Return to Africa • T-minus 1 Day!
The last few weeks have been quite hectic. Josh and his family are now living on the premises near the EchoCenter. We are moving forward with plans of integrating activities between EchoAmerica and EchoAfrica. The process of understanding and pursuing God’s revealed will is intriguing. The things that we presume are going to happen are oftentimes just road signs directing us to the true location. Case in point would be the mission house in Africa. The original intention was to set up a location where people from America could visit and begin to understand the great need that exists. The loving God that we serve was patient enough to allow us to do that. I am sure that God must find it humorous at times to see how small-minded our ideas are. The direction that I now realize God was pointing us towards is materializing. His intentions were a bit different than mine.
The primary use of the mission house will be a training facility. Looking back now on the decision I made to set up a house and make it cozy for visiting Americans was flawed. God had clearly shown me what the need was, and where my focus should have been. Every effort should have been put forward to address the need of the people there before the comfort of us visiting. From a financial standpoint, it made good sense. The reality of this thinking is, that it is me justifying my actions. Hopefully, as I continue forward, I will become better suited to understand God’s will. Thankfully, everything that we have put in place will be utilized. There is a soothing peace that accompanies close proximity of God’s target.
There are no coincidences with God, and here is a prime example: Tony, the 23-year-old former assistant manager from the hotel was definitely hand-picked by God. The skills to set up and operate the mission house falls squarely into his wheelhouse of capabilities. Above all those other skills, Tony loves the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. Oh yes, he is quite a refined chef as well. The direction in which we felt led will now involve 12 pastors rotating through the house weekly. Initially, they will receive 40 hours of training and stay on-site for five days while primarily receiving Biblically-based leadership training. During that time, they will also have the opportunity to learn how to be served, and serve others. A lot of Malawians view white people as somehow elevated above themselves. This belief cannot propagate any further. Anything that takes the focus off of Jesus is harmful.
When visiting Americans participate, regardless of color, we will be serving them. In this case, the best method is to show by teaching instead of speaking. Demonstrating love the way Jesus did is a strong tool for change. By having the leaders come to a facility dedicated to their training, they should be compelled to focus on the ways of the Lord. Many of these men are living in the worst poverty levels. For them to be welcomed into a facility like this as honored guests is exactly what Jesus would want. We will still have occasional visits from the U.S., but now, the majority of the time, the facility will be used for in-depth leadership training. This warms my heart. God allowed our decisions to be close enough to fulfill the will that He already was exercising.
The burden on my heart for “the least of these” is ongoing. The prevalent awareness that I have is that God is not pleased with subpar teaching. In America, we have a high degree of access to Biblical teachings. Anybody who has a smartphone or computer with Internet connection can access millions upon millions of pages. Largely the masses have rejected the true message of Jesus Christ in order to chase whatever idols they have surrendered to in their lives. There are many parts of the world where this is not the case. Jesus set quite an example; pouring His life into 12 men. We hope to emulate some of that by using Jesus's teachings and words.
Until the Holy Spirit redirects us, we will continue to pursue this path. Once a pastor has completed the 40 hours, and received discipleship training, a conclusion will be made. Based on the fruits and testimony from others, EchoAfrica will make a recommendation. We would like to see individuals or churches actively engage in collaborative efforts with each pastor. This collaboration would be a mix of mentoring, sharing prayers, discipleship, and potentially financial support. I believe if we could equip the leadership with the right tools, many thousands of people could come to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Joe and some additional EchoAfrica team members have been occupied by meeting with many pastors and leaders already. These individuals have positively listened to our purpose. Simply put, we will be echoing God’s word across Africa. Other parts of the world will come later, if we are humble and faithful stewards in this opportunity. Instilling a sense of contribution is critical for the people. The method of distributing goods and leaving is not helpful. From the short-term need of food for a day, it may seem to make sense, but long-term, it causes societal implications that are far-reaching.
I will be traveling to Kenya for five days during our trip to Malawi. Two of the team members will continue the work with our EchoAfrica team while I am gone. Hopefully, I will be a more diligent soldier this time. I know the Holy Spirit wants me to stick to fact finding. My experiences with Pastor Duncan on the previous mission trip was like a toothache that I took too long to address. If you do not do something, the issue only gets worse. This time, if there is a slight disturbance in my spirit, I will dive deep, and quickly try to identify the culprit.
Since God gave me the opportunity to learn from my mistakes in Malawi, I hope to be better equipped in Kenya. Undoubtedly, there will be mistakes that I will make. Thank God that He loves and directs us to better see His will. Right around March 2, I will start giving daily blog reports. Every encounter will be well thought-out by the Chessmaster, God. At some points in the journey, many entries will make sense. Others may not be understandable for quite some time. That is the awesome thing about the journey-when you are obedient, life will eventually make sense. I pray that we can get close enough to see God’s will and action, and have the privilege to be a part of His master plan.