Nov 11-12 – God’s Timing Is…

All of God’s attributes – his love, his holiness, his forgiveness, his wrath, his judgment, his grace, and HIS TIMING, are ______.
As I lay in bed last night I thought to myself “What if we get to the airport for our 3:35pm flight and there is no plane waiting there. That’s just the kind of thing I could see happening…we are in Africa, after all. Nathan has said that he could write a book about all that he has experienced in Africa during the two campaigns he has joined me on.
I awoke at 6:00am and he came out to tell me he had spent the last hour trying to find our flight online but it isn’t there. We spent about an hour hunting for the flight and trying to figure out if we have a layover in another city or something but we found nothing. Nathan emailed the airline but the only flight we could find from Hawassa to Addis Ababa was at 9:10am. We finally decided it was time to ask Kalkidan to make a phone call for us. Neither phone at the airport or the airline was answered  (of course) so she decided we should go to the travel agency. She called Benjamin to come pick us up and we scrambled to get our bags packed in case we needed to catch the morning flight.
We drove to the travel agency but it was closed (of course, once again) but they were opening in 8 minutes. Benjamin called the travel agency and a man answered and said that our flight had been changed to 9:10am. He said something to the effect that I had an American phone number so they didn’t contact me. Either way, we had to scramble – he told me that he had our reservations and we could pick up our tickets at the airport – I told him we would be there as quickly as we could. We hurried back to the guest house, grabbed our bags and crammed into the Landcruiser.
We rushed through town and stopped in the middle of the city to wait for someone. “What are we doing?” I said as we sat parked for five seconds that felt like a minute and a half due to our time crunch. Just then a man walked up to the car with 10 kilos of roasted coffee. We all bought green coffee while in Awassa and the other three guys had theirs roasted. Even with this mad rush Benjamin and Kalkidan remembered to get the coffee and they called someone to intercept us on the way to the airport. So, we were off again, rushing through town and then onto the dirt road that leads to the airport. I think it’s about a 10 mile road along the lake and past some small villages – areas with round mud huts along the side of the road. It was a very beautiful tropical setting. We were kicking up dust as we blasted, bounced and jounced our way to the airport, all the while watching our watches, it was the countdown. At one point we past a couple boys with their donkey-pulled cart that was loaded with some sort of straw that was piled 10 feet high and as wide as the entire road (two car widths).
One final turn, up the road, past the goat that is laying in the middle of the road, and through the barbed wire gate to the airport. As I may have mentioned on day one, this is a single runway in the middle of a dirt pasture near the lake. As we pulled up it was 9:02am, the flight is scheduled to leave at 9:10am. The ticket agent had our hand written boarding passes ready for us. He compared our passports and weighed our bags on a dial scale (looks like a large kitchen scale) and pushed us through security, where our bags went through the x-ray machine (I don’t think anyone was watching it) and we walked through the metal detector where it didn’t matter if it beeped.
He was rushing us onto the plane but we also needed to buy a ticket for Kalkidan. We got all done and then walked the 300 yards up the dirt road and onto the plane, just in time for them to close the doors behind us at 9:10am. GOD’S TIMING IS PERFECT!
We were scheduled to spend the morning and early afternoon with Meseret and Kalkidan. Meseret was going to take us to see their property where they are building a house and we were going to do some shopping and go to Awassa Lake. Apparently that was our plans, not God’s plan.
