I.T.E.M. Stories & Updates BLOG
Monday was a busy day. The day started with an appointment with the Vice Chancellor of ILU (Intl Leadership University, formerly Nairobi Intl School of Theology where I taught as an adjunct 1998-2003). That was followed a couple of hours later with an online Apologetics Workshop. I was the Keynote Speaker and needed those two hours to do final prep. Then, it was, eat lunch, pack, and head to the airport. I am at the airport, in the lounge now.
So, the this trip has ended but I have a feeling it is more of a beginning.
Click on READ MORE to read why I think that and to get the link to the
picture album with a few unique photos.
I am about to spend my last night in Africa for this trip. As I reflect back on the trip, I think of the verses at the end of Ephesians 3, which read, “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think—according to the power that works in you—to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen”
Like so many other trips, I go with plans and expectations and God goes beyond what I had planned or expected. This trip was no exception. Please click on READ MORE to remember with me how God went over and above.
I begin today with this from the book of Joshua. Israel had just finished wandering
in the wilderness for 40 years after doubting God when told to enter and capture
the “promised land.” Caleb was one of the two who wanted to believe God. After
40 years of wandering, watching an entire generation die off, in Joshua 4:10-12,
Caleb said, “Here I am today, 85 years old. I am still as strong today as I was the
day Moses sent me out. My strength for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was
then. Now give me this hill country the LORD promised me on that day…” (HCSB)
What does this have to do with anything? Why am I citing this particular passage
today? It’s because of the series of conversations I’ve had in recent days and in
particular, one I had this morning. To get the details, please click “READ MORE”
We finished out seminar today. We rushed through six more lectures, answered multiple questions, received some very gracious “thank you-s,” and heard some encouraging evaluations and plans for implementing what was taught. My highlights were conversations we had with attendees and with Dr. David Ngaruiya, a former student of mine back in 1999 and 2000.
Our schedule is packed each day with six lectures, a 30-minute tea break (a non-negotiable in Kenya), 45-minute lunch, and a time for answering questions. We start at 10:15am (or we try) and finish by 4pm (or we try). That is not even six hours for all of this, including a few breaks between lectures. We have to prioritize the priorities. Click READ MORE to hear more and to get the link to the picture album.
As I sit down to type up this blog report, I am looking back on the day and can only conclude that it was a perfect day and that includes the car ride to the seminar venue, conversations, lectures, and even my back. Click on READ MORE to get some details and I won’t be as long as I was yesterday.
Sunday was more about reflection than activity. The event of the day was the church service at (ITEM Coordinator) Prince’s church. It is hard and at times unfair for a westerner to give an opinion of a “worship” service.
One of my doctoral classes 25+ years ago was “The Leader as Worshiper.” It was one of the more meaningful and helpful classes I had. The professor, a worship leader with a PhD in church music/worship, defined “all that we are responding to all that God is.” We are “eyes,” “nose,” “feet,” “hands,” “ears,” etc. So, in worship there is a place for kneeling (the body worshiping), singing (the tongue), listening (the ears), seeing (such as stained glass), and smelling (even incense). All can be a part of worship.
What we experienced didn’t all seem to be worship. That was our opinion.
Henry and I spent today, Friday, with the ITEM-Liberia team. I think this is only my second time here and Henry’s first. ITEM Associate, Dan Packer, has been our point man. Dan has done the bulk of the raising up of our team here.
Our first coordinator, Michael Allen, died in March 2020 due to an infection of some kind. His mentee/disciple, Prince Guankeh, took over. The planning and energy to move forward has been quite aggressive (in a good way) but I’ve held them back some, wanting to get here myself and get reacquainted with the team and be reassured that they understand the mission of ITEM. I was pleased with what I saw and heard.