In Genesis 12:3, God said to Abraham, “. . . in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Commenting on this particular text, Paul says, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’ So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Galatians 3:8-9). Paul definitely connects the promise to Abraham and our faith in Christ. Christ became a curse for us so that in him, the blessing of Abraham might come to us so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith (Gal. 3:13-14).
God is even now continuing to work to bring the blessing of Abraham to the nations and we are delighted to be part of it.
We trust that the New Year has started well for you. We had a really good Christmas celebration here with everyone home. Ben came home from Wheaton. It was good to have everyone in one place. Sam is considering which college he should attend, and Anna is busy with school, church activities, and friends. We are so thankful for the family God has given us. As the New Year begins, we are praying that God would be pleased to continue to bless us as he has done in the last year. We are also praying that he will work through us to make his name known and proclaimed among all nations. Thank you so much for supporting us in this ministry through your prayers and financial support.
November Visit to Athens
In our November update, Philemon was traveling to Athens to lay the groundwork for a new TLI training center. While there, the team met
with 5 different people groups (Arabic, Farsi speakers, African, Albanian, and Romanian). The Arabic group is seeking to plant a church in Athens. The Farsi speakers have
a church but no leaders. The Africans are overtaken by the health and wealth gospel in Athens. The Albanians desire to plant an Albanian church but first need to train people to lead it. The Romanians have churches but want training for more leaders. I kept a trip journal for TLI and you can read it here:
All these groups, though so different, have one thing in common: theological education for their current and future church leaders. They faced the challenge of affording such an education, but now TLI is set to provide it for them.
Athens in January 2012
I am glad to announce that in January, the training center in Athens got started. A team from TLI taught “The Attributes of God” to all five people groups. Each of the groups mentioned above has a three to four year program ahead of them.
We will be sending teachers three times a year. I have worked up a curriculum plan for TLI that we will use for our training. You can see its content here:
We are very encouraged with the turn out for the start of TLI training in Athens.
Brazil: We have been invited to help start a church-based seminary in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I travel there Feb. 2-7 to meet with the elders of the church, and hope to open the school in September this year, Lord willing.
Cameroon: We have been invited to partner with a university in Douala, Cameroon, to help train French-speaking pastors. This is a potentially significant opportunity. I am taking a team there in March.
More on these two opportunities in the next update.