Making disciples home and away

A Rooted in Jesus team has just returned from two weeks in South Sudan – our second visit to this country in recent months. In November we travelled to the Dioceses of Aweil and Wanyjok; this time we were delighted to accept invitations to minister in the Diocese of Maridi and the Diocese of Yambio.

Practising using Rooted in Jesus in Maridi

South Sudan is the youngest and one of the poorest countries in the world, and it was a particular privilege to be invited to share in the ministry of these two dioceses by Bishop Moses Zungo and Archbishop Samuel Peni. Over 240 leaders were trained, including pastors, Mothers Union leaders, youth and evangelism leaders. We have posted a full report by team leader David Archer on our blog site.
Other conferences have recently taken place in the Diocese of Kibondo, Tanzania (led by Bishop Stanley Hotay), and the Diocese of Kericho, Kenya (led by Tim Grew and a team from Trinity Cheltenham). You can catch up with these on our Facebook page.
Here at home we remain busy too. We are delighted to welcome Sue Whitehead who is joining the team as our Office Manager, and we are looking forward to taking a team to help run a parish mission for St Paul’s, Slough later this month. The muted world of Covid is giving way to the technicolour reality of living relationships!

A return visit to the Diocese of Kitale, Kenya

We have published a blog post on the recent Rooted in Jesus conference to the Diocese of Kitale in Kenya. The team from the US, UK and Kenya were well received and well cared for, and the 195 conference participants and 40 local facilitators participated with enthusiasm. Team leader Richard Morgan has produced a short video which you can view by clicking on the image to the right. The blog includes some encouraging highlights shared by team members, as well as a request for ongoing prayer from Bishop Emmanuel Chemengich:
  • “We praise the Lord Jesus for the successful RinJ leaders conference. Pray with us that Christ’s grace will abide with the newly trained leaders so they move with urgency and passion to establish RinJ groups across the Diocese, and for the existing leaders to be re-energized and keep pressing on with this vital discipleship program for growing our members to be more and more like Jesus.”
We are grateful to the team members who gave their time and resources to the people of Kitale, and to the group of faithful intercessors who prayed daily for them whilst they were away.
Watch Richard Morgan’s video report on the conference here.

A Post-Pandemic World

Life has changed a lot during the last two years. We are still aiming to bring the gospel to many African countries through our Rooted in Jesus programme, and still supporting church leaders in the UK and helping them to grow their churches. We are thankful that despite the challenge of a global pandemic we have been able to adopt new ways of working, to strengthen and even expand both Rooted in Jesus and EQUIP. But nonetheless the restrictions imposed by the pandemic have been very frustrating.
But the situation is now changing. As the last remaining Covid restrictions come to an end in the UK, arrangements are being made for visits from our teams, all on a scale that would have been unthinkable a year ago. In the UK, a team will go to Slough for a week of mission at the end of June; teams will lead weekends on prayer in Whitfield and Sutton Bonington; teaching on worship and evangelism will happen in Oxford – and new plans are coming on stream all the time. In Africa, we have accepted invitations to send Rooted in Jesus teams to run conferences in 14 dioceses this year, with more to follow in 2023.
Meanwhile we have just published the Rooted in Jesus Annual Report for 2021. 2021 was a significant milestone for us : Rooted in Jesus completed its twentieth year of ministry! During that time it has been introduced to 100 Anglican dioceses or denominational networks, trained 17,558 leaders in 142 conferences in 18 African countries, and provided materials in 48 languages. Often it’s been the first discipleship programme people have ever had, and almost always the first in their own language. It’s been a humbling journey, and one which we look forward to continuing in the years to come.
The full report can be downloaded from the Rooted in Jesus website here.
Posted 21st February 2022 by The Mathetes Trust

Discipleship training in DR Congo

We have just published our first Rooted in Jesus blog post for 2022! It comes from the Diocese of Aru in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where CMS mission partner Peter Wyard is working with a team of local facilitators to renew and deepen the Rooted in Jesus programme.

Delegates in Kumuru make pastoral commitments to care for their groups

The Diocese of Aru is located in the far north-east of the country, not far from the borders with Uganda and South Sudan. DRC is not an easy place in which to minister, and this area has suffered from prolonged political and social instability.
Rooted in Jesus was first introduced to the diocese ten years ago, and over the last year Peter and his team have been working tirelessly to translate the leaders’ booklets into a new series of local languages. They have also formed an ambitious plan to train a new generation of leaders through a series of archdeaconry conferences.
The new groups are going well – and Peter shares some encouraging testimonies. You can read his report on the blog here.