Our flight was short, thirty minutes, and we arrived in Addis with only 14 hours until our next flight. We grabbed carts and walked our bags to the international terminal and, fortunately, they checked our bags even though the flight wasn’t until late evening. Kalkidan then helped us to get a cab into the city where we had hoped to meet Tadele (who had taken the bus to Addis early in the morning since he has a Friday and Saturday evening Organizational Leadership class.
We arrived at the Ethiopian National Museum and ate lunch at Lucy Restaurant where I sat in the exact same seat at the exact same table where we ate two years ago. It was a nice final lunch with Kali and then we sent her on her way. We didn’t want to burden her any further…she’s in her home town, we were sure she wanted to go home.
We spent the fifty cents each (10 Ethiopian Birr) to go through the national museum. The entire basement floor is dedicated to evolution. Ethiopia is where they found that fabulously preserved monkey in 1974 that they named Lucy, trying to convince us that God didn’t actually create Adam and Eve, he didn’t create man in his image, there was death before the fall, and all those other crazy ideas they have dreamed up to satisfy their desire to not have to admit there is a God that will one day hold them accountable for every thought, word and deed. Man is so wicked and sinful that he will attempt to scream into the face of God “You don’t exist” despite all the evidence (even their very conscience) that he not only exists but that he deserves every ounce of praise.
We then caught another cab up the hill to a local shopping area where they primarily sold fabrics but we were able to find a few souvenirs. We headed downtown from there and sat at a coffee shop for about an hour, drank a few macchiatos and a couple pastries for a total bill of 100 Birr (about five dollars) before heading to the airport to hang out for 6 hours until we could board our flight.
We boarded our flight thirty minutes late after standing in the security line for about 45 minutes so three planes could go through one x-ray machine. Once on the plane they told us we were going to wait another 30 minutes to take off because Frankfurt airport doesn’t open until 5:00am. One would think that would have been considered before scheduling the flight. Nonetheless, I slept four hours on the way to Addis where we had a five hour layover.
While going through security yet once again we found ourselves divinely placed in line with three other men that had just returned from Lebanon where they were helping Syrian refugees. We met up with them near our gates and joined them for coffee for about 90 minutes while we waited for our flights. Kalim is a Lebanese Christian that owns several gas stations in North Carolina – he has been serving in overseas missions for many years. JohnMark is an amazing Hebrew instructor who had incredible things to share with us from the Bible going back to the original Hebrew language and characters to explain how the Trinity is clearly displayed in the first two chapters of Genesis, among many other interesting facts. Jay was the third man on their team, a worship leader at his church who played his guitar while Scott played his mandolin, filling the coffee shop and the airport with Christian music. Kalim also took the time to open some conversations with people around us that were very interested in what we were all talking about. I love to see the Lord work in the lives of his children – children that have never met but immediately have a brotherhood that can come from nowhere but through our common adoption through Christ.
There’s nothing more to share from here. There were two children seated next to me, separate from their parents, so I was moved from my aisle seat to a window seat next to a very large gentleman – an uncomfortable flight to say the least, but I will rejoice in the Lord always, I couldn’t help but rejoice and thank the Lord that I wasn’t sleeping in an overcrowded African prison cell.

