Duane Miller spent time teaching time in Tunisia during July and August. Below he shares some of his reflections.
I was invited by the local Anglican bishop, the Rt. Rev Bill Musk, to teach on history, Scripture and theology for some of the local Christians. What you need to know, though, is that all the indigenous Christians are converts from Islam. While we are quite used to having conferences and seminars and guest teachers, this is very rare for the tiny church of North Africa.
At St. George’s Anglican, my 10 lectures went well. I was a little worried about teaching the whole series in Arabic, but thanks be to God, my Arabic came through very well (for the most part – though I did learn some new words, like plague/وباء). I also got to share at a different church with another 10 believers about Israel-Palestine, played guitar for worship, shared the good news with numerous people, and lots of other things too.
After presenting the 10 lectures, the vicar of St. George’s told me this he felt this was just what these Christians needed, and that he liked how I tied in biblical references and practical applications with my historical material. One of the best discussions we had was after the lecture on the reasons why the Church in North Africa disappeared. The question was, how would they do things differently this time, now that it had come back to life, miraculously?
A few brief observations:
- I loved Tunis, and I loved the Tunisian people. I also loved the food, which is spicy. The ‘harisa’ (spicy pepper paste) we ate in Israel all the time was omnipresent. They really like tuna fish and eggs too.
- Massive amounts of building were going on all over the place. I was told that after the Arab Spring (which most people there don’t see as a good thing) people sort of did as they pleased, and disregarded the former system where you needed building permits. In other words, like Cairo.
- Abouna Emil, the Lebanese Anglican pastor with whom I stayed, was an inspiration. I learned a lot from just watching him interacting with the Tunisian Christians there – which is what discipleship is all about, learning through emulation.
- I interviewed lots of believers and leaders, including the Catholic Archbishop, who spoke Arabic like me! It was so nice to listen to Palestinian Arabic.
- The need is for discipleship. This is from their own leaders. They are getting lots of new believers and baptisms, but they need a deeper and more permanent encounter with key Biblical, theological and ethical topics. This mix of pastoral care and education is what I have always loved.
Thank you for your prayers and support. The church in Tunis did not pay a penny for this ministry. It is all your gift to them, to support them and make them strong. Without your support for our work with Anglican Frontier Missions it could not happen.