Journal entries related to this 1999 Mission Trip to Kenya in the midst of selling my house, getting rid of everything, and preparing to move first to Virginia for training then on to The Gambia. Lots of work & emotions!
June 4, 1999 – Kenya Mission Trip Preparation
It is Friday evening and our second planning meeting for the Kenya Mission Trip 1999. I’m still planning to go! John Kramp knew how much last year’s trip changed my life and how much it meant to me. He said “I’m committed to you going again Charlie, because I know how much it means to you.” So I asked him if that meant money. I still owed $700 on my share of the trip expenses. He paid it immediately the week after the big announcement about the position cuts. So another blessing!
Anyway – at the Friday night Kenya dinner meeting our guests were the former and the new IMB Associate Director for East Africa. After the meeting, I finally met the new director who was getting on the elevator to leave. We shook hands and in less than a minute I told him I was retiring this summer and might be interested in some ISC work if he had a need. Zip! The elevator door closed as he handed me his business card. I thought I might call him but probably should wait until after the Kenya trip in October.
15 September 1999 through 9 October 1999
This is a RECAP of a very fast-moving three weeks.
After the conference, I finished up a lot of loose ends, trying to get ready for Kenya, hold a garage sale, move, get ready for MLC, and the move to The Gambia. There seemed to be continuous packing or re-packing; disposing of many things; meals and farewells with friends; sending change of address cards; lost of email exchanges and business; the farewell party at Roy McPherson’s house by my Sunday school class and more. The class gave me a gift of a complete set of Veggie Tales video tapes that I can share with the MKs. I’m excited!
I had a great garage sale on October 2, making more than $1,600 including my bike, frig, TC, 2 stereos, all garden tools, carpentry tools, etc. On Monday, October 4 I moved everything else to John Ford’s house. He is using my furniture which is needed because of a divorce with their furniture going with her! He also has space above his garage to store my boxes of books and other things. Plus he is going to take on my car and the car debt.
I’m worn out!
6-19 October 1999
I was on the LifeWay Kenya Mission Trip. It was my second and maybe more meaningful this time. I got to baptize 25 new believers! Photos and some report information are in the first pages of my first Gambia album. Below are a few journal entries made on the trip:
10 October 1999
It’s the fifth day of the Kenya Mission Trip and the second day on the field near Busia. There is a similar spirit among the participants as last year with first day of witnessing bringing much joy as did worship in Kenyan churches today. The Holy spirit is moving and more than 1,000 were saved yesterday! It was a lively happy worship time today.
I’m tired and may not write as much this year. I’m trying to get plenty of rest at night which is difficult. In some ways this is just part of my preparation for Gambia which I can hardly wait to get into.
Thank you Lord for the ways you have humbled me already this week. Forgive me for letting my ego or personality get in the way. Please use me to be your witness here and prepare me for what I will do in The Gambia. I love you Lord! I need you! Help me to be yielded to you. Bwana Asafiwe! Praise the Lord! AMEN!
13 October 1999 – Wednesday evening
We finished two days of witnessing in Namisi with many good families ready for a church and over 200 conversions. I was disappointed that the one who would pastor was not with us. I just pray that he will be there Sunday and get started with a good group, following up on every home.
My biggest sin today is running off my mouth. Forgive me and help me God.
I had a good talk tonight with Scott Jordon who is a good pastor in Gunter, TX with some of the same problems of many pastors.
I do the morning devotional Friday – I’m thinking I will do it on how this trip will change me when I go home. Lord help me with a Scripture passage to go with my testimony. I’m tired and going to sleep now.
14 October 1999 – Thursday
It was my hardest day yet with longer walks and hotter sun, and no rain. But the most souls saved yet – 49!
I was fortunate to be in an area with very receptive people. David Kitar and I witnessed mainly on the road.
My devotional is not tomorrow morning but Saturday morning I just learned. I feel led to talk about what we do when back home – What Now? I will call it and use Matthew 25:23, “Well done good and faithful servant . . .” Then I will read Acts 26:15-19, focusing on verse 19, “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.”
15 October 1999 – Friday
It was another moving day witnessing and preaching! It is our second and last day a Sogora. Tomorrow is a new village and our last day on the field.
Dear Lord, please anoint me with your Spirit to say the right things in the morning devotional AND in witnessing and praying tomorrow. Thank you for your faithfulness to me – forgive my sins and especially my tongue or talking too much, especially when it hurts someone.