Nov 10 – Adola Prison

What a long day, and such a blessing. Meseret is traveling with us today. I haven’t seen her all week. Tadele, Meseret and Benjamin showed up at 6:30am an we began our long journey to Adola. We are heading down the same roads we traveled Tuesday – rough, potholes, dusty, and dangerous. We passed a head-on touch collision along the way. Two large trucks, one pulling a trailer with a big excavator on it, appear to have hit head on. The roof of the cab of one truck was flattened and the nose of the other was crushed. It was a big mess. It is very likely someone died in this crash. I prayed to the Lord for the drivers and their families. It was later mentioned by someone on our team that driving is the most dangerous part of these trips.
I rarely have any fear when inside a prison. At one time it occurred regularly that all they would have to do to keep me in prison is to not unlock the doors. However, as I’ve thought about it further, why would they lock us up? For preaching the gospel in the prisons? I don’t think that would stop if they didn’t let me out 🙂
It was a 4 1/2 hour drive to Adola. We met with the OC and he graciously received our gifts and granted us permission to enter the prison. This was Tadele’s first time here. He has, of course, met the volunteers that serve at this prison, but he has never personally visited. I realize now that i forgot to talk to him about it afterward. We were told we could take photos in the prison, but only during our service.
These prisons are not like many I have been to, with big iron doors and double walls. These have wooden walls and very light duty doors. So what’s to keep an inmate from breaking out? They won’t chase him for 25 miles in a slow speed chase, they will shoot him as soon as he is out. Punishment proportionate to the crime, I’d say. Set the law and hold to it. Make the law harsh and don’t leave room for an unending judicial process.
We went into the prison only to find it was a small chapel that probably only seats 20-30 and is very dark with only one window. So many men were swarming around wanting to hear from us that we were granted permission to preach in the open courtyard to everyone.
We were seated on benches at an elevation lower than the inmates who were seated or standing in a semi-circle around us. It was perfect for preaching. Kalkidan served as our emcee and I gave the IGL message. I also gave my testimony for the first time this week, followed by Matt’s short sermon and Nathan’s long sermon. I gave the altar call and about half of the hands went up. It was too crowded to have the men come forward so we prayed for them where they were seated.
Tadele then prayed for any men with physical ailments, men requesting prayer for healing. Scott then prayed for the inmate church leaders and Nathan gave the gifts to the inmates, telling them that he brought a pump for their soccer ball. Their countenances all fell flat and then he pulled out a soccer ball, resulting in exuberant jubilation from the entire crowd. It’s always so much fun to bless them. We don’t need good interpretation to be able to give them a soccer ball with 100% confidence they know what we’re doing.
As we were leaving we were told we couldn’t visit the women due to time. I asked if we could at least visit them to pray for them. Permission was granted so we went into their area where there were about a dozen women seated on the hillside while Scott prayed for them. Four of them had bare-bottomed babies (two of them infants). Tadele then shared the gospel with them and prayed for a couple that confessed Jesus as the Christ. We gave them all of our remaining Bibles including one complete (Old and New Testament) which we left with one lady who was the female church leader.
I felt such a heavy heart for the children and these ladies so I asked Tadele to tell the ladies that we would send someone back after we had gone with diapers, baby food and sugar. We left funds with Tadele’s local volunteer and instructed him what to purchase.
We went to a local restaurant where we dined with the local pastors and volunteers as well as our team. The nationals ate kitfur (sp?) which is raw ox meat served with Injera. This is a very common meal.
We elected not to eat it, particularly having seen it prepared a couple days ago in Hager Selam. Nathan and I shared a meal of cooked cabbage (closer to spinach) and beef. We then began our long, arduous journey home.
Upon arrival in Addis Ababa we had our Goodbye dinner with Benjamin, Kalkidan, Tadele and Meseret. The hotel was very nice, the nicest we’ve seen in Ethiopia. The meal was quite good and it was a very nice environment for each of us to be able to say something special to the nationals to let them know how much they mean to us.
We returned to the guest house about 9:00pm. It is very nice that we have been at this guest house the entire trip. We unpacked once. Also nice is that we had this guest house to ourselves so the common area was all ours, and the use of the big table for all our ministry needs.
This has been such a blessed trip. Everyone got along great. We were each encouraged. We saw many souls saved – we heard many angels rejoicing in Heaven. We distributed a lot of Bibles and humanitarian aid. We taught and encouraged many volunteers to get involved in prison ministry in Ethiopia, we taught leadership principals to several pastors.

Nov 9 – Awassa Prison and Evening Church Service

We had a time of rest this morning – we had no ministry this morning. It was nice for us to have a break because the Presidential election was yesterday (polls closed this morning Ethiopia time) so we watched the results coming in before we went to breakfast. By the time we left it was quite obvious that Donald Trump had won. The only English news channel we can watch is CNN – it was amazing how long they were holding on to hope and dragging on their conversations about all the scenarios that could happen with the states that they had not yet been willing to call for Trump. Tadele and Benjamin arrived at the hotel at 8:00am to take us to breakfast and we had a nice meal at a local hotel. It took a long time to get our food, each of us was served separately because we could see that they were cooking on one burner for all of us.

We returned to the guest house where Nathan and I held our audit with Tadele. During the audit we find out how his family is doing, how the ministry is going, we learn more about his volunteer base, how he is training them, how often they are visiting the prisons, where they are going and we learn about the inmates they are meeting.

We then settled all our financial matters and gave Tadele a couple gifts, including laptop which came at the perfect time because his other laptop had broken just before we arrived in Ethiopia.

Tadele returned home for some rest while we prepared for our afternoon prison service and Nathan finalized his speaking notes for the church service where he would be preaching that evening.

I’ve been to Awassa Prison before. As we drove through the heart of town we pulled into a dirt driveway, past an “outdoor” pool hall and through the metal corrugated gate to the prison compound, right behind the hotel where we stayed last year.

