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Category Archives: Africa

I love the title of this song, “I saw what I saw.” Kinda sums it up. I’m not sure what to do with Africa. She taught me so much. I learned about hope, faith and love. I can’t wait to go back. Soon, but not soon enough. 

YouTube – Sara Groves, “I Saw What I Saw”.

HT: Jen Lemen

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It’s quite frustrating to watch all the issues in Zimbabwe. Power truly corrupts.

Click here for the latest news-which is not good news.

Pray.

In a few days Zimbabwe will hold elections. I’m not an expert in Africa politics and I do not claim to know the plight of the typical Zimbabwean. But I did spend a few days there last year. I saw the pain and frustration of the people. They need hope, they need jobs and they need food amongst other things.

Of course the tensions are high as the people are more desperate then ever. Please pray for peace in this process. I’m very nervous about all this.

Unfortunately we’ve all had to watch Kenya go through some difficult times because of the recent election fiasco. Next month Zimbabwe will have their election. Needless to say this has me a bit nervous. I spent 2 days in Zimbabwe with some amazing folks. I know they are going through some deep struggles. I can’t even begin to understand African culture. But I do know that when elections time comes it does not take much for a country to be thrown into chaos. So please join me and begin to pray for God’s will to be done in Zimbabwe. I just pray that this election can be the beginning of change and bring hope to the good people of Zimbabwe.

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This post is a follow-up to my 1st post on why I’m going to Egypt.

Part two is a bit more practical.

5. Adventure: This can be scary. I feel like God has called me to go. At the same time Necole and I are committed to living life to the full. We want to experience many places, people and cultures. Sometimes it’s hard to find God in the mundane rhythm of the daily grind. So we need to break-away and get a fresh perspective.

6. Stories: Again I don’t want folks to get the wrong idea, but when you lead and communicate on a weekly basis it’s vital to live a life worth telling about. We deeply think Vista and Austin can be shaped by stories of God using us. I can’t wait to hear about the Cofield’s East Asia trip, or Liz, who is currently serving in the Middle East right now. These stories shape us as a faith community.

7. America/Austin: I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had about Africa with those who don’t follow Jesus. They always ask me why I went and I always respond with, “because that’s what I think Jesus would do.” I love it. We are a church that deeply cares about social issues and we believe the only hope is Jesus. Yet we also understand that we have be the “hands and feet” of Jesus and serve on practical levels of life. Food, clean water, education and war, these are spiritual issues that must be engaged by the church.

8. Egypt: Can you say BIBLE. As one who teaches the Bible I can not tell you how amazing it’s going to be to actually be in a country like Egypt. Jesus was taken to Egypt as a baby so he would not be slaughtered. This will be my first time being in the middle of a Middle Eastern culture. The Bible is a story that was penned in the Middle East.

Cape Town is simply amazing. So beautiful. I miss my friends that I met there. I miss the stories, the smiles and the joy. I wish I could have spent more time to develop deeper relationships.

The New York Times did a great piece on If you had 36 Hours in Cape Town.

Here are some pics that Kayla took.

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This March, Jeff and I will taking a trip to Egypt with David Putman and some other pastors and businesses leaders. We are very excited about this opportunity.

David Putman is the co-author of Breaking the Missional Code and he is the author of the forthcoming book Breaking The Discipleship Code, he is also a pastor at Mountain Lake Church near Atlanta. I wonder if David is busy? 🙂

Anyhow, I wanted to share with everyone why we choose to go on this trip. Truthfully we can’t afford it and I was not quite ready to travel knowing I will be back in Africa this summer. But it’s so worth the sacrifice and the pros outweigh the con’s.

1. Jeff and I decided that we need to be around other leaders who will help us grow as pastors, leaders, husbands and fathers. It’s very easy to get caught in a bubble and we would be harming our community by not being mentored by those who are simply better and more experienced. So this is a great opportunity to be around other pastors who can stretch and challenge us. In Feb we will be hanging out with Bob Roberts Jr and other pastors at turbo training church planting conference in Dallas.

2. Values: At Vista we truly desire to be a glocal church. We want to be around other churches and pastors who value the same thing, so we can learn how to be effective and reach the city and the globe.

3. We value partnership with our brothers and sisters across the world. I think the church leaders in the Global South/East have so much to teach us in the West. We have to spend time with them. We also want to help them in anyway possible. Not from a dictatorship perspective, but we recognize that we (the West) have resources that many in the Global South and East do no have. It’s our responsibility to help because we are apart of the same church.

4. The majority of those who have never heard the gospel live in the 10/40 Window. It’s vital for the church to respond to this issue. So the question is this. How do we partner with indigenous Christian leaders and support what God has called them to do? I hope to work long-term in Sudan with Servlife. Egypt and Sudan border each other, so I know I will be going back to Egypt long-term. This was vital for me and helped make this decision easier.

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Part 2 coming tomorrow.

I just received an email from my friend in Zimbabwe. In the email I asked how he was doing. His reply:

Dear Chris,
it is such  a joy and relief to hear from you. Under the circumstances God has
been faithful and thus far He has brought us. yes Steve planned to be with us in
Feb 15-18 with the president of his organization. Please continue in prayer for
us, we are in great need of very basic things, water, electricity, petrol, cash
none in the bank.

Church wise God is still blessing us people are seeking anwers from the church.

Pastor John runs a church, two orphanages with close to 100 kids and he has a family of 5. His kids are all educated (doctor, engineer, etc). Life is so difficult for them. Please do me a favor and say a prayer.

Kayla snapped this pic and it kind of sums up the current culture of Zimbabwe.

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Below is a picture of a young boy I met at an orphanage in Zimbabwe. Of all the kids I met and spent time with this little guy made the biggest impact on me. I probably spent two hours with him and he did not say a word. He just held my hand and followed me everywhere. Finally I told him I had to go, yet he would not let go of my hand. After I told him multiple times that I had to leave…He finally looked me in the eye and asked me if he could go home with me.

I could not help but cry…I was crushed…I’m still crushed. I think of him often. I’m so grateful that he has a place to stay, people who love him and food to eat. Both his parents are most likely dead because of Aids, his life won’t be easy. But he does have hope, unlike many kids who sleep in the streets or fields.

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This is his home.

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Global poverty is massive…It’s bigger then me and you. But here is what I know. I have the ability and resources to change this little guy’s life. We can all do something.

This story is heart-breaking…While in Cape Town last year I met a family from Kenya: Victor and Mary. Everytime they spoke about Kenya they would come alive. They loved and missed their country. They were precious people and out team really enjoyed spending time with them.

It’s hard for me not to think of them and their family. Please pray for peace in Kenya. Pray for this church that is destroyed and the people who lost loved-ones.