Travel Diary 1: Two Invigorating Meetings and Three Visionary Conversations

Dear ITEM Partner,

I have had two meetings today, Friday, and both gave added energy and momentum to the vision I have for ITEM Apologetics Ministry. I am extremely excited about tomorrow’s seminar. Plus, Sandee Cnossen

But before I get into the details of the meetings a quick review of our trip here. I say “our” because Mrs. Sandee Cnossen, ITEM’s new Women’s Ministry leader is on this trip. Her first with ITEM.

Our flight out of Portland to Seattle, then out of Seattle to Amsterdam were both slightly delayed but not enough to put our connection in Amsterdam in jeopardy. We arrived in Nairobi a few minutes ahead of schedule but Sandee’s visa caused a problem. She got an East African Visa, which is one visa for all of E Africa. BUT she applied for it on the Uganda website which means she was to go to Uganda first. Oooops! Things got worked out but it took the better part of an hour working with Kenya Immigration at the airport.


Conversation #1

I met after lunch with Steven Mzungu, a part of the ITEM team here in Nairobi who is developing the ministry in and around Mombasa on the southeastern coast of Kenya. Steven has been committed to “expository” preaching, which simply means reading, explaining, and applying the Bible text with an emphasis of going through books of the Bible (mainly NT) from front to back, for years and hasn’t seen other preachers in his church following his pattern. . . until recently. He says he has learned the lessons of patience. Some things take time to bear fruit. We also talked about him starting a church to use as a training center and model for other pastors to come, study, observe, and go back to their home church to apply.

Conversation #2

The second conversation was with Pastor Patrick Njau, who has set up the apologetics seminar we are having tomorrow. He told me that this will be the first of its kind that he and most in attendance have attended. The audience will be so new to the topic/idea of apologetics that I will need to do a brief introduction to the questions, “What, exactly, is apologetics?” and “How is it to be used?”

As I shared a little of what I will be sharing tomorrow with the group, Patrick, himself, got excited and said, “It seems like God has arranged this at this time because it is so timely.” He went on to explain how young people are beginning to question Christianity because God, who is said to be “Good,” let’s people remain in poverty generation after generation. And they don’t want to have any part of a God like that. I told him that 65-70% of our young people in America, who grow up in a Christian home and going to church, leave the church when they leave home and that I want to help keep that from happening here.

As our conversation continued, we talked about the importance of convincing pastors of the importance of teaching their people to answer the questions of their kids before it is too late. And out of that came an idea to expand the reach when I stop in Nairobi in April. I envision GREAT things on the horizon for doing apologetics in Nairobi, FOR NOW.

Conversation #3

The third conversation was with Dr Tim Kiruhi. Tim is the Vice Chancellor at International Leadership University (formerly Nairobi Intl School of Theology, where I got my start in missions as an adjunct prof in 1998). I am in the process of donating most of my library to the school, bringing books with me on each trip. I’ve been privileged and blessed to have brought about 300 pounds of books so far with more to come.

I told Tim about what was happening this weekend (two apologetics seminars) and the vision Patrick and I have to expanding the reach in the future. Tim offered to help organize the next event in April using the school’s network to expand the reach.

I think you can tell that I am pretty “pumped” about this new emphasis on apologetics inside ITEM’s expanding ministry! I had my 75th on January 2 but I am feeling young and energetic (as long as I don’t think about the aches and pains that remind me that I am not a spring chicken any longer. Haha!)


Sandee is meeting with a group of women tomorrow, Saturday, for the purpose of hearing from them how ITEM’s Women’s Ministry can help them better serve the Lord as women. I’ll have

more to say about that after her meeting tomorrow.

Praise: For the three incredibly encouraging and invigorating conversations today.

Prayer: For wisdom from God as I lecture twice and answer questions tomorrow, Saturday. And that God will raise up for me a disciple/mentee that I can work with over the next 3-5 years (if God allows my health to remain as it is now) and prepare to go on campuses and make the same presentations and answer the same kinds of questions I will be doing tomorrow.

Pray for Sandee:  Sandee will be meeting with her first of three groups of women Saturday. Pray she hears from them what the real needs of Kenyan women are that will help her shape ITEM’s Women’s Ministry.


Thank you for praying for and with us.

By His grace,