Off to Kenya

I depart with my son for Kenya this coming Wednesday for a quick trip lasting eight days. During that time, I will visit some of our partners, do some seminars for married couples (on how our personalities create opportunities and challenges in marriage), do some purpose sessions and do some one-on-one coaching. My son has started an organization called WEEP (Women's Equal Educational Program), so he will be visiting some local organizations to help establish his work there.

I don't like to let a year go by between visits, especially when I am returning next February with a group. I like to make sure I am up-to-speed on any changes in passport control, airport procedures or the country in general. I am taking money with me to help out our partners, along with some books, computers and otheJS with Irener resources to assist our friends.

I am heading up to Kitale for my first visit, and will work with my purpose protege, Irene Mureithi (pictured right), who will be be there for the weekend. I will be assisting her as we work with couples to talk about purpose and personality using the DISC profile.

My thanks to you for praying and giving toward the latest matching grant. You made my trip possible, but I need your help even as I get ready to go. Please pray for traveling safety and consider giving a last minute gift toward the work in Kenya. I know the needs are great since the Kenya shilling has decreased in value against the dollar. That means it takes more shillings to do the same work as a year ago. That is due in large part to the countrywide drought that ruined this year's crops. You can give toward our food fund using PayPal on my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and be watching my Facebook page and this blog for trip updates.


Humbled

As you are aware, I shipped over 179 boxes of books, shoes and supplies this past January.  Most of it went 1 David and Groupto the library project in Banana, but I kept out a few boxes of leadership books for a pastor whom I met in west Kenya, in the town of Bomet.  David Koech is not only a pastor, but the founder and overseer of the Kenduiwo Orphanage (pictured right with our team in 2011).  I met David through Chuck and Amy Bemm and I was immediately impressed with David and his leadership capabilites.

1 David and LibraryI promised David I would help him build a library (you can see the orphan's current library at left - click to enlarge), so these boxes were the downpayment on that promise. I called David when I arrived in Kenya and he was excited to hear about the books. He immediately made plans to come to Nairobi to pick up the five boxes.  I heard from him around 8 this morning, saying he would arrive at the hotel around 9 AM.  When he arrived, I went to the lobby to meet him and he was with a local friend and his son.

When I asked him what time he left home, he told me 3 AM!  What's more, he took public transportation 1 Boxesthe entire way.  That meant he had to take those five heavy boxes (pictured right) back with him another six hours on the same public transportation, which meant those boxes were probably strapped to the top of a bus. What's more, David had never been to the Hilton Hotel where I am staying and needed to meet someone here to show him how to get here. He is quite a man and leader.

I am not sure I would ride twelve hours on public transport in the same day to pick up five boxes of books, but that is the calibre of leader that David is. When he told me of the maize crisis in west Kenya, I also gave him a large donation toward the purchase of food for the orphans, along with copies of my latest book and two copies of the Jesus film in Kswahili and English.  David had never heard of the the Jesus film.

I was humbled by David's commitment and his genuine appreciation for these small acts of kindness toward him.  He asked that I consider coming to his area next February with our team for some leadership training with his leaders and churches.  How can I say no? 

1 SheilaAfter my encounter with David, I walked over to Easy FM for my interview with Sheila (pictured left), and was confronted with the reason why I am here this week (I tried to leave and get home early). I was supposed to meet Sheila!  I had a profiling session with her today after the show that I know changed her life's course, and I was awed that God would leave me here for this week just to meet Sheila (and David). I have been fretting over my lack of seminars this week to pay for the trip (I had planned two), and was striving to make the most of the time. I don't think I am going to fret any longer.

This is how life is supposed to be lived:  Doing what you love in the will of God. Thank You, Lord, that you have enabled me to do the things I have done. To God be the glory!


Coming to Zimbabwe

1 Zim 5 CompsAfter a four-year break, I am coming back to Zimbabwe on November 26 to work with Pastor Evan Mawarire and His Generation Church.  I will be speaking at His Blueprint Purpose all week until December 4, and will have two one-day seminars, one on Wednesday, November 30 and another on Saturday, December 3.  The Wednesday 1 Zim Conferenceseminar will be my seminar, The Five Competencies of Global Leaders. The Saturday seminar wiil be Getting Your Life Back on Track: A Study of Purpose and Goals.  I am attaching the fliers for the conference and Wednesday seminar.  If you live in Zimbabwe, you can call the church for more info or to register. 

I can't wait to get back and reconnect with all my friends and a country that I love.  It's been too long. 


