Dear ITEM Prayer Partners,

This has been a long day after (another) short night. Didn’t sleep well (again), up at 4am, to leave for airport at 4:45. 8am flight, arrival in South Africa at about 11 (12 noon where I left-Kenya). The blessing was that they upgraded me to first class. It was totally a surprise. That allowed me to lay the seat back and act like I was sleeping for 2 hours. It’s now 9:15pm in Polokwane, South Africa, 2.5 hours by car north of Johannesburg.


It’s an interesting dynamic. This is strictly a Grace Community Church (Sun Valley, CA) (missions) event. I think I am the only person here who is not somehow attached to the church.

When I arrived at the Johannesburg, SA airport and cleared immigration and got my luggage, Dr. Geoff Drew met me. I mention his name because Dr. Drew has been an encourager and cheerleader for me at Grace Church over the years. He told me he was excited to see my name on the list of those would be attending. There was nothing official today. Just check in, fellowship, get to your room, dinner at 7. Call it a day/night. Geoff was gracious and introduced me to a few people during the unplanned, casual fellowship time. I knew a few and a few knew me; not many, however.

The next two days will include a couple of speakers a day addressing issues related to missions, specifically the missions the church is involved in.

There will also be morning devotional times, prayer times, large blocks of time for fellowship, an optional visit to their seminary near by and another optional trip to see cheetahs and lions nearby.

There is also a sign-up sheet to meet with leadership.

So, you may be wondering, “Why in the world was Steve invited?” Don’t feel guilty. Steve’s wondering the same thing. But the KEY is that Steve WAS invited. That means something! Now, Steve needs to keep his spiritual eyes and ears open to find out why.

I have asked for an appointment with the two men I’ve gotten to know from Grace Church/Missions to continue the discussions we’ve already had. Our conversations over the past 4 years have centered on how we can work together, combining their formal training and our nonformal training. The talks have progressed very slowly. They have a HUGE worldwide ministry that keeps them occupied and their plates overflowing without trying to figure out how to partner with ITEM. MAYBE, we can take another step in this quiet setting.

When I talk to Dr. Mark Tatlock, President of TMAI (The Master’s Academy Intl (International Seminaries)), I will be sharing where ITEM is in our development, what’s new, what’s changed, what progress is being made, AND I think I will see if he thinks we could recruit some “Associates” to work as ITEM “Point-men” for some of our countries or cities where we have men from the States assisting.

When I talk to David Beakley, Academic Dean of Christ Seminary, here, I will do much the same thing as I do with Mark. David and I, with a few others, discusses things last March when I was in California for the Shepherds’ Conference at Grace Church. David is who invited me.

So, that’s it. Only God knows where all of this is going or if it is going to go anywhere at all. Let’s all wait and see.


Praise for the opportunity to be here, for the good flight.

Prayer for divine appointments. For the receptivity of Mark and David to some of my crazy ideas. For sensitivity to others as they talk about their ministries; to be a good listener.

It’s been a long day. My tank is about empty. I am signing off and heading to bed.

Thanks or coming along and listening to these reports.

By His grace,




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