Our four Preaching Directors, leading teams across the various continents, share what has been happening through this time of pandemic.
From Africa, with Femi Adeleye, as Director:
“Every Monday, our Leadership Team meets on Zoom in order to support each other and to build our relationships. These have been times of refreshment. In recent weeks we’ve added the preaching movement coordinators (PMCs), region-by-region, in order to hear from them and pray for them. We’ve read John Stott’s Preacher’s Portrait together.
Give thanks for the way the work continues on. In Ethiopia, four of our preachers were selected to preach on national TV. In Malawi, the foundational training seminar has been translated into the local Chichewa language. Right across the continent, preaching clubs continue to meet through Zoom, Facebook and WhatsApp as people persevere with prayer, mutual support and training. Pray especially for Bishop Isesomo, our coordinator in the Central region, because the connectivity is weaker there and he is only able to participate with us occasionally. Yesterday (June 28) was to be our second All-Africa Langham Preaching Sunday, but we still gathered more than 100 pastors and local preachers for a time together on Zoom.”
From Latin America, with Igor Améstegui as Director:
“Our Leadership Team has grown closer together during this pandemic. We have met twice a week on Zoom, focusing on supporting each other and developing resources together. We’ve developed some guidelines for a virtual meeting of a preaching club. Also, we have created some resources on how to be a preacher in a virtual world. Our facilitators are meeting every two weeks on Zoom for further training and mutual encouragement.
One of our team, Wilfredo Weigandt, has written a book recently (The God Who Opens Roads) and we read it together – and we recommend it to others.
So there is much for which to be thankful – but also much for which to intercede. The coronavirus is ravaging our continent, but there are two other viruses: corruption and domestic violence. Our preachers need to be faithful to the text, but also relevant to this context. Cuba has been ready to start another cycle of training. However, such are the concerns around economic issues that this is where the focus now lies. Venezuela is a complicated and troubled country, so we are praying and looking for some opportunities. It is a priority for us to see the ministry start there. Uruguay is our most secular country, and another cycle of training is due to start there in the coming months.”
From Asia & South Pacific, with Dwi Maria Handayani as Director:
“Our Leadership Team is a new one, having met only once together. I am yet to visit some of them, or to work and travel alongside them. The pandemic has been disruptive for us – and with the security concerns around the ‘big country’ we’ve struggled to settle on a safe online platform for our meetings.
Amidst these challenges, there is good news. Our regional coordinator in Asia: North & West, has been selected as a Langham Scholar and is making significant progress in bringing his team together. Due to the variety of languages in his region (Asia: East), Phil Nicholson is connecting with his team one by one each week. Give thanks for the appointment of Mee Fang Njoo as a programme development coordinator, working alongside Phil.
Indonesia continues to take new initiatives, with webinars and video options alongside the usual training. In the big country, there are discussions around a new preaching movement, based elsewhere*. Given the issues around connectivity, it is difficult for Stephen Williams to connect with the South Pacific countries, although the seminar with Indigenous Australians is expected to take place in September.”
From Europe & Caribbean, with Mark Meynell as Director:
“Our Leadership Team is meeting on Zoom for three out of four weeks each month. We are excited about Desmond Rogers joining the team from the 1st July, as the new regional coordinator for the Caribbean – and it is great to have Sharon MacWilmshurst back from maternity leave. She is facilitating intentional discussions around the switch to learner-centered training.
We have been reading Eugene Peterson’s Eat This Book together. But there is much sadness across the work in Europe. Pray for Martin Helgesson (preaching movement coordinator, Sweden) who has been suffering significantly with COVID-19. Pray for Dani Oprean (preaching movement coordinator, Romania), whose home was flooded this week and the family has lost everything except his wallet and laptop. This week has also brought the death of one of the key leaders in our work in Serbia and beyond, Viktor Sabo. Let’s remember his family and his church fellowship in our prayers. Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of numerous areas where the virus is re-emerging with a return to a tighter lockdown (and the postponement of a planned seminar).”
Text taken from the Preaching Prayershot, 29 June 2020
*Details omitted for security reasons