A Request from Kenya

The Sophia Fund helps feed the orphans at Upako Center in Nairobi.  I recently received this email from Pastor Francis who runs the orphanage:

We thank God for the help we have been receiving from Sophia funds to feed the orphans at Upako  centre.We really thank God for the support. In the last year,s National  primary examination,we had 6 children who sat for the exam and passed successfully and would like to continue to high school and have no funds to continue to secondary level,;it is my request that if possible,Sophia organization can help educate 3 girls in the group as we finds alternatives for the boys. Please see if you can help and advise accordingly.


When I inquired how much the education would be, Pastor Francis responded that it would cost $850 per year for each girl. I inquired with some other friends if this was expensive or not, and they assured me the price is reasonable, even cheap.

So I promised Pastor Francis I would put the word out and that is what I am doing.  If you would like to send these girls to school, you can give through my website or send a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 91099, Pittsburgh, PA 15221. Make sure you mark your contribution Kenya education.  Even though I depart this coming Friday, you can contribute at any time in the next few weeks.  I depart Kenya on February 19 and can let Pastor Francis know then what has come in.  Thank you!

P.S.  If you want to subscribe to my travel blog to receive regular updates from Kenya, you can go to the site and look up my individual site, which is listed as CUBM. 



Off to the UK

I depart on Thursday for the UK and then on the 28th for Kenya. It's been six months since my last international trip and I have found that you get slightly out of sync when you resume travel after a long layoff. You have to try and remember all the little things that you need to take with you in order to have everything you want or need.  What's more, I always have to take a lot of supplies - profiles, books, class work, requests from friends for more books or supplies, and, oh yes, my clothes for a diverse schedule over two and a half weeks away.  This looks like a three-suitcase trip ahead of me.

You can access my schedule on my website to see where I will be and what I will be doing.  If you live in Kenya or the UK, I hope you will be able to join me for one of my public sessions.  I return home on October 5 and will be home for the rest of the year. 


After the Show

CBA 1 I got home late Tuesday night from the Christian Booksellers Convention. It was smaller than last year, which has been the trend for the last few years. The economy and changing times continue to batter the Christian retail industry and no one seems to know how to stop the downward trend. I had the privilege of moderating a prayer meeting after hours on the exhibit hall floor, which everyone says was a first at the show.  I was honored to be selected as 75 people gathered to pray and ask for God's help.  The president and chairman of the board were present for our prayer time and people were still talking about it the next day. 

I had two book signings at my publisher's booth and met with some old friends and made some new ones.  I Seven Steps Cover had two media interviews, one on radio and one on television, and went from booth to booth promoting my own verse-by-verse Bible studies, for which I am still searching for a publisher.  Everyone tells me that Bible studies don't sell.  I tell them, "Mine will" but still I search.  I am pictured above signing a book while my publisher, Brian Banashak, stands ready to promote my book to all who happened to pass by. 

By the way, this month you can get my latest book, Changing the Way We Do Church, when you make a  $35 contribution to The Sophia Fund, which helps feed AIDS orphans and widows in Africa.   You can use the "Chipin" widget on my blog site to contribute, go directly to my website to contribute there through PayPal, or send a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 91099, Pittsburgh, PA 15221. Of course, you can always just purchase a copy through PayPal for $13 plus shipping.  I am excited about this latest release and pray God will use it for His purpose of building and reforming His church.

Next year's event will be held in late June in St. Louis, a first for CBA.  I think now that the show is smaller, the convention can be held in cities with smaller exhibit halls.  My plans are to have two books ready for next year and a desk calendar for my Daily Dose of Proverbs, with God's help of course. What are your goals for the coming year?


ICRS

I am in Denver for the International Christian Retailer's Show (ICRS), which used to be known as the Christian Bookseller's Convention.  I try to come every year to see what is going on in the Christian retail world and to premier a new book, which is my annual goal.  So I will do two book signings for book store owners, do media interviews, emcee the first ever prayer meeting in the exhibit hall itself (when business is bad we all turn to God!), and connect with old friends and associates.  I have probably attend 11 of the last 13 of these events and they rotate them around the country. Then I will be back in Pittsburgh Tuesday evening.

I hope to lay the groundwork to publish two more books this year and redo one that is already published.  That may be too ambitious, but I want to set the bar high, so to speak, and see what I can do.  What are your current goals?


