Sammy, our driver, picked me up at the hotel at 8 am. Pastor Elijah and Pastor Douglas arrived shortly thereafter. The plan was to return to the church and the village area. I would say depending on the conversation, the language barrier only allowed for 60% to 80% efficiency. Based on what I have seen, the similarities between Pastor Doug in Kenya, and Pastor Duncan in Malawi are concerning. Elijah is simply an uneducated village pastor with a heart for the Lord, much the same as Felix. I mean no disrespect when I refer to him this way, because it is largely due to the environment he was raised in. Doug, on the other hand, had really nice shoes and a fancy watch, with a flashy suit matching Duncan’s persona. The emails we received from them were quite similar also.
Josh will find this quite humorous, but I actually am being bolder and asking probing questions much earlier. I told Doug that the flattery nature of his emails was a cause for concern, not a compliment. Three times yesterday, Doug had replied to a question with a strange little grimace on his face. I just couldn’t get a clear read, and I may be hypersensitive because of what happened in Malawi. Through the night, I was awaked several different times. Around 4 am I had this thought enter my awareness: “Separate the wives from the husbands, and us an interpreter,” so I asked Sammy if he could interpret for me. He informed me that he speaks Swahili, but there are many different dialects in the villages. Because of that fact, he felt as though too much maybe lost in the interpretation.
When we arrived at the church, I asked Pastor Doug who the best English speaking person was. Until this point, I had not thought much about Duke. He was a young man that I talked with the day before. In my mind, I wondered if this was going to be the next Tony. When Doug suggested, “Duke could be the interpreter,” I took that as a sign. For any of you that read the blogs from the first trip, you know that Tony was the interpreter we used to discover the deception perpetrated by Duncan. I must say, the situation seemed much different, and maybe the Holy Spirit gave me this direction to clarify my understanding. I first talked with Duke alone.
This time, I talked in more detail than the day before. He has a very meek and gentle spirited. Duke informed me that his father was a drunk, and he was the man of the house taking care of the family. This is very reminiscent of the responsibility Tony took on with his mother. Tomorrow, I hope to hear him sing, since I understand he has quite the singing voice. Not enough interaction or direction of the Holy Spirit has occurred yet to make a call. Duke is the youth leader and worship director. You will believe this…he said his main passion is to teach!
Earlier, I had mentioned the vision I received of separating the husbands and wives to get to know them more. I could talk with them about their walk with God, personal lives, and relationships.
I was concerned about Elijah and his wife, so I figured I ought to ask her some questions. “Does your husband treat you with respect? Does your husband love your children and treat them kindly? Does your husband treat you as an equal? How does your husband handle situations when he is angry? Does your husband teach your children in the ways of the Lord? If there was something you could change about your husband, what would it be?” There were probably a few other questions I threw in there for good measure. Elijah’s wife was very bubbly and had a welcoming personality. You could tell they were united as one flesh with a common goal. She made it quite clear there was absolutely nothing she would change about her husband. The way I asked the questions and the speed I did so did not give the couples time to rehearse. I sensed no deception or questionable responses that may cause concern.
Now it was time for Doug’s wife. Basically, the same questions were asked. I did detect some hesitation with her answers, but they were not caused by dishonesty. She had more of a deep respect for her husband, and His desire to grow closer to the Lord. She asked me if I would pray for him. There may be a bit of a temper involved with Doug. This may have caused the grimace on his face when he was questioned. This actually was another training situation for myself. I should never jump to conclusions until the Holy Spirit is finished unraveling the situation. After our conversation, my thoughts of skepticism had disappeared. Now in their place was an increased desire to pray for him. After I conversed with the wives, I talked to Elijah.
Doug was still excluded from the conversation. I did my best to uncover anything that may be questionable. Keep in mind that the whole time up to this point, Doug had been the sole interpreter. There was nothing exposed in the questioning, so to the contrary, it seemed to confirm legitimacy.
The first thing I told the group of pastors was that Duke needs to be in high-level leadership. Also, a team of leaders need to interact with the pastor in decision-making processes. There should never be a situation where one person controls all the decisions. We talked briefly about accountability and being transparent. Even our own Echo team will be diving deeply into any areas of our lives that could inhibit us from being what God wants us to be. When we are truly transparent with each other, and we can talk about anything, real growth will occur. Becoming a faithful servant to God’s kingdom is the goal.
One of the major service projects in Kenya is water treatment. The water situation in Kenya is sometimes worse than Malawi. We had to walk down a steep hillside to nasty little pools of water. They had this shimmery slime covering the whole top of the 6’x3’ water reservoir. I was not carrying anything except 20 extra pounds of fat around my middle, and I was puffing a bit by the time I got to the top, though I go up and down 3500 steps every few days for exercise. Even children under the age of 10 were carrying gallon jugs in each hand. Any reasonable person would feel extremely guilty about the lavish lifestyles we have in the U.S. I cannot turn my back on these situations anymore. There are literally hundreds of millions of opportunities around the world to help our brothers and sisters.
Great things have been occurring at the teaching center in Malawi. I received reports from several people today that brother Rick was lit up with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Heidi was amazed at the rhythm between him and Joe, the interpreter and teacher. I talked to Rick briefly tonight, and he said that he was quite impressed with the team. In a short period of time, with very little input, they constructed an outstanding leadership training program. I am sure that was only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Something remarkable is taking place. None of this should be happening as fast as it is, but God does not function on our time table. All praise, honor, and glory to the King of kings and Lord of lords. “Thank you Lord for letting us walk in Your will with You. Please make us increasingly more aware of your nudges so that each step is placed exactly where you want it. We love you Jesus.”