From fear to fiery preaching

I so love how God can turn what appears to be one thing into another… and it’s such a joy to watch that happen, and an immense privilege to be a part of it. 

When I made the chapel rota for the student-led services this semester, I had more students than slots available. Hannah (not her real name) came to me, begging to be put on the schedule. I explained the problem and apologized. She asked again. I explained and apologized again. 
So when one of her classmates had to find a substitute for her week on the rota, naturally, I assigned Hannah, and assigned her the sermon her classmate was to preach. I thought she’d be thrilled. 

She wasn’t. She called and asked if someone else could take the sermon. I declined, and reminded her how much she wanted to be on the rota. She pleaded to not preach. I reminded her that we’re training her for ordination, and that preaching is part of ordained ministry. She begged again, and I told her I needed to understand what was going on, so could she please come explain?

Hannah came over, and as we sat on the veranda, she told me she has a phobia about public speaking. This seemed a bit odd for someone who is pursuing ordination, so I asked what she was planning to do when she was on Sunday placement and the vicar asked her to take a reading, lead the service, or preach. She said she’d manage, but I wasn’t convinced, so I prodded her a bit more about the root of this fear. 

As it turns out, a lecturer (from another faculty) had publicly humiliated Hannah during a class presentation some time ago, and since then, she has been afraid to speak in front of people. Ah. That made sense. 

I asked Hannah if I could pray with her about this, and we prayed an abbreviated inner healing prayer. After a few minutes, she told me she needed to forgive that lecturer; she had seen him that morning, and had avoided him. After a few minutes more, she shared that she had been intimately abused by a family member as a child. I asked if we could pray through that also, and one again, I was privileged to see Jesus set one of His children free. 

The next day, we went to the chapel for some desensitization training, and though nervous, she was able to stand in the various places to lead worship, to include the pulpit. I was so proud of her!

Later in the week when she served in chapel, she read a lesson, led a service, and preached a fiery sermon – the same student who begged to be released from preaching. Praise God for His healing and the freedom it brings!

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Missing Meri

On April 4, my sweet Meri died. I started this post a couple weeks ago, but it’s been hard to write; I think that writing it for the interwebs makes it a bit too real. I am struggling with a bit guilt over this; she wanted breakfast at 2:00 am, and since there is no…

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Happy construction noises

Since yesterday afternoon, I have been serenaded by the happy sounds of heavy machinery beeping as it backs up, and motors grinding as the machines work. Yesterday, we begin to tarmac [pave] the campus, and it was a glorious day. Of course, students writing their exams may not have liked the noise, but it was…

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Share your stories 

I am the first to tell my students that testimonies are powerful; by hearing about what God has done, we are encouraged our faith is built up. Yet for some reason, I struggle with whether the same can be said of my own testimony.  This is the semester in which the chaplaincy focuses on mission,…

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Women’s Day gift

Today is International Women’s Day, and as it happens, it is also the time for intramural football (soccer), in which the various faculties play each other.  Someone remembered and announced in chapel that I have “ever supported” the theology football team with water and glucose, so my patronage of the football team continues.  Sadly, we…

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Power of the (local language) Word

We are continuing our discussion on the Articles of Religion (or “the Thirty-Nine Articles) in our discipleship group, and last week, we discussed Article 17, Predestination, which was predictably (no pun intended!) exciting. After the discussion, as we are wont to do, we went down some bunny trails, and somehow ended up discussing a prayer…

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Humility looks like avocados

Students preach in chapel twice a week, and to help them refine their sermon preparation skills, we read their sermons and give feedback prior to delivery. Last week, a student brought me her sermon, and it was in rough shape. I confess I was a little less than gracious with her; she had waffled on whether…

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Goin' to the chapel

Goin’ to the chapel

Each Thursday and Sunday evening we have a Holy Communion service. Students know that I’m very serious about keeping time, and they have much improved upon not entering during prayers or Scripture readings. I’m very proud of them.  I don’t know whether this is an African thing, or a low church thing, but our students…

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Group decision making

Group decision making

Yesterday, a woman came in my office asking me to keep a kitenge (printed cloth) for another lecturer, and of course I agreed. Then she asked me if I wanted to look at the other bitenge (plural of kitenge). I knew I needed to say no, but I said yes. So this happened. I wish…

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