Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
This is my 7th visit to the continent of Africa…my 4th visit to East Africa, since 2010. Each trip is more and more encouraging, I meet some of the most strategic leaders who are committed to change their nations and to change the world. At every level, there is a consensus that the person of Jesus without religious baggage is the only answer to the massive problems facing the world. With the growth of Africa and its receptivity, I believe Africa may be the base for changing the world for Jesus!
UGANDA—Thoughts & Experiences
Tamrat & Mulu and Diana & I were invited to speak into the Uganda Jesus Gathering for mentors. There were 200+ mentors from 20 nations! What a thrill to meet and interact with these very special brother and sisters, who are committed to personal transformation and changing the world. We thoroughly enjoyed this Gathering, which was held at a hotel on Lake Victoria, Entebbe, Uganda. More than 1000 mentors could have been invited, but they were limited to 200 who were chosen to participate in this intense time of training and fellowship. With this kind of audience, there was not a wasted moment. We were interacting with individuals and small groups in and out of scheduled meetings and meals. It was an incredible experience!
Diana and I did a workshop for the Gathering on “The Spiritual & Psychological Dynamics of Small Groups”. This was a great experience to present together. It was so clear that their response to Diana was so much warmer. She is truly my secret weapon, whether on a large platform, in a small group, or just getting through life.
We really enjoyed the privilege of working together so publicly, however it gave us very little time together, due to the pull of the people on each of us individually. That’s Lake Victoria in the background and NOTE my Masai Warrior blanket. I was given this by a Kenyan woman. I love it! Also, NOTE the white scarf around my neck. This was given to me and several of the leaders of the Gathering from Isaac Hishey to honor us from the Tibetan community, where we’ve spent some time over the years at the House of Peace.
Diana and I each were small group leaders. As you can easily see, she had a larger group than mine and it was truly one of the best of he small groups at the Gathering. They had a great experience together. My group was also terrific! We had lots of great interaction and built new friendships! (I was pulled into her group for this picture, because the photographer is one of my group members.)
Truly, one of the most special and unique experiences for us was to meet and hear the story of Faisal. Faisal grew up Muslim and read the Scriptures. He was attracted to Jesus, because of his consistent, unconditional love toward everyone. He also noted that Jesus was not a Christian nor did he ever ask anyone else to be a Christian. There came a time in his search of the Scriptures, studying Jesus, that Faisal was transformed in his heart. Christians attempted to convert him out of his Muslim culture. His father dismissed him as a Christian. Yet, through reading and studying our daily blog that he collected over the last year, Faisal has understood that what happened to him was a supernatural work in his heart and his family has also received him back as their son. His powerful story is on video that we’ll share later. I have accepted the responsibility to mentor him in his walk with Jesus. I’ve never met such a young man as this and am already learning through his experience with Jesus! He already has a small group of Muslim friends who will be walking through THE WAY soon.
THE WAY is a most unique Jesus curriculum, written with Tamrat, that is a tool for small group discipleship. The Uganda Jesus Gathering was our first release of this discipleship tool. We gave away and charged 230 mentors to use this tool in their groups and interact with us through our new website as we track how Jesus is being lifted up all over the world. I can’t tell you how wonderfully grateful and enthusiastic the reception was finally having a small group study on just Jesus and His teachings. It was thrill!
Tamrat & Mulu took their daughter, Tigist, on this trip! Tigist is a sophomore at Point Loma Nazarene University. She has never been back to Ethiopia, since her mother and brother fled for their lives out of Ethiopia to Kenya, when Tigist was only a few months old. Now Tamrat and Mulu have the privilege of introducing her to her home country.
We will join them in Ethiopia on the 20th of this month!
Our visit to Uganda has been a most encouraging time. The warm reception to the message we’ve been given and to THE WAY serves as an empowerment to us in all of our efforts. It’s a testimony and tribute to our Core group in Orange County, California, and to those who assisted in creating this new revolutionary tool…from creativity, insights, graphics, printing, and the financing of this project.
In sync…in Jesus,