Reflections On Africa – Looking Ahead

Praying with church members at Kapkoros, UgandaI’ve been back from Africa for a week now.  The jet lag is slowly wearing off, but I still find myself going to bed before 9:30 and getting up around 4:30 or 5.   Over the past week I have been reflecting on this journey and I realize that it has been the most challenging of all of the trips to Africa that I have made.

The challenges were not just limited to this journey, but they are indicative of some of the challenges that lay ahead.   These are all issues that I will be committing to prayer going forward.  I look forward to returning to Africa again in the near future, but I also realize that I will need to structure my future journeys much differently to be more effective.

The first issue I am seeing is the need for stability.  There is little infrastructure in the region to support ongoing mission work, so the need for raising up stable leaders is critical.  Time and time again I saw challenges that came about due to leadership issues.  Grooming leaders takes ongoing interaction.  Determining how best to create this interaction is one of the challenges ahead.

The second issue also relates to leadership, but deals with making the best use of available resources.  On this trip we ran into issues of budgets that were not followed, schedules that were modified without consideration of the consequences and promises that were not kept.   One of the challenges for leaders in this region is that they are often unwilling to say “no.”  In an effort to accommodate others, they will disregard financial resources, time availability and other critical factors.   In our own circumstance, even though we had covered the agreed on budget, more money was still requested.  There were days that we would spend 8 hours in a van to speak for 1 hour.  The cost in both time and fuel was a poor stewardship in our resources.

The next issue is that for many church leaders, status is more important than personal growth.   The intent of this journey was to conduct conferences with leaders.  Instead we found ourselves speaking in church meetings that were meant to bolster the “reputation” or “credibility” of a pastor, instead of building up the leaders who would build the church.  In 3 weeks I only had about 8 hours of one on one time with the church leaders I came to spend time with.

The next issue deals with the integrity of church leaders, particularly in Kenya.  As I travel through the region I learn of leaders who charge their churches 20% of the giving and demand special offerings for things like vehicles.  I learn of leaders who are continually found in immoral relationships.  When these leaders are given money by Western missionaries and organizations, they squander it and quickly return to a place of demanding more from their churches.

The final issue deals with foundation.  Each leader I was able to spend personal time with identified a need for foundation.   Many of the issues described above come down to this issue.  Without proper biblical foundation, these leaders are developing theology and practice from conferences and television.   With the growing advance of Islam into the region, the need for knowing your foundation has never been greater.

I believe my work in the days to come will be less about speaking in conferences and more about spending extended periods of time with leaders, laying a solid foundation.  To do this will take both time and resources.

My final 5 days were spent with Pastor Nimrod Masau the bishop of Faith Ministries East Africa.  Pastor Masau is an indigenous pastor working to accomplish many of the same tasks that I am.  We both see the need for the West to be a catalyst, but we both agree that the work needs to be entrusted to indigenous leaders.   Pastor Masau recognizes the same leadership and character issues as being the greatest challenge to this model. It is my hope to spend more time with Pastor Masau in the days to come as I believe the Lord has connected us for a greater purpose.

I was initially going to return to India at the end of February, but felt as though the timing was not correct.  This past Sunday after speaking at 4CI, one of the men I attend church with asked me if he could accompany me on my next journey to India.  As we talked we set a target date of September and will be praying towards that.

I’m not sure when I will return to Africa, but it is my hope that I can be there again later this year.

Click here to view all of the videos and pictures from this journey to Africa



January 11, 2013 – Students and Heroes

Local pastors who were honored for their service

Local pastors who were honored for their service

Today we went to Bukwo to spend time with some of the former students of Redeemer Bible School and to meet with some of the long standing ministers of the region.  As we were leaving Suam we heard rifle shots up in the hills and learned that there had been a violent dispute between two families the night before.   The gunshots were warning shots to those who had been responsible for the previous night’s activities.  Needles to say, this certainly was an interesting start to our day.

Upon our arrival in Bukwo we decided to combine our original program of meeting with former students together with our intended program for Saturday that would honor local church leaders.   This was done to accommodate many other activities going on in the region.  Scott started the meeting by giving a Bible teaching.  I followed up by sharing our heart for the Bible School.   Once I arrive back in the U.S., I will be working on securing a Bachelor’s level curriculum for our prior students who wish to go forward.  We will also be starting classes once again in the Bukwo district.

