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This morning when I got up I had that feeling again. It was the feeling of finishing; the last day of our classroom here in Oaxaca. I’ve had this feeling many times, and understand it’s mixed with both joy and a bit of sadness in leaving the students. In the course of a week, you tend to grow very close with your student pastors. I have always found that the bonds created over an intense week of study and meals together forge significantly deeper relationships than normal. We will graduate 25 students today at mid-day, and then share our final meal together.
After we share our final day of study, lecture, questions, and answers, the pastors and women missionaries and teachers will then prepare to return to their homes and churches to continue ministry. They have been strongly admonished by us and our hosts to understand the value of their training. It must be passed on! They have the material in their own tongue, and so now the ball is back firmly in their court.
Early Saturday morning, Jorge and I will head to the airport here in Oaxaca. I have a lot to prepare for over the next three weeks. Between speaking in a missions conference all next week and then teaching back to back weeks in Africa, there is much preparation and work in days ahead. I’m weary just thinking about it! However, let me impress upon you how vital this work is in the bigger missions picture. If our primary task as Christians is to fullfill the Great Commission, then the greatest task of the Great Commission is to train the nationals.
I have discovered in the last six years that there are large numbers of indigenous Christians in various countries all over the world who lack nothing but the resources for being able to effectively reach their native populations with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They do not ask for or need our American money or materialism. They need and desire the training and equipping necessary to reach their national populations! I know this because I have never had to go find these indigenous Christians myself. Every time we have opened a new classrooms in Africa, East Asia, Haiti, or Mexico, these nationals have found us and made contact!