Monday, April 22, 2013

Uganda...Nairobi...then Chiang Mai, Thailand

Proof that I was in Uganda...if you look closely at the small sign.
Last week was pretty busy with teachings, but also included a quick trip to Uganda as my ninety days in Kenya was running out and I needed to leave the country and re-enter again to renew my visa.  Not much of a visit and the Ugandans were clearly disappointed that I was going to see more of their beautiful country than just the border town of Busia.  But it makes the number of African countries I have visited fifteen...even though I'm not sure that a two hour visit should count as a full visit.

On Saturday I boarded a bus from Kitale to Nairobi.  The six hour trip took nine hours, passing a pretty significant accident involving three large trucks...causing diversions down and up steep banks...but in the end, a safe arrival in Nairobi.

Pastor Achola in front of his church.
I am here to spend a couple of days with one of the pastors from my first class at the Seminary. Pastor James Achola and his church, Grace World Harvest Center, is located in the second largest slums of Nairobi, called Mathare, home to approximately 500,000 people.  On Sunday morning, I attended his church, looking forward to hearing him bring the word...only to have that sinking feeling in your stomach as the worship leader invites the pastor welcome the speaker.  At that moment, I realized I was the speaker.  I had two minutes to prepare a message. 

I thought I had made it clear to the pastors in my class, since they heard me teach for such a length of time, that when I visit them I want to hear them speak.  Apparently, I wasn't clear enough.  All I could do was pray for the Holy Spirit to have His way...take a deep breath...and go up front.  The Lord did provide and the message actually went pretty well.  I was SO thankful for the necessity of a translator, as it gave me a few seconds each time to find my next words. 

I then spent the afternoon meeting with business owners from the church.  Pastor Achola had just completed a four week Bible Study with them on Business as Mission (part of his field assignment
Business Owners Bible Study group
for the class) and so they were primed and eager to begin Marketplace Ministry.  The only woman in the group came up to me afterwards and told me she was despairing and ready to quit her business, but that my words had encouraged her to keep trying and recognize God as the owner of her business.  Praise God for that.  Today I will visit her business, as well as a handful of others - as many as Nairobi traffic will allow in a day.

On Wednesday, I will fly to Chiang Mai, Thailand for the Business as Mission Congress and Trade Fair.  I am looking forward to being surrounded with like-minded passionate people and to hear best practices as well as other models of BAM around the world.  I will have a chance to share what I am doing in Kenya, as well as serve as a coach for those looking to implement BAM in their context.  I will return to Kenya on May 4 and then will take a bus back to Kitale, arriving there on May 5.  Unfortunately, it is one day after the ATS graduation and I will have missed the occasion.  A number of my pastors from the first class are graduating and I hate to miss the celebration with them, but I was unable to get an earlier flight.

On Thursday, April 25, my dear daughter, Hannah, turns 20.  A significant milestone in her life.  While she is missing her father's voice and the distance of her mother, we are celebrating the gift of her life and thanking God for recent healing from her exhaustion. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!