaving their homes and families for five years. A few of them were already taking correspondence courses from a Bible School in South Africa, and a few were enrolling in classes at local bible colleges.
During our conference on Monday there were definitely some questions and even some lively debate. These mainly centered on speaking in tongues/miracles, baptism, and women in the church. I always find it far more encouraging when pastors ask questions and challenge what I am teaching rather than simply nod along in agreement. For one it shows they care. For another it shows they are familiar with God’s word (they were often taking me to passages ). For a third it shows that they know what their churches teach. And for a fourth it shows they have the backbone to stand up for what they believe to be right. Furthermore they often seemed not to be asking so much because they disagreed with us but because these were arguments they faced and questions the wrestled with. For example I noticed that the man who was grilling me most ardently on speaking in tongues was also the quickest and loudest to clap after Todd and I had answered those questions with scripture.
After everything it was a very encouraging meeting. We pray that the Lord would continue to bless the work through Pastor Gullerud and Liberty here. Liberty is going to continue to meet with these men every month and take them through more lessons, which Pastor Gullerud will be sending him. Hopefully when a missionary returns next year there will be seventeen solid foundations and even more in the process.
In Christ, Matthew Ude