Upon arriving we met with the OC, presented the customary gifts, and prayed for him. He is the same OC I met with in February 2015. He remembered me, as well (I think that’s quite probable, naturally, as not many white men visit their prison from foreign countries).

We were cleared to enter and we were told we could take photographs, of which I got many.

We walked past the visitors area – made of broad sticks tied together – through the gate into the prison courtyard. You can read more about this prison by reading my post from almost two years ago (below).
We entered the prison chapel which holds about 300 and there were not many inmates there. However, that changed quickly, we had a full house with people standing outside. We sure do draw a lot of attention to ourselves when we walk through the prisons.

The church choir, dressed in orange and white robes, sang a couple very loud and lively songs after one of the church leaders had stood up and spoken as everyone was gathering in. We were then introduced and we had a very good service. Nathan served as emcee, Scott gave his testimony, Matt preached a short sermon and I ended with a long sermon followed by Nathan’s altar call. Nobody from inside the church came forward but when he asked if anyone from outside had just surrendered to Christ five men came in. We prayed for them and then about 25 men came up so we could pray for them for healing.

Upon leaving the prison I was running the video on my iPhone in the back of my backpack and, as we later discovered when reviewing the video, one man tried to steal it but was caught and stopped by one of our volunteers.

We didn’t have time to return to the guest house before church so we had dinner at a local hotel and then drove to the same church where we had held both of our conferences earlier in the week.

There was nobody in the church when we arrived at 6:30pm. We prayed while some canned music was played (very loud) for a while and people started showing up. Scott then went to the front and played his mandolin, blending five songs together – it was really nice, everyone (especially the children) really seemed to enjoy it.

Nathan preached a great message this evening from the story of the two blind beggars. I was very proud of him. This was his first time preaching for a church congregation. He put a lot of time into preparation for this message over the past couple days and I felt he did a great job sharing and encouraging the Ethiopians from God’s word.

