— Steppingstone who have worked for more than 20 years in three places in West Bengal, among them Ranaghat.
— Hope, who have been working in Calcutta but also in Ranaghat.
Mostly the two organizations have focused on children in need, who are provided with homes, food, education and a vibrant congregational life. The couple in charge of Steppingstone are Richard and Tracey Parsley from Scarborough, UK and those in charge of Hope are Dev and Maria Sandberg Mondal.
We met last year and when I told them about what we work with in the PLT, we agreed that a project on deeper knowledge in the Bible and faith would be benefitial for their organizations. In fact, this had been part of their visions right from the start. Therefore I have visited the board of Steppingstone in Scarborough as well as the work of Hope in India.
This project is a bit more like the work we´re involved in with Pioneerkirken in Norway. Because of very tight schedules the teaching will take place during a few intense days instead of week/weeks. This time we studied the gospel of Mark. I had asked the participants who are all young leaders in their churches to prepare for this project reading Mark at least three time the last mont- pen and paper in hand. This meant that I didn´t have to go through the gospel, knowing that they already knew their Mark. I had five teaching occasions prepared, each session lasting 2 to 2.5 hours:
— Group reflection with sharing
— The group praying for each other
— Friday evening was set aside for personal renewal, ”Come Holy Spirit”, i.e a lot of worship, teaching and intercession.
We had the following themes:
A. The gospel according to Mark, when it was writte,. the authorship, who is Mark? Different ways to dividing up the gospel, something about Mark – Matthew – Luke and how to look on the authorship
B. The themes of Mark: Jesus i s the Son of God
C. Similarities and differences between the introductions of the synoptic gospels
D. More concerning the themes of Mark:
— Jesus is the Messiah of God
— Jesus is the Son of God
— Jesus is the Lord, Jahve
— Jesus is the Son of Man
— Jesus is the Son of David
— Jesus is the Teacher (Rabbi), the Prophet, the Shepherd , the Pysician etc
E. Mark about the end times, chapter 13 and the last days of Jesus, his passion, death and resurrection chapters 14-16
Unfortunately someonehad made some changes in the programme, so instead of starting 10 am it was 5p.m!
But I had been there before, so I had to quickly turn the 5 teaching occasions into 3 ones. Obviously it went well, judging from the reactions and we managed to cover most of what we had planned. God healed some people, the gift of prophecy was present and God did what He loves to do: He poured out the Holy Spirit on us.
Thursday evening I preached at the youth meeting at Hope, Calcutta. I preached in the Sunday service at 5.30 p.m in Ranaghat at the Steppingstone meeting there.
Of course I had many talks with different leaders, discussing their situation and their work. I am truly blessed by the wisdom present in these organizations and their work.
We are now planning our next session.
Please pray for us in the PLT and for our sisters and brothers and their work. We need miracles from God in order for all aspects of this work to go well. The economy of the PLT for instance is very important. Please visit our home page PastoralLeadershipTraining.org
Right now we have four projects in progress: Norway, Nepal, India 1 and 2. Further on this year I am invited to go to Armenia and Georgia. For all this new co-workers are needed, a new structure, more money – perhaps you, your family and your church would like to support the PLT – do get in touch if you have any questions.
If you wish to support me personally, you´re of course welcome, contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgBest wishes