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15 December, 2011

an African moment

I (Christine) recently had an “African moment.”  These occur when we least expect them.  My recent one occurred while in the backseat of our car as we were driving back to our house in the late afternoon. I “heard” the sound of zebras, sort of a barking call.  We rounded a corner and I saw a group of vultures out on the plains.  My first thought was to wonder if a lion had killed a zebra and attracted the vultures.  As we got closer, like a second or less later, I laughed at myself as we drove by a large group of Canadian geese honking and feeding in the grass field. 

This happens not infrequently.  We see something, and based on our recent perspectives, setting, etc. we interpret it wrongly.  We hear and/or see what is not there.  We distort what is true, what is, through what has been.  Not a good thing!

This recent “African moment” is a good reminder to me that as I am preparing to go into another culture I need to be sure I pay close attention.  I dare not automatically interpret what I see, what I hear, and what I experience based on what I have experienced in the past.  I need to be culturally intelligent, putting myself into a learning posture and observing others.  I need to be willing to change, being different as well as doing differently.  I have much to learn.

We have lived in Kenya for 20 years.  I know pretty well how to conduct myself within that culture.  I have a fair understanding of the culture I lived in there.  I feel at home there.  I have a sense of belonging and connectedness.

Now God has invited us to leave Kenya and join him in what he is doing in Uganda.  God chose us to participate with him in connecting people in Uganda to Jesus.  It is so important that we look for what God is already doing.  It would be so wrong if we showed up and interpreted everything through the lens of Kenyan experiences.  We are asking God to give us cultural intelligence to enable us to learn what is, not assuming from what has been.   

22 November, 2011

African Connections all around us!

We are amazed!  It has been eye-opening for us to find out how many friends, churches and small groups know one or more people in Kenya or Uganda.  One of our hopes throughout our transition and preparation for Uganda is that we might be able to build a network of acquaintances with whom we can learn from and fellowship with when we are in Uganda.  It is fun to see how God is bringing network information to us.

So many people have an African connection.  Early this month we were privileged to meet with a group of folks gathering at least monthly to pray for people in Africa for the past 11 years!   A couple of churches we recently visited have people just returning from or heading out to Africa.  People have shown us photos of African children, businesses or other interests they help support.  Other folks have let us know that the recent political unrest in much of Africa has led them to pray for the people of Africa to know Truth Himself. 

This is a small world indeed and we are so grateful to know God is at work in so many ways, so many places, through so many people.  What a privilege to have an African connection, and be part of others connecting too!!

16 October, 2011

Blessings of an African Connection

The colors of Fall continue to develop in our area.   One of the highlights for us each Fall when we are in the US, is to experience American football on the TV or attend a game in person.   Yesterday we had the opportunity to travel to Independence, Oregon to visit some some friends and watch their son playing a couple of short football games.   The temperatures were definitely indicative of Fall so we were "bundled up" against the cold.  

Chris with the King family
We enjoyed our visit with The King family, who are part of our connection in Africa.   During Chris' junior and senior years at Rift Valley Academy, the Kings were his dorm family.  They are now in Oregon on furlough.  We are blessed through this African connection!!!

As the Fall colors continue to develop, we recognize God's joy in demonstrating His love to us through His creation and His people.  How is God  using you to bring joy to others? 

13 October, 2011

Oh! Ohhhh!

Fall is our favorite season of the year.  Experiencing Fall in the Willamette Valley of Oregon makes it the best!  The crisp, cool air and resultant leaf color changes give image to Fall.  It always reminds us that God put order into his creation.  He is the God of order, not of chaos or confusion.  His creation gives evidence of this all throughout, but Fall is particularly poignant, I think.

Maple leaves
Salmon return to their birthing place to spawn.  Geese migrate.  Tree nuts mature and drop to the ground.  Squirrels store up winter supplies.  Apples sweeten, bursting with flavor and color.  Farm animals put on heavier coats.  Chrysanthemums bloom brilliantly.   “That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me.”  (Isaiah 45:6, NASB)  All of creation moves together like a well-rehearsed symphony harmoniously following a “maestro” conductor.

Hazelnuts on the ground waiting for harvest
Yesterday we experienced anew these views of Fall while exploring outside  with our one-year old  great nephew.  He toddled around outside in the crisp air, stopping to bend over and look at red and yellow leaves on the ground while exclaiming, “Oh!  Ohhh!” while sporting a big grin of wonderment.  Upon hearing geese calling in the sky he quickly looked upward, pointed, and again gave his familiar, “Oh!  Ohhhh!”    It seemed everything drew him in with wonder and excitement.

We are in a new season of our lives.  Our children are all in college or beyond.  We are transitioning from serving in Kenya to serving in Uganda.  We want to embrace this change of seasons with the same wonder and excitement as our nephew, noticing what God is doing and exclaiming, “Oh!  Ohhh!” while sporting a big grin of wonderment!

08 October, 2011

African Connection

You may be wondering where we came up with the title of our blog, "African Connection."    I guess, to put it simply, we have had a personal connection with Africa for so many years as we have served in Kenya with World Gospel Mission that it seemed a natural "fit."    In addition, many of you have your own connection in Africa through participation with our ministry team through the years.   Together we have an African connection.    A connection that transforms lives and connects people to Jesus.

We trust our blog will strengthen our connection to Africa and her people, as well as to each other.  We invite your comments and feedback as a vital part of our connection. 

06 October, 2011

Here we are!

 Well, here we are finally moving into the world of blogging.   We have been following others blogs for a long time and felt now is the time to join the world of "blogging."

Our desire is to use this blog to  provide you with information about the work of World Gospel Mission (WGM) and Africa Gospel Church (AGC) in Uganda and to give you regular updates on our preparation for and ministries in WGM Uganda.   If you would like to receive notifications when we post to the blog, enter your e-mail under the "Follow by email" below and to the left.

Stay tuned!