Dear Friends and Family,
The first day of the TMAI/GMI African Summit is over and on a personal level, I must say I have felt welcome, respected, and valued. Sounds silly but not being from the church (Grace Community Church) or trained at the church’s seminary (The Master’s Seminary), I wasn’t sure what to expect. As it turned out, the day met and exceeded expectations.
INCLUDED, VALUED AND RESPECTED
I was pleasantly surprised that men I had met once 10-12 years ago remembered me. One, whom I had only talked with on the phone “back then” greeted me warmly. During the first session, When Dr. Mark Tatlock (the President of The Master’s Academy International (https://www.tmai.org) was greeting everyone, his words spoke directly to me and I immediately felt at home. Later when Dr. David Beakley, the Academic Dean of Christ Seminary (summit co-sponsor, https://christbaptistseminary.co.za/) was introducing everyone, his introduction of ITEM and me, was gracious. Dr. Tatlock added to it from the back of the room, and I knew I belonged. As the morning moved on, I felt valued. Again, it sounds silly, but this day has been in the making since about 2005.
When I started ITEM, a medical doctor from the church in So Cal, Dr. Geoff Drew, introduced me to Shannon Hurley. Shannon was sent by the church to Uganda 12-14 years ago and has since started SOS Ministries (https://sosministries.com), which has become a very wholistic ministry.
Shannon greeted me very warmly. We sat down and talked and, as I thought, we know the same people and he knows Hillary Wafula our coordinator for Uganda.
Shannon and I kicked things back and forth and enthusiastically agreed to see what we could do to partner together in Uganda. We talked about having a Uganda Summit, similar to the Africa Summit going on here, now, and invite others we know who are ministering in that country. We both liked the idea.
MEAL TIME CONVERSATIONS
That was the big meeting of the day but I was sought out by a few guys wanting to hear more about ITEM. So, at each meal I had meaningful conversations with others.
AFTER DINNER GROUP DISCUSSION
The evening was capped off with an open forum discussion about training in Africa and how we are trying to deal with lack of resources, language barriers, literacy issues, poverty, etc. Again, I felt like my contributions were well received.
POTENTIALLY STRATEGIC MEETINGS TOMORROW
Tomorrow will be similar to today. There will be an afternoon outing to see lions and cheetahs up close but not TOO up close.
I will also be meeting one on one with both Dr. Tatlock, and Dr. Beakley. I will again be asking the question, “How can we work together?” With Dr. Beakley, I am going to suggest that ITEM conduct a seminar near his seminary so he can see one and consider adding it to their extended ministry. I will ask Dr. Tatlock about possible men who could join as Associates that I would assign to some of our “unmanned” countries. Plus, I will ask Dr. Tatlock to keep his eyes open for possible candidates to take over ITEM when I get to the point that I can’t keep doing what I am doing. At this point, I am saying no sooner than 2023 (Lord willing).
Saturday morning there is one session. After that I’ll head back to Johannesburg for a 5:15pm flight back to Nairobi. Sunday morning I’ll head to Madagascar for a meeting with the team there and a seminar beginning next Tuesday.
REMIND ME, tomorrow I want to tell you about a dinner conversation about witchcraft among Muslim Imams in Tanzania.
PRAISE AND PRAYER
Praise for the warmth and value I felt today even though ITEM is not an official part of the TMAI/GMI network.
Praise for the time with Shannon and the quality conversations during meals and the informal time after dinner.
Pray for additional, unexpected divine appointments on Friday.
Pray for my meetings with Drs Tatlock and Beakley, that God would orchestrate an even closer working relationship.
I appreciate each one of you and thank you for the many ways you support the ministry of ITEM.
By His grace,