The first batch of SEAN students graduated
Written by Mette Bjergbæk Klausen
There is a first time for everything. I have now had the joy of having a virtual exam with five young men in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from my cottage in the forests of Djursland, Denmark.
Okay, granted – I only prepared them for their written exam by giving words of encouragement, trying to make them relax and focus on the task at hand. Alex was my man on the spot, who handed out the papers and corrected them afterwards, before handing out the certificates, which Issa and I had prepared beforehand. To summarise, – I had all the funny stuff!
I also had the pleasure of talking to the participants about their experiences with the course. This is the first group to pass through the whole “Abundant Life” course by SEAN International. Thus I was very curious to hear their feedback. To add to the suspense, this was no ordinary group, as all participants were students of theology. They were not novices in the faith nor in their knowledge of the Bible and theology. All together you would expect them to be a tough crowd, who could have many objections about the simplicity of the course, as it is written in an easily read English with repetitions and illustrations.
"This course has helped my family, as I have passed on the knowledge to them"
This, however, was never the case. They were overjoyed by the course and their testimonies were filled with words of praise and approvals. They loved how easy it was to understand the lessons, which had helped them making the theory of their studies practically and personally. “This course has showed me how to apply scripture to my everyday life”, David said, and Thomas added: “It has taught me more about Christ, and how to lead others to him too” Moreover, they all uttered wishes to be trained as group leaders themselves, so they can pass on the benefits of this course to others in their churches and communities. The only thing preventing this for the time being are the costs of the workbooks, which group participants would need to pay, and the logistics of providing the books. It’s a rather minimal fee, just covering the print and the paper, but that is enough for many of them who struggle to make ends meet.
“You feel led by God in this course, so you know that you cannot go wrong”
My colleague Issa is working hard on converting the materials to an interactive e-version, which people can access through their phones, so that no print will be necessary. As all things having to do with technology – in my humble experience anyway – these things tend to alternate between great progress and massive setbacks, joy and frustrations. We hope and pray that Issa will be able to overcome the stumble blocks very soon, so that many more people can be blessed through the course, and the gospel can reach out to transform more lives. Until that happens, we will continue with the printed books in spite of their limitations.
“Thanks to everybody who facilitates this course, making it available to people here”
As a conclusion, I better tell you that all group members passed the exam, some even very well. This makes them highly qualified to continue their training and fulfill their dreams of becoming group leaders themselves. We congratulate them, wish them God’s rich blessing on their ministry and hope to see them for the next SEAN group leaders’ course in October.