EchoAfrica Trip 2.0 Day 1 - Long Flight
After nearly 40 hours of flight and layover time, I was able to physically see Tony once again. His beaming smile and pleasant countenance is a magnet to draw in personal interaction. We actually arrived at the airport about an hour earlier than anticipated. This was a good sign. When it was time for us to go, the trip was blessed by God’s hand in many ways. The ability to travel for nearly 2 days and maintain a cheerful attitude is supernatural. I have learned to judge the level of Pastor Rick’s anxiety. There appears to be a direct correlation between the number of jokes, and his level of being uncomfortable. I must say, nothing on the trip so far has risen to the level of constant joking like at the travel clinic. I suspect brother Rick is not a huge fan of getting shots. So now, my dilemma is “Do I use this to my advantage and give him a hard time, or do I try to show compassion and coddle him a bit?” We shall see.
My wife is doing well, and despite missing our daughter, she anticipates what God has in store for her. We took advantage of the layovers and were able to shower once in between flights. Several interactions took place with multiple people. Nearly every time involved sharing the gospel. All those years I had missed out on a wonderful opportunity to draw closer to the Lord is a shame. The realization that I now possess is the more we talk about Jesus, the easier it is. Most importantly our relationship with Him strengthens. Many many times, words are spoken through us as well as to us. I encourage all people to do this more, but also pay close attention to every conversation you have. Often times God will reveal things to you as you talk to others about Him. In my life, this is one of the most potent ways of having an ongoing relationship.
The travel time to the teaching house, which was formerly referred to as the mission house, was maybe 30 minutes. As soon as we entered the premises, I knew how awesome God’s redirection was. The house had 14 ministers and a group of six or so in service to them. This team conducted the teaching from the Bible and prepared food for the visiting pastors. The incredible gift of having a place to house them is definitely a blessing from God. Little did I know when initially setting up the facility what its purpose would be. Being a person that is driven and likes to move rapidly can be a detriment. In this situation, God used my decisions that were slightly off course to His glory. That is the wonderful thing about walking closely with God: He nudges us back to the path of His choosing.
I am so glad that we did not follow through with the house being a place to stay for visiting missionaries, at least not as the main focus. Just a few of us enjoying the environment that the house offered would perpetuate what God wants me to move away from. The role of being servants to the pastors there for training is much more suitable. Experiencing the transforming process that is occurring in the lives of these pastors is far more fulfilling. All of us sensed that something far beyond us was occurring. Is this the model that God wants us to perfect? Ultimately, it is up to the direction of the Holy Spirit. God knew exactly what He was doing when He allowed us to locate this property and furnish it the way we did. I was thankful that everything that we purchase could be utilized in this training facility. God does not want us to be wasteful and I am glad He helped me out on this one.
The more I get to experience God’s course correction, the more I want to continue to forge forward. The anticipation of His better idea is around every corner. When we discover a clearer vision of His will, I just praise Him and give Him all the glory. There is an additional element I feel prompted to add in. The 12x40 program, 12 pastors, 40 hours of training; will continue to be enhanced as directed. We will be breaking them into groups of three or four to teach on extreme accountability and transparency. The ultimate goal would be that this practice could be adopted by the entire church body. I am a huge proponent of small group gatherings. Done correctly, life-changing transformations will occur.
Tony has assembled a fine group of people that love Jesus. This is the first full week of training. We will be administering a survey on the final day. The data that we receive from that survey will help us to improve our process. We will always operate under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but discovering the best teaching methods that allow people to absorb the most is critical. We took many pictures of the pastors during their training. The level of engagement and excitement was marvelous, and Pastor Felix was one of the attending pastors.
I was sitting in the other room listening to the training. My inability to understand the language did not make a difference. The revelation that God’s will was being fulfilled brought tears to my eyes. Many of these pastors from the villages have never had formal training. Many of them have never stayed in a facility like this. What a blessing it is to have God correct our direction and experience His will being exercised. Due to the fact of our delayed arrival, my initial stay is only 24 hours. I already had booked the tickets to go to Kenya. Now it was time for me to meet Pastor Elijah. Another scouting mission lies ahead, and only God knows what will be revealed to me. I pray that my sense of discernment would be enhanced by the Holy Spirit.
My arrival to Kenya was a bit early also. I was able to witness to the customs agent and give her one of the high five crosses that I brought from America. I told her to read her Bible and get to know Jesus. Then I said, “I want to see you in heaven.” When I handed the cross to her, and spoke those words, she began to laugh uncontrollably. While I was walking away, she was continuing to laugh. I believe the Holy Spirit did something, and it was quite wonderful. This was a confirmation to me that I was supposed to be here in Kenya. Tony had sent me a text message that I found very interesting: “As believers we are to populate heaven and depopulate hell,” what a marvelous thought.
The initial encounter I had with pastor Elijah and his assistant pastor was favorable. Also, Elias from Mission Tour and Travel met us at the airport. The encounter I had on my first trip to Malawi at a layover led to this connection. Again, God the Chessmaster maneuvered the right pieces into position. I will marvel at His handiwork here in Kenya and report back what He has revealed. The Lord knows that I have no problem being blunt. I told the pastors last night, “Please be honest with me, as I am on a scouting mission for God. If you try to deceive me, the Holy Spirit will reveal your deception.” For whatever reason God has chosen, this seems to be the role that He has me in right now. There are others closer to me in my life that He also has me on a scouting mission to guide. I ask the questions that are prompted in me and the Holy Spirit does the rest. With great excitement, I will report God’s moves.