After laying out the future for the Bible school, we honored the local church leaders who have set the example for others to follow.  Many of these leaders have faced imprisonment and even physical harm in carrying out their ministry work.   The certificates we presented seemed insufficient in honoring these leaders, but they all expressed deep gratitude for the recognition of their work.

Once the conference ended, we returned to Kapkoros to finish up the High Voltage Conference.  When we arrived, Scott felt a very difficult message was being asked of him, so we spent some time praying for him.   That evening Scott delivered a powerful message on giving God everything.  This message was an appropriate culmination for all that had been spoken and experienced during the week.

Once the conference ended, we spent another hour speaking specifically to the leadership of the B.O.C. churches within the region.   I cautioned them on letting pride into their ministry and I warned them to under gird their young people.  As we closed, I was formally invited to speak in their conference again in 2014.

As we departed we discussed the need to return to Kenya a day earlier to give Scott and Nathanael more time to get acquainted with the area.

January 10, 2013

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAToday we were scheduled to speak at a women’s conference in Chesower.  I had spoken in Chesower in 2010 and was looking forward to returning.  The conference had been going on since Tuesday, but our schedule had prevented us from participating up until now.  We could see clouds beginning to build, so we decided that only one of us would speak and we would head back before lunch.

Upon arrival we found the building to be filled with approximately 500 women.  I spoke on being a Proverbs 31 woman and the influence that a woman has on her home and community.  When we finished we headed back towards Suam.   On our way back we were stopped twice by Ugandan traffic police, which was the first time I had encountered any interactions with Ugandan police during my visits.

We spent the afternoon visiting with Apostle Adams about how Scott’s church could partner with his church in Kitale.  We decided that we will return to Kitale on Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday as we originally planned, so Scott and Nathanael can have additional time to explore Kitale as a mission focus for their church this summer.

January 9, 2013

Children of Riwo fascinated by Muzungus

Children of Riwo fascinated by Muzungus

Today was the third day of the conference and Adams finally arrived in Suam to meet us.  It was decided that Nathanael would preach first, Scott would preach second and I would preach third with Pastor Otoo doing an evening session of ministry.   Nathanael spoke on the history of the Israelites and the importance of their story.  Scott spoke on faith and I spoke on knowing your enemy and his work.  After lunch Scott was asked to speak again and he spoke on Paul’s letter to the Romans.

After Scott’s final message we went to explore the village (Riwo) in which Nathanael had spoken on Sunday.  This village has only been inhabited for the past 5 years and we were exploring whether or not this might be a mission possibility for Scott’s church.  The entire village came out to greet us and we were even invited in to a small Ugandan hut.   Scott encountered an elderly woman who wanted to give Scott special blessings.  Much to Scott’s surprise these blessings were given by spitting on him.  This happened twice, causing Scott to inquire as to the meaning of this action.  Once we left the village we went to the army barracks outside of the village.  These soldiers are stationed to ward off the cattle rustling that has caused so much of the tribal conflict.  On Sunday Nathanael learned that the soldiers had killed 4 cattle thieves over the weekend.

As we began back towards Suam another rain storm arose.  The roads became very difficult to navigate and we were very thankful for the skill of John Juma.  When we arrived at one point in the road, the front tire slid off the roadway and we found ourselves sitting at a 45 degree angle.   With great skill, John moved the van backwards and 3 of our passengers jumped out and pushed the front of the van sideways as John began moving forward.  Finally we were back on our way towards Suam.

In visiting with Scott and Nathanael, they had determined that the environment for ministry in Uganda is much too difficult for them to bring a mission team in.  This was especially true, because they will have teenagers as a part of their mission team.

January 8, 2013

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAToday was the second day of the conference in Kapkoros.  I started the afternoon session by going through John chapter 21.  I discussed the truth that Jesus will meet you where you are at, but he will not leave you there.

After lunch, Pastor Otoo and his sister began to share and minister.  Their teaching focused on dealing with the sin in your life to experience the full blessings of God.   During this time Scott and our driver John Juma arrived.   As we entered into the late afternoon, Pastor Otoo entered into a time of ministering in prayer.  As he was starting this time, a heavy rain storm moved in and the sound of the rain became deafening.   We paused for a few moments and then continued on with the prayer ministry.  Many came forward seeking prayer for sickness, release from ancestor worship and many other problems.

