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I want to again thank everyone at Holy Cross for their thoughts and prayers during my recent Mission Trip to Kenya and Uganda, Africa. This was an amazing 16 days during which I experienced first hand the power and workings of God. I traveled with my good friends, Rich and Kay Fick, who are the Directors of Cyrus Ministries International. Cyrus actually has many International connections including Israel, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Bolivia and India. Rich and Kay have also traveled and ministered in many other countries. It was a privilege to be included on this ministry trip. The original purpose of my participation on this trip was to enable me to adapt Christian Education materials I have written into a form that would be usable in Africa. However, God had a much different purpose for my trip!
We were actually in three very different locations. The first 5 days were in the Nairobi area, in Kiambu a small town just on the outskirts of the city. The church that had invited Cyrus Ministries to do a seminar is around 4000 members and has actually established several mission churches in the surrounding areas. The next portion of our trip was to the western region of Kenya, to the Kakamega area. Cyrus has an established relationship with a group of 27 churches in this area. During the week we were in the Kakamega area we held meetings in several locations, conducted a 3 day seminar, held a Cyrus Ministries Kenya board meeting as well as visiting the 10 dairy cows that have been provided through direct support by people in the United States. It was a very busy week! The final leg of our journey was to Kampala, Uganda. There were meetings on Monday evening, all day Tuesday and all day Wednesday and on Thursday morning. The final session ended at 1:30pm on Thursday and we left immediately for the airport to begin our journey home!
At each of these locations, I met with children and youth and also spoke to Sunday School teachers and leaders, as well as sharing with all in attendance during each of the seminars. As each seminar progressed, I began to understand that what was most needed in each of these areas was materials to train the teachers! So instead of adapting curriculum for the children, with Godís help, I will be writing a Sunday School Teacher training manual.
We, in the United States take so much for granted. Not just the obvious things like power, water, computers, telephones and even plumbing. But this trip highlighted for me how blessed we are to have a culture and environment that encourages learning and growth in creative ways for even our youngest children. The amount of materials and resources that we have available to us (and sometimes waste) is incredible. The African people want so much for their children, yet they have so little to work with. I brought pencils, pens and crayons to share with the children. I did not understand when I was making plans to bring these things, how important they would be. Giving a child a pencil or a pen meant that this child could return to school and/or take an all-important exam. You see, the parents cannot afford pencils after paying for school fees and uniforms. And without a pencil the children cannot attend school. I tried to imagine what you would have to offer to a child in the USA to get the reaction that I got while handing a pencil to an African child. It was humbling and still brings tears to my eyes.
Many said that I would never be the same when I returned from Africa. And that is certainly true. I have a much better understanding of the power of prayer. During this entire trip we had no travel problems (8 separate airline flights), no illness, no missed connections, no accidents (lots of travel over VERY bad roads). Only God could have accomplished that. I will never look at a pencil, pen or crayon the same way again. I now have many new friends half way around the world. And I did leave a part of my heart in Africa. Now there is a task ahead of me to complete the materials that so many are waiting anxiously for. I am so thankful for Holy Cross and the many people who helped make this trip possible for me. I look forward to sharing in more detail with you all about this amazing adventure.
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