Happy Trails Aren’t so Happy

As I begin to share things with our team this morning a wave emotion came over me unexpectedly.

All I can say is Africa gets in your heart, more accurately the people of Africa.

As I spoke tears filled my eyes and my heart swelled with love, appreciation, a little sadness, and true compassion for our American team and the significant relationships God has given us on this great trip.

So we leave Rwanda today with joy but a bit of sadness like when you were a kid and had a great summer vacation staying with your grandparents and having a blast with your cousins then having to say goodbye and go back to real life. For this reason I truly appreciate technology for allowing us to stay daily connected internationally.

So now for what I shared.

1. I leave this year having a clear defined vision for our long term role in Rwanda. Exactly what type of ministry, how, what and where we will do it. This kind of clarity has been six years in coming but I’ve never been more sure. What freedom it gives me. In other words I’m certain of our role in the over all purpose of God in this place at this time, and with whom to do it. Praise God. What we’ve done to this point has been valuable and powerful, but now it will be refined and singularly focused. (some times I think you have to go through a season of figuring out what you won’t do to find out what you’re supposed to do)

2. The training we do and the heart of our teams are invaluable. This team has been so involved, flexible, and engaged. I have taken the time to step back and watch our team in action. All I can say is my Senior Pastor Kirk and Nancy Pankratz have invested in our people such a heart of service and ministry and it translates internationally. Flexibility is the key to international activity and ministry and we are flexible.
Every team member no matter what role they played, put there heart in it and excelled at it. Lives were changed.

3. I have come to realize God has given me a voice to Africa. Through many conversations with leaders this trip I realize that the things God gives me to communicate are timely, transforming and challenging to leaders here.

Many leaders coming here to help are doing what they do out of love but in some ways worsening the situation by creating entitlement in ministry leaders. The mistake in that is its done out of love but is an assumption that these people are like children and can’t get the real issues of leadership and the responsibilities of a leader. Not only can they understand but want the challenge and want to contribute to the purpose of God here, and other nations as well. They want to give not only receive. They want to be used themselves not have western leaders come in and attempt to do it for them. They can learn and teach others, they can disciple and mentor others. They can lead. They are rich in insight and wisdom and need to be treated with that kind of respect, not placated by western leaders who want to say “we are doing such and such there” but not really changing things for the better. Church we are the church not mere humanitarian do gooders. Let’s remember there is a difference.

Honestly however, I have just been speaking to them, loving them, doing what we do, but for some reason who God has created me to be relates to the leaders here. I’m just glad to be used by him and to finally realize that.

Seeing and producing potential in people is why I’m here, no matter where in the world those people are. My home is the world.

Thank God for you, people who have supported us financially, and prayerfully.

Thank God for our pastors and our church.

Thank God for this team. What a fantastic, loving, diverse precious group of people who see the need to do what we do. Love you all.

Most importantly Thank God for Jesus who makes all things possible.

So happy trails to you Rwanda, we leave you with love in our hearts and a longing to meet with you again.


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