Give me a good night’s rest and a right spirit tomorrow. In Jesus name, AMEN!
16 October 1999 – Saturday
Our van driver Anthony taught me this Swahili saying:
It translates to:
Fast, Fast makes mistakes,
So I come slowly
17 October 1999 – Sunday
We traveled to Nairobi today and I am tired. I’m with Jim Shull in the Utali now. We stopped by Brackenhurst, my first time to see it. It is a nice facility for conferences, the seminary, and the language school for new missionaries. Most of our group bought lots of gifts, etc. in the gift shop.
Jim and I have showered and it is after 6:00 PM, but we have to wait until 7:30 for dinner. We’re ready now!
While at Brackenhurst I met the Melvins who are just starting as ISC missionaries there. He will manage the conference center. They were in MLC with Rob & Tina Torbert (FBC Nashville) who are now in Honduras.
Dear Lord, help me to be patient with Mr. Carter and all of the little aggravations that come in the logistics of this thing. Help me to hold my tongue with all.
Thank you for the experie3nce in Busia again and help me to be faithful to you in all I do and say. Forgive me for not always staying focused on Jesus. Now, dear Lord, please have the computer there when I return and the house sold. I trust you Father – whatever happens. Mold me and make me. AMEN!
18 October 1999 – Monday
Today we had breakfast, shopping, visit to Karen Blixen’s house (Out of Africa), the Giraffe Park, lunch at Simba Saloon (Carnivore Restaurant), and then back to the hotel to rest. I’m in the lobby now waiting for the group which went to Nairobi Game Park. I will give my key to someone else who will use it as a girl’s day room before we leave for airport.
Like all, I’m tired and hope to sleep on the plane tonight. I;m about to go out on patio for a little breeze and to read.
I was disappointed that Carter told us no tips to the drivers. But I had already tipped Anthony yesterday. J
19 October 1999 – Tuesday
We just took off from Amsterdam to Detroit. I actually got some sleep in the first flight from Nairobi. But not enough of course! The highlight of that flight was sitting by a 14 year old Somali boy, a refugee who has spent 8 years in Nairobi. His mother is in Toronto and finally saved up enough money to fly him there. It was a incredible time together with Sufiyana!
He had never flown and did not know how to fasten his seat belt or use the gadgets in the toilet. I had to show him how to open cellophane packages of peanuts and take lids off OJ and yogurt. He had never had yogurt and did not know what it was. His accent and quiet, barely opening his mouth talk made it difficult for me to understand him, but it was a wow experience. He is a neat kid, a “good boy” he said. We seemed to instantly bond and I plan to write him, though I know there is a danger of him begging for money or even his mother doing that. I will probably risk it anyway. (NOTE: I wrote and never heard back from him.) I also hope to write David Kitau, Titus, and the drivers Anthony and George.
It is so easy to get attached to people in Kenya or probably all of Africa. Simple living and faith put Americans to shame. The Christians and many others are so welcoming of white people and so loving.
Oh, I forgot to say that Sufiyana is a Muslim who is well trained in rejecting a Christian witness. I tried and left hi9m with a “Peace with God” tract. I will continue to witness in any letters I write.
I just didn’t write the details and encounter descriptions like last year, not even writing every day as then. Though not new and surprising like last year, the trip was just a s meaningful as then. I frequently thought about how similar it might be to Gambia. I think a lot, but won’t know until there and out in the field. And of course most of my time will be in the role of business facilitator. But with that I should deal with nationals a lot.
This time last year (on return flight) I was developing my vision of what I would do to continue the spirit of the trip. Now I must think about what and how my new job will be affected by this trip.
First impressions: In working with the Jola people I hope to do a similar kind of witnessing. Though I think it will require much more cultivation since there is a 90% Muslim population. Using the parable of the sower, I will probably encounter packed soil as well as rocky and thorny. It will be slower than we experienced in Kenya. And I don’t think our mass evangelism or “assembly line evangelism” will work in West Africa. I have some doubts about some of what we did that seems to be mainly for the numbers. But God does the saving and he can use all of us and all of our methods!
I haven’t had any response to my e-mail about mission volunteers I sent to the missionaries in Gambia. So I will say nothing else until I’m settled in and working there. It must be the right combination of people and needs to be a success. It is serious business and I hope that I can and will coordinate mission volunteers there.
25 October 1999 – Monday
I arrive at the Missionary Learning Center (MLC) in the country outside Richmond, Virginia. Today I begin 7 weeks of training and other preparation for living on a mission field.