News from the ILI Summit
I am now flying back after a teaching mission to the Netherlands and Kenya. I have been a part of the International Leadership Institute's work in connecting pastors and church leaders across the globe to leadership training. We completed a Leadership Summit for ILI alumni in East Africa. I taught the alumni on two topics: Building Teams for Kingdom Ministry; and Conflict Management. I also spoke three times in worship services while in Africa. I always learn more from these pastors on the front lines than I can take to them. They a[appreciate so much when Americans come to them to teach and share practical tools for ministry. The alumni at the Kenya ILI training were from 8 countries in East Africa - places of poverty and developing areas. And some of them were from places where persecution is a regular occurrence. Their stories of faithfulness among overwhelming challenges inspire me to be more faithful and determined to serve the Lord sacrificially. One of the pastors I taught is from the south part of Kenya where two tribes are presently in conflict. Churches are being burned, innocent people killed and homes burned. This pastor has seen 75% of his congregation flee to safe areas. Yet at the end of the conference he returned to his home area committed to serve and preach Christ among threats and hardships.
Two of the Kenyan delegates will soon be married. She is the director of a home for orphans and he will be planting a church for unreached people. I spoke to a delegate from Ethiopia that said he is presently caught up in a major conflict within his church. My workshop gave him practical teaching to lead them through the divisions with a plan and renewed hope. We knelt and prayed together for the people involved and I asked the Lord to protect him and his wife from criticism and suffering.
I was especially encouraged that many of the delegates were young adults. They are very visionary and see the church as the place where they can work together to bring hope and healing to their nations. I prayed with three young adults who long to go to seminary and are now working to save for classes and hoping for scholarship assistance. For most of these pastors, ILI training is the only training they will ever receive. When we present them a certificate of completion for the course, they are thrilled. For a majority of them, it is the first certificate they have ever received since primary school.
My thanks to my church for praying for me and allowing me to take this time to teach and encourage our sisters and brothers in Europe and Africa. They asked me to thank you and for you to continue to pray for them as they grow churches and ministries. I also thank my sponsors beyond Sugar Hill and my family for supporting this mission. This has been good for my soul and I return with renewed zeal and vision for the work of the kingdom here in the states and with renewed hope for the future of the Methodist movement. Our churches and pastors in Africa are leading the way to a new future where the people called Methodists are reaching the lost and bringing hope to hurting and broken people.