Dear ITEM Partner,
I am writing from Mayfield Guest House, my oasis in Africa. If you’ve been on other trips with me you will recognize the name. I arrived Friday evening, April 26 (Friday morning PDT). It’s Saturday evening now. It’s been a day to mostly rest and prepare for the ministry ahead. But there was time for some good conversations as well.
FOCUS ON MENTORING
My special friend and assistant, Nathan Chiroma, came by the guest house to talk and plan, and pick up a few things he asked me to bring him from the US. Probably the major thing we discussed was what we, as a ministry need to focus on right now.
This may sound like a broken record (for those of you who remember such things….. they had a tendency to keep repeating the same thing over and over due to a scratch in the vinyl) but it is a critical point. There are seminars going on all over the continent all of the time but for the most part, “the church,” generally speaking, is not becoming any stronger or mature. We are convinced that it is because pastors and church leaders need mentoring not just seminars so we’ve added mentoring to our strategy. We believe it is the most critical part of our strategy.
That being said, of these places mentoring is still taking the back seat.
So, Nathan and I talked about how to change this situation and will continue to discuss this next week when we are together in Mombasa, Kenya for (yes) a seminar. But Nathan’s heart is mentoring so I am sure he’s already thinking about that.
NOT MORE SEMINARS
Steven Mzungu also stopped by. Steven is a young pastor I’ve known for a few years. He is part of our team in the Nairobi part of Kenya. He works with Nathan a lot. He has a heart for the coastal region of Kenya and has had a few (yes) seminars in those parts. He continues to get requests for seminars from various groups. We talked about backing off from doing more seminars until real mentoring is up and running in those areas. (There is a picture of Steven and me in the picture album.)
If God reminds you to pray for us, pray for this seminar vs mentoring issue. Our teams in originally 10, now 12 countries have been trained and told when they finished their training, they would be doing seminars on their own. Now that we’ve added mentoring to the training agenda, we need to tell them to slow down on the seminars and focus more on mentoring. Mentoring is not as much fun as mentoring. But mentoring is where the fruit of the seminars formed and harvested.
I am not one to steer a dinner table conversation here at Mayfield Guest House. But tonight was different. A school teacher from a boarding school for mostly missionary kids boarding asked me what I do. So, I tried to keep it simple and brief and general …. basically, “we are ministering to see churches transformed one pastor at a time.” Then came a second question, then a third. Before long I was leading a conversation about the condition of the African church (speaking generally) and the famine of the Word. When I said that most come to church to sing and dance, and not to hear the Word taught, the school teacher asked an older Kenyan sitting at our table if he agreed, and he did.
BACK TO STEVEN MZUNGU
Steven is experiencing what I was talking about at the dinner table. He is a young pastor. He is trying to teach the Bible to his church members. But the elders in his church want him to give more time for the people to sing and dance and testify. That’s the African way (generally speaking). So, Steven is being challenged by what most African pastors, who want to teach the Bible to their church members, face.
I think I’ve lost my wallet. I had it exiting the airport upon arrival last night. I pulled it out of the zippered pocket in my trousers to pull out some money to give to the driver as a tip. I put the money into my shirt breast pocket and did something with the wallet. Something? Today during the day I realized I didn’t know where it was. I took my room and luggage apart. It might be in the floor of the van I was transported in? In the parking lot at the airport? I don’t know. With help back home we were able to put a hold on everything except my personal debit card. But I think anyone trying to use it would need to know my PIN.
ON TO MOMBASA
Sunday afternoon I fly an hour to the coastal city of Mombasa (A map is in the picture album) to being a seminar on Tuesday. Nathan and I will be doing it together.
Thanks for your prayers and interest.
By His grace,