Our driver had to move his vehicle from the church because the mud had become so slippery.   As we walked towards the main road after the service, each of us nearly fell on the slick mud.   When we got to the road, we found that our driver was not at the expected meeting point, so we called for another pastor to come and get us.  This was my second occasion of being stranded on an African road at night.  At least this time I was around people I knew.

Today was also what would have been my dad’s 71st birthday.  I found myself thanking the Lord often for his life and praying for my mother to be comforted today.

January 7, 2013

High Voltage Conference BOC Church Kapkoros, Uganda

High Voltage Conference BOC Church Kapkoros, Uganda

Today we began our primary Ugandan conference at Kapkoros.  The title of the conference is the “High Voltage Conference.”  I am the featured speaker conference along with Scott, Nathanael and Pastor David Otoo from Lira.

We arrived around lunch time and after a small meal of chapatti, matoke and tea we started the conference.  Over our meal, I learned that Kapkoros means “the place of sacrifice.”  The site of the church had once been a tribal sacrificial ground.  I spoke in the first session on Romans 12:1, becoming a living sacrifice.  I was followed by a local pastor named David Chemonges who spoke on the glory of God in your life.   I finished out the day by speaking on the importance of taking up your cross daily to follow Jesus.

As we ended the conference we learned that Scott had successfully received his new passport and was on his way to Eldoret.  We also learned that Apostle Adams had become very ill with a cough and high fever, but that he would hopefully be on the way back from Nairobi on Tuesday.

Today is also my 24th wedding anniversary; I was missing Carol very much as we have never spent an anniversary apart from one another.  I asked Scott to send her a Facebook message while he was in Nairobi.

Sunday January 6, 2013

PCM Mokoyon

PCM Mokoyon

Today was a busy day, made even more complicated by the need to get Scott back to Eldoret for an evening flight. Scott, Nathaniel and I spoke at 3 different churches in combined worship services. Scott spoke at the Assembly of God church near Kapchesoy, I spoke at the PCM Church in Mokoyon and Nathanael spoke at the BOC church near Bukwo.
I was welcomed warmly by Pastor Patrick Sabila. Pastor Patrick has led the church for 26 years. He is a primary school teacher by profession, but hopes that at some point the Lord will allow him to focus full time on his ministry work. When I entered the building many people were praying and they prayed with great passion. We started the service at around 10AM with testimonies. Many people came forward and talked about the ways in which God had been at work in their lives. This was followed up by musical numbers from the youth choir and the women’s choir. I was tickled by a young woman who would come up midway through each number yelping and throwing confetti.
After that the keyboard player came up to speak. As he came up, I realized that he was blind. I had not noticed this beforehand. He challenged the people to live in their anointing and to consider the power of their testimony. When he had finished all of the guests were greeted. Each one came forward to introduce themselves. This was followed up by the offering. Gifts given included a live chicken and several bags of crops.
When it was my time to preach, I was led to the pulpit by the pastor and a group of young women who celebrated and threw confetti. I spoke from 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 on the power of your testimony. I challenged the people to consider not only their individual testimonies, but the testimony of the church as a whole. When I finished we prayed for a woman in the church whose child had been kidnapped on Saturday. I was asked to pray specifically over this abduction.
The service ended with a few more testimonies, greetings and announcements. It was now shortly after 2PM. I always marvel at how short our attention span is in America when compared to other parts of the world.
Since Scott had to return to Eldoret, other travel arrangements needed to be made for Nathanael and myself. I had lunch with Pastor Patrick, John Chebures and Bon Labu. I have spent time with both John and Bon on my previous visits, so we used this opportunity to renew our friendship. Once lunch was over, John and Bon departed and Pastor Patrick and I made our way to a porch along the roadway to await my transportation.
Over the next few hours we were joined by several of the local pastors and we discussed a wide range of interesting topics. This in fact became the highlight of my day. Much of our focus was on the needs in the region. There were 2 things that were very prominent in the discussion. The first was for a need to bring the pastors together to work through some Biblical understanding of some of the challenges facing the church. The second was a need to identify and raise up a new generation of leaders to come behind men like Pastor Patrick.
About 6PM, my ride arrived with Nathanael. Nathanael was overjoyed by what he had seen during the day. The service he had been a part of lasted for nearly 7 hours and many had given their lives to Christ during that service.

