I think it really begins with Benny Hinn.
If you don't know who he is, then consider yourself privileged. Honestly, you don't need to spend one second of your time looking up this heretical, self-serving sham of a television preacher.
Unfortunately, he is also world-famous. And during our first term in Tanzania, way back in 2001, we came to the horrifying realization that many Tanzanian church leaders were being trained in how to preach by watching his TV program.
Gil knew, from that first term, that one day he wanted to train church leaders in Africa. But he also knew, at the tender age of 24, that it wasn't the right time for him. Instead, God called us to Haven of Peace Academy, where we spent 10 wonderful years working with teenagers from all over the world. It was the World's Best Job and really, really hard to leave.
But for many years, as we thought ahead to the time when we would leave HOPAC and join a pastoral training ministry, we figured at that point, we would need to leave Tanzania.
We thought we would need to move to Kenya, or Uganda, or somewhere else where there are established seminaries and training programs. Because for the most part, they simply did not exist in Dar es Salaam.
Yes, it's a city of 5 million people. But pastoral training courses are extremely few and far between. Hence the reason many people found their training in Benny Hinn.
We knew of the need in Tanzania, but Gil knew that he wasn't the person to start something brand new. So we always thought that once we left HOPAC, we would be leaving Tanzania as well.
That all changed with one dinner conversation.
Stay tuned for Part 2.