Sunday, March 26, 2017

Prayer and Paradigm Shifts

Wow - it's been an intense two weeks in both Kenya and Uganda.  I just arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I will begin teaching tomorrow but let me share about the last two weeks.

The trip started in Kitale, Kenya, with a two-day prayer retreat for DML business owners.  We had 140 people in attendance, from five different cities (and their surrounding areas), with 28 different churches represented, including twelve pulpit pastors.  It is not easy to get people to close or hand off their businesses for two days, and spend the money to travel to Kitale, yet so many did.  It was indeed a blessed time.  I realized within the first hour of prayer that this retreat was for me as much as it might have been for anyone else.  It is a powerful thing to spend that much time in prayer with so many brothers and sisters in Christ.

We heard many great testimonies of what God is doing in and through the businesses of the Marketplace Ministers:
  • stories of economic growth in businesses, household income, and jobs being created
  • testimonies of networking and mentoring as people from the same church meet and share together
  • declarations of spiritual growth as people continue to grow in the grace and knowledge that the work they are doing is holy and good
  • doors being opened to love their neighbor as themselves
  • environmental awareness growing as we learn to be stewards of the earth
  • testimonies of answered prayers, both individually and corporately
These testimonies were the highlight for me, as well as many others as evidenced by the evaluations. 

We had something called a "prayer supermarket" where we divided ourselves into four groups, and circulated to four different leaders as a group to pray over specific challenges as Christians in the workplace.  People found this to be very powerful.   We also had everyone find a new prayer partner from the DML ministry, who will pray for them in this next year, and help with accountability and transparency.

Very slowly, as time passes, we see paradigm shifts begin to take place.  People are beginning to use a more common language about how they are called to the marketplace.  In fact, there has been a few times that they have corrected us as leaders - one time, we said something about a "secular" business and we were quickly reminded that there is no difference between sacred and secular.  Another time we talked about going to church, and we were quickly reminded that we don't go to church - we are the church.  A different time we asked someone if they were in ministry and another person quickly said that we are all in ministry - as part of the royal priesthood.  It's delightful to see this ownership of the paradigm shift coming about naturally and we pray that it may continue.

On Sunday, March 19 we travelled to Tororo, Uganda to have a two day training with pastors and church leaders with ICM Uganda.  We had a gathering of about fifty, including a number of bishops.  It may have been one of the most fun groups that we have presented to yet.  They love to laugh but they were also many aha moments as paradigms began to shift.  It is such a joy to see people begin to see the Bible, with which they are so familiar, in a different light, especially as it relates to the importance of Genesis 1 and 2, which many pass over quickly as an introduction to Genesis 3.  We have already had six churches sign up to do "Thirty Days in the Marketplace" starting in April and May, so we have our work cut out for us! 

Thank you for continuing to pray for us and for this ministry. 
Rev. Elly Kisala, Co-Director of DML Kenya, with the group of pastors from Uganda

The leadership team in Tororo with ICM Uganda and Africa Theological Seminary Uganda

An amazing, Godly woman, Grace Koelewijn, the Country Director of ICM Uganda.  What this woman is doing, with her husband Cor, is amazing.  I enjoyed getting to know her much better and look forward to working closely with her.

My dear friend, sister, and colleague, Caroline Sudi, Co-Director with Rev. Elly Kisala in Kenya.  Always a joy to have more time with her.  A former bank manager for eighteen years, she is now studying for her BA in Theology at ATS in Kitale, while working fulltime with DML (and running a business).  I'm blessed to be surrounded by great women and men of God!