Kenya 2019 – Catch Up
I apologize that it’s been several days since posting but things here have been very busy and the days quite long. The need for sleep eventually won out over the need to write. It is now day nine of our trip and it’s hard to believe we only have three more work days ahead of us. This is how it always seems to work – we get here thinking we will be here a long time and suddenly it’s time to leave.
Sat was another eyeglass day and it was very long – people were lined up waiting when we arrived at the clinic. We were psyched for a long day and by the time it was over the Dr had seen 203 patients – 128 pair of prescription glasses had been given out along with an additional 46 pairs of readers! Jim Hall most likely has a more accurate count of the day, but this is pretty close. And pretty amazing! Go Doc, go team! There was a second team continuing the work in Gituamba doing various construction jobs there. The work is hard but the village is always energized when the team is there and the children love having the teams onsite.
Sunday I was privileged to deliver the message at Trinity Vineyard Church, Nakuru. This was a special time for me as we have been a tiny part of this church since its very beginnings. It has grown into an amazing church that also rents business space to people, offering flushing toilets and high-speed internet. The facility is called Agora which is Swahili for ‘marketplace’. The church is under the leadership of Pastor Edgar King, a man with a true heart for God and His church. Edgar was the worship leader when we first attended Trinity, and his enthusiasm for Jesus is contagious. Many thanks Pastor Edgar, for allowing me to have this special day. The Spirit of God was already moving at the church as the worship team was practicing when we arrived. We had an awesome time of prayer with several folks before going into the large permanent tent where services are held. I felt the Lord helped me deliver the message which was simply my salvation story which contains a strong Gospel presentation. It truly never gets old to speak of the work of the Lord in my life. Cindy and I met and talked to some special folks after the service and got to pray with several.
Afterwards we headed into town to a restaurant owned by a wonderful woman of the church and we enjoyed a fantastic buffet meal of different Indian foods.
Today (Monday) our team was split into three different directions. Rev Mark Specht and I stayed at Tumaini and began a two-day training for Pastors and church leaders. We are teaching the principles of inductive Bible study. As is true in many places, the church in Africa suffers a lack of good pastoral training and is, in many places, an inch deep and a mile wide. We are giving a small group of 26 pastors and leaders tools to be able to put down deep roots of Bible interpretation, that they might withstand the cultural and theological storms they face here.
Tomorrow the team will divide again with Mark and I staying behind to finish the training and the rest of the team doing another filter distribution.
At this point in the trip we are getting tired – the days are long – the nights are short and the fatigue is cumulative. Beyond the physical though, there is a desire to do more. There are just so many opportunities that come our way that are manageable enough in size, that it’s difficult not to feel compelled to meet the needs. We have accomplished much and are continuing to take on more of those opportunities and now suddenly we are faced with the reality that we are running out of time to do more. The time has disappeared so we have an acute awareness that our remaining time will simply fly by and that will be all for this year.
With all of that said, the team is in a strong place spiritually. God has challenged all of us in various ways. We are working together, praying often, and helping each other as a committed community. Our first timers are already talking about returning and were it not for the enormity of the commitment, both financially and time wise, I know they would all make it happen, but we’ll see. I would certainly love to have them all return. Still, the vision project has taken on a life of its own – work like this is very rewarding – the hours of preparation are huge but once we are set up and running, the results are instant and dramatic – now you don’t see, now you do, BAM! Lots of the time the projects we are working on are large enough that we can’t finish and the next team in, will finish. We eventually see the finished project, but imagine the satisfaction of profoundly changing someone’s perception of the world almost instantly. Is the time of preparation – the cost of coming and the long hours in the field worth it? Absolutely!
I personally am praying about future projects here. Marked Men for Christ has held weekends here and if the word gets out, could be a very powerful tool for men’s ministry. It is desperately needed here and I have spoken to a couple of leaders about MMFC so far. The leading pastor who gathers most of the attendees for our teaching workshops is asking for us to expand our teaching to five days and another friend here wants to take me to speak in a Kenya prison where we can speak to 250-400 men at a time and we could do this for a week. There is a developing opportunity to do a Wild at Heart Basic here for twenty men and the list goes on. Is Priority One ready for an international presence? Wow God, the possibilities are endless, exciting and enticing but each one must be brought before the Lord – without His clear leading I can’t currently commit to anything!
All of this just shows how much ministry specifically targeting men is needed. Its not an African or an American thing – it’s a universal guy thing. Apart from Christ, men are searching in all the wrong places to find significance in their lives. The desire for a purposeful life is built in – it is to take us to the Father, but men can be stubborn – they insist that they can figure it out alone. So, they search for something that says their time here was worthwhile. They climb the ladder of success, buy fancy homes and exotic cars – they harbor secret addictions – amass great fortunes and seek public recognition, yet they are hollow inside. They might even take a glance at the church but mostly it feels – irrelevant – or overly feminine. Ever listen to the words of the modern worship songs? Ever check out the décor of many churches? Are they purposely designed to be comfortable places for women to come to? Are sermons being preached by men who other men admire and respect? Are the messages speaking to men about the issues men uniquely face? Are men being challenged to step into the story of God and experience the life of risk and adventure that only He can offer?
I praise God for the ministry of Priority One – I can’t think of a more vital ministry needed in the world today and I am thankful to be a part of this unique organization. I would love to see the ministry of Priority One grow into a regular presence in Kenya. Maybe we’re on the very cusp of something exciting, about to be birthed here. I don’t know but I’m committed to pray about it and so are the three Core Team members that are here with me. It is a blessing to share this time with these outstanding men, Jim Hall, John Heemer and George Stewart. I am thankful for them and the rest of this team. Now time for much needed sleep. Thank you all for your prayers – everyday they are being answered!
Be sure to also check out Jim's team blog here.