It’s hard to believe it was just two weeks ago that I arrived home from our training in Northern Uganda. The route home took an add route through Johannesburg, South Africa and a fifteen hour flight to Atlanta. Three legs and twenty-one hours of flying time makes for a long commute home from work. It’s become kinda normal to adjust for a day or two, then get busy prepping for the next training trip (Luzon Philippines, Oct. 25-Nov. 6). Of course I also had responsibilities at Target Field which wrapped up the regular season for me on Saturday night. That night I was given responsibility to work in a suite with the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic and his entourage, Nelson Cruz’s father, and his trainer (whose body is an effective advertisement for his work). I’ve worked in just about every part of Target Field this year and I already have an invitation to return next year… but first we have some playoff baseball to take care of (which, sadly, will not include a match up with the Cubs)!
One of the amazing things God was doing during this particular week of training was opening my eyes to the power of unity. We are experiencing the fruit of so many serving King Jesus with real devotion and gifting. This was the second of nine training sessions with this cohort and I am in awe of how God has worked to bring us to this point. This course is titled “Knowing the Bible’s Story”. The TLI curriculum team has developed an outstanding tool which gives the students a clear and concise understanding of the unified message of God’s Word. The one sentence summary of the course says, “For His glory, God is reconciling the world to himself under King Jesus, and God has revealed his plan and work from Genesis to Revelation.” I have been privileged to witness the gifted curriculum writers develop and test this material. By the end of the week everyone in our learning group (including me!) was so energized to see the unified message of God’s redeeming plan. The curriculum includes simple images we could draw as we told each other the amazing and unfolding message of the Bible. A part of the student’s assignment between courses is to teach what they learned to someone else. My guys were so pumped to do that!
But I also had the privilege of serving with Larry Szyman and Dan Fosterling. I have known Larry since our call to New Richmond. And, Dan was and is, an elder with FCCH who interviewed me as a potential church planter for Faith. It was an honor to serve with both of them and learn from them.
You will remember, if you’ve kept up with the plans for this cohort in Gulu, we are training six wonderful men of God as Lead Trainers. As we go through these courses these six will begin leading sessions with our next course. But, they have been organizing each small group we call clusters to meet between our courses for encouragement and accountability. They have done so well. The have also led in our classroom with our review, our daily quizzes, and working on our memory verse. The memory verse for this course was Luke 24:25-27. He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Luke 24:25-27
But none of this would be playing out like this without the gifted team at Four Corners Ministry. FCM serves as our boots on the ground team. They organized much of the application and interview work that went into recruiting the men we are training. They provide the facility and care for the housing and food for all of us. They manage the budget and track outcomes. Kris Mobbs leads FCM and he leads his team so very well.
Of course in these few months the Spirit of God has done a work unifying each of the men in this training. In preparation we met with these men and together developed a vision statement we believed God was pressing us toward… “An abiding network of Gospel-centered, Bible-saturated, African-led churches.” My heart resonated with that statement as it came together this past January. As God has brought into increasing unity the call gets louder and louder. I love these gifted men and the churches they represent. I am so grateful for the privilege of serving with them and representing the U.S. churches who make the work I do possible. Thank you. Please pray that the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace might continue as we grow together, for God’s glory.