On The Outside Looking In

Boys at an African school.

The two little boys were outside the classroom peering in. Surely intrigued by the white guys in the classroom, the boys were trying to get a look at what was going on. To me, though, the photo is symbolic of the things we’re trying to accomplish in the Transformational Education Network.

The photo is dark, the boys essentially silhouettes. You can’t see their eyes, or even get a glimpse of the expressions on their faces. The details in the classroom are featureless and you can’t see any students.

Here’s another photo of that classroom.

Kubacha classroom

What a difference some illumination makes, eh? Our work in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa and the Caribbean brings the light of the gospel to dark places. In Nigeria, in particular, where we are working the darkness of Islam pervades the country. I met many dedicated, faithful Christians intent on sharing the love and hope of Jesus and we pray for these people fervently.

In addition to teaching a world view centered on Jesus Christ, we are equipping students with computer knowledge. This knowledge is a means to not only obtain employment skills for jobs, but also to use that technological ability to further the gospel message. These young students pictured here in the Nigerian city of Kubacha, we pray, as they advance in school will someday become the students in post-secondary classrooms receiving the Christ-centered knowledge from our Transformational Education Network curriculum.

I was blown away when I visited this class of 44 young students at Christian school operated by the Evangelical Church Winning All denomination. The kids were unfailingly polite, knowledgeable, inquisitive and eager. There’s a tremendous amount of potential for the kingdom among these students and our prayer in TEN3 is that we will be able to be a part of equipping them for further Kingdom work personally and corporately.

If you’d like to see some videos of the work we are doing around the world, go here: https://vimeo.com/home/myvideos

For more on TEN3, visit our website at http://www.ten3.org.

God bless you.

–Matt Sabo, TEN3 Communications Manager

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The Cost Of A Former Muslim’s Faith

Abubakar Yusuf (right) at Intensive Christian Training School in Nigeria

I met Abubakar Yusuf after a long journey by car across hot, dusty central Nigeria. Along with American missionary Eric Black, the two of us had traveled from Jos to Biliri — a journey of about 5 hours over rutted, narrow highways — with a pause for a brief lunch at an open-air “eatery” at a highway crossroads, where hungry little boys pounced on our leftovers of fish and rice we left at our tables. Our destination was a school started by Eric in Biliri called Intensive Christian Training School.

Eric is using Christ-centered Transformational Education Network (TEN3) curriculum as part of his school’s teaching regimen. Eric has done an amazing job with little resources in training up young men and women, giving them an in-depth, Christ-centered education as they learn practical computer skills.

Abubakar is a young man who had come from a Muslim family. He has essentially left everything behind to follow Jesus. The vast majority of good government jobs in the area are controlled by Muslims. Abubakar’s family had offered him one of those good jobs if he left the school and his Christian faith, but he refused.

Abubakar is a soft-spoken young man of 20 years with a quick, broad smile and an easy demeanor. Yet behind that smile and the quick laugh and beaming face is a young man who understands that faith, at least in his case, doesn’t come cheaply. There’s a cost to Abubakar’s faith — a good job, his family, basically everything he’s known. But the reward of eternity with Jesus is well worth it.

I am humbled by Abubakar’s faith. I’m honored to have met him. I’m thrilled for the young men and women like him at Eric’s school and other schools in Africa that use TEN3 curriculum and have seen young Muslim men and women come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Consider partnering with us financially. Our schools are open to anyone. In Nigeria, where the population in the northern states where we primarily are operating is a Muslim majority, that means students receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the schools we are working with the students are taught the Bible in addition to computer skills that help them get jobs, enter the workforce, start businesses and help their families financially. We’re seeing lives changed and a fruitful harvest.

Pray for us. Consider supporting us.

To see more of Abubakar’s story, go here: https://vimeo.com/116589234

To donate to the Transformational Education Network, go here: http://ten3.org/#donate

–Matt Sabo, TEN3 communications manager

Computers, The Gospel And Africa

Computer classes

This year in central Nigerian communities, we in the Transformational Education Network are hoping to launch at least seven computer training outreaches. Partnering with ECWA International College of Technology, the computer training outreaches are key components of our plans to elevate lives through the spreading of the gospel and Christ-centered computer education.

So what’s a computer training outreach? Essentially it involves setting up computer classrooms, ideally of 20 to 25 computers to give students the essential hands-on work with the laptops. In many schools in Nigeria, students can acquire a certificate or diploma related to computer studies without ever touching a computer.

At our computer training outreach (CTO), the students learn God’s story from the beginning of creation and how it applies to their lives. They are given tools to help them study the Bible and strengthen their walk with Jesus long after they graduate.

They also learn how to operate computers, from basic keyboarding, to spreadsheets, to word processing and other uses. We teach them how to produce documents and presentations — creating graphics and manipulating photos are included in the instruction — and even simple websites.

As computers are always changing, we’ll teach the students what it takes to keep up with the changes that affect them. They also develop their own manuals on how to use the features of the common computers programs and they learn, for example, how to apply spreadsheets to real-life situations such as analyzing small businesses.

In going beyond knowing what keystrokes to use, we give the students the foundation of the computer to better understand how computer applications work. Along the way they are taught what are good and harmful aspects of computers and technology and the Internet so they can be discerning.

In addition to teaching them a thorough understanding of the power of computers, we give them hope to get jobs, start businesses, have an entrepreneurial mindset and even use computers to spread the gospel.

If you would like to partner with us to help launch the CTOs in Nigeria, go here: http://ten3.org/index.php/get-involved/financially

To see a short video about our work in Nigeria, go here: https://vimeo.com/113946746

The Nehemiah Method To Transform Culture

Nigeria.VillageOut-Ladies.CD.13-01

The Old Testament book of Nehemiah relates an interesting account of Israelite history when the survivors of the Babylonian captivity were allowed to return to their homeland. This remnant encountered the lingering devastation of war and poverty.

