Ostrich Farm

I am packing up and ready to head to the airport but first I have to tell you about the Ostrich Farm…

I am staying at a remote resort which is on an ostrich farm.  The resort has 5 rooms in the main building and 15 huts;  they are in the process of expanding and building 24 more rooms.  I have been one of few guests but they are very busy at times.  I have eaten ostrich meat twice and it is good.

They have 700 ostrich now but can have up to 2-3,000.  It is the largest farm in central Africa and one of the largest in the entire country.  They breed them and the eggs are huge, weighing a couple of pounds.  They need a lot of care the first 30 days.  They go through breeder pens and are kept according to age.  By 3 or 4 months they are getting big.  By 8 months they can be harvested and used for their meat, their feathers, and their valuable skin. The white feathers are the most valuable and are used by men in weddings.

The ostrich can run 60 km per hour (36 mph) and can weigh up to 150 kg ( 330 lbs) or more.  You can get up to 40kg or 90 lbs of meat from one ostrich.  I got to see the red neck one and the blue neck ones which are used in riding.  One red neck got on his knees and spread his feathers for me as they do in the mating dance.  What a sight!!

The older ones kept for breeding are up to 8 to 10 years of age.  Their legs are magnificent and strong. Their nails are sharp and they have only two toes.

So that is a short course in ostrich education.  I enjoyed seeing them up close.

Heading home from a wonderful trip with many fond memories.

Church in Kenya

Today was the third Sunday of this long trip.  The first was spent worshiping in Bethlehem with Palestinian believers, the second was in Lagos, Nigeria, in a church of financially “well to do” believers, and today we were in the middle of a slum in Athiriver, Kenya, just outside of Nairobi.

I met the pastor, Simon (my host), ten years ago at Amsterdam 2000.  It was a divine appointment and we talk about it and the “curse” in Show and Then Tell. Ten years later I am here spending a week with him and preaching in his church in the slums.

The service lasted over three hours with music, children dancing, my preaching for an hour including translation, and testimonies from a delegation of 8 including the current pastor  from Simon’s former church which he had invited to hear me.

I gave a new talk on nine key verses that had impacted my life.  It was well received particularly by the leaders.  We then had a 3pm lunch with the 8 guests and Simon’s family.  Then we visited Simon’s HIV test center and then Michael at his church just a few miles away in the middle of a busy business district.  I had a time with each couple of prayer and affirming and commissioning.

I believe that we have had some good public ministry here but the primary result seems to be a huge impact and life direction change and methods change for both men.  I sense that they, with a few others, will have a major impact upon many pastors and workplace leaders.  There was an unusual work of the Holy Spirit on both my public and private words on this place.  An obvious answer to the prayers of many.

Tomorrow morning we have some time to write and pack and see the ostriches. Then we head to the airport in the late afternoon to begin our long journey home on the 21st day. We have much reporting and follow-up to do from the 4 countries that we have visited.  The desk will be full and we have 3 key book projects ready to distribute.

The investments made and partnerships formed in particularly Nigeria and here in Kenya have been deep in both relationships and opportunities.  Only God knows what will result.  For me it was definitely worth whatever price physically, spiritually, and financially that I have paid. What a privilege to serve as an Ambassador for the King!!!

Keep praying…

Kenyan Entrepreneurs

Michael is my co-host in Kenya along with Simon.  Michael is a business leader and also pastors a church.  Simon is a pastor and also runs an expanding NGO (non profit charity HIV center).

Michael is 28 years of age and worked his way through school doing what I did for a year also – cleaning rest rooms.  He is the classic entrepreneur.  He has been promoted 4 times and is now the CFO for a large fiber optic company working in 3 or 4 nations. He negotiated a big deal with the government this week including an expansion of a major customer while serving me in several big events that he helped to prepare.

He also owns several businesses and loves Jesus.  Michael hosted us for lunch in his home away from home back in his village, or the town where he grew up, outside of Nairobi, where he now  lives and works and pastors his church.  He bought a new building in this growing town and is remodeling it and will have a guest house with restaurant, internet cafe, a hardware store and more. Many pastors here are in the workplace and entrepreneurs.

Michael represents my hope for the next generation.  I will do anything to help him grow in Christ as a key next generation leader in Kenya.  He is why I travel and write and spend time with young leaders when at home in OKC.

Spent 7 and 1/2 hours driving back and forth to Michael’s second home.  In the US it may have been one third of that.  The back dirt roads, the stand still traffic jams, and the thousands of people on the roadside in the congested areas slow the drive.  Corruption from  former governments has taken billions from basic  needs and lined the pockets of politicians.

We need to appreciate our roads in the US; and water and power without blackouts etc.  We have much to be thankful for.  I will now even write about the slums tonight,  I have a great RESPECT for these folks and what they deal with patiently every day.

