Bill Loveless is spending his retirement years in ministry. A teaching partner of In Touch, Loveless has led seminars on Dr. Stanley’s 30 Life Principles in Africa and Asia. Recently, he visited with Nuba pastors to encourage them with a Life Principles Conference.
What were you doing in South Sudan?
It was a beautiful setting, this small village at the base of the Lopit Mountains. We provided Slates [electronic tablets with Messenger content and pastor resources] and Arabic Messengers to the Jebel Lopit Training Center where we had a pastor’s conference.
We gave each of the pastors a Slate and some Messengers to take back to their churches. Most of the pastors read English, so we also supplied some Life Principles Study Bibles. A number of pastors are waiting for their resources as our small airplane could not carry enough for everyone, but this small inconvenience did not distract them one bit from the training.
Tell us a little bit about the pastor training.
The best part of the trip was the receptivity of the pastors—just their hunger for truth. They were overjoyed to be included in the event. There were about 30 pastors, including 10 from the Nuba Mountains. I taught the Life Principles curriculum over six days.
They’re very moldable, so you’ve got to use great caution. One of my biggest prayers is, “Lord, let me always teach the truth, not what I think, but what the Word of God says,” because they’re like sponges.
There are 30 Life Principles—how do you go about teaching these?
The 30 principles are divided up into six sections, for instance, Prayer or Adversity. We have both an anchor principle and supporting principles for each topic. For example, throughout Africa, one of the biggest issues they wrestle with is the security of the believer. So I tell them, if it were up to us to hold it—we’d lose it. God holds it.
The beauty of these principles is that they guide you to the Scriptures that will help you with your life situation. I love them—they’ve been very powerful in my life.
Did you feel anxious about the volatility of this region?
When I was praying about the trip, my friends kept telling me, “It’s dangerous over there.” But God took me to Psalm 31, which is a beautiful psalm on God’s protection, and I felt like He was saying, I’ve got your back. Don’t worry about it. Other than the civil war that’s been going on, the main problem is tribal warfare. But at no time did I feel in harm’s way. All of the men carried AK-47s on their shoulders, mostly to ward off cattle thieves. If you didn’t have a gun, you were a pastor.
Tells us a little about the people you served.
I have never taught a group—and I’ve taught in a lot of places—that wanted this instruction as badly as these people did. It was great to see God working in their midst, and for an old teacher like me, it just brings joy to your heart when you see the light go off in their head and they begin to understand what the Scripture is saying.
In addition to the pastors, there were extra people who showed up out of curiosity. That’s where the LightStream [which generates a Bluetooth signal] came in handy. God provided us with a young man who was a bit of a techie and he was able to show folks how to download the Messenger content to their cellphones.
Speaking of the extra crowd, did that give you a good audience for the JESUS film?
Yes, it did. There’s no electricity, so the people get bored at night. We used projectors provided by Renew World Outreach to show the JESUS film. The entire village showed up to watch, the little church was cram-packed, everybody was peering in the windows and doors. Afterwards, a few of the preachers stepped up to share the gospel. We had a great response.
What are you planning next?
Pray that God will direct us to more communities. In Touch discovers these places through partners like Water Mission and Persecution Project Foundation who are doing in-country ministry. To me, this creates an ongoing legacy that just keeps going—it’s doubled the discipleship. In Touch is broadcasting the seed, but then also cultivating it. Yet resources don’t make disciples, people do. So we need to raise up people in each country to be teachers to their own people—and we’ve got them going now in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Botswana, and Zambia.
To have leaders in these nations teaching sound doctrine—to me that is a great legacy. I want to invest my life in something that outlasts me, and if not, I’m wasting my time. I’m just so passionate about what God’s doing here at In Touch. Like a bad penny—I won’t go away.
Illustrations by Jeff Gregory