After months of logistical and financial preparation, the time has arrived for me to get on a plane and make the long trip to the east coast of Africa. Phase 1 in Kenya has already been completed and now I will join the team in Tanzania for Phase 2 of the equipping of African pastors. Many have asked about prayer specifics and I am both blessed and humbled to supply some basic nudges in what I assume will be the more important needs. Frankly, I expect God has an amazing agenda of His own which will manifest itself during the next week, but I will submit the suggestions below as being prudent for the ministry of prayer for this trip.
Everyday prayers from 11/29 – 12/8: please pray for our families. Our wives and children make a sacrifice while we are gone and our hearts will be with them. Please pray for Amy’s strength and endurance. She has made my departure easy and has been an encourager but I know she has concerns about her being to handle everything while I am away. Her metal ankle typically wants to quit on her around 5-6 PM each day. Please pray for her and Leanne Bell to find strength from the Lord as they care for their children in the absence of husbands who typically share the load. Please also pray for our health each day in Africa. The enemy would like to physically attack us in order to stop the work. I am confident that sickness will not be allowed to become an issue.
Your prayers for Friday and Saturday morning: I will be in the air and making stops in Detroit and Amsterdam before arriving in Tanzania about 3 PM (EST) on Saturday. Please pray for me to easily navigate the airports and for the jet-lag not be a major factor. The travel time is around 22 hours total.
Your prayers for Saturday evening: about the time Americans on the east coast are going to bed on Saturday, I will be rising on Sunday morning in Africa. I hope to be preaching that morning in one of the local churches. Please pray for the power of God to own myself and the other team members as we serve local churches on Sunday. I am told that jet-lag will hinder my preaching ability but I believe the Holy Spirit can well-handle my travel fatigue.
Your prayers for Sunday: please pray for me to rest well on Sunday night in Africa. The training begins on Monday morning and I need to be mentally refreshed. I am scheduled to teach my first session on Monday at 12 PM (4 AM EST). I am teaching these pastors on the biblical qualifications of elders and I need wisdom not to impose Western standards on African pastors. Some of these pastors may have more than one wife (polygamy) and I need acute wisdom to speak to them about this.
Your prayers for Monday morning: please pray for my later afternoon session on the roles of younger and older men in the church. I sense that this will be a very important session because, as the men in churches go, so goes the entire church. While churches in America have become feminized over the last 4 decades, many African churches deal with opposite factor (chauvinism & misogyny). This session is called “Grace Touched Men” and I hope to exalt the strength and kindness of Jesus as the template for biblical manhood.
Your prayers for Monday evening: Please pray for the Tuesday morning session (I will begin at 9 AM Africa time, 1 AM EST). This session will focus on the role of older women and younger women in the church. The Holy Spirit must give illumination to these pastors so that they align themselves with Scripture more than their culture. I plan to emphasize the high value of women of God in the church and to punctuate the need for these pastors to value their sisters in Christ and liberate those women to serve Christ in the church.
Your prayers for Tuesday morning: I do not teach again on Tuesday so I am hoping to make connections with some of the attendees while the others are teaching. Please pray for Nick and me to be able to get some interviews and filming done on Tuesday. We desire to bring back a personal connection to America via the filming and there is only one videographer (Nick). Please pray for his and my stamina, health and creative unction. Also, please pray for our equipment to continue to function as the final two days are important to get on film.
Your prayers for Tuesday night: I have the privilege of wrapping up the final session of the conference. I love being the closer and I really desire to send the men off with a powerful benediction of grace. This last message focuses on their relationships with others and how they are to appreciate all who are in the body of Christ. Frankly, I hope to be able to break free of the structure that has been necessary in the conference up to that point. I wish to employ my gift for exhortation and send them off thinking big about Christ, His Kingdom and His beautiful church.
Your prayers for Wednesday: we will be spending Wednesday evening and Thursday meeting with a smaller group of pastors. I am not sure how these men are chosen but it seems that they may be key influencers in Africa. Pray that we may humbly help them and also that they may be a help to us. The African church is different than the American church and I plan on learning some things while I am there. It is a privilege to be a teacher but I know enough of the Lord to realize that He will also make me a student while we are there. I want to be a blessing to these men.
Your prayers for Thursday: we travel out on Friday morning for another 22-24 hours of flying time. Please pray for safety and easy passage. Also, please pray for Meadow’s services on Sunday morning. My plan at this point is to enter the pulpit with 1-2 verses which I hope will summarize our trip. I do not plan to have written notes prepared (God reserves the right to change my mind 🙂 ) and I hope to share with my church fmaily from the overflow of what has occurred in Africa.
Thank you for being colaborers with me via prayer. I hope to post pictures here or on Facebook. Not knowing how reliable our access to the web will be, I cannot promise much. Hopefully I will be able to send photos and quick updates. Away we go! Africa, here we come!
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