I Preach in Simon’s church tomorrow and spend some time with his family and maybe Michael tomorrow.  Day 21 is Monday and we head HOME!

Thanks for praying!

A Good African Time

While dealing with different cultures in various industries within the US for many years, I learned that not every group of people regarded time in the same way.  For example, a sales rep would schedule for 1pm, then call at 2:30pm and say they just arrived at the airport and would be there by 3pm.

But this trip I am having my faith and patience expanded.  Yesterday, a business leader meeting was to be from 5pm to 7pm.  I was worried when they changed our room 3 times and we could not even get in until 5pm to set up. But, my host Simon remained calm. At 5pm there were 10 people, and at 530pm there were maybe 25.  We postponed the start until 6pm.  Everyone was calm but me.  At 6pm we had about 50 plus and were able to begin.

I gave two brief talks with questions in between and was extremely well received. Leaders were there from key government slots, education, and business.  There were a number of pastors who had not attended on Thursday who are also in business.  By 7pm we had maybe 75 to 80 and they kept coming until 830pm. We had dinner and great conversations at 730pm and ended with about 90 to 95 total in attendance. We stayed until 10pm and there were still 25 to 3o people; we heard the last group left at 1130pm. They love to fellowship here.

We sold all the English horses books that I brought from Nigeria and some Swahili that the pastors chose.   Many bought two books and I signed a bunch.  We will continue to give to pastors and sell to workplace leaders and use proceeds to help our local partners raise money and contacts and become resource center for leaders.

My host Simon is prompt and has been such a marvelous servant.  He is in the final approval process of getting government approval for a PASTORS Evangelical Alliance.  This will help spread our teaching for equipping, outward focused churches, and bridge building.

Thanks for praying.

Doing Business in Africa

Had a fascinating evening at the Muthaiga Country Club in Nairobi, the setting for “Out of Africa” and the place where women can still only go into the men’s bar one day a year (January 1st). In the movie, Merrill, the key character, was thrown out.  Very old English type club with such a long history.

My friend, Sam Owen, let me join a meeting he had with 4 guys from a Fortune 100 USA company wanting to do more business in Kenya and Africa. Very sharp international VP.  Sam brought in 3 outstanding business leaders from Nairobi including a former Shell Oil executive and current Google top executive.  I learned a huge amount of stuff about Kenya and Africa and how to do business here.  Fun stuff!!!

Spent some time in the afternoon with Simon at an animal reserve.  Business seminar tomorrow afternoon and evening, tour Saturday, and Simon’s church on Sunday. I fly home Monday evening which is day 21.  I am learning a lot about Kenya from Simon, my host, Sam, and these other key leaders. This is continuing to be a varied and fascinating trip with MANY divine appointments with both workplace leaders, pastors, and others.

I am staying (except tonight I am with  Sam and Lynn) in the “Royal Hagen Suite” at the old remote ostrich resort, where the bath is bigger than my bedroom at home. I have 10 closets with either hanging space or shelves.  This suite could serve an army!

Beautiful grounds!

Thanks for praying!

Kenya

After clearing all the hurdles of the Lagos airport I was off to Kenya.  I got two hours sleep on the plane and arrived at 6am in Nairobi, Kenya. Simon, my friend whom I had met at Amsterdam 2000 was there to meet me.  Because the agent had me to arrive one day late here then I had no grace or rest period.

So we drove to the hotel – which is out on an Ostrich farm in beautiful country.  I took a quick shower, we had a bite to eat, and we were off to the pastor’s conference.  It was at a beautiful setting with tables outside for the lunch and tea breaks.  A local business leader had paid for it all and the pastors were treated really well.

We went from 10am to 430pm with speaking followed by small groups and questions.  There were 40 to 50 pastors from 19 denominations. This went as well here as it had in Lagos – if that is even possible…and their spirit was great – teachable and so receptive to totally new truth.  Nancy, Kenda’s Compassion daughter, was at the airport and with us. She is beautiful and I am so impressed at her grace, maturity, and sweet spirit.  She wrote a song for me and they sang it at the conference.  Beautiful!!! Great to finally meet her.

We then had follow up meetings and a drive back to the ostrich resort. There we waited for some business and church leaders to meet us and had a late dinner with them.

To bed at 11pm makes for a very long day or two for me but my heart is greatly encouraged.

This resort is beautiful and old and very remote.  I think that I may be the only guest and have 6 to 8 people waiting on me. They were disappointed that I would be in Nairobi the next two nights for dinners and not here.  We had another power blackout from probably 1am until 9am.  The food is good; I love the chilled passion fruit juice and the milo (hot chocolate) and even some of the fruits are good that I would never eat at home.

