Kenya2015 Trip Report

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Qatar in the distance…

Departure and Arrival

Israel arrived to Arlington after an overnight trip from Juarez.  It was great to see him, and the sense of anticipation went up a few notches when I grabbed him from his drop off point, just off I-20 a few miles from the house.  He was in pretty good shape even tho he had been on the road overnight, including the customary delays that come with catching a ride.

Vince came by to get us, arriving early, so we got to the airport in plenty of time to minimize drama.   His help was much appreciated, and it was good for he and Isra to see each other again.

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Art?

A fifteen hour flight is a long one, maybe my longest to date.  The first stop at Qatar put us beyond the continent of Africa, but with a short second flight of only five and a half hours.  We lounged overnight in the Doha airport, with feelings alternating between excitement, boredom and slumber, with some sort of repeating cycle.  Free internet in the airport was helpful.IMG_1471

IMG_1463Our arrival was without incident, quickly thru customs thanks to the heads up we had received in advance about the new Visa policy for Kenya.  Thanks Hydrating Humanity guys!  Not all trying to enter were so fortunate….

IMG_1474We were off in little time to Mayfield Guest House, a ministry outpost of African Inland Missions.  Nice place, friendly and helpful staff, and a bed after nearly two days of movement.  It was a welcome development.

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Nairobi’s Greeting

Leaving Nairobi Early

We met a gentleman at the guest house, who I greeted upon his late arrival in the check in. He said he was leaving early for Ghana. I suggested, since we were also leaving early for the bus station, we’d be happy if he could join us for breakfast. He did.

Stan had spent 25 years in Kenya, and 13 more in South Africa before retiring to where he now lives at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Northern Georgia. He had grown up here, since 1951, and actually graduated from a private high school in Nairobi. He spoke of what it was like to be in Kenya during her struggle for independence from Brittain, and mentioned a few details that were clearly alive in his memory fifty years later.  As we ate our toast, coffee, and some wheat thing that needed tons of milk to overcome its dryness, we had the sweet fellowship of those who meet on the field, conjoined not by familiarity, but shared purpose.  IMG_1486

Our driver had some confusion with us and we didn’t actually head to the bus station until around 6:30. We were scheduled to leave at 6.  The bus’s pending departure at 7 created a dynamic in the ticket line worthy of a documentary on human behavior.  I don’t know if that happens every day, but to my western mind, it was mind blowing. In any event, tickets procured at the last minute and Israel and I were aboard.

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Bus Ride from Nairobi

What can be said of the bus ride?

Full bus

Warm weather cultures are used to significantly less air circulation with the added body heat bonus. We are not.

It was longer than expected, and three times as bumpy.
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Feeling Africa
Nairobi – Narok – Kisii – Migori – Isibania – Kehancha, Kuria

We arrived to Isibania, a city near Lake Victoria that spills over the border into Tanzania, after nearly ten hours in the equivalent of a Central American chicken bus, which is about what it would take to cross the Pacific side of Nicaragua, from Costa Rica to Honduras.  Africa is massive.We were greeted by Faith, Mishael’s oldest son, and a church elder from one of the congregations, as well as a full stall of “iron horses” to carry us onward the remaining half hour.  Mishael was close by, taking care of a business matter in town. Shortly he arrived and, after the procurement of a local SIM card, we were off at a gallop.

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The beauty of the Western Kenyan countryside had somehow faded from memory. This ride would remedy that. Almost immediately there was a large rainbow in the sky, which I regarded as significant, to take the beauty even higher.  In what seemed like no time, the most enjoyable part of more than three days of getting there had passed. We arrived safely at Mishael’s home.

Church Meetings, Delays, and Rain Outs

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Congregational Greetings!

Our arrival was delayed due to a policeman stopping the bus (likely for reasonable suspicion) for somewhere between thirty minutes and an hour.  Because of this, we missed the meeting we were scheduled to go straight to from the rendezvous at the bus stop.  This was only the first a few gotchas, as we, the next morning, were delayed by strong rain.  It was the kind of rain that wouldn’t let us leave on the motorcycle.  Finally it let up in time for us to make the 2nd meeting we had scheduled for the day, and we forged on in what amounted to a light rain.

We arrived to find that the four congregations were amassed and in the full swing of a meeting, which we joined, already in progress.

The sing song rhythm of African worship is a thing to behold.

Masai Mara

I had spoken with Mishael about a trip to Lake Victoria as an outing to see something new in the area.  As we sat down to discuss it, it was determined that it wouldn’t be too remarkable, and would be a three hour trip one way.  At this point we made the game time call to visit the Masai Mara, which is the piece of the Serengeti Plains that juts up from Tanzania into Kenya at it’s border.  Little did I know that Israel had a lifelong dream of going on a safari…  which was about to be realized.IMG_1570

With the help of Mishael’s friends, we headed out fairly early, along a road thru Masai territory, that was much improved since my last adventure there.  That time, we had actually stuck a Safari vehicle in the mud and had to recruit the help of locals to get us moving again.  What made it additionally dramatic is the demand for money that followed the favor.  Thankfully, our passage would be free of such drama this time.IMG_1642

As I understand it, Kenya has a new constitution and form of government that is decentralized, putting federal money in the hands of county government. This has resulted in many changes, and, tho there are mixed reports, I think it has a lot to do with why the roads were better.  In that measure, I am thankful for the new constitution.

