We are incredibly grateful for your prayers for the Holy Bible: Africa Study Bible, New Living Translation meetings. Yes, this Bible now has its official name! The committee made this decision, along with perhaps hundreds of others, over the last 48 hours. The caliber of members present is astounding. Our Methodist Bishop, Dr. Asante, was President of Trinity Seminary for seven years. He is now the head of a Ghanaian denomination of over 3 million. This is typical of the group; however, it's clear that rank and position is of little importance here. Rather, the focus is on quality decision-making and raising up disciples of Jesus.
Dr. Tite Tienou is brilliant as our committee chairman, moving the discussion along gently but diligently which allowed the group to accomplish an amazing amount of work. In his opening address, he began by saying that he did not believe in African time; rather, everyone was going to be on time. And, they were! Beyond that, everyone was on task through hours of intense discussion with energy and passion to the very last hour. Amazing.
One delegate, a bishop and president of the association of all Christians in his country, who I'd not previously met, admitted to me his skepticism before arriving. He wondered, "Was this going to be a show or a rubber stamp conference where the those from the West pulled the strings?" To his pleasant surprise, no. The project was, indeed, African led. Africans made the decisions. Africans led the way. They talked, we listened. We earned his trust, and in so doing opened up hundreds of churches to the project's potential. Praise God! Dr. Gladys Mwiti stood up at the end of the meetings to offer a special thanks to Oasis, saying again how the whole process was an encouragement; she said African delegates were validated, encouraged, and blessed by how we handed the leadership of such a vital project over to them.
As I thanked the committee for coming, I shared with them three thoughts that I also gladly share with you. First, I restated my belief that each one of them had a purpose in being here. That was confirmed in our days together. Dr. Jusu with his doctorate in educational development. Dr. Gladys Mwiti with her doctorate in psychology. Dr. Turaki with his specialization in African beliefs and religions. Whether the discussion was on the problems of human trafficking, church history, or the comparison of Jesus' parables with African stories, we had an expert at our table.
Second, I characterized our meetings with three simple statements:
One Mind One Heart One Voice
The delegates found one mind in each discussion, through friendly interaction and debate which added depth and power to every subject. They were all of one heart in their passion to equip their people with God's truth. They spoke with one voice in each and every conversation, coming to a powerful consensus. I lack the words to describe how encouraged I was by this.
Finally, I explained how deeply moved I am by their involvement. (Hundreds of years of pastoral experience was in the room.) They each spoke with a pastor's heart, desiring to bring God's truth to their people.
I am looking forward to our service of prayer and dedication tomorrow.
To God be the glory!
Dr. Matthew Elliott, President of Oasis International
[Update from Tuesday night, June 14.]