Well, I’m less than 36 hours from leaving home for one of the greatest adventures of my life thus far… and I’ve had more than a few. I suppose the reason I’m considering this such an adventure is because there has always been some mystique to Africa as well as I’ve never been involved in launching a Pastors’ Training School. The school is going by the name, Barnabas School of Pastoral Training, based upon Joseph the Cyprian Levite who was called Barnabas because that name means Son of Encouragement and who was the key figure in having Paul accepted by the Jews in Jerusalem and then traveled extensively with Paul preaching and teaching with him. Our school is designed to take Pastors and encourage them in their ministries, educating them in the Word and inspiring them in the Spirit. This is exciting to me. It is the kind of thing that I can commit myself to doing all day, day after day. Our classes are supposed to be videoed so that they will be able to distribute them even wider.
So, I’m coming down to the wire timewise and have too many things I need to accomplish before I leave, but that almost always happens. In that regard, I’m more prepared than usual. I’ve packed for Chile, Japan, Germany, and China trips 15 minutes before heading to the airport. This time I prepared a LIST of everything I might need weeks in advance, realizing that once I’m there I won’t be able to purchase many of the things we take for granted here. And as I’m packing in a backpack to make getting from place to place easier, including on a motorcycle in some cases, I have to be pretty careful about my packing… but then I always did prefer to travel light. I’ve never crowded a weight limit on an outbound flight; coming home with souvenirs and gifts is another thing. I’ve often bought an extra suitcase while there to carry more stuff home. Or the last time I went to Europe I packed my midsize suitcase then placed that inside my large suitcase and traveled that way, returning with both suitcases filled.
But the biggest preparations have been my classes. And not the way most people think; my problem is thinning down what I want to teach to what I have time to teach. In almost 30 years of preaching (multiple times most weeks) I never wondered what I should preach, except in narrowing down my desired material to what I had time to present and what was then a priority. I always told people that if you wanted me to preach all day, I’m ready right now; if I have an hour to preach, sing one more song while I get my mind in order; but if you want me to preach 20 minutes or less, I need a week to prepare! For this venture I have scoured the Word, prayed, and perused 7,500 lessons, articles and books I have saved on my computer trying to winnow down what I will teach. I have to make the most of the time. What do these pastors need more than anything else I can deliver? That is what I have been asking Father to show me.
In a previous letter I related how I’ve been praying for nearly a year seeking to discern God’s will for my life. I DO NOT want to be caught up in everyday affairs and miss what HE wants me to do!
Really, I was starting to believe Father was calling me back to the north country, where the climate is much cooler (downright frigid, Kellie would say) the people are sparser and the pheasant hunting is spectacular. I raised my children in Faith, SD, an awesome town in the middle of the prairie, where life was so much quieter, slower and simpler than anything I’ve experienced since. It was there I first heard Father’s voice, though He had spoken to me in dreams and visions for quite a few years prior to that incident. (another story for another time)
So, in the midst of this year of praying and listening, Kellie and I went to Rockwall, TX to a conference… I don’t even recall the specifics of the conference though I can tell you several other Dayspring folks that were there: Tony & Rebecca Archer, Travis & Laura McNett, and Dwayne and Tami Hall. On the final night of the conference a very special prophetess whom I have come to respect and honor more than any prophet I’ve ever encountered spoke callings to 4 individuals. I knew the people, I heard the calls and I recall thinking, “She is spot on!” Then, a few minutes later, she spoke to me and said, “Jack, God wants you to go to Kenya and start a Pastor training school.” And I recall exactly what I thought; “Yeah, right!” No, I was already thinking of the north country and the cool and the snow and the pheasants… and sure, I’d be preaching and writing. But Africa? The equator? Mid-summer? (she laid out the plan more fully afterward) I wasn’t prepared to hear what was being spoken to me.
The following week, back here in Lawton, I had lunch with Tim and shared the thing with him… with me still not accepting it. Tim asked me, “Jack, there are only two choices, either she was speaking from God or she was not. You know her. Does she speak from God or does she speak off the top of her head?” (that last might be a paraphrase as I don’t recall that part specifically) And I had nothing to do but to acknowledge that every time I had heard Dolores speak I was convinced she was speaking directly from God. I’m not sure I’ve ever known anyone who has given their life more fully to Him and His Word and who is more in tune with His Spirit and her own. So, the obvious conclusion was that it wasn’t Dolores calling me to Africa, it was FATHER. And that removed from me in that moment the choice; I have always sought only to know His will and live it. (haven’t always done it very well, but it has always been my desire)
So, I’m going to Africa.
I’m departing Tuesday morning for Dallas where Kellie and I will spend the evening together. My flight Wednesday morning is direct from DFW to Dubai, UAE, then with a short layover and a change of planes I will continue on to Nairobi, Kenya. I am flying Emirates Air, the UAE’s national airline. I’ll tell you later whether it lives up to its hype. http://www.emirates.com/us/english/flying/cabin_features/cabin_features.aspx I will return on August 26th.
I earnestly desire your prayers. A safe flight, safe travel and lodging in country, good health, and HIS leading in every word that comes from my mouth. I want to speak nothing other than what I hear Him speaking.
Your brother in Christ,
PS. I probably won’t be posting about my trip on Facebook as a consideration for Kellie being home alone during that time. I don’t want to advertise my absence to the world. I WILL take lots of photos and will post those after my return. And I might attach some to my emails during my trip.
Jack was raised in a Christian home where he spent his youth preparing to preach God’s word. First published at thirteen, writing and speaking became Jack’s passions. Whether through newspaper columns, magazine articles, radio broadcasts or public speaking engagements, Jack continues to share his heart with his readers. His life’s motto: To Know God, and To Show Him To Others.