Earlier this year, a second interdenominational Timothy Leadership Training group started in Sri Lanka. Two trainers, Lakmal Wijeratne from Sri Lanka and Gerke Roorda from the Netherlands, share their experiences.
What is your own TLT experience? By whom and where were you trained? Who have you trained so far?
Lakmal: TLT is a a wonderful material and method to develop secondary leaders and ourselves. I was trained by Gerke Roorda and Hilde van Hulst (the Netherlands), Timothy Rai and Mathusela Limboo (India). I have trained the first two modules to a TLT group in Sri Lanka along with two co-trainers, Gerke and Ajendran. I have also taught the module on Christian Stewardship to our discipleship group.
Gerke: I enjoyed the TLT trainings very much. Because I already had been studying theology I didn’t really learn anything new. But TLT did help me to look in a different way. And to make what I had learned far more practical. I have been trained by sister Munyiva from Kenya and by sister Grethe Kruizinga from Holland. I have been using some manuals for discipleship training for foreign church members. And I feel very blessed because I got the opportunity to give a TLT-training in Sri-Lanka twice.
How has TLT changed your own life or ministry so far?
Gerke: For me it has been very helpful to write above an action plan ‘by the grace of God’. It still helps me to realize that Gods kingdom doesn’t depend on my strength, effort or knowledge. It helps me to every time again trust the Lord.
Lakmal: It has helped me look at intentional ministry, not just to do things for the sake of doing it.
Could you describe your co-trainer in maximally 3 sentences?
Lakmal: Gerke is a gentle loving person who has a map of where he wants to take the group, and even though he does not always point to the map, he gets the group there. He is also a very good learner of culture and human dynamics.
Gerke: When I think of Lakmal there comes a smile on my face, because he has got a great sense of humor. He is a smart and wise man, who knows how to help people to discover the way of the Lord.
Last year, Lakmal was part of the first group of TLT trainees in Sri Lanka and Gerke came as a trainer, together with a trainer from India. This year, you worked together to serve a new group of trainees: Lakmal as a main trainer and Gerke as trainer-coach. How do you look back on your own new role?
Gerke: This year English was a little bit a problem for the group. Most of them only did understand their own language (Tamil or Singala) well. So during the week my role became observing and giving some feedback and support to Lakmal and Ajey, the other trainer from Sri-Lanka. I was very happy that I became unnecessary. That means that the training they got had been successful. The trainers had been trained!
Lakmal: It was a wonderful privilege to train alongside Gerke, as well as teaching the material which I have embraced wholeheartedly.
In your opinion, what makes Lakmal / Gerke a good TLT trainer? What did you like about his training style?
Lakmal: Down to earth, calm style of teaching. I learnt a lot.
Gerke: Lakmal’s sense of humor. His leadership, he knows where he wants to go. And his courage to correct himself. He likes it very to talk and to teach. But as a trainer he listens carefully and helps to group to discover the answers by themselves.
Did you learn something new from Gerke / Lakmal? If so, what did you learn from him?
Gerke: Lakmal can be very straight and clear in his opinion, at the same time he is kind and open minded. I learned from him to be a little straight to the point.
Lakmal: Not hurrying to give own answers, being very attentive and observant to things happening in class, gently confronting.
What is your most vivid memory of the time you spent together with Lakmal / Gerke?
Lakmal: The fact that he always let us do the training, yet was always there to help us.
Gerke: I could stay a night at Lakmal’s home and I joined the church service next day. I enjoyed the vivid way he was leading the service.
You recently visited each other’s’ countries: Gerke travelled to Sri Lanka for TLT and Lakmal visited the Netherlands for the RCN synod. In your opinion, what can Christians in your country learn from Christians in your co-trainer’s country? And what is your prayer for the churches in your co-trainer’s country?
Gerke: In my opinion Christians in my country can learn from Christians in Sri Lanka to depend on the Lord and to be happy with the gospel. My prayer for the Christians in Sri Lanka is that they will persist in the faith that Jesus Christ will end the good work He has started among them.
Lakmal: The importance of sticking to time and schedule, of balanced planning and balanced life. My prayer for the Christians in the Netherlands is that the Lord would reaffirm the glory of His kingdom in their midst.