Tuesday, December 4, 2012

From Uganda to Kenya

We are now in Kenya, on the coast. We have had no internet service until yesterday so I had no way of writing. I finally bought a modem to use here yesterday. When we got back to the hotel we found that indeed they had internet but had not told us. Two girls from Italy had kept the modem in their room. So, now I have two ways to get online.  

Our last two days in Uganda went well. The trainers are all leaders from various organizations so we have real hopes that the training will expand through 5 or 6 different organizations and denominations across Uganda. They seem really motivated to pass the training on. We were very pleased with the progress that they made in learning the material. Some were very bright, with advanced degrees, so it was easier to train them. Many expressed a real change in their understanding of what it means to preach the Word and felt that their preaching and teaching would never be the same.  

I personally did not feel that I connected with the group very well. I was not there the first two days and only taught a couple of sessions on the last two. But the other team members did great. I found out that the job God wanted me to do on that part of this trip was to encourage and help one of the other team members with some major challenges they are facing. As I said before, ministry is always interesting.

We are now in Malindi, arriving on Saturday afternoon. It is much hotter here than it was in Uganda and we are paying the price in our training. Our hotel is very nice and inexpensive, but without air conditioning. It sometimes gets down to 85 by morning and we are thankful for ceiling fans. Everybody is sleeping ok.  

We travelled to a remote village church on Sunday where I preached to about 7 women and 20 or so children. It is always a bit challenging to prepare for this kind of preaching, not knowing what kind of congregation we will find. I  had a couple of options ready, but when I found out the situation at the church I chose a third option on the way. Years of preaching experience comes in handy at times.

I was anxious to see and to reconnect with the brethren here after not having been here for 8 months. The last workshop in August was conducted by others and I had not been here since April. I wanted to see if they were making progress. I was so happy to see that they are thoroughly committed to preaching the Word and are working hard to become more skilled. One poor pastor has hired a tutor to help him learn to read better so he can study more effectively. They gave me such a warm welcome that it was like coming home to family. What a joy. Many of them are still struggling to catch on to all we are teaching. They have such limited education, but they are all making progress for which we thank God.  

One surprise that we found here was that a man from the other side of Nairobi came to watch our training. It turns out that he is an Ethiopian who is church planting in an unchurched area of Kenya. He happened onto our information when he was on the internet. He asked me by email if he could attend to observe, and I agreed. I thought he knew where we were meeting but he did not. He hunted for us on Monday and almost went home. He finally reached me by email and I was able help him come see us today. He is a fine brother who is committed to the same principles that we are but has not been able to find the right training process until he found us. He said today was historic for him and wants us to come help him start the training on the other side of Kenya among many different denominations. The Lord is amazing. I meet with him for awhile tomorrow as Mike trains, to talk about what we might do together.  

Today was very hot and challenging. It gets up to around 90 every day with high humidity and we train the men in a room with open windows but little air movement and no fans. We are drained by the end of the day. Mike and I take a liter of water each and drink it all and want more by the end of the day. I never see the Kenyans drink at all. I do not know how they do it. We get back to the hotel about 6 and take a quick shower, no hot water, and rinse off. Then we head out to find supper. By the time we are back around 8:30 we are mostly beat. I find it easier to get up early to prepare for that day's training than trying to do it the night before.  

Edie and Suzanne are doing very well in spite of all the heat. They are training ladies out in the yard under a huge tree. It is much cooler there with a good breeze. But there are other challenges. A calf came by and bellowed at them, a herd of goats surrounded them, and ants kept falling from the tree onto them. This is Africa at its best. The ladies are not as well educated and the learning is a bit slower with them than the men, but they also are making progress.

We all are saying that the days are long and hot, and that this job is physically, mentally and spiritually challenging, often beyond our capability. But the Lord is with us and we would not trade what we do for anything in the world. Through us the Lord is training pastors and wives to study and teach the Word of God accurately, often for the first time in their lives. We were talking and realized that in the past month or so we have trained trainers, who will train over two thousand pastors. They in turn will teach the Word much more effectively to over 100,000 believers. And, we are just getting started. How can you top that? Not in this life, not in my book. Thanks for your help in praying, encouraging and giving. We could not do it without you. 

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