Thursday, March 27, 2014

Challenges in the Field

I know it has been forever since I sent in a blog. It has been a challenge and a lot has happened. Let me retrace the last three weeks. Edie and I were only home from India and Thailand a few days when we left for Berlin to attend our ReachGlobal leadership meetings. We were set up to take a train from Amsterdam to Berlin. It was cheaper and had better connections than flying, and we thought it would be fun. It was, but ended up being costly. We had to change trains before entering Germany. We did not think we had much time to get off the train with all our baggage for three weeks (in two climates). I was in a hurry. I grabbed two bags and Edie got one and her backpack, but I forgot mine. My computer, iPhone, headphones and some cash and sundries stayed on the train, and haven't been seen since, at least not by us. People all over have been praying, but it looks like the Lord wanted someone else to have it. So that has made it much harder for me to communicate. I am on Edie's iPad now so I can send this. The rest of the train ride was great until we discovered the loss a couple of hours later.

I had been dreading the team meetings and needed to pray that the Lord would help me with my attitude. There were so many meetings scheduled, and we were so tired after all our travels. But as it turned out the time was really encouraging. We had a lot of meetings, all day every day for a week, but they were so good that we ended up energized and refreshed. We made a lot of connections with other leaders that may lead to future opportunities to train. We were happy we went. Berlin was fun to explore for the very few hours off we had. It was amazing to see parts of the wall that are still standing.

After Berlin, Edie and I went to Athens to visit some missionaries. The husband teaches in a college there, and it was fun to discuss the possibilities of training in Greece. We spent a day and a half exploring Athens. It was something to see where Paul preached and to imagine what it might have been like. I spoke at chapel and taught a bible study. 

One interesting little event happened that I thought I would write about. The cook for the school was out of town, so we helped our missionary friend cook lunch, the big meal of the day. As the time drew near there were set backs as usual because none of us really knew everything we needed to in order to cook the meal. The kitchen became chaotic as about 6 Greek ladies started scurrying around chattering back and forth in staccato Greek. I think most of the time they were all talking at once. It was just like in the movies. I had to stand back and wonder at how privileged we are to experience such things first hand in so many places. 

Edie came home from Greece and I came on to Kenya. I found the situation in Kenya to be a mess. There is a major division taking place and lots of turmoil. My trainees are involved so I cancelled the training and devoted the days to working to develop biblical attitudes and actions. I spent three days with the pastors and we made what I thought was good progress with a lot of changed attitudes. I then met with the Bishop, who is on the other side. We had a good meeting during which we worked out a way forward. We decided to hold a meeting on Thursday between him and the pastors. That was Tuesday night. I was very optimistic. Wednesday morning he sent me a note canceling the meeting and reverting to his original position like we had never met. It was so disappointing. I am waiting to meet him now, it is almost 7 and he is 2 1/2 hours late. I hope something can be salvaged because I leave tomorrow, Friday, for home. Five years of effort may become largely ineffective if he will not compromise.

I am sure there are many other things I could and should write about our travels and ministry, but it is all fading together now. I will try to keep a hold of my computer next time. Please pray for me as 5 days after I get home I am off to Colorado to train, to Arizona to visit my Mom, and then on to Tennessee for more training. That will be the end of an amazing but tiring three months of travel with only a couple of weeks at home in between, and somehow in that 5 days I need to get our taxes done. With jet lag and all it may be a challenge.


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