PRENOTE: Sunday, 20 January, in flight from Nairobi to Accra, Ghana. The internet at the guest house where I stay in Nairobi was down most of Saturday and extended beyond my bed time. So, it is Sunday when I am getting my Saturday report on its way. More about this flight at the end.
Dear Friends of ITEM,
Saturday, 19 January
I am safely in Nairobi, Kenya resting and preparing for my long flight to Accra, Ghana on Sunday. I will meet with the newly formed team on Monday and conduct our Bible and theology seminar beginning on Tuesday.
PORTLAND TO AMSTERDAM
The trip from Portland to Nairobi was on time and uneventful. That’s a good thing. Well, almost uneventful. The entertainment system at my seat on the flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi didn’t work. So, I guess the trip was nearly uneventful.
I arrived in Nairobi at 10:10pm Friday night and stood in line close to an hour to clear immigration. It was nearly 1AM Saturday morning (here) by the time I settled in.
Saturday has been mostly a recover and plan ahead day but I did welcome 3 visitors. Dr. Nathan Chiroma, a special assistant of mine (you’ve seen his name frequently in our newsletters and reports) came by. Steven Mzungu, a new ITEM team member who is taking on the southeast part of Kenya, from Nairobi to Mombasa came by. And the third was Bosela Eale, who was one of my first students in 1998 when I became an adjunct professor at the Campus Crusade seminary here in Nairobi.
The big news came from Steven. It seems like God might be opening the door we thought was closed. The door leading to some kind of a partnership with the Southern Baptists in Kenya.
A DEAD-END STREET?
If you have been following our work in Kenya the past two years you might remember that we had a successful seminar at the leading Southern Baptist Church in Nairobi. After the seminar, the pastor expressed a desire to see all of the denominational leadership get the training. So we proceeded to have our second seminar in his church, then reached out to the Southern Baptist moderator in Mombasa (on the SE coast). He seemed interested but all attempts to get him to host a seminar in his church fell flat. He’s a very busy man and is hard get a commitment from. So, the hope to form a partnership with the So Baptist’s in Kenya was placed far on the back burner.
IN GOD’S TIME
Steven Mzungu has contacts in Mtwapa, a coastal town near Mombasa. He has been working on having a seminar there. As it turns out, the hosting pastor was just elected to be the moderator of the Southern Baptists in the region (not all of Kenya but a region). Steven is confident that if he comes away with a positive opinion of the seminar, he could be our key to developing a partnership with the denomination here in Kenya. This is certainly something to pray about.
PRAY FOR STEVEN’S SEMINAR WHICH BEGINS NEXT TUESDAY IN MTWAPA, KENYA.
NATHAN’S FUTURE WITH ITEM
Nathan and I discussed the future of ITEM and his role moving forward. The ITEM board is beginning to talk about what we want ITEM to look like in the years to come. Whatever the outcome, I expect Nathan to be right in the middle.
FAST FORWARD TO SUNDAY
As I mentioned in the prenote, I am in the plane on my way to Accra, Ghana. ITEM Associate Bill Williams, Electric City, WA, and I will be conducting ITEM’s first seminar there. Tomorrow, Monday, I will spend a good part of the day getting acquainted with the team that has been assembled and going over ITEM core values, philosophy of ministry, goals, objectives, and strategy. The seminar begins on Tuesday.
CHINA IN GHANA
Before leaving the guest house, I met a guy who is involved in “marketplace ministry.” He told me that Ghana’s new president is a Christian and the country is doing well economically and has one of the fastest growing economies. Looking around the plane I see many from China. China’s presence is “all over” Africa and is in the middle of a lot of the economic development
HURRY UP AND WAIT
My normal routine puts me at the airport, in the lounge 90 minutes before boarding my fight. Well, this morning I got to the airport and realized my phone had dropped off my belt at the guest house. Fortunately, we had just enough time to make another round trip. I got to the lounge 45 minutes before boarding instead of 90.
Then after boarding, was sat, and sad, and sat. We were told “Final paperwork would be in hand in 5 minutes.” Then another announcement, “. . . . another 20 minutes…..” Then “…..it is coming from another location so it will be another 20.” Then “We are not waiting any longer. We’ll leave without the paperwork. . . in 20 mins.” We sat on the plane for about 2 hours before we took off.”
SUNDAY FINAL: ALMOST BUT . . .
Bill Williams (ITEM Associate) and I are settled in Accra, Ghana. When I was working with our newly appointed coordinator, Stephen Okan, to reserve lodging, I had three normal requests: an air conditioned room or a fan; hot water to bathe in, and internet capabilities (wifi or wifi modem for my laptop). He kept suggesting places that seemed to be priced higher than I normally pay. Well, I settled on one that is a little higher than I like. Because of the higher price, I was expecting the three aforementioned and access to a restaurant or meals. What we found was a place with large rooms with AC and wifi. But no hot water and no food in sight unless you have a car. So this will be an interesting week. They will be bringing us breakfast and dinner. We’ll eat lunch at the seminar beginning Tuesday. Need to preplan any necessary between meal snacks.
To their credit, the place we are staying is staffed by a young man who has met ever need that we’ve expressed.
It is almost 6:30pm here and I’ve been up since about 1:15am Ghana time so I am going to send this and shut down for the rest of the night.
ITEM coordinator, Stephen (something about that name that appeals to me) budgeted for 100 participants. Pray they all come and that many/all are touched by God’s Spirit in some way. Pray also for Bill and I that we’ll communicate simply and clearly, and that God’s Spirit will be speaking through us to their hearts.
By His grace,
A couple of pictures added to the album. Click here to check ’em out.