Sight seeing and joining my friend Sam Owen for one of his dinners on Thursday; then business leaders on Friday; visiting country side on Saturday; attending Simon’s church on Sunday.

Thanks for praying.

Off to Kenya

Yesterday (Monday) we had a recap meeting with local staff and I met with a key lay leader / pastor leader from the largest denomination here in Nigeria, Redeemed Church of God.  The top church leader of one or two of the five areas wants these sessions for his pastors.  So…we are discussing coming back this year in the spring or fall and doing sessions for 1,000 pastors in addition to sessions for workplace leaders.

Got up at 4:00 am and met with a group of 12 business leaders.  Now re-packing for the airport and the trip to kenya.  Got a good nap with the fan on, but now I’m sweating in the humidity as we’ve had the power out for several hours.

Will leave this evening and fly overnight to Nairobi, Kenya.  I have wanted to visit Kenya for 20 years and planned to do so in the early 90’s, but never did.  It was one of the most stable countries in Africa until tribal riots two years ago.  I am looking forward to seeing Simon, my host, after 10 years and meeting Nancy, Kenda’s daughter of 20 years thru Compassion, during the time here.

After what I have experienced in Bethlehem and then Nigeria, I cannot see how the trip could be much better, but I am expecting and praying that God will move mightily.

So thanks for your prayers as we fly to Kenya.

The fan just came back on after a 90 minute black out…feels great even if it is just moving hot air!

Movement of God

Last night I sat around the dinner table with 22 business leaders from various industries from around Lagos, Nigeria. Men and women, large companies and small, business owners and corporate executives and professionals. They have met several times over 6 weeks and feel that God is calling them to unite, encourage one another, and take a stand against bribery and corruption in this nation.

We ate dinner and discussed the subject for 3 hours.  I shared with them about small groups, FCCI  and different workplace groups, formats, successes and failures, ministering in the workplace and more.

They will probably call their group The Daniel Network.  There are a number of key mature spiritual leaders in the group.

I had just met with the leader of another network after the church services and 100 leaders from the Navigator leader conference the day before with little overlap on the 3 groups.  So, it appears God is moving among various leaders across this vast city at the same time in a special way in wanting to bring His light to darkened business and government practices.

When you see the passion and commitment in their eyes, you cannot help but overturn every stone to serve them and assist them in their calling.

Church in Nigeria

Wow!!!

Few in the world worship like the church in Nigeria. They’ve got rhythm! Had two hours plus service this morning and I really enjoyed it in Four Square Church. (Baptist and Anglican / Episcopal are also big here.) Worship for 30 minutes, many of the same choruses we sing but with a lot of movement and rhythm. Then, pastor’s wife led several prayers and read scriptures. Next, business guy shared and prayed. After that, the next senior pastor (used to be a music guy) led hymns and some 40 and 50 year old choruses (popular when I was a teen), followed by my introduction.  I preached about 40 minutes, then we had the offering where EVERY member goes to the front in a line just like some (mostly southern) churches in the USA. Next, we had announcements and a skit announcement (just like Davidene would do with 2 women) then a closing prayer. It was a fun service and didn’t seem long. Every chair was filled just with adults.

After meeting for 30 minutes with a strategic workplace leader and pastor (key influence in largest denomination in Nigeria – Redeemer Church of God), we went out for wonderful two hour Chinese lunch with church pastor and key leaders. We meet with 16 key business leaders from diverse areas tonight. It appears God is moving along several fronts on the marketplace and pastors are very open.

It is really fun to sit back and see God open doors. Integrity is the number one issue here. Meeting with several groups of leaders tomorrow.

This is fun and fulfilling but a FULL schedule…

Workplace Conference

Today was a new day after our long day yesterday in the Lagos traffic.  We got home finally last night about 9pm.

This morning we got to the meeting place within 25 minutes only to arrive with few attendees.  At they stated the starting time, we had about 10 people and 20 when we started worship at 9:20am; but by the time that I started around 10am we had about 100 people!  Whereas the pastors were mainly on time the workplace leaders were on African time.  You just have to get use to it.

Response was excellent. We told more stories today. It was a little more passionate but went well both days.  We stressed strongly small groups and relating to pastors and their churches. Met Clem who had been with us on our visit 20 years before and he remembered vividly Davidene’s puppet friend Penelope.

Had Nav staff leadership from 2 other nations who are working on the marketplace and a pastor from a French speaking nation who wants mentoring and help.

So the day went well and we got home in Lagos traffic in only 90 minutes – since it is Saturday.

Another day of encouraging workplace brothers and sisters and seeing them understand how to impact their co-workers.  It ALWAYS lights my fire and keeps me going when even a few are forever changed or at least challenged in their thinking.

Thanks for Praying.