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November 10, 2011:

A few weeks have passed since Jay Pearson and I returned from our mission to Kenya, and I've had time to gain some perspective on the event and put my thoughts in order. It still bothers me that it takes me longer to recover from these missions than the actual mission itself, but that's just the way it goes. Chalk it up to travel fatigue, and the eight-hour time change. I've read that it takes one day to recover for every time zone you pass through and that seems to hold true for me.

Jay and I left Baton Rouge on Saturday, October 15. After a short layover in Atlanta, we flew to Amsterdam where we met up with Daniel Bucher, and we three continued on to Nairobi, arriving there Sunday evening Kenya time. The next morning we flew to the Kitale Airstrip where we were greeted by our host, Reverend John Robert Opio, the founder of Christian Life Teachings International, and checked into the Mount Crest Hotel in Kimilili town.

After all these years, there is a certain... sameness... to these missions that presents a real danger. Hearing the stewardess ask whether I prefer chicken or pasta has the same effect on me as a hypnotist waving his pocket watch in front of my eyes. Of course I don't know how cognizant I want to be on a nine hour flight, or while our driver does his best to avoid cavernous pot holes that could well serve as the gateway to Hades. Still, one never wants to fall into a false sense of security, and especially not in Africa. Thankfully all that stupor wore off by the time the actual event began.

The seminar itself was held in a hair salon that adjoins the office of CLTI in Chesamis, Kamukuywa. When I saw all the photos on the wall of attractive women modeling various hairstyles, I told the class that I now understood how John got so many men to attend his events.

The mission itself lasted only four days, from Tuesday to Friday. I know, I know... it seems like an awfully long way to go for such a short visit. But at least at this point in my ministry career, a seminar that is short and pithy does twice the job as one that tries to chase down every rabbit hole. There is only so much information that can be effectually communicated before the mind starts to wander.

Jay opened the mission with his presentation on "Questions Seldom Asked and Answers Seldom Heard." The next day, Daniel Bucher taught the first hour, and afterward I began my seminar, "The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ," which ran through Friday. We were very ably assisted by our interpreter, Henry Lucia, who managed to negotiate our heavy accents and "down home" sayings with the same skill that our driver picked his way through the pot holes.

In my class, in the lesson on The Laying on of Hands, I reference this verse from Proverbs 21:1: "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." It is an amazing confirmation to this truth that just as Reverend Opio's ministry is getting established in Kenya, and the partnership of CLTI and WTWH has matured, the Kenyan government is cracking down on all the self-appointed and self-ordained reverends, deacons, and bishops who are accountable to no one and have neither training nor credentials. The government is not trying to dictate doctrine; they want to weed out the charlatans who use the church as a cover for their own money-making schemes. If someone starts a church in Kenya, he is now expected to show his training certificate and/or ordination papers. (Of course, the charlatans will find a way to falsify these papers as well, but as Numbers 32:23 says, "your sin will find you out.")

As a result of this government action, there is both a great need and a ready-made audience for the kind of service that CLTI and WTWH provide: training rural pastors in sound biblical doctrine and practical theology. It also reinforces the biblical directives concerning ordination; that it is not self-imposed, but rather a public affair involving the laying on of hands. Rest assured that we are not running an ordination factory. The Bible commands that we "lay hands suddenly on no man" (1 Timothy 5:22). No theological course can substitute for the call of God; nevertheless, men need to be spiritually equipped to fulfill that call.

Upon graduation from Reverend Opio's extensive training course, the students are eligible for ordination under the ministry of CLTI. On Friday afternoon, I was honored to assist in the ordination of eight new graduates and four former graduates. After I presented a message on the correlation between Old Testament Levites and New Testament ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Reverend Opio gave the ordination charge and I spoke a word of prophecy over each of them. I believe it was a blessed occasion, somber yet joyful.

I recorded my teachings in the hope that they can used by Reverend Opio in future classes. I spent this past week editing the recordings, removing parts that were meant only for that particular audience, and at least from my perspective, I am pleased with the final product. Reverend Opio has asked that my teachings be a permanent part of his training program, and of course, that is a blessing to me as well.

I hope to record all four of my classes with Swahili interpretation for CLTI's training program and for use in Tanzania as well. God willing, all the pieces will come together for this to happen within the next 18 months. I plan to return to Kenya next spring; right now John is planning a class in Mombasa.

On our last day in Kitale, I was invited to speak at a leader's meeting of the Elgon East Friends Church (Quakers). I was very honored by this invitation and although my allotted time was brief, I believe a real connection was made. I spoke on "The Prosperity of the Lord's Servant," and discussed the biblical definition of prosperity as opposed to the world's view.

By the way, I have decided to give this name to my seminar on Christian finances as well, changing it from the longer and more ambiguous title, "Where Your Treasure Is, There Will Your Heart be Also."

All in all, I believe ours was indeed a "prosperous journey by the will of God" (Romans 1:10). Here is a link to some photos from our mission.

I received a report from our coworker in Tanzania, Evelyn Paraboy, that the second mission of the Maasai of Madungulu village to other Maasai villages was a good success. I am looking forward to publishing the report from Reverend George Ole Oripu who led this mission to Mwanavala, a village WTWH visited in 2005 on a mission led by Evan Pyle, assisted by Paulo Kurupashi, Steve Monahan, and David Mantock. At this time, Evan and I plan to return to Madungulu this winter.

Once again, thank you for your support that helps make our work possible. As always, I pray that I can prove worthy of your trust.

God bless you in the name of the King of kings,
Your servant in Christ,
Tim

P.S. After our mission was complete, Jay, Daniel and I spent two days at the Masai Mara National Game Park. We missed the great migration across the Mara River by about three weeks; nevertheless, we saw an abundance of magnificent animals. I hope you enjoy these photos as well.

 

 


 

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