From the Chairman
I just returned from an incredible 5 day experience in Turkana, teaching over 60 pastors and 20 Share staff in leadership, teambuilding and financial principles at our SEND Center in Lodwar. This year, we extended our usual training by several days following the STORM activities to enable our pastors and staff the opportunity of getting additional learning in areas that will help them better manage their ministries and enhance their personal leadership skills. As I led each session, I was absolutely amazed at how hungry these men and women are to become better leaders and servants. I sensed it was a real blessing to the participants and can tell you it was a real blessing for me to lead, engage and encourage them for these days. These men and women are so committed to the Lord and the vision of Share. They want to be the very best that God wants them to be as they seek to be obedient to their calling of “sharing the Gospel and their very lives” in the Turkana region. I think great things are in store for this ministry as God blesses our obedience to Him.
A few additional highlights of my trip include:
- Seeing Share leaders wash the feet of the pastors and staff to demonstrate how “servant leadership” works.
- Spending time with the family of our COK child in a remote village, sharing gifts and renewing my friendship with them. One of the gifts they gave me was a goat. That made for an interesting decision for me. How was I going to get it back to Minnesota and did I really want to be a goat farmer?
- Visiting the new homes of 2 old men in their villages and seeing the joy on their faces as they gave thanks to Share donors who had recently built them these simple but protective structures. I wept as I hugged these men and realized that they rely on God for the very basics of life. Share donors are so generous and the recipients are so gracious and thankful for the wonderful gifts they receive.
- Seeing an elderly old Turkana man, one of our earliest converts, at the SEND Center one morning and realizing that he had walked 6 hours from his village simply to visit Sammy and me one last time before we departed for America. Distance does not stop these people from connecting with those they love.
- Meeting with 3 pastors that I am privileged to support and hear more about their ministry successes and challenges and praying with them. They live in very remote places to share the Gospel. Life is not easy for these men but they are faithful servants of the Lord. It is a blessing to partner with them and to know that they are doing God’s work.
- Seeing one of our pastors being served (bathed, walked, fed) by another pastor who faithfully cared for him as he was recovering from a very serious physical illness.
- Watching our Sunday School teachers (who had spent a week being trained) receive new Turkana Bibles to enable them to be better teachers in their villages. A Bible is a prized and cherished gift to these people. We are so pleased to be able to provide them with God’s Word.
- Walking around the SEND Center and praising God for all who gave to make it so functional and effective in carrying out this ministry. I had meals each day in the dining hall that Tyndale Foundation so graciously funded. I slept comfortably in one of the cottages that was given by a wonderful donor. I taught each day in the training/worship center that will hold upwards of 200 people. I saw hundreds of new trees being planted on the site, to improve the property and provide more shade in this hot and dry place. What an oasis this is for those who get to use it.
- Worshipping with Kenyan men and women in ways you can only experience or understand by being there. Our Sunday worship service extended nearly 3 hours but went so fast. (I have been in worship services in America that lasted an hour but felt like 3). These people know how to worship! We have much to learn in this area.
Last, but not least, it was such a pleasure spending time with Sammy, several of our US and Kenya board members, our 2015 STORM team members and the Share staff, breaking bread with them, praying with them and connecting with them on a very personal level. These people are very committed to this ministry and to the vision that Sammy had 25 years ago of “sharing the Gospel and our very lives with the unreached people of Turkana Africa”. To God be all the glory for His provision for this ministry and for enabling each to serve Him in ways only He can call us to do.