Friday, October 4, 2013

Fall Travel and College Visits - October & November

I'm currently on the road at Moody Bible Institute. I arrived last evening and had a great time visiting with an MK and then meeting several other students and MKs. It's a great opportunity to catch up, but also to spend time in prayer and encouraging these young people. Today, I'm visiting with 2 more MKs here at Moody and then I'm off to Wheaton for a campus visit.

Tonight, I'll be back in Indiana visiting with 3 other MKs and hopefully continuing the ministry of encouragement.

So far this semester, I've been able to visit students at Indiana Wesleyan University, Kentucky Mountain Bible College and Trine University. I have plans to visit Asbury University, Ohio Christian University and other campuses over the coming months.

Please pray with me that the Lord will use me.

WGM Renewal and CMS Seminars - July & September

The mission hosted Renewal seminars (1 in July and 1 in September) for several of our families returning from their respective fields of service. My focus was working through some of the transition ’issues’ with the youth in attendance and seeing to the care of the younger Missionary Kids. Then during the week following each of the Renewal seminars, the mission had a CMS seminar for those missionaries beginning their Home Ministry Assignment. I continued working with the youth and children during these times, including being a home school teacher. In all, 32 children & youth were in attendance.

WGM Field Directors Retreat and MK Camp - June

From IWU, I moved over to the WGM Headquarters for a few days with the youth during the Field Directors Retreat. Then I directed our annual MK Camp, June 24-28, for the junior high and high school missionary kids who are in the States this year. Twenty-three students attended this year’s camp held at Ouabache State Park in Indiana. Our theme of FEARLESS came from a message God laid on my heart from Psalm 23. It was a great time of worship and personal challenge. There was a healthy sharing among the youth regarding the commonalities of their 'missionary' life experiences.

'Not The Same' Youth Camp - June

Next, I went to Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) to participate in a youth camp for two districts of the Wesleyan Church. Over 700 students attended this week of crazy games and deep challenges from the Word of God. I led one of the six ‘chat rooms’ available each morning for the high school students. They also put me in charge of corralling the ‘red’ team each afternoon.  It was challenging, yet fun, to encourage a team of over 160 students to work together.

Pennsylvania and Rhode Island - June

After my Africa visit, I traveled to Rhode Island with an MK to help him move.  He had accepted a position as an electrical engineer upon graduation from Purdue University. It was a fun trip and a privilege to help him get settled in his new surroundings.  Along the way, we enjoyed visits with
another MK and another good friend pastoring in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Kenya, East Africa - May 4 - Tenwek Hospital, Motor-cross and Traveling Home to Ohio

After my time at the Baby Centre in Nakuru, Kenya, I had the great privilege to travel to a small village outside of Bomet, Kenya where Tenwek Hospital is located. The hospital is well-known throughout Kenya and has been a vital ministry outreach World Gospel Mission has been heavily involved in for decades.
While there, I was able to visit with the WGM missionary doctors and their families, spend time with several of the MKs and see the hospital's outreach first hand. A 'new' WGM family had only been in Kenya for a week, so we spent some time together going over the transition and how their kids were doing through it all.

What a blessing to witness this ministry first hand after hearing about the hospital since I was a young boy!
One special treat while visiting at Tenwek was riding motorcycles with one of the MKs throughout the nearby countryside. I used to own a bike similar to these in Bolivia, so it was fun to get out for a while again.
Although this photo really can't depict much of what we could see,
we went up on a neighboring hill overlooking the valley 
where Tenwek is located. A truly beautiful country!
On Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5, I traveled back the US and actually arrived 30 minutes early into Columbus on Sunday evening. I arrived just in time to join my family for dinner celebrating my nephew's 7th birthday.

My time in in Uganda and Kenya went really well. It was a great privilege to be a part of those ministries for a few weeks and am thankful for the incredible staff and youth who serve in both countries!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Kenya, East Africa - April 30 - Baby Centre & Nakuru Game Park

After leaving Rift Valley Academy, I traveled to Nakuru where several missionaries serve. While there, I visited the Baby Centre where 2 of our missionary families serve. The Centre seeks to find homes for children who have been orphaned. There are currently just under 60 children in the home and 11 have already been adopted this year.
Also, while in Nakuru, I had the privilege to visit the Nakuru Game Park. There were many animals to see and although I didn't get to see a Hippopotamus  I saw most every other animal in the park where the they can roam free.
A couple of zebras trying to hide...
 Leopard just hanging out...
 Rhinos in the distance...
  Thompson Gazelle...
The true Impalas...
Black-backed Jackal...
 Young Giraffe siblings...
 Mother and child monkeys...
 Red-headed lizard... 
Lioness basking in the sun...
 and a Lion (plus 4 cubs) resting in the bushes.
We had a great time in the Game Park and I do appreciate the animals cooperating during my visit!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Kenya, East Africa - April 29 - Flood and Rift Valley Academy Visit

