Travel Diary 8: A PERFECT DAY

Dear Praying Friends,

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.

As many or most of you know, I was a frequent tenant at Mayfield Guest House, a missionary guest house, for lot of years. I probably slept in a Mayfield bed close to 250 nights over 23 years. Covid shut down Mayfield over a year ago and put an end to many close relationships. . . but not all. 

I reconnected with George and Nick, both of whom were employees but are now in other businesses. Both had frequently picked me up at the airport when I arrived. George started a taxi business. Nick opened a small store. ITEM, through some of the “African Aid” money contributed to by some of you, donated towards the starting of those two businesses. 

George has become my personal taxi driver. And to my surprise, Nick showed up in George’s car and will share in the driving this week. It was so good to see Nick again!

My special assistant and ITEM’s Director of Mentoring, Nathan Chiroma, Henry, and I are presenting ITEM’s Institute in the Foundations of Church Leadership (IFCL). Early in ITEM’s history, I did these along. . . all 16 lectures and Q&A sessions. It was an exhausting but at the same time invigorating experience. But in recent years, I’ve delegated the seminar lectures to ITEM Associates and ITEM Country Coordinators, while I’ve focused on mentoring and coaching coordinators while handling administration back home. It’s all necessary but today I felt that invigorating energy that comes when you are in the flow of God’s Spirit leading you to do what God gifted you and called you to do!  

I started the morning introducing the seminar attendees to ITEM’s ministry and then in two lectures explaining why the Bible is our one and only resource for evangelizing, training, equipping, informing, guiding, building up, and maturing individuals. 

Then I talked about the importance of having a philosophy of ministry. I suggested 5 elements: high view of God, Scriptural Authority, Doctrinal Clarity, Personal Holiness, Godly Leadership in the Church. 

Nathan followed that up with the lecture on the call and role of the pastor. Then Henry covered the lecture from 1 Tim 3:2-7 on the qualifications of leadership. We gave Henry an extra session on The Character of the Pastor, which is his passion.

Speaking of passion, it was a blessing to see how each of us spoke with passion but each one had a slightly different focus. I could not speak with the same passion that Henry spoke with on his topic not could he, mine. Same for Nathan. It was certainly three ministers of God, doing what God gifted them to do with passion for different features of “the ministry.” Each member of the body doing what it was created by God to do.

Several weeks ago, a bishop (one who oversees various facets of ministry or oversees churches) found us on the internet. He asked to partner with us. I sent Nathan to meet with him. Nathan invited him to this seminar. He is here and is excited about what he is hearing and wants to help us spread the training through the networks he is building in Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania. I talked to him about making a long-term commitment and how to start small, build a leadership team of men who are capable of training and mentoring others. He was in complete agreement so he and Nathan will begin to work on the details of what all of that will look like.

I’ve been dealing with lower back issues due to an aggravated left side sacrum joint that I strained (again) finalized my packing just before I left. I asked for prayer a few days ago. The issue was pretty much a nonissue today. 

You will notice that there are many women in the room. I cannot promise that none called themselves “pastor” (which we point out is not biblical) but Nathan said many were wives of pastors. That is a good combination, actually, because the wives can pray for and help keep their husbands accountable when it comes to applying what they are hearing. 

Q&A: No questions today or none asked. I told them that the Q&A is the most important part of the seminar and to bring their questions tomorrow. 

Tomorrow we will cover another 6 lectures. Pray for comprehension on the part of the attendees. Pray for our lectures that we will clearly communicate with the attendees need to hear. Pray that my back/sacrum continue to cooperate. Oh, pray for my sleeping situation. It’s complicated. The bed is hard and I need to find a way to pad it. The one and only blanket is thick and uncomfortably warming for this guy. 

Thanks for reading and praying.

By His grace and for His glory,


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