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.

Adventures on the Beach in Lagos

Today you will not believe this story, but I promise you that it is true and not made up.

The Pastor’s Seminar went fantastic!  We expected 50 to 60 and had about 100 plus.  They came from across denominations with the requirement of being senior pastors and limited to one per church.  They were Anglican, Four Square, Baptist, Pentecostal, Assembly of God, and others. I gave 30 to 40 minute sessions with 25 minutes of small groups after each.  We had a lunch break and finished an hour late at 3pm. The pastors were humble, teachable, and asked honest questions about relationships and the equipping of workplace leaders.  The Navigator staff here will help coach them in the process.  Each got my Horses book which was printed here in Lagos.

Now comes the fun part.  We left the conference center at 3:30pm just in time for Lagos traffic. It took us 3 and 1/2 hours to go just a few miles.  What would take just 45 minutes to the home of my hosts took that long just to start.

We would sit sometimes for 10 to 15 minutes without moving at all. The street vendors were out in force with all the normal stuff like fruit, candy, cds, magazines, books, watches, and phone cards.  But they had more like toilet covers, dog collars and leads, clocks, and even hair clippers.  Their presentation was the best that I have seen in the world. In between all the cars were hundreds of motor bikes with the drivers carrying a passenger on the back. They are like fast high risk taxis by motor bike.

So we stopped by the home of one of his friends, got a very needed restroom break, had some juice then switched to a borrowed SUV.  Next we headed out to the beach to get out of the Lagos traffic.

With the light rain there were many deep ruts and traffic was spread over 4 or 5 lanes at times and coming right at us.  It was exciting the first few minutes then we got in ruts and nearly got stuck but made it out much to the dismay of those who wanted to make money to rescue us. Then we sputtered and finally realized that we were out of gas. Out of gas at 8pm on the beach in the dark in Lagos!!!

Just got gas and trying to start car… So our adventure continues.  I will let you know tomorrow  if we ever  make it home.

Ethiopian Airlines

Well, as it usually is, my first impressions were wrong again!

This flight has been great.  The plane, a Boeing 767, is nice.  It is only 20% full with people sleeping everywhere.  I am too big to do the lie down in 4 chairs thing, but I slept well and got in another couple of hours which gave me 4 for the night over 2 flights.  That will get me by.  I will now be 7 hours ahead of OKC in time.

Wrong on the meal again!  Never believe the schedule or your experience, just continue to stay flexible.  Not breakfast at the first or before landing but a wonderful fish lunch with rice and veggies half way thru 6 hour flight.

So this experience was pleasant, where as the first flight was an old plane, packed, tight seats, and hassle on luggage.

I did get the draft of the second article done at the airport and am ready for a new adventure inNigeria for the first time in 20 years.  I really want to help these business leaders with biblical, creative ideas as they are living in a very corrupt business and government climate. I want to encourage and teach and train the leaders and build bridges for the pastors also.

Nigeria has been in the news with killings in Jos and other events, so we need to be alert and sensitive to opportunities.

So after an immigration (I had to get a very expensive visa here ahead of time) experience and time to clean up and get settled, I should be ready to go. This evening may be easy, but tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday should bring public and private ministry and many new friends.

That is what it is all about and worth the pain and difficulties just to make an eternal difference in the lives of a few key leaders. I continually look for the 20% and the 4%…

So let the search begin.

Ethiopia

Well, I will visit Ethiopia for 3 hours.

Got my 2 to 3 hours of sleep on the plane.

It was an old Boeing 727 which is small for a 5 hour international flight.  My seat was exit aisle 15 J .  Appears to be a seat on wide body plane but it is only wishful thinking numbering. It was really seat “D” on a 6 seat wide 727.  I was just very thankful for the leg room.

Guessed wrong on meal

They said breakfast on my travel agent schedule, but we took off and slept hard for 30 to 45 minutes then they turned on the lights and we had  a lunch. Not bad, chicken and rice and veggies – at 1:30 am.  So I didn’t need to get a sandwich for dinner at the Israeli airport.

This is a poor country but airport is not too bad. No phone or internet connection here or airline club.  I will take out my computer and write my second article about the trip or maybe one I am doing for a Canadian magazine.

Heading south…

International Travel

Well, I made it through Israel security checks with no problems.  However, one of our party this afternoon is a USA citizen now, but grew up in Egypt.  He came to the USA in 1994. They were nice, but questioned him for an hour as we were coming in.  Since I am an OLD man with gray hair then I look harmless I guess…

But, it still took me 105 minutes because I got hassled for luggage on Ethiopian Airlines. Had to pay over $100 in excess baggage charges for 2 bags vs. 1 and 2 carry ons…a rip off.  NO other airline allows only 1 carry on and they should have honored the American Airline complete round trip ticket as most airlines honor the starting carrier’s terms.  So that took an extra 40 minutes even when I was first in line after getting here 4 hours early. Oh well the joys of travel.

A NOTE– Israel has the tightest security in the world yet they allow on water bottles through security.  I think our USA rules are a joke and just help sell more water.

Overall I got through the process just great!!

I love the food here in Israel and Palestine.  I had apricots and dates every morning.  The dates were the best that I have ever had anywhere.

Africa will present me a whole new menu of choices although I could go without and do fine.  Although I have been able to reduce my steroids after 3 weeks of overload, I am still on the edge.  When I get home it may be serious diet time again if I can just get the dosage down.

It is near midnight and I need 2 or 3 hours on each flight.  I will lose an hour and will only be 7 hours ahead when I reach Nigeria.  In traveling we keep track of weird things like time zones and currency conversion and important things like two passports, etc.

The trip is about one third done.  See you in two weeks. 10 to 14 days is fine and 17 days pushes it, but 22 days is tough.  I just could not get back in time to leave again.  The first part has exceeded my expectations and I sense ALL the prayers.  So I can not wait to see what is next.  God is so good to allow us to meet his children around the world and have immediate fellowship.  What a deal!!