January 5, 2013 – Setbacks and Uganda

children at Suam Guest House

children at Suam Guest House

I awoke at around 7AM.  I went to start up my tablet pc to try and skype with Carol.  I had plugged the tablet into my power converter when I went to bed and it showed that it had been charging.  Unfortunately, at some point during the night a power surge must have come through the converter, because my tablet was no longer functioning.  I was able to eventually have a text chat conversation with Carol using my cell phone and a wireless connection.

We learned that the airline officials and airport staff had not located Scott’s passport.  Scott called the state department and learned that he would need to go to Nairobi on Monday morning at 8AM to replace his passport.  We decided that it would be best for Scott to fly from Eldoret on Sunday evening and began making adjustments to our schedule.

As we were preparing to leave the seminary campus we met a couple who were a part of Water Missions.  This couple has dedicated their lives to traveling the world creating purified drinking water systems in areas where clean water is unavailable.  We committed to connecting further when we return to Kitale.

Once Scott’s airline tickets were booked, we made our way to Uganda.  We found ourselves facing extra scrutiny at the border, especially in Uganda.  Fortunately we were all cleared through and we made our way to the Guest House.  Upon arrival I was able to honor a request that had been made of me in 2009.  The pastor of the PCM church in Suam had asked if I could supply reading glasses and I was able to provide him approximately 15 pair.

After arriving at the Guest House, we went into Suam for dinner.  We ate at one of the local hotels.  The people were intrigued as a movie rendition of David and Goliath was playing on T.V.  The audience was made up of men, women and children and two of the men watching were Muslims.  Sadly the rendition was not true to scripture, showing that David needed 3 stones to kill Goliath.   We commented on the fact that Biblical training is so important, when so many gather their information from media.

Africa Trip Itinerary – January 2013

  1. 4th January 2013-Arrival at Eldoret Airport
    1. Travel to Kitale       
  2. 5th Jan 2013-Travel to Uganda by road.
    1. Time-12pm arrive 2pm
    2. Uganda wildlife Authority Guest House.


6th Sunday services:(More than 5  denominational churches coming together)

  • Rev Carl Willis-Speaking in the joined Assembly of P.C.M (Perfection churches and ministries) – Location to be identified.
  • Pastor Scott-Speaking in the Assembly of B.O.C (Body of Christ Churches)- Location to be identified
  • Brother Nathanael-Speaking in the Assembly of A.G (Uganda Assemblies of God Church)-Location to be identified

Time:10am to 1pm (All assemblies)      

7th Monday:

  • Mission tour to visit church planting work of Redeemer Bible School among the pokot community in the lower region of Bukwo District.
  • Visit Ng’eng’e Manyatta ( pokot homestead)
  • Ngangata Manyatta (Homestead)
  • Kriki Manyatta (homestead)

Time:10Am to 4Pm

8th to 10th Thursday:

  • Annual Youth Conference 2013

Time:10Am to 5pm

Time:7Pm to 10Pm-Revival meetings

Venue-Chesower Secondary school.      

11th Friday:

  • Government leaders and Christian leaders’ seminar.

Time 10am to 1pm

Venue-Local Government Hall-Bukwo town

12th   Saturday

  • Speaking to Redeemer Bible School old students both certificate and diploma classes (2007-2011).

Time:10Am to 2pm

Venue- Local Government Hall-Bukwo town

13th Sunday service-At  P.A.G (Pentecostal Assemblies of God)

Time:10pm to 1pm

  • 13th Sunday evening-Leave Uganda

Time:3pm arrive at 5pm Kitale


14th Monday January 2013

  • Pastors Conference in Marakwet
  • Location-Kapcherop AIC Church (African Inland Church)
  • Time:10Am to 4Pm

16th January 2012 -Conference-Hosted by Apostle Adams

  • General conference

Location-Sinendeet Full Gospel Church

Time:10Am to 4Pm (every day)

17th January 2013 Thursday-Leave for Eldoret

18th to 20th (Friday to Sunday) Conference Hosted by Pastor Margaret Maheri

18th January –  Morning 10.00 –  12.00 p.m. Fellowship at Pastor Margaret’s Residence

18th January – 4.00 p.m – 6.00 p.m Speak to Christian Union Students at Rift Valley Technical Training Institute

19th January –  10.00 a.m – 1.00 p.m – Conference at Kosachei – Near Turbo

19th January –  4.00 p.m.  – 6.00 p.m. – Revival meeting – Langas Church

20th January – 10.30 a.m – 12.30 p.m – Sunday Service – Langas Church