Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
A Hunger for the Word
What struck me the first time I visited Kigali to teach PTC in 2015 was the hunger of the students for God. In a country where many crave physical nourishment, I saw a deeper hunger – a voracious appetite for learning about God’s word, and delight at the feast of ideas laid out in the training material provided by Moore Theological College.
Our students come from diverse backgrounds: pastors, evangelists, church planters, university campus workers and aid workers; some with tertiary educations and others with much less formal education; some with excellent English, but most working in an English-speaking ministry setting for the first time. Regardless of circumstances, these students each relish the opportunity to be further equipped to handle the Bible correctly.
As a former school teacher, my favourite element of class time is the discussion around Bible ideas. Given the non-denominational setting of our classes in the African Evangelistic Enterprise Rwanda headquarters, we enjoy a rich diversity of churchmanship and theological perspective. Our free-flowing conversation, discussion and theological reflection is marked by a godly humility from men and women who understand the weight of their calling. Where differences occur, the cohort is learning to go to the Bible to assess the validity of individual preferences and practices, rather than assuming them as concrete principles.
Whenever we spend time outside of our normal setting, our eyes are opened to new perspectives and experiences.
I feel deeply blessed by my time in Rwanda, and my learning and fellowship with so many gospel-hearted brothers and sisters. God has taught me about the spiritual richness of his people in other parts of the world, the way other Christians enjoy the blessings our Father bestows, and their fervour to follow Jesus. I often observe a hunger for God that is missing in my own country where bellies are always full.
Perhaps we all need reminding to hunger and thirst for what is most important in this life…
Having ministered at Anglican Churches in Sydney since 2012, Dan Bidwell is now the Senior Pastor at Yountville Community Church in California’s Napa Valley. He was involved as a visiting PTC lecturer in Rwanda from 2015-2018, and is currently developing a partnership with IFES and GBU Rwanda to enable the theological training of university campus workers.