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The first time you encounter a game park, or go on Safari, it can seem a little surreal.  I know that was so in my case.  All manner of exotic wildlife, things of legend that fill children’s stories, larger than life almost within arms reach, it’s a lot to take in!  Had I not led us down the back road, we would have seen much more sooner…  I’ll chock that bad call up to a novice mistake.  Haha

We did see all of the “Big 5” except the leopard, finally, after we got on a better road.  This was my first time to see the rhino..  It was cool!  He wanted to hide from us, but, we did see him.  Zebra in abundance and wildebeest without number, elephants, and cape buffalo, and don’t forget giraffe.  Baboons and hippos also, at the place in the crook of the Mara River where the hippos gather…  This experience comes highly recommended.  This was my third occasion for a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.  I was thankful, as was Israel, on his first.

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For purposes of brevity, the remainder of the trip is summarized in another blog post.  To go to the conclusion blog, click here…

Prayer Request – Kenya2015 – Plus Small Update

Brother & Sisterhood, greetings!

Israel Juarez and I in Chihuahua, Mexico
Me and Israel Juarez in Chihuahua, Mexico

We are headed for Kenya on September 2nd, that is, Israel Juarez and I.  We will be on the ground in Nairobi, the capital, and Kihancha, which is a rural town very near Lake Victoria and the border with Tanzania.  We are going to visit my friend Mishael Sirima, a church leader with a number of congregations, and also to connect with the Hydrating Humanity leadership team, who will see briefly as we pass back thru Nairobi on the way out.  I am greatly looking forward to it, and would appreciate your prayer support.  We are covering a lot of miles, passing thru the Middle East to get to Africa, and have many connections to make.

To my knowledge, this is Israel’s first trip to Africa, tho he has been in Europe and the Middle East before.  I am looking forward to our time together very much, which brings me to another specific in my request for prayer.  I will be translating for him!  For those who know my Spanish skills, you can really appreciate the need here.  Haha.  No, really.

Hopefully we will have some access to internet so that we can report on how things are going, and emergent prayer support needs.  As you think of us, please take a second to pray, that we will accomplish what we are being sent to do, that we will give and receive all that is intended, and that we will leave our brothers and sisters there better off than when we arrive.

Switching gears, things are busy and a lot is going on… it’s probably the same with you, I imagine.

leadership-qualities-300x194We, at FXMissions, are getting ready for our annual Young Leader’s Event in Nicaragua, which is being planned for the early part of December.  I am really pleased that we will have a leadership team from four nations represented.  Next year let’s go for five!  It excites me to get a broad range of perspective, and to see it brought to bear on young minds and hearts.  Thank God for those He brought to me as a young(er) leader.  It can be a huge blessing, to hear from and be impacted by someone from a distant land with a far different experience.  The scriptures are full of such examples.

We are nearing the launch of a leadership training initiative, as well.  To me it seems like this has been in the works for far too long, but, my perspective is not the most important, if you get my drift.  I am hoping to launch this in English and Spanish.  At the moment the plan is to do some in person and distance learning, and have those involved in each segment do something of an outreach together.  Keep a watch out for some more info on this, as well as a name, and the dates of our maiden voyage!  Prayers support on this front are also very much appreciated, and surely needed.

LM7One other development I would like to mention.  We recently teamed up with the folks at Engaging Missions to produce the Leadership Minute as an addition to their weekly radio program.  It has been pretty well received.  The concept is a quick thought on the subject of leadership, and I am hoping to actually fit the thoughts within a minute at some point.  It is, brief, in any case, and hopefully impactful.  I have been studying leadership for many years, complete with a few train wrecks, and I am hoping to pass along things that I have observed.  If you’d like to listen to a quick thought on leadership, here’s a link to a recent leadership minute.  New ones come out weekly.  I hope it’s a blessing… (and a challenge to grow in your leadership capacity!)

Grace to you and peace!

Scott McClelland / scott@fxmissions.com

Juarez Field Notes

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West Bound on Interstate 20

We were briefly in Juarez, out to the remote mountains of Chihuahua, and back to Juarez, with breakneck speed.  Or so it seemed…  Vince Corcoran and I joined up with the guys at CasaTriunfo for their annual men’s conference, held at El Rancho, four plus hours due west of town.  As a man, it was great to be among men, and can be high level motivation for starting a men’s ministry! Continue reading “Juarez Field Notes”

2015, or what’s left of it… (Update)

Jambo / Saludos / Hello to the Brother/SisterHOOD!

Can we see now that we are 1/4 way in, what 2015 will look like?  Maybe now all we can tell is what it won’t be? For me, it feels like I’ve been shot out of a cannon. The pace has heightened, tho, my ability to bear the pace is not at it’s height of durability… but we soldier on.  Speaking of pace, I have been too busy to be very reflective of late, which has kept the pen silent, if you get my meaning.  In light of that, I wanted to pass a greeting and offer a general update. Continue reading “2015, or what’s left of it… (Update)”