So far 2017 has been a year in which I have spent over a month total in East Africa! I've been home for a couple weeks now, with the second of two trips done and I am happy to stay put for a while! Travel is amazing but it's always nice to be home! The first trip I took was a family trip that Lyn and I have been dreaming about for years! We partner with an organization called Kids Alive International and have sponsored a child in Kenya with them for years. Lyn and I were fortunate enough to be able to travel and meet her in 2012, and dreamed of one day taking our three boys on a trip to Kenya, where they could meet her and we could all serve together in the various Kids Alive Kenya homes.
It was such an amazing time to have as a family and we cannot say enough good things about Kids Alive. They do not just provide relief from poverty but have a wholistic view when it comes to vulnerable orphans, impoverished families and broken communities. Wherever there is a Kids Alive home you can be sure that the community there is a better place because of them, that families are being kept together and supported where possible, and that the most vulnerable children are being cared for while having their physical and spiritual needs met! [If you currently do not partner with a global organization, I would urge you to consider saving a life with Kids Alive!]
We pray that this trip impacts our boys for the rest of their lives, and gives them a giant view of this world and our God at work in it...AND if you'd like to hear more about it, you can listen to my wife Lyn tell more about it on her podcast, By Design, Episode #34.
The second trip I was able to take two weeks after the return of the first was a trip with Sevenglory, in partnership with Calvary Church and the Nairobi Chapel. I am the Worship Leader for Calvary Church in Valparaiso, IN and as a church, we partner with The Nairobi Chapel to plant churches on the African continent. We have partnered to plant churches in Liberia, Rwanda and now Uganda. We help support the pastors as they begin the church-- and we also send teams to go and serve as well as to encourage. We believe in true partnership in missions and that means not only sending funds but showing up as well. It also means that we believe very strongly that the best people to plant churches are people that are native to the country or area in which the church will be planted. It makes so much sense culturally and very practically. We then play a supporting role and serve in whatever way we can that makes the most sense for that local church.
All that to say, that this was a trip where the plan was to visit two of the church plants that we partner with, (Trinity Chapel in Kampala, Uganda and Trinity Chapel in Kigali, Rwanda) to play concerts and also to lead worship in partnership with some friends from Nairobi Chapel. We were able to be there for the launch of the church in Kampala! Over the course of the two weeks we were able to play in Kampala, Kigali, and in Nairobi and it was an amazing time! We saw people come to Christ, we were able to worship alongside brother's and sisters from around the world, we played concerts, did a little dancing, and hopefully were able to be an encouragement to our partners! They truly blessed and encouraged us! God did some amazing things on the trip and it was such a privilege to be able to go!
It never ceases to amaze me at just how BIG our God is and how He is at work around the world. When you travel around the world and get to worship with other believers you really get to see first hand that we truly are ONE in Christ and that God is at work in His church!
After over a month spent in Africa this year, around 15 flights, over 50 security checkpoints and countless bags of luggage and gear, it is good to be home in Valpo, leading worship at Calvary! My wife and I love where God has us, are overwhelmed by the opportunities He has given us and are committed to keeping our hands open and our feet ready to GO where He leads us. Our God is bigger than we can fathom, His ways are higher than our ways and so we want to follow His call and be obedient when He opens doors and brings opportunities our way!