Sunday, January 27, 2019

Man Started By Resting

On Saturday we left Nigeria and are now in Liberia, where we will do a DML workshop before I go to Cameroon and Dr. Walker goes to Egypt.  The Harmattan winds were thick in Nigeria as dust hung in the air, while the humidity in Liberia hangs thickly in the air.  I haven't been in Liberia since 2012 and I forgot how useless it is to do anything with my hair while I'm here - it just goes curly in the humidity.  Dr. Walker has never seen me with curly hair, while Liberians have never seen me without.  There have certainly been many changes in this country of nearly five million people in the past seven years.

While in Nigeria, we were blessed to be with many pastors and church leaders, engaging in theological discussions and debates about the theology of work and the role of the Church in discipling its members to do work as an act of worship.  We spent this last week working with an excellent team of trainers, who will help carry this work forward in Kaduna, Jos, and Abuja, as well as other parts of Nigeria.

Our DML team in Nigeria is led by Dr. Abraham Gaga and Freeman Okuru.  Both have been serving the Church and mission field for many years and are truly excited about the capacity of what DML can do to reclaim the marketplace (defined as the systems of business, government, and education) for Christ.  Both are implementing DML in their own church, which is always a great indication of someone who has taken this to heart and is able to influence leaders.

Dr. Gaga led in devotions regarding rest and, as I have felt a deeper weariness of late, I listened to this reminder with eager ears.  He spoke some truths that went deep into my soul.

First, he pointed out that God made man on the sixth day and then rested on the seventh day - something we all know - but he pointed out that man started by resting.  He said that we don't rest FROM work - rather, we rest in order to do the work.  He further pointed out that when we work without resting and listening, we may well work in vain.

It fits into what we teach in that Sunday is the first day of the week, rather than the end of the week.  Resting and listening in order to work, rather than resting as a result of the work.  It's a subtle but important shift.

I hope you are resting today to be able to do your work tomorrow.  And when you do your work, may you do it as an act of worship unto the Lord!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Back To West Africa

Image result for map of west africaThis Friday, I leave for West Africa.  It feels like we just left there (end of November).  Christmas was such a busy time with family and the days just flew by!

We will start this trip working with the Baptist Seminary in Lagos, where over 300 pastors and church leaders will attend our workshop.  We will then spend a day with the faculty and staff of the Baptist Seminary to explore how the Church can begin to shift from defining itself by its wall on Sundays to the people on Mondays.  We will then move to Kaduna, where we will have a similar discussion and workshop with the pastors and church leaders from the ECWA (Evangelical Church Winning All) Church.  Finally we will move into a Training of Trainers for the DML Nigeria team to train both pastors as well as business people.  We are praying that this will allow this work to go on in our absence.

From Nigeria, we will move to Liberia.  It will be my first time back to Liberia in six years.  I'm sure many things will have changed.  I will only be there for a few days to do a two-day workshop with pastors and church leaders through REAP (Restoration of Education Advancement Programs), so there won't be a lot of time for visiting.  We squeezed this trip in following the two people from Liberia who joined the training in Ghana in October and are anxious to get this moving.

Image result for map of cameroonFrom Liberia, I will be heading to Cameroon, while my colleague, Dr. Walker, heads to Egypt.  I will be starting my time in Cameroon in the city of Limbe, on the western coast of Cameroon, where we will be holding a two-day microbusiness training.  From there, I will move to Yaounde, where we will hold another two-day microbusiness training, followed by a Training of Trainers to help support the work of DML Cameroon throughout the country.

Things seem to have settled down a bit in Cameroon in all but the Anglophone areas yet.  The Anglophone separatists have declared they are not Cameroonian but Ambazonian and have declared a new currency with for that area.  The President of Cameroon appointed a new Prime Minister yesterday and we will wait and see whether this will be a good thing or not.  Please continue to pray for this region and its ongoing struggles.

During this trip I will miss my son's birthday (he lives in Washington DC so I wouldn't normally see him anyway) and also my husband's birthday.  This will be the second year I miss his birthday and it may be a pattern.  I've asked him to change the date but up until now he has not acted on it.  :)  Additionally, I leave while my 90-year-old mother-in-law (Bob's mom) is having a significant increase in dementia and medical issues; additionally, my 89-year-old father, who has been on a locked floor for eight years with frontal lobe dementia, is also experiencing further deterioration.

I will return on February 11 and hope to catch up with everyone at that time. Thank you for your prayers, ongoing support, and encouragement. Our continued prayer is that the Global Church continue to discover how to be relevant to the world on a day-to-day basis with all members recognizing that work can be their act of worship.