Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two weeks in . . . .

It’s been an exciting first two weeks back!  In a nutshell:

·     My trip to Nairobi was uneventful and my back is holding up well!

·     Friends have taken me in while I have looked for an apartment to base out of in Nairobi.  I found an apartment amazingly fast and am ‘even now’ in the process of cleaning and moving in. 

·     I was able to attend the WGM Kenya Field Retreat and re-connect with my colleagues working in Kenya.

·     I’ve talked to Reuben Kirui (Mango Ministries recruit) on the phone and we have two days of planning and prayer lined up for next week.

·     I’ve talked to Billy Coppedge (Mango Ministries missionary living in Arua, Uganda) and will be visiting he and Joanna in a week and a half so we can plan and pray about the start of Mango Ministries.

·     I’ve also talked to several of the Bible Distribution Team from last year.  They are finishing up several of the hard-to-get-to places.  Jonathan Siaga reported that people are most appreciative of the Bibles and the training they are receiving.  Last year there was heavy conflict with North Sudan and their town was burnt and pillaged destroying their Bibles in the process.

·     I’ve talked to people working with the two mission hospitals WGM will be helping in Sudan and they are ready for WGM’s assistance.

All in all it’s been a very productive two weeks.  The next two weeks will be busy with moving and meetings.  My prayer is that they will be equally as productive as my colleagues and I listen for God’s still small voice to lead us in the way forward with Mango Ministries and as I set up my apartment, cum office/think-tank, guest room, retreat & home base. 

Will you continue praying that/for

* I'll have a listening ear and compassionate heart

* Spirit led discussions, strategizing, and decision making

* Safety in travel and good health, including healing of my back and discipline in exercise

* Recruits for Mango Ministries

I want to be about “bearing fruit” all the time!  Not a very realistic goal.  I was reminded this past week at our Field Retreat when re-reading Psalms 1 that fruit has seasons ~ nothing new but a helpful reminder.  As the Mango Ministry Team invests in preparing the soil in the coming days and weeks it is my heartfelt prayer that God will use us to produce a big harvest – transformed men, women, and children living in communities that are coming a little  closer to resembling the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.  

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”  Psalms 1:3

 PS – I’m enjoying the mango’s that are in season now!!  Looking towards the next harvest.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A budding anticipation

The tree limbs are pregnant with new life.  A few leaves are peaking out of their cocoons.  The forsythia, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth have burst forth with color and the grass has greened up ~ all signaling that spring is here!!

I had a good Doctor's appointment on Thursday and he says I'm good-to-go.  I will be returning to my home base in Nairobi on Thursday, less than a week away.  I would love to see the trees dressed in their crisp, clean, new foliage in the next five days but that might be a stretch.  Spring doesn't happen overnight.  It's a process - profound, eh?

In the same way it's a stretch for me to consider taking a two-mile hike or taking a nice bike ride along the bay in the next five days.  I've had a good recuperation from back surgery but that doesn't mean a full recovery happens quickly either.

I'm being reminded of the need to pace myself.  If I push myself too far one day, I pay for it the next day with increased pain.  Have you ever decided to start an exercise program and overdid it the first day and paid dearly with sore muscles the next day?  I've done that all too often.  Pray with me that I'll gladly do less now, so that I can do more later.

I think there are similar lessons to be learned in the birthing of a project like Mango Ministries.  Despite the incredible needs of the Sudanese I don't want to make rash decisions or do too much too quickly and suffer adverse consequences.

Please continue praying for the start of Mango Ministries in South Sudan.  We need God's wisdom
in finding the right team members, choosing the right strategy, finding the right location, and doing this all in God's right and perfect time.   

You are an incredible support team!  I appreciate your faithful and fervent prayers, your generous financial giving, and the love you have showered on me while I've been on Homeland Ministry Assignment. Especially during my extended medical leave.  The cards, calls, and emails have been a great encouragement.  Thanks so much.

Specific prayer requests:
  • Travel next Thursday & Friday from Philadelphia to Nairobi, Kenya
  • Finding a bungalow or apartment to rent in Nairobi where I will be based
  • Pray that Reuben Kirui, Billy and Joanna Coppedge and I will have the mind of Christ as we get Mango Ministries birthed
  • Two Mission Hospitals in Sudan that WGM will be working with:
  • Memorial Christian Hospital is having a dedication tomorrow, April 5th.  Pray that God will be honored in all activities and for the logistics of this big event.
  • A group of interested people will be visiting Akot Medical Mission next week.  On Monday before traveling to Sudan they will visit Tenwek Hospital.  Pray their visit is an encouragement and they will gather relevant ideas and contacts to help at Akot. 
Spring is sprung, the grass is riz --
I wonder where them flowers is?   (old rhyme)

Anticipating the fullness of summer,