The Summit

I spent part of the weekend with my friends, Bill and Evie von Husen, who pastor The Summit in Hackensack, NJ along with Gary and Kathy Schmidt.  The Summit is the result of two churches merging into one, which can sometimes be a tricky process.  Why is that?  It is because the two churches never quite mesh as they seek to become one and the challenges are usually, but not always, at the leadership level.

The Summit has been meeting for seven weeks and it all looks pretty good from my perspective.  The people are excited, leadership is flowing together. and there certainly was a good spirit in the Sunday meeting. I met with those in leadership on Saturday night and  Sunday afternoon and we talked about a variety of topics. They asked good questions and I enjoyed my time with them, and hope I contributed something that will make their jobs a little bit easier.

On Sunday morning, I spoke on the story of Jonathan and his armor-bearer from 1 Samuel 14 and gave it the title Cliffhanger Faith.  There is a chance I will speak on that in my home church in two weeks, so I will hold off sending out the PowerPoint slides until then.  In the meantime, I pray all God's blessings on The Summit as they impact the Hackensack area with the power of the gospel.  Keep up the good work all.


A Good Evening

On Monday evening, I had the privilege of being a guest in the home of Dr. Tony and Sheila Stone in Stoutbridge.  Dr. Tony is a retired by active saint who traveled extensively with Billy Graham and Reinhard Bonnke.  Last Christmas Tony bought Sheila my devotional, A Daily Dose of Proverbs.  When they heard I was in the UK, they took it upon themselves to assemble a group of friends in their home to hear me speak. We got there early and Sheila served us a wonderful lamb dinner and then we had dessert when the meeting was over.  Of course, I talked about purpose and we had a grand time together.  It truly was a special evening.

Then on Tuesday, I had no meetings so I decided to plow forward with my new book, Changing the Way We Do Church: Seven Steps to Reformation.  It is due to the publisher by April 15, but I was not sure I would be able to meet the deadline. On Tuesday, however, I spent the day writing and, since this is all material I have taught and outlined, I was able to make great progress. I am now optimiistic that I can meet the deadline.  We shall see.

Wednesday I am off to Revelation TV for an evening primetime interview with live call-in comments and questions.  Then I have more meetings throughout the week as I continue to promote my books and the purpose message. For now, I am back to work on the book, in hopes that I can continue to make the progress that I enjoyed on Tuesday.  Back to work!


Direct to Birmingham

I flew over to the UK last Friday, this time out of Newark directly to Birmingham instead of London. What a great way to go! There were no lines at customs and I was the first one out to the arrivals hall at 6:30 AM.  My host picked me up and I was at my hotel asleep by 8 AM.  Although I flew over via Continental on a Boeing 757, my least favorite aircraft in the world, it worked out for the best.

Yesterday I spoke at two local churches, one in Burton on Trent and the other in Walsall, where I am staying.  The former was at Christian International Family Church, where Steve and Jen Watson are pastors.  To my surprise, Steve and Jen remembered me from 1994 when I was traveling with the Integrity Music teams and came to Birmingham.  It was just another encouragement that the Lord seems to be sending my way frequently these days.  I guess I need it.

Steve and Jen have done a super job leading their church.  I sensed a lot of love and servant-leadership in their work.  By the way, their church building burned to the ground last November and they are meeting in The Guild Hall in Burton on Trent, which happens to be the venue for Coors Brewery in the UK. And that reminds me, when we had communion in the church, they used real wine.  I haven't had wine in communion for probably 20 years.  I resisted the temptation to go back for seconds.

We had many good laughs while I spoke and the people were gracious and patient as I rambled on and on.  Then 22 of us went out to lunch afterwards.  On the way back to my hotel, I said to Dave and Pam, my hosts, "I think we just had fellowship." It was a great time.

Then last night, I spoke at The Rock Church in Walsall, pastored by Ian Evans. I was so impressed with the work the Lord has done through Ian, who started the church three years ago. He had a nice Sunday night crowd and the people were very receptive.  Afterwards, we ate Caribbean chicken (I think it was "jerk" chicken) and I signed some books and chatted with the people about purpose.  All in all, it was a great first day in the UK.  Once again, I found someone in that church in Walsall who remembered my visit in 1994.

Now I have some more meetings leading up to my live television appearance on Revelation TV's World in Focus show on Revelation TV this coming Wednesday, April 1, from 9.15 to 10:30 PM.  If you live here, you can call in your questions from 10:00 to 10:30.  So today will be a writing day until my meeting tonight. Let's see how much I can get done between now and then.