Back From Africa

 

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After four years I was able to return to Tanzania leading a mission team from the Cross Church School of Ministry.

And now we are back…

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Returning from Africa is always harderthan the trip over. I suppose it’s a combination of fatigue from the mission and jet lag. I find myself waking up at about 2:00 in the morning for a few days. It usually takes about 5-6 days to feel completely “normal.” But this trip, like the others I have led, was a massive blessing and so worth time, expense, and effort.

The fledgling church in the Pare Mountains of Chome is flourishing.

Pastor Fanuel is leading well and the church has purchased land and in the process fashioning and firing hundreds of mud bricks to build the church’s first real building (they’ve been meeting under a tent for the past five years). Pastor Fanuel also has BIG plans. Plans that include building a second structure – a Bible training school.

He wants the Pare Mountains to be ground zero for pastoral training for next generation leaders. And he launched this vision with the arrival of our mission team. Pastor Fanuel planned the timing of our mission trip to coincide with his first ever pastoral training seminar.

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When we arrived we discovered he had invited other pastors across other evangelical denominations to come to the Pare Mountains for a week of encouragement and training on leadership. There were even two brothers from as far away as Zambia who had come to help him teach as well.

I marvel at God’s design and mind.

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The Cross Church School of Ministry is all about leadership training for next gen leaders. As such, our team was more than prepared to step into this task. So our days were dominated with worship, preaching, and teaching over 40 people. The two women on our team were able to provide encouragement to the women, children, and teenage girls of the community and church.

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As with all mission trips, there is more to say than can be written. We had our share of fun and inside stories (what happens in Africa, stays in Africa!). But one of the greatest personal joys of this particular trip was that my 18-year-old daughter was able to join us. God has a call on Madison’s life to missions. She has had some extraordinary opportunities for a young lady her age to work out that calling, but a trip to Africa was a penult mum experience. It’s a hard trip. Not for the faint at heart. The travel is LONG. The food is different. The living conditions third world (we had two days with no running water at all and one day with no power). But my “little girl” (can I still call her that?) rose to the occasion and went far beyond pulling her own weight as a team member. I sat in pride as she shared publically with the church her calling and encouraged them. Yes, I am a proud father.

And so we are back home now.

Back from Africa.

But my thoughts, prayers, and a portion of my heart remain with Pastor Fanuel and the brothers and sisters of the Pare.

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