The Liseli Pastors Training College: Initial stages
A few years ago, HeartCry sent Sean and Shannon Reece and their families to the Lozi people in the Western Province of Zambia. The Reeces lived and worked among the Lozi for approximately three years before being led to return to the United States. Their involvement with this rural tribe helped to fuel a desire in the elders and congregation of Kabwata Baptist Church to reach out to this needy people with the Gospel and a plan to plant churches. In the following letter, written in July of 2013, Pastor Conrad Mbewe explains about an opportunity that had arisen to press on in the work with the Lozi through a pastors college.
Greetings in the name of our precious Redeemer and soon-coming King! We have continued to push forward in mission efforts in the Western Province among the Lozi people. At the end of this month, Kuyumbana Poniso will finish his internship with us and head out to take charge of the church plant in Senanga, which started last December. We have interviewed two potential missionaries for Senanga thus far (to work alongside Kuyumbana), but came away not satisfied with the men. So, we continue to pray and look.
I am writing this letter to you because another door has opened which is beyond what we would have asked or thought. It is an opportunity to train pastors in the Western Province through our part-time ministerial college here in Lusaka. The story is that a husband and wife from the United States began a social project in Western Province and wanted to work through the churches. However, they found them extremely weak and became burdened to find someone locally who could help train these pastors. When they asked around, my name popped up, and the pastors expressed willingness to be trained if I was involved. Thus, the couple approached me, and when I put the matter before our ministerial college faculty, they agreed that we should extend our labors in that direction.
We are excited about this new work, and so are the pastors in the Western Province. Already I am told that about 70 to 80 pastors have registered, though I am not sure how many will remain after they see the amount of work required and become more familiar with our doctrinal distinctives. However, bearing in mind where we are coming from, this is certainly much more than we initially envisaged. Please pray for us.
The following is a report from academic dean Isaac Makashinyi on the progress of the work described in the letter above: the Liseli Pastors Training College in Mongu, Zambia. Though there are several churches in the villages scattered about near the Zambezi River, many of them proclaim a syncretistic form of Christianity that has combined teachings from the Bible with their traditional African religions, which rely heavily upon witchcraft and ancestor worship. The training college is seeking to correct this sad reality through the biblical training of pastors and leaders to plant and pastor churches that are founded upon the Scriptures.
On July 4th, 2013, the Liseli Pastors Training College (LPTC) was launched in Mongu, Zambia. The college is the result of the prayerful burden of the Wauterleks of the United States to provide biblical training for pastors and church planters in the Western Province of Zambia. The LPTC, as an institution, will operate under the auspices of the Lusaka Ministerial College (LMC). After this launch, the Wauterleks committed the initial funding to meet the operational costs of the college as it gets on its feet.
With the funding received, preparations then got underway for the first session of classes, which was scheduled for October 8-11, 2013. At the faculty meeting of the LMC on September 17, 2013, it was agreed that two courses were to be offered: The Doctrine of God (Pastor Isaac Makashinyi) and The Call and Character of the Man of God (Pastor Kennedy Sunkutu). In addition to those classes, portable speaker-boxes were uploaded with thirteen audio lectures on the Doctrine of Scripture.
The lectures commenced on Tuesday, October 8, and lasted from 8:30 AM until 4:00 PM. The church made their P.A. system and generator available to us, which came in handy when we had power outages. The students followed all the sessions with great engagement, despite the unfavorably hot weather. At the end of the class on Friday, students were given assignments which were due at the end of November.
Over the four days of classes, we had thirty-four students. All but four were men. We gathered information from each of the students, including their names, churches, and denominations. The farthest-traveling student came from Kalabo, over 300 km (185 miles) away.
We are grateful to the Lord that the classes have started well. The enthusiasm of the students was encouraging. Most of those that enrolled were consistent in attending the classes throughout the four days. It was very gratifying to see the students fully engaging and participating during the lectures, both in asking and responding to questions. The lecturers sought to make the classes as interactive as possible. No one had difficulty understanding English, which is the language of instruction. The meals were served on time, and the quality was appreciated. Each student was provided with a notebook and a pen to help him in his note-taking.
We thank the Lord that the training has now commenced. We are grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Wauterlek for their invaluable support to this training program. We are also grateful to the leadership of the Word Alive Church for making their church building and other facilities available to us. The dates for the next session of classes will be set by the local administrative team in consultation with all the students. It is likely to be scheduled for sometime in January of 2014. We hope and pray that many more students will come on board and that those who have already started the training will continue in earnest until they successfully complete the institute in three years.