Pastor Training, Monrovia 2017

Update: We plan to go to Monrovia in November 2018 to conduct further training for pastors as well as scripture teachers. Your prayer and financial support would be greatly appreciated in this ministry.

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Pastor training in partnership with CRCA, August 21 – September 1, 2017

The teaching mission to Monrovia, Liberia in August 2017  in partnership with Christian Revival Church Association, was indeed a wonderful time, as all the teachers and participating pastors would agree! Core Training ran its 10-day course “The Whole Counsel of God”. The course is aimed at giving pastors an overview of God’s chronological plan of salvation as seen throughout the scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, it covers key topics of doctrine, many specifically aimed at the independent Church in Africa and makes clear the righteousness that comes through faith alone, in Jesus Christ. This was the 7th time the course had been held; twice previously in Liberia in 2010, once in Molo, Kenya in 2010, once in Serrekunda, The Gambia in 2014, and in Torit and Bor in South Sudan in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The fellowship and unity amongst teachers and students alike, was rich and sincere. Many testified to the impact that the Word had upon them as they sat under the teaching throughout the 10 days. The course is on Sound Cloud here:

Our hosts, Dennis and Vanea Aggrey tirelessy looked after the diverse teaching team of 8 (this includes Dennis who taught 3 of the 40 sessions) and the 75 participating pastors, with the assistance of their phenomenal and hard working, CRCA staff. CRCA plants churches right throughout Liberia (around 150 now!) and it was a blessing for Core to be able to work alongside such a strong team on the ground.

The teachers came from Liberia, Kenya, Australia and South Africa. Due to their diverse cultural and racial backgrounds they were a living testimony to the New Humanity in Christ Jesus, one that transcends ethnicity, culture, skin-colour etc but finds its unity and definition in Christ Himself, purchased by His blood! The unity and love within the team spoke volumes in itself and the diversity of the teachers gave the school a depth that surpassed all previous “Whole Counsel of God” courses.

Pastors came from various counties throughout Liberia and they testified unanimously to the clarity that the teaching gave to many areas of Christian doctrine. Many topics that are prevalent in the African independent Church today, such as prosperity, miracles, deliverance, servant leadership etc. were brought into the light of scripture and thus many “traditional” or “denominational” ways of understanding were changed to align with scripture. The vast majority of the participating pastors were from CRCA planted churches throughout Liberia and were primarily African Independent and Pentecostal in their understanding.  Witchcraft and black magic are commonplace in Liberia, and many pastors were refreshed in the knowledge that Christ has authority and power over all these forces and that God is and always has been sovereign, even in the midst of past national tragedies, such as the Liberian civil wars and the more recent Ebola epidemic that took 4,000 Liberian lives. Many pastors said that they would use the course notes they received to prepare sermon series in their churches. This is great news!

Participants received course notes, as well as useful books to help their understanding. 40 pastors who previously did not own a Bible, received a brand new one. Core provided lunch each day, that was prepared wonderfully by Vanea and the local CRCA staff.

We praise God for this awesome time and are so thankful for this opportunity to have worked alongside CRCA and our Liberian brothers and sisters in Christ.

Please continue to pray that the Word that went out will continue to grow and spread and bear much fruit.

Juba 11-13 August 2016 Report

This was going to be my first trip to South Sudan and this part of Africa for that fact. The stories and rumours of war were rife in the news media across the internet and whether we should make the trip meant careful analysis of news reports and what we had gleaned from CORE’s own contacts in Juba coupled with Darien’s vast experience. After careful evaluation of all reports and receiving a very clear yes from God that we should make this trip, we flew out to Juba via Ethiopia and Nairobi.

The verdant green grasslands appeared as we prepared for landing at Juba International Airport. The site was amazing with the mountain on our right. An excitement had been building and we knew that the peace God had given us was very evident and His timing was perfect for a visit.

The heat hit me as I stepped out of the plane and put my feet on South Sudan soil for the first time. It is an understatement at the least to say it was a culture shock. Everything was very different to what I had been expecting. The way business is conducted in a foreign country will always vary greatly to what you are used to. The transition was swift and we exited the terminal and into life in Juba, South Sudan.

