I arrived back in Traverse City on Monday.  I had 9 flights over 13 days.  I was in 3 countries (Kenya, Tanzania and a layover in the Netherlands) and met a lot of incredible people.

Having only been back for only a couple days there is no way for me to have processed the full significance of what I saw and experienced in Africa but I will share a few thoughts:

1.  Thank you!  First, thanks to my awesome wife who held down the fort with the four kids.  Thanks to Ben and the staff for holding down the fort here at Sojourn.  Thanks to all who prayed for me during this trip.  Thanks to the Sojourn Missions Team who approved the funds for me to go on this trip.  (Those funds are from generous giving that is designated to our Missions Fund.  If you have never given to our Missions Fund, it is a great way to participate in spreading the gospel all over the globe.  Just designate any amount to "Missions" and drop it in the Giving Boxes.)  

2.  The needs really are great.  East Africa is beautiful with beautiful people but the conditions are difficult.  Many of the nation's economies are struggling.  Health Care is very bad or extremely expensive (for a "good" hospital).  The HIV/AIDS issue is on the rise though no one in Africa wants to talk about it.  To complicate matters, Tuberculosis is a fast growing concern...so much so that significant measures are being taken in an effort to curb its spread.  The orphan crisis is ongoing with many street kids and many others who are abused and uncared for.  (Ebola has not yet come to East Africa but there is a growing fear that it will.)  Christ's Hope International, the organization I went with, is working to meet these needs...and to bring the eternal hope of Jesus into the lives of those affected by these tragedies.

3.  How can we help?  The goal of my trip was to take some steps in answering this question.  Our church has known about Christ's Hope for about 6 years now.  We have prayed for them and wondered about the possibility of partnering.  My time was very helpful.  I saw all aspects of their ministry.  I visited their orphan ministry, I participated with their Care & Compassion Ministry...I even sat in on some of their ministry evaluation meetings.  They closed no doors to me.  I am thankful for them and I pray that my time there ultimately serves us in our effort to find the best international partners.  Please pray for me, Ben and our Missions Team as we work to most effectively use our time, energy and money to pursue the Great Commission globally.  And please pray for the people of East Africa.

See you Sunday!