EchoAfrica Countdown to Return • T-4 Weeks
The mission house is nearly ready and our office will be operational starting February 1. Joe will be officially starting full-time: praise Jesus. Tony and company has done a marvelous job in the preparation process. I believe Bonface will be coming on board also. It is a blessing to have trustworthy people working with and representing God’s will in Africa. I will be asking that Joe and Tony start contributing directly to our blog. We are very excited for what lies ahead.
The EchoCenter team in America is expanding also. God’s ways are so far beyond our ways that sometimes it takes us a bit of time to catch up to His vision. Last fall when we were planning the Malawi trip, Pastor Rick realized that his schedule would not allow him to participate. When I was discussing this with my wife, she almost instantaneously suggested, “What about Josh?” Most of you are aware of the fact that he did go to Africa on our first visit. Little did we know at the time that God was coaching his team for specific plays.
Spending three weeks together was a great way to understand the intricacies of each other’s personalities. In other words, I can really be a pain. The understanding that I learned about Josh was that he loves God and people. He has a joyful presence and inviting countenance. I watched him interact with many people and personally witnessed how well people responded to him. All this is to say how blessed we are to have him and his family join the Echo team on a full-time basis. He has given much direction already with how EchoAmerica and EchoAfrica can be inspirational for each other.
During our journey to Malawi, God made it pretty clear how he wants me to focus my attention. I view my role as the first contact, and search and discovery agent. My initial efforts in this area failed miserably, but with an obedient heart, God will quickly reveal a better way. Now I realize that I must become more like a Army Ranger or Navy seal: undetected and stealthy so that my role in God’s mission can be more effective. The reality concerning deception is considerably more than I anticipated. Churches and organizations that blindly support unsubstantiated requests are not helping. These groups are only magnifying the problem because word spreads about how easy it is to get handouts.
I believe God has opened up another opportunity in Kenya. Pastor Elijah, from Kenya, has reached out to Pastor Rick at the Fraser Road church. The style of letters and content are similar to what Duncan had prepared on Felix’s behalf. The chain of events that have unfolded most recently seem to indicate an opportunity for me to travel there. From a logistical standpoint, carving out a few days during my Malawi trip makes the most sense.
When Josh and I were on our way to Malawi, we met a missionary couple during a layover. Saruni International is the name of their organization that helps rescue young women. I contacted Mark yesterday concerning a possible trip to Kenya. Immediately, he remembered who I was, maybe because I had vowed to help in any way I could. I gave him a brief rundown of what I experienced in Malawi concerning dishonesty. He seemed a bit surprised that I was able to gather as much information as I did in a short period of time. That was another confirmation that God’s current purpose for me is to scout out potential opportunities.
As always, God is maneuvering chess pieces to be in the right place at the right time. Knowing that I would most likely travel to Kenya on my own was a bit daunting. After my conversation with Mark, I had a sense come over me. Our interaction confirmed in my heart that this was a next step on the missionary journey that God has for me. We clearly are meant to identify opportunities, and then enlist local personnel through God’s direction to participate in His will.
A new friend of mine, Neil, and his wife Veronica, confirmed the importance of me being behind the scenes as much as possible. They also suggested that we need to have people from Africa travel to America. There would be a twofold purpose for this. The first would be to visit churches and tell their stories of what their lives are like and how they serve God, rather than us sharing for them. In addition to this, we need structured support to assist in independent projects of the people. Secondly, some sort of training could help them train others in Africa to grow in autonomy.
The anticipation of what lies ahead is very high. We are discovering that the closer we get to the bullseye of God’s will, the more He gives us insight how to get there. A lot of times, we plan things that pull us into the vicinity for God to reveal His plan more clearly to us. I am fully anticipating this will be the same in Kenya. Whoever we are supposed to establish a long-term relationship with, God will direct us in a way so that that encounter happens. A fully surrendered heart, readiness to obey, and a constant effort to give God all the glory will result in wonderful things. Holy holy holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.