Posted 27th January 2022

A window of opportunity

Even as the Covid skies cloud over again, we would like to share some good news! Following the easing of international travel restrictions in October, two long-planned Rooted in Jesus conferences have just taken place in the Dioceses of Aweil and Wanyjok in South Sudan.
The difficulties of travel were more than compensated for by the huge welcome and hospitality which greeted the little team of four intrepid travellers as they finally reached their destination. Over the next fortnight more than 200 men and women, lay and ordained, were trained to lead Rooted in Jesus discipleship groups, and a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit left many saying their lives had been changed for good. The books had been painstakingly translated into Dinka Rek, coordinators were appointed and groups have already started.
It was an immense privilege to serve again in a place where trouble has been great but faith is strong, and we have committed ourselves to continue in prayer as Rooted in Jesus becomes established in these two dioceses. To read the full report do check out our blog post here.
In the meantime we prepare again to celebrate the coming of Jesus, remembering the words of the apostle Jude: “Build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; and look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”

Posted 13th December 2021

Sharing the gospel in Tanzania

We have been immensely encouraged by continued good news from our Rooted in Jesus friends, and we’d like to share some recent highlights with you.

The Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro

In the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, where Rooted in Jesus first began, Bishop Stanley Hotay tells us that 420 new churches have been planted over he last decade, many of them among Maasai communities. Hundreds of people have been baptised in these communities in recent months, most of them after hearing about Jesus for the first time. We have been working with Mission Director Clement Manyatta to revise and reprint the Masai translations of the RinJ booklets, training has been provided for a new generation of leaders, and the pastors are preparing to start 50 new Rooted in Jesus groups. ‘Life must go on,’ Bishop Hotay said to us recently – and events are proving him right. You can watch his video report and find out more on our blog.

The Diocese of Toliara

Meanwhile in the Diocese of Toliara, Madagascar, the huge response to the gospel following the distribution of famine relief has continued. An astonishing 1900 people have been baptised, Rooted in Jesus is to be translated into a new local language, Antandroy, and 35 new leaders are being trained to establish groups in the new areas.

Looking ahead

Meanwhile, as the Covid restrictions are gradually lifted, we are beginning once again to plan Rooted in Jesus conferences. Some of these will be led by the national team in Tanzania, some from the UK and some from South Africa. We continue to work with our partners on new translations, and to pray for the Lord’s blessing on our shared ministry as we move into a new phase of our lives together.
To find out more about Rooted in Jesus do visit the website, sign up to follow our blog, or follow us on Facebook.

Posted 4th May 2021

Making new disciples in the midst of armed conflict

We are delighted to be able to share some inspiring news we have just received from South Kordofan in Sudan – a people for whom Covid is simply the latest in a long, and far more devastating, series of challenges and hardships. We hope that you too will be encouraged to know that the Lord is at work in this most painful context; and that you will draw strength from it as we face our own, more modest, difficulties.

People requesting prayer in Salara

The Diocese of Kadugli held a Rooted in Jesus training conference 18 months ago, led by Andrew Evans and a team from the Diocese of Salisbury. Since then the challenges and difficulties of Covid have been added to the far more severe challenges and difficulties they have been facing for many years now. But the Diocesan Secretary and Rooted in Jesus coordinator Babuj Simon has just written to share the news of how Rooted in Jesus is making a difference in the town of El-Dalang – to such an extent that they decided to embark on an ambitious outreach to Salara, a town in one of the rebel-controlled areas. The church there was closed fifty years ago, the building converted into a college, and people were forced to convert to Islam.
Pastor Hassan Sudan, the Rooted in Jesus team leader in Salara, recently obtained access permission for a team of 20 people from El-Dalang and El-Obied to go to Salara, to pray for the sick and to share the gospel. Twenty two people gave their lives to Christ, including some key leaders from the community, and all were baptised. The team was led by Babuj, and most of the members were drawn from existing Rooted in Jesus groups in El-Dalang. To read the report and see for yourself please read our blog post here.
“Surely God is my salvation;
 I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself,
is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
Isaiah chapter 12
Posted 8th April 2021 by the Mathetes Trust

Rooted in Jesus Annual Report

We have just published the Rooted in Jesus Annual Report for the year 2020. It’s been a peculiar year, to say the least, but three significant RinJ conferences took place (unusually early in the year!) before the national lockdowns came into force, and we have made good use of the time by working on new translations and editions of the leader’s booklets and team manuals. We have kept in regular touch with those we serve, and have received some hugely encouraging reports of the difference Rooted in Jesus has made as people have struggled with the challenges raised by the pandemic. The availability of vaccines both here in the UK and in Africa is a positive step forward, and we look forward to fulfilling the outstanding invitations for conferences as soon as circumstances permit.
The report can be downloaded from the Rooted in Jesus website here – or read a summary on the Rooted in Jesus blog, where you will find feedback from across the continent of Africa, details of new translations, personal testimonies and more.
Posted March 2nd 2021 by The Mathetes Trust.

