Tomorrow it will be two weeks since we left Minot for our third mission trip to Sudan. We are currently in Kandern, Germany for a few days to encourage our Trinity missionary friends David and Helen McCormack. Though we plan to give a full report during the worship service one week from today, let me briefly fill you in on our trip thus far:
1. Leadership Training. Last year we began the long-term training of Sudanese church leaders. This trip we've been able to build on that, teaching on such subjects as Christian leadership character development, prayer, how the Bible fits together from Genesis to Revelation, etc. As usual, we were prepared to teach on much more than we actually had time for. One of the best aspects of our instruction this trip was growth in the number of pastors we were able to train. By God's grace, we taught men from five different communities.
2. Community Health Evangelism. Most of our time in Labone, Sudan was spent presenting a vision seminar for CHE to the church and village leaders (including two chiefs), helping them understand what CHE is so they can make an informed decision about inviting us back or not to continue training them in it. Most of our CHE training focused on understanding worldview, the difference between relief and development and the importance of those in need taking ownership for solutions to the problems they face. In the next month we'll be waiting to hear from our African friends to see if they want us to continue training them in CHE. If so, we'll likely have at least one more trip to train them intensively in CHE principles later this year.
3. California Partnership. This trip was unique in that three leaders from a church in California joined us during our time in Africa, exploring the possibility of forming a partnership with us in training our friends in Labone in the future. Please be in prayer with us for them as they spend the coming weeks talking and praying about that possibility.
4. Kibera. After our time in Sudan, we had the chance to spend two days in Nirobi, Kenya and visit some Christian ministries reaching out to children in the largest slum in the world: Kibera. Through a school, food program and orphanage, we witnessed amazing ministry to some of the poorest people in the urbanized world. The sacrificial efforts of these saints on a daily basis was a great encouragement and challenge to us all.
5. Germany. When I was in college, I'll never forget a missionary telling our church that the greatest encouragement to those on the field is to have Christian friends from their sending church travel to visit them and witness their ministry first hand. That's what Howard, Nathan and I have been doing for the last three days here in Kandern. Friday we spent time with David McCormack at Black Forest Academy's High School campus, watching him teach, getting a tour of the facility and meeting faculty, staff and students. Today we worshiped with Black Forest Christian Fellowship, the church connected to BFA, and spent extra time with its elders and deacons. Tomorrow we will join Helen at BFA's elementary campus and get to see her in action as she helps teach special-needs students. The McCormacks are a true blessing to this school and a help to the ministries of their students' parents who are serving on the mission field all over the world.
Tuesday morning we'll board a plane in Basel, Switzerland for the three final flights which will bring us home. It's been a very fruitful trip, but we can't wait to get home and share much more with you about what we've seen God doing in other parts of the world.