I left Kampala on Saturday, April 27 and flew to Nairobi, Kenya. I was in Nairobi for a few hours before heading out of the city by car to Rift Valley Academy. Originally, I was going to head directly from the airport to the school, but our departure was delayed due to major road damage heading to the school and in the local village of Kijabe and outlying areas. They have received more rain than usual during the month of April, but that was added to on Friday night by 5 inches of rain falling. This resulted in a huge mud slide tearing away part of RVA's fence and clearing a huge portion of the woods above and next to the school. The mud traveled down the roads depositing trees and other debris in the path of destruction.

I was able to make it to RVA campus, meet up with our 9 MKs as well as many more students. It was a great couple of days of fellowship giving me an opportunity to, not only see the campus, but pray with each of the WGM MKs individually.

I watched them play rugby, attended church with them on Sunday, experience a wonderful student led worship time, attend a chapel service and share a couple of meals together.

 Sunday Night Live - student led worship with over 150 students voluntarily attending

 Chapel service for the junior high and high school students

 Campus courtyard between classes

A few of our WGM students during morning Chia break

Uganda, East Africa - April 27

I had a wonderful time in Uganda. I was able to visit with all but one of our missionary families. One of the highlights of my visit happened on Tuesday, while on an outing to the town of Jinja in Uganda. I had the privilege to share my faith with a family I met and then with the bus driver on the return trip to the capital city of Kampala. Please pray with me for this family and also Juma, our bus driver.

Another great opportunity was getting to know the students at Heritage International School. On my last evening in Kampala, I was able to be involved leading games during their youth group all-nighter. There is a fantastic ministry to a truly international student body.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Uganda, East Africa - April 25

It's been a great week here in Kampala. On Monday, I was able to hang out at Heritage International School with the students and then help out after classes with their volleyball practice. Then Wednesday afternoon, I attended their first scrimmage game where they asked me to fill in as referee. Not my calling, but it was fun.

Wednesday morning, I spoke for the junior high and high school chapels and then was able to fellowship with the students during their lunch break.

Each evening, I've been spending time with the different families working here in Kampala. Tonight (Thursday), we have an all mission dinner to celebrate the ministries of 2 missionary families preparing to leave for their Homeland Ministry Assignments in the States.

This morning I met with Annabel, the school director, and she picked my brain about 'cross-cultural transition' and how they can continue to build that ministry to the students and their families.

Tomorrow will be my last day in Kampala and I'll spend some time at Heritage helping out. In the evening I'll be involved in the first part of a youth all-nighter. Josh Hallahan, the youth leader, asked me to head up group activities. I won't be staying the entire evening as I'll need to get some rest before my early morning departure to Nairobi, Kenya.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Uganda, East Africa - April 17-27

I arrived in Kampala, Uganda on Wednesday, April 17. I've had the opportunity to meet with our missionaries located in the city and have visited ministries at a local university and Heritage International School.

I was able to attend a chapel service at Heritage the other day and then speak for the youth group on Friday afternoon. Then on Friday afternoon, I had the privilege to attend a play put on by the middle school students.

On Sunday morning, I spoke at the United Faith Chapel which meets on the campus of the Kampala International University with more than 150 in attendance.

Then on Sunday evening, I had the privilege of eating out with the WGM junior high and high school MKs. We had a fun evening of fellowship and I appreciated getting to know them a bit better.

Kenya, East Africa - April 9-17 - WGM Kenya Retreat

On April 9, headed to Kenya, East Africa via Columbus, Ohio - Cleveland, Ohio - Washington DC - Zurich, Switzerland and then, 22 hours after leaving Columbus, I landed in Nairobi, Kenya... All the flights went well and I was even able to bring medical supplies for Tenwek Hospital.

I then went to join the World Gospel Mission staff from Kenya, South Sudan and Zambia for their annual retreat. My assignment, which was a total blast, was to work with the youth during the retreat. In addition to our daily activities and sharing times together, we celebrated at the baptism of one of the young men.

On the last evening, the staff celebrate a time for their graduates and they asked me to bring the address for the 4 young people. What an honor!

We have a great staff in Kenya and I can honestly say they have a wonderful group of kids. They were fun to get to know a little better or even meet for the first time.