I was hungry and you fed me

The beginning of Lent seems like a good time to focus our minds and prayers on our brothers and sisters in other lands, and we have some news to share from the Diocese in Toliara, Madagascar. We have posted a full report on our blog, but here is a summary:
Southern Madagascar has been hit by a prolonged period of drought. This has seen many people lose their lives, and many more have been forced to leave their homes in search of food. With support from Christians in far off places, the diocese has now made a second famine relief distribution, providing enough sacks of rice and beans to feed 900 families in the affected areas for a month.
The packed church in Ambovombe
The good news is that many people have responded to this by starting to attend church – not least because the food was given away to everybody, irrespective of religious affiliation. There has been, Revd Gaston, reports, an “explosion of people, with no more room to fit in people. People are being baptized because they are being touched by the love of God and asking, ‘What religion is this that cares? We want to join you’”. Gaston’s wife Olivia is running three Rooted in Jesus groups to teach those who have decided to place their faith in Jesus, and the new church of Ambovombe is packed out on Sundays.
Meanwhile, not far away in Mahabo parish, the Rooted in Jesus group in the Chapel of St Andrew has now completed the programme and received certificates.
The Rooted in Jesus group receive their certificates
We first went to Madagascar ten years ago. In a country where 80% of people are yet to hear the gospel, it’s hugely encouraging to see the huge strides being made despite the very real difficulties of living in a place subject to an increasing scourge of famines and cyclones. We feel privileged to be able to continue to support them in these small ways. As we begin the season of Lent, it would be good to respond to their prayer request: “Please pray for rain to fall so that rivers will be filled, the underground water table will rise, and crops will grow, but not so much rain at any one time that it causes damage.”
To find out more do take a look at the blog.
Posted by the Mathetes Trust 17 February 2021

Jesus doesn’t do lockdown

Rooted in Jesus in the Diocese of Natal

We were delighted to receive a report from the Rooted in Jesus ministry in South Africa, this time from the Diocese of Natal, where Revd Bruce Woolley has written a very encouraging account of how the Rooted in Jesus group at his church continues to meet via Whatsapp. There are some inspiring testimonies from group members, some of whom are finding a much deeper faith than they had before. The world may be locked down – but God is not:
“The enemy has succeeded in keeping places of worship closed temporarily but he has not succeeded in preventing the St Luke’s RinJ from their weekly fellowship via social media. Every Thursday I look forward to spending time and discussing the word of God with my fellow RinJ members. Learning the memory verses has helped me to overcome trying and negative situations during Lockdown.”
We have posted Bruce’s report on our blog here – https://rootedinjesus.blog/.

EQUIP – supporting church leaders

EQUIP is continuing to meet via Zoom, with regular phone calls to each of the 50+ members. God has given us four words: faithfulness, endurance, hope, and promise. We are encouraging our EQUIP members to be faithful to the Lord, and to each of the people and tasks to which they are called. Faithfulness implies endurance, because no one is finding things easy and everybody needs encouragement to keep going. To endure we need hope; it is also true that as we endure then we find that our hope increases. EQUIP members have been asked to write a short hope statement which will then become the basis for our prayers about the future. Hope for a Christian is not wishful thinking because with God our hope is underpinned by promise. God has given several promises about our ministry which is why we know that our hope will not disappoint us.
We have continued to produce a series of spiritual exercises. The first series is for personal use, and the second for group use. The group topics so far are:
Praying together
Praying for each others’ needs
Praying with scripture
Praying with the Holy Spirit

Prepare

John Benson has produced a booklet called Prepare to help churches think through their plans. John covers the following issues:
What is the Lord saying to us?
What are the lessons we have learned?
What are we preparing for?
Where do we begin?
John reminds us of something C.S. Lewis said: “God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Again, do let us know if you’d like a copy.
Posted 11th August 2020