As I was reading my past journals from this year, I realized that there is a story from the spring that was unfinished. One of my areas of ministry is with an editorial group that writes Bible study materials for the Eastern Cuba Baptist Convention. I love this ministry because Godâ€™s Word is a treasure trove and many times surprises us with its challenges and comforts. So it is a privilege to help people understand the Bible better, especially so that it can transform their lives.
Earlier in the year I mentioned that we had reorganized the editorial groupâ€™s structure and as a result had to form a whole new team for writing adult level lessons. I left the story at the point where they were going to have their first meeting after turning in their work.
But I must continue this story so you can see how God is working in this ministry. I was privileged to attend the above-mentioned meeting. A group of seminarians and pastors whose lifeâ€™s work is to communicate Godâ€™s Word gathered to discuss the lessons on prayer. The secretary â€œaccidentallyâ€ ran off eight copies of each lesson (we were going to save paper and make two copies only) but it turned out to be a blessing. The group began picking apart each study, but not with mean spiritedness; they were trying to make sure that everything was of the highest quality. It was wonderful to see them struggling as a team to analyze the biblical passage from another angle to see if the lesson flowed more naturally or how they suggested changes to improve each study. In one case, all agreed that one lesson had too much content and needed to be broken into two lessons. In a culture where even in the church heavy-handed leadership is acceptable, it was a joy to see their consensus decisions. It was also the first time that an adult-level editorial group had reviewed all of the lessons together.
While this group was experienced in Bible teaching, they were novices when it came to good educational practices which would improve learning in their students. So the team leader, Raquel, interspersed the editing sessions with methodology training. (She had written all the lesson activities this time.) We had a good time getting to know each other during these sessions and the writers seemed to understand the importance of combining the message with the right method, since our goal is to make the Bible as practical to daily life as possible. That was in March.
A few months later I received the final draft of the lessons, challenging people to deepen their prayer lives in many ways. As I began making a few minor corrections, my laptop went dead. I took it to a reliable technician who could do nothing with it. My only hope was the extended warranty (which I usually never buy) at the U.S. computer store. Praise God that a new mother board and battery were replaced free and I can now finish this task. (Fortunately the printing house we use was on vacation while my computer was down so technically weâ€™re not behind schedule.) I will soon be turning these lessons in for publication.
But our story isnâ€™t finishedâ€¦our group of Cuban writers has committed a week out of their busy schedules in October to jointly edit the rest of the lessons they must turn in for 2008. Please pray for them, that God will give them fruit in their local churches as well as in this new ministry of sharing the written Word. Pray, too, for those who use these lessons that their lives might be transformed by the Word.
This ministry would not have been possible without the generosity of American Baptists. You paid for Raquelâ€™s training ten years ago, which she has continually passed onto others. You are helping underwrite these meetings of the editorial group as the ministry grows. Your gifts and prayer support also enable me to be part of this ministry. We are all part of this divine mission -- the sharing of Godâ€™s transforming Word. Thank you!
Sue Hegarty, for Ramon Rodriguez and Katy