July, 2018

Many times, people want to know how a mission trip is planned and then how the plan is carried out.  So, for this mission trip report, I thought I would let you see some “behind the scenes” goings-on.

You always begin with prayer. Often many months or even a year in advance. You want to know where God wants you to go, what He wants done, and what it will take get there and complete the mission.  If you do not keep your eyes focused on Jesus, planning a mission trip can be scary.  You must always remember that God will take care of everything He wants you to do. He will supply all your needs for the mission trip.

For this trip, we began praying about one year in advance.  Barbara and I first heard of Aynaki through our Share Institute Web site (shareinstitute.org). Aynaki had read the material on the Site and implemented it in his ministry of church planting.  With what he learned through the SHARE Institute Web site, he and his team planted 100 churches with 70 surviving past the first year. Barbara introduced me to Aynaki through the Web site.  After Aynaki and I had a long Internet friendship, he invited me to come to Africa, see his ministry, and hold a training workshop for his people.  After prayer, I wrote Aynaki and accepted his invitation.
Getting to the continent of Africa and to the countries of Burundi and then the Democratic Republic of the Congo is not easy.  They are far away and not a tourist destination. It took a total cost of over $500.00 dollars to secure visas for both countries.  Then, the airline ticket was $2,005.00.  My most expensive yet.  Not to mention the travel time was over thirty hours, on Ethiopian Airlines.

I spent most of my time in the capital city of Bujumbura, Burundi.  Most roads are paved, not too many wild animals roaming around, but once you get outside of the city things get rather “rustic.”  Life there is quite fluid, despite all your planning, you never know what will happen next.  Except for a few of the churches in the capital city, churches and their meeting places are small.  Their buildings are made from bamboo, grasses, sticks, corrugated tin, and the like. In all my mission trip travels, I have learned that the reason places like these are often so lost and without Jesus is that they are hard to get to, require an expensive ticket, and are inconvenient to live in.  

While there, I will be involved in pastor training, church planter training, sports ministry (baseball & basketball) training, preaching, evangelism, SHARE Training, and leading discipleship workshops.  Most of the attendees will be pastors or other church workers and will have had little or no training, not even Bible School.  I am sure other activities will pop up when I get there.  I’ll be speaking at one of the churches on Sunday.  Saturday afternoon there will be a big time of planning. I will be in at least three cities speaking and teaching the next week.  

Some days I was able to get on the Internet.  I was able to send these prayer requests.  These requests will give you a sense of what we were doing.

1.) Ask Dad to give the Africans working with me, and me, patience, as none of us knows much of each other’s language.  
2.) Ask Dad to empower the translator who will translate my speaking tomorrow. Ask that through the translation, Dad’s Spirit will go right to the hearts of the listeners.
3.) Ask Dad to give me the exact words he wants me to speak. Ask that I be faithful in the proclamation of those words.

One real treat was the visits we made to several of the SHARE livelihood skills projects.  These projects are done by the church planters to help them make income for their families and then have income to help finance their church plants until their baby churches can get on their own two feet. This keeps them from becoming dependent on outside sources for income, but instead to trust God to supply their needs through their labor.
Yesterday, I worked with the men doing sports ministry. Also, yesterday evening had a question and answer time on African beliefs about ghosts, demons, Satan, monsters, and the like.  In addition, we spent much time talking about dreams, visions, and other such stuff.  

Spoke to a group of church people tonight, six people were saved. Spending lots of time in small group studies. Also looking forward to the main conference sessions next week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Led a basketball clinic today. As we were setting up, a man from the surrounding community came over to see us and asked what we were doing.  We told him and then he said he wanted Jesus in his life.  One of the men then told him the Plan of Salvation and he accepted Jesus as his Savior.   Then he went around the area telling everyone what he had done and how he already felt a change in his life.  One of the pastors commented in the next training session that he had always told people you can only preach from the altar in the church.  But now he sees you can preach holding a basketball, in a craft class, playing games, or just having fun with people. AMEN and AMEN.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, plans are to go see the Minister of Communications and Media of Burundi. His name is Freddie. He wants to know about the SHARE Ministry and when we can start SHARE in Burundi. He believes it can help his people. Freddie says he thinks the SHARE Ministry can also help spread the message about Jesus all over his country. He wants it and is ready. Aynaki will begin working with him as soon as possible.  What a door God is opening.

After all of this we were nearing the end of the mission trip.  Will fly back to the United States on Monday afternoon.  God did a great job during the mission. trip. Around 25 people were saved, over 250 attended the pastors and workers training, and many more learned how to share their faith in many different and new ways.