I don’t think anything could have prepared me for life in Juba. It was different and vibrant with a busyness that belied reports of the recent conflict and economic pressures. It was instant information overload as we purchased sim cards and charged our phones. It was comforting to see MTN signage everywhere; it gave a connection to home. I stood there and watched people go about their business giving no hint of trauma from conflict. It was business as usual with each person working hard at eking out their living.

This was to be the thread throughout my trip, resourceful and entrepreneurial people who if they did not find some way to work they would not eat. The most remarkable thing I found as we entered the main street in an air conditioned SUV was the flow of traffic and the reaction of all the drivers. For the amount of traffic and some congestion there was minimal hooting with cars giving way to each other. I think the South Sudanese can give South African drivers a lesson in manners.

Throughout the drive to our accommodation it was a continual flow of business after business, the majority micro to small. Each one was plying their trade doing deals and making sales, too busy to be worrying about the politics and economics. Of course it’s difficult to make a judgement about mental and economic wellbeing from the comfort of an air conditioned vehicle but, there is a spirit of entrepreneurialism I have never seen before.

The aim of the trip was to connect me as CORE’s newly appointed Communications Manager with the vision and focus of our organisation which is to support and serve the local church in South Sudan. To connect with the people and get a feel for the heart and passion of CORE’s founders. To have an understanding of the situation and to bond with the people and country. The other role was to assist in gathering video footage through interviews with potential scholarship candidates for purposes of fundraising and creating awareness.

Siting on the banks of the Blue Nile River interviewing potential candidates was a surreal experience. The Nile River was a major river of the Bible and we had learnt about it as children. Now I was sitting there assisting in the process of bringing scholarship students to South Africa to further their education. Watching intently as fishermen plied their trade with skill and dexterity crossing this massive river back and forth. I couldn’t believe that I was at last sitting there.

I think the most important aspect of the trip was connecting with South Sudan and some of its people. Watching our taxi driver facing the daily challenges of life made me realise how important it was to be grateful for my own situation. I have never been through a conflict and have no understanding of the challenges faced by people in order to eat and have a place to lay their heads at night.

Returning to South Africa with this newly acquired knowledge and heart was a life changing experience. You cannot look at your own situation without responding differently and seeing things clearer and with a different perspective. Being part of an organisation that is playing its part in the vision and plans God has for South Sudan is a privilege and there is the realisation the he chose me to be part of this at this time.

Bor, South Sudan, April 25 – 29 2016 Report

Latest update from Bor, South Sudan

Bible Training in local Episcopal Church dioceses

Core firmly believes that the Church is vital in bringing healing and reconciliation to this troubled nation. Therefore, as part of the process of deepening faith and obedience, training pastors is a crucial aspect of assisting the process of stabilisation in South Sudan.

Soldier with antelope - road to Bor

Bor, South Sudan

Bor is a town that has been heavily impacted by violence due to civil war. Thousands have lost their lives and all have lost loved ones during the periods of war between north and south. In January 2014, soon after fighting broke out in Juba, Bor was invaded again, this time by the Nuer White Army loyal to Riek Machar and again many people lost their lives and homes. Much of Bor was destroyed and most inhabitants fled.

Michael, who attended the training, described the impact the war has had on the community:

“Almost the whole community is traumatized and so we need more counselling. The mental healing is seriously needed. There should be a spiritual forgiveness together with forgetfulness within the Christian Community.”

Ian Pennicook teaches

The course

Pastors attending the course were from the dioceses of Bor, Malek and Athooch. Teachers who travelled to the capital of South Sudan, Juba, included Rev Misheck Mbevi, senior pastor of Gospel Life Church in Kenya, Rev Dr Ian Pennicook, an Anglican clergyman from Australia who also taught with Core in the Gambia and Darien Khlentzos, CEO of Core. All in all around 50 pastors attended the course.

Lunch time

The training was postponed by one week by political instability and dramatically increased security concerns due to the sudden return to Juba of rebel leader, Riek Machar,  to form what is now the transitional government of South Sudan.

