Reflection 6 of 6, from our recent visit to East Africa:
When we arrived in Tanzania in 2012, we talked to Mennonite leaders in Kenya and Tanzania to understand what kind of training is most needed to provide leaders for the future. What we heard was to renew the program known as Theological Education by Extension (TEE). TEE programs were led in the 1980’s and 1990’s by missionaries, but when the missionaries left, the programs were soon discontinued.
|TEE leaders in Kenya Mennonite Church meeting in Nairobi.|
The main reason we planned our recent visit was to meet with those who are using TEE to hear their reports and to encourage them. A meeting was planned in Nyabange for Tanzanian leaders and another in Nairobi for Kenyan leaders. We thought the materials were being used in two or three locations, so what we heard was beyond our expectations. One after another told how they were using the study materials we had produced, some for personal study, others for Sunday school type meetings with their churches, others to disciple new believers and leaders. The use of the study materials is much more widespread than we knew.Then the groups took another step to bring the TEE study program under the auspices of the churches, in both Tanzania Mennonite Church and Kenya Mennonite Church. They are asking each diocese to appoint a regional coordinator, and each church district to appoint a local coordinator. The coordinators will get together to plan a curriculum that will result in a certificate. They identified some additional studies to add to the curriculum and stated that they will write the materials. We saw fulfillment of Apostle Paul’s description, “I planted, another watered, but God has been making it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6).