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Our Mission to Kenya, Testimonies, and Future Plans

March 4, 2013

tims blogThe path from anticipation to memory can play such tricks on the mind no matter how many times you go through the process. This really stood out to me last weekend when I performed the wedding of Kelley Girod and Erik Solberg here in Baton Rouge. When they first asked me to do the service, the actual wedding day seemed light-years away. Now it is part of our shared history and a memory I will cherish for a long time. God bless you, Mr. and Mrs. Girod-Solberg! Thank you for the privilege and honor.

I was a little worried that I'd be "firing on all cylinders" on the wedding day since Jay Pearson and I had just returned from our mission to Kenya six days earlier. But I came home from Kenya feeling refreshed and rejuvenated – quite a phenomenon for me. Part of it, I am sure, was due to my excitement about the wedding. But looking back, maybe a lot of it was simply relief and gratitude for a successful mission that certainly didn't start out that way.

In the days prior to our departure I was concerned that Jay had not fully recovered from a bad cold, and I debated whether I should tell him to stay home. Then even though we were at the airport in plenty of time, we missed our flight out of Baton Rouge (I'll spare you the details), and we could not leave until the next morning. My sister Kei was expecting to meet us in Atlanta and she had to reschedule her flight and find lodging for the night. Since we had an interior flight to Masai Mara scheduled immediately after we were to land in Africa, I had to reschedule that flight, find a hotel and transportation for an overnight in Nairobi, and notify our friends in Kenya that we'd be arriving a day late. When we finally landed in Kenya, I discovered one of my bags was missing and I had to spend an hour filling out forms at the lost baggage counter. That night I heard what would become their mantra for two weeks: "It will be here tomorrow." When my Kenyan SIM card suddenly stopped working, it was almost comical.

So yes, the euphoria I experienced once I was home again was probably RELIEF more than anything else. I thank God that self-confidence is NOT a requirement for successful ministry because after all the problems, mine was missing along with my baggage!

Ecclesiastes 7:8 seems to fit here very well: "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof." Despite the setbacks, the two seminars went extremely well. I thank God for his mercies and grace, and thank everyone who made intercessory prayers. I also thank God for the contributions of my traveling companions, Jay and Kei, who added so much to the success of the mission and ministered to so many in their own quiet way.

As it turned out, we probably would have missed our first interior flight anyway since I did not realize we needed to transfer to a different airport. And the overnight in Nairobi at the Eden Gardens Hotel was quite nice even though the room I shared with Jay had only a single bed and no, we are not that friendly! The staff found me a mattress to put on the floor and fatigue took over from there. The next morning we took a taxi back to the airport, I spent more time at the lost baggage counter, and it was then that I realized we needed to go to a different airport for our interior flight.

The Kichwa-Tembo airstrip in Masai Mara is right in the middle of the game park and we had an amazing view of elephants, zebras, and giraffes as our plane touched down. Our host Samwel Naikada was waiting with three other brothers to transport us to the Maasai village of Olkireruki, and our mission was finally underway.

I'll let Samwel's testimony speak for itself.

On Wednesday we climbed aboard the small airplane to return to Nairobi where we would have just fifteen minutes before reboarding a plane to the Kitale airport in northwestern Kenya. When the plane took off early I thought we were catching a break. Then after about sixty minutes in the air, we again landed in Masai Mara! Halfway to Nairobi, the pilots had to turn back to pick up a forgotten traveler! The reason for the confusion? Of the five ticketed passengers (three of them being Jay, Kei and me), two were unrelated Indian businessmen with exactly the same name! What are the odds? One of the fellows had been left behind.

By the time we got to Nairobi we were given a quick "shortstop" (code for toilet break) before climbing aboard the waiting plane. About an hour later we landed in Kitale where Reverend John Opio was waiting with a car to take us about thirty minutes down the road to Kimilili. We checked into our rooms at the Mount Crest Hotel, had a quick cup of coffee and headed to church.

From Wednesday afternoon to Friday evening, I taught "If Ye Do These Things, Ye Shall Never Fall." At this point, I'll direct you to Kei's testimony.

It was a great joy for me to be joined on this mission by my own flesh and blood sister, although the net result was that I undoubtedly came across much sillier than usual. My interaction with the people I feel comfortable around is filled with back-and-forth banter ("the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks"). I suppose this is the price one must pay for being my friend.

My work in Kimilili was once again done in conjunction with Christian Life Teachings International (CLTI). My friendship with Dr. John Robert Opio now spans nine years. Needless to say I have met a lot of people in my years of ministry but this partnership has been among the most fruitful.

I asked John for two testimonies, first his own to share a little about his situation and his vision for Christian Life Teachings International. I also asked for a testimony from one of CLTI's recent graduates. I think as you read these testimonies you will see why I believe in this work.

Precept Upon Precept in Matebete Village

Over the next seven weeks I will be preparing for a great teaching challenge. From April 25 to May 11, I will teach my entire set of courses to a select group of Maasai ministers – eight men and eight women – in Matebete Village, in Tanzania.

The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ (7 lessons): The building blocks of true Christian doctrine.
In the Power of His Might (30 lessons): Understanding and using the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The Prosperity of the Lord's Servant (8 lessons): Trusting God as your employer.
The Week of Millenniums (4 lessons); The timeline of the Bible story.
If Ye Do These Things, Ye Shall Never Fall (9 lessons); Standing as a Christian in an ever-darkening world.

For the most part I will be teaching four 50-minute lessons a day, six days a week. When I teach on the spiritual gifts it will be five sessions per day for six days. There will be discussions, tests, teaching assignments... and many tea breaks!

This will be the first time I have presented all of my classes as one collective package. I believe that hearing these lessons in this fashion and in this particular order will best serve my method of "precept... upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10).

Part of my preparation involves doing my best to ensure that everything will be in place when I arrive in Tanzania so that the class can proceed without interruption. I am VERY happy that Samwel Naikada has agreed to serve as my interpreter during this mission; he is an extraordinary help and a true Godsend.

It is my great wish that while there is still time I can successfully train a small team of Christian soldiers who have the desire and ability to teach this material themselves. I am NOT looking for a following, but I AM looking for people who share a similar calling.

Some final thoughts:

As I set out to do ministry, I never wanted to be the fellow talking in the front of the church. My preferred assignment was to be the guy sitting in the back wearing headphones and minding the recording equipment. I learned that it takes diligence to make a good recording, and it takes even more work to turn the raw data into something presentable. Just like everything else, to do it well you must love doing it.

I would very much like to find someone who has the calling and the expertise to do this kind of work, and who is interested in helping our mission at WTWH. It would be very useful to have recordings of my classes so they could be conducted without my personal presence. I realize there is no comparison between a live class and a recording, but sometimes necessity makes her own rules. Another advantage to a recording is that you can listen to it over and over; a serious student knows he cannot learn all there is in a class in one hearing. The dangerous ones are the ones who think they can... and did!)

Now I am NOT talking about finding a service-for-hire. Such services are usually intent on producing something much "slicker" and more costly than I am interested in. Being frugal is a necessity when you don't have money to waste.

Please do me the favor of remembering this in your prayers. If you know someone who might fit this bill, please have them write me a letter. I am not sure WHEN this will happen, but I feel sure that it WILL happen.

 

God bless you and yours,

In the service of His Majesty, the King of kings,
Tim

 

I hope you enjoy a sampling of photos from Olkireruki Village, the Masai Mara Game Reserve, and Kimilili.

 


 

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