Thankfully, after a short evacuation, the team were able to travel the 6 hour drive to Bor and on Monday 25 April, the teachers began working through ‘The Whole Counsel of God,’ course. This is a course developed with the aim of giving pastors a “strong framework by which to understand God’s plan of salvation, and by which to dig deeper and even to inspire some to undertake further, formal Bible training”. Darien was taken out of action by severe illness after the first day and became unable to continue teaching. Rev Pennicook and Rev Mbevi continued the training, and at the end of the week Rev Mbevi wrote, “Pastor training at Bor, South Sudan done. About 50 pastors trained on The Whole Counsel of God… 32 topics covered. From Creation to New Creation. Very good responses from the pastors. Very happy that they can read and preach from the Bible with more clarity. They have beseeched us to return back soon. Thank you for your prayers and support. All glory to God.”

Street Kids

Pastors received detailed handouts of the course and the ECSSS cathedral in Bor received a massive bible timeline to assist pastors in understanding how God’s plan of salvation fits together chronologically.

Testimonies and comments from participants

Some comments from pastors, deacons and evangelists included:

As a pastor and teacher it will help me to teach others” Pastor Abraham Noon

It will help (me) a lot to be a good shepherd to God’s flock.” Pastor Gabriel

It has been very important to me because it has refreshed the word of God in my mind and that will cause me to resume my duties in the ministry of God. I would like your ministry school to take place yearly if possible on your side and that it extends to other states here in South Sudan”  Michael

Although contested, we believe that this local training is essential to strengthening the Church in South Sudan. Suitable pastors attending the course will be recommended to continue their studies at Diploma level at Bishop Gwynne College.

Destroyed Tank on road to Bor

God is truly strengthening the Church in South Sudan…to Him alone be the Glory!

South Sudan – November update

Latest update from Juba, South Sudan

24 Solar panels are providing power (including lights and fans) at BGC for lecturers and students alike. This increases the capacity of the college enormously!
 
SolarPanels

4 visiting lecturers have taught at BGC so far this semester and although there have been some challenges, students are growing in the grace of God and in their knowledge of the scriptures.

Visiting lecturers have been partnering with part-time BGC faculty, filling in where needed and teaching their courses in cooperation and collaboration with existing lecturers. This is providing a wonderful, mutual learning environment for both visiting lecturers, existing lecturers and students alike.
 
 Jan Vat teaching at BGC
Although no BGC faculty were identified this year to commence post-grad studies at GWC the presence of the visiting lecturers has been very welcome as the student intake for this semester was nearly twice that of previous semesters
3 little maids
One graduate has been nominated to potentially commence BTh at GWC in Cape Town this coming year. It is already past the cut off time for this application, however hopefully the college might make an exception this time! Stay tuned…
Two BGC staff and three students have been identified to commence studies in 2017 at GWC
“The Whole Counsel of God” foundational course will be held in the Torit diocese in South Sudan. This will include pastors from Torit, Nimule and Kapoeta. Plans are to hold 4 courses throughout the country next year
Local Diocesan Teaching
 – Negotiations are taking place with Langham Literature to determine the best means of importing a large number of books for the BGC library
 
Books for libraries BLUUNDBLAC
Overseas Council of Australia have visited the college this month and met with Samual Marial and Darien Khlentzos exploring ways that they might assist the college and this initiative. Their CEO, Stuart Brooking will be meeting with their board of directors early in January to discuss Stuart’s recommendations. Watch this space!
_MG_8534

God is truly strengthening the Church in South Sudan…to Him alone be the Glory!

Regional Bible Training – 2015

Project Goal

This year CORE Training and Development will be conducting “The Whole Counsel of God” course in a local diocese of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSSS), under the direction of Bishop Gwynne College (BGC) in Juba. This course has proven to be very effective as a first step in training pastors and elders throughout Africa.

The course covers a range of important doctrinal topics, a biblical overview of Salvation History and topics specifically tailored for the Church in Africa. Participants will receive valuable resources to assist them in their respective ministries. The course will be run in partnership with the Bishop from the area. This will ensure that the course has a maximum impact in the communities within which it is conducted.  We expect to train between 70 – 100 pastors throughout this time.

Project Needs

We will need to raise roughly $ 9,500 USD for this course to contribute towards the following:

  • Resources for participants.
  • Covering excess baggage charges to transport resources for the church.
  • Teaching team’s airfares from Juba.
  • One team member’s airfare from South Africa.
  • Teacher’s accommodation and food.
  • Provision of all meals for participants.

Please pray for the Church in South Sudan!