Nehemiah heard of the plight of his people and did something about it. He was a man of prayer and action (Nehemiah 4:9). It was miraculous how the people worked together and rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem stone by stone.

Each group repaired a designated section. Some moved the stones, some found timber for the gates. Others installed the gates while others fed the people. Many worked on the wall while guarding the city. They all worked until the wall was complete.

During the last century, the Lord has put it on the hearts of African governments to ask the churches to rebuild the educational system, very much like He put it on the heart of King Artaxerxes to allow Nehemiah to rebuild the wall.

As described in the “TEN3 Explained” video, TEN3’s desire is to take an approach like Nehemiah as we work together to help the African Christians build a transformational education system.

We are using Nehemiah’s Method to break our work into many small pieces — pieces that fit the talents and time people have available; pieces that involve people from different walks of life; pieces as varied as reading weekly email prayer items to praying to writing a scholarly piece for curriculum material.

TEN3 believes while each piece does its part, African churches will become prepared to continue developing the system and provide a Christian education for their children, sharing with society the freedom that only Jesus brings…one piece at a time.

Here’s the link to our Nehemiah Method video: http://vimeo.com/20626728

Turning The Tide In Africa

Boys at an African school.

The world sees Africa as a hopeless place. Rarely do the world’s perspective and God’s perspective agree. Throughout the Scripture we read of hopeless situations that God turned into hope for people of faith. The ultimate example is the cross, where God turned death into life for all that believe. Always God is calling us to a faith that changes hopelessness to everlasting hope.

Europe faced a situation similar to Africa’s in the middle of the last millennium. The Bubonic plague passed through and killed up to 80 percent of some villages. The world looked on in hopelessness, but God turned Europe totally around with the Renaissance and the Reformation. Both had roots stemming from the effects of the Bubonic plague, including the founding of all the universities of northwest Europe. God turned the lack of hope to blessing for the entire world.

The world once again declares the situation hopeless. The governments in Africa are turning to the churches for help, as half the adults will die in many locations. But the Body of Christ is never hopeless because Christ holds out eternal life to all. And, God has given us the ability to serve the Church to develop an educational system that will train the thousands of future leaders needed. These people of God will fill the holes being made in society by AIDS, and they will lead the African renaissance and reformation and be a blessing to the entire world. There are reports that where the Church is taking a stand and people are living morally, the statistics on AIDS are being turned back.

The Transformational Education Network is the result of African church leaders pursuing a better education for their people. We believe that God is calling African and international scholars to work with the Church in the next phase of educational development, one that can very rapidly be made available throughout Africa.

We have confidence as we move forward. But our confidence is not in technology, nor is it in our abilities. Rather, our confidence is in God’s characteristics. God does not change. He has always called for faithfulness from His people, and when they have been faithful God has worked through them to bless many. May we be found faithful.

The book of Esther is an exciting story of God making a young lady, who was a very unlikely candidate, into the queen in time to save His people. When she questioned whether she should step in for God’s people or not, her uncle stated, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

These words echo down through the ages to us, for we too can step in for God’s people. The question is, “Are you willing to use your talent and time to turn the tide in Africa, to bring the Good News to millions?”

This. This Is Kingdom Work.

Students at a missionary children boarding school in Nigeria.

Students at a missionary children boarding school in Nigeria.

The young students eyed me from a distance. I was at a boarding school in Jos, Nigeria, that’s home to 400 boys and girls. Their parents are missionaries in remote Nigerian villages. At least 43 are orphans, their mom and dad murdered by Muslim terrorists affiliated with Boko Haram.

Then I pulled out my iPhone. I started showing videos of my kids playing back home in Virginia. Racing around in a golf cart. Splashing around in a kiddie pool. Playing soccer. Smiles on their faces grew wide and they laughed and pointed.

WitIn minutes I had made hundreds of friends. I pulled out my Canon T5i and began snapping photos and then showing them the digital images of their grinning faces.

African boys in their boarding school dormitory.

African boys in their boarding school dormitory.

Their eyes lit up.

They smiled, laughed and followed me around the campus on my tour with school officials. For many, it was the first time they had seen their own face in a photo.

These faces are the future of Nigeria. The future of Africa.

When I think of the Transformational Education Network — TEN3 — and the work we are doing in Africa, I come back to these faces.

There’s hope in these eyes.

Our Christ-centered computer training schools are making a difference in a generation of young Africans. When I traveled to Africa and visited with students and graduates of schools who are learning TEN3 curriculum and training, I heard many testimonies of all that God is doing in their lives.

We in the Transformational Education Network have big plans in 2015. We are partnering with ECWA International College of Technology in Jos, Nigeria, to launch seven computer training outreach schools.

We need hundreds of computers and other materials to start the schools.

We are hoping to start a scholarship program for orphans like the ones at this school in the photo above. We need the money to help give these kids whose parents have given so much a quality, Biblically-based education and the skills to go and get jobs, start businesses, or follow their parents into work for the Kingdom.

A girl doing her wash at an African boarding school.

A girl doing her wash at an African boarding school.

We will be working to provide computers for schools in dire need of technology and equipment. We have many other initiatives we are working on.

We need partners.

To help us financially, go here: http://www.ten3.org/index.php/get-involved/financially

If you have a laptop you would like to donate to TEN3 that we can repurpose and ship to Africa for use in one of our schools we’re working with, email us at: info@ten3.org.

If you would like more information on how to get involved in working alongside us in TEN3 — from teaching, to writing curriculum, to designing websites, to financial administration and acquiring and shipping computers overseas — contact me at: communications@ten3.org.

Thank you and God bless you.

–Matt Sabo, TEN3