Nov 10 – Adola Prison

What a long day, and such a blessing. Meseret is traveling with us today. I haven’t seen her all week. Tadele, Meseret and Benjamin showed up at 6:30am an we began our long journey to Adola. We are heading down the same roads we traveled Tuesday – rough, potholes, dusty, and dangerous. We passed a head-on touch collision along the way. Two large trucks, one pulling a trailer with a big excavator on it, appear to have hit head on. The roof of the cab of one truck was flattened and the nose of the other was crushed. It was a big mess. It is very likely someone died in this crash. I prayed to the Lord for the drivers and their families. It was later mentioned by someone on our team that driving is the most dangerous part of these trips.
I rarely have any fear when inside a prison. At one time it occurred regularly that all they would have to do to keep me in prison is to not unlock the doors. However, as I’ve thought about it further, why would they lock us up? For preaching the gospel in the prisons? I don’t think that would stop if they didn’t let me out 🙂
It was a 4 1/2 hour drive to Adola. We met with the OC and he graciously received our gifts and granted us permission to enter the prison. This was Tadele’s first time here. He has, of course, met the volunteers that serve at this prison, but he has never personally visited. I realize now that i forgot to talk to him about it afterward. We were told we could take photos in the prison, but only during our service.
These prisons are not like many I have been to, with big iron doors and double walls. These have wooden walls and very light duty doors. So what’s to keep an inmate from breaking out? They won’t chase him for 25 miles in a slow speed chase, they will shoot him as soon as he is out. Punishment proportionate to the crime, I’d say. Set the law and hold to it. Make the law harsh and don’t leave room for an unending judicial process.
We went into the prison only to find it was a small chapel that probably only seats 20-30 and is very dark with only one window. So many men were swarming around wanting to hear from us that we were granted permission to preach in the open courtyard to everyone.
We were seated on benches at an elevation lower than the inmates who were seated or standing in a semi-circle around us. It was perfect for preaching. Kalkidan served as our emcee and I gave the IGL message. I also gave my testimony for the first time this week, followed by Matt’s short sermon and Nathan’s long sermon. I gave the altar call and about half of the hands went up. It was too crowded to have the men come forward so we prayed for them where they were seated.
Tadele then prayed for any men with physical ailments, men requesting prayer for healing. Scott then prayed for the inmate church leaders and Nathan gave the gifts to the inmates, telling them that he brought a pump for their soccer ball. Their countenances all fell flat and then he pulled out a soccer ball, resulting in exuberant jubilation from the entire crowd. It’s always so much fun to bless them. We don’t need good interpretation to be able to give them a soccer ball with 100% confidence they know what we’re doing.
As we were leaving we were told we couldn’t visit the women due to time. I asked if we could at least visit them to pray for them. Permission was granted so we went into their area where there were about a dozen women seated on the hillside while Scott prayed for them. Four of them had bare-bottomed babies (two of them infants). Tadele then shared the gospel with them and prayed for a couple that confessed Jesus as the Christ. We gave them all of our remaining Bibles including one complete (Old and New Testament) which we left with one lady who was the female church leader.
I felt such a heavy heart for the children and these ladies so I asked Tadele to tell the ladies that we would send someone back after we had gone with diapers, baby food and sugar. We left funds with Tadele’s local volunteer and instructed him what to purchase.
We went to a local restaurant where we dined with the local pastors and volunteers as well as our team. The nationals ate kitfur (sp?) which is raw ox meat served with Injera. This is a very common meal.
We elected not to eat it, particularly having seen it prepared a couple days ago in Hager Selam. Nathan and I shared a meal of cooked cabbage (closer to spinach) and beef. We then began our long, arduous journey home.
Upon arrival in Addis Ababa we had our Goodbye dinner with Benjamin, Kalkidan, Tadele and Meseret. The hotel was very nice, the nicest we’ve seen in Ethiopia. The meal was quite good and it was a very nice environment for each of us to be able to say something special to the nationals to let them know how much they mean to us.
We returned to the guest house about 9:00pm. It is very nice that we have been at this guest house the entire trip. We unpacked once. Also nice is that we had this guest house to ourselves so the common area was all ours, and the use of the big table for all our ministry needs.
This has been such a blessed trip. Everyone got along great. We were each encouraged. We saw many souls saved – we heard many angels rejoicing in Heaven. We distributed a lot of Bibles and humanitarian aid. We taught and encouraged many volunteers to get involved in prison ministry in Ethiopia, we taught leadership principals to several pastors.

Two Prisons in One Day – Election Day

After a rather poor night sleep we left the guest house at 7:15am. No breakfast today – we have to drive an hour and a half to our first prison and then another hour to an hour and a half to hold our second prison service of the day. Yes, we do have to come all the way back this evening.
The highway is ripped up, really rough and very dusty. The travel was slow and we made it to prison number one just in time, pulling up to the prison at 9:00am sharp. This is a prison I visited during my last trip to Ethiopia, I remember it well. We pulled the vehicle into the outer courtyard and the officers checked our bags and collected (most of) our cell phones. We were then invited into the OC’s office where we met with him for about 15 minutes, Nathan presenting PFC to him and then giving him the usual set of gifts. Before the entire team went to the chapel Matt and I asked if we could use the toilet. I won’t describe it, just trust me it wasn’t pleasant.
The outer courtyard has very large stones (boulders) and piles of wood stacked. I later realized what they were for when we walked to the women’s prison and saw men breaking up the boulders by hand with small hammers to make small, square stones. The wood is being used to build some new buildings on the premises. Most buildings in Ethiopia are made of stick and mud.
We all walked through the large, steel door into the inner courtyard where a thousand or so men were gathered in different areas. This is a very large courtyard with buildings (I assume cells) surrounding it. As we walked toward the chapel where we went last time I began waving the men to come. Before we knew it we had a mob on our hands. The men were practically running to join us. I assumed they were coming to hear what we have to say but I later realized that i think they may have been coming in hopes of getting something from us. Nathan told me that the officers didn’t seem too happy with my waving them to come because the men almost began stampeding.
Hundreds of men piled into the front door of the chapel/church like water going through a funnel. These men were really excited that we were there. After I made sure I had the whole team (Scott was hung up in the midst of the crowd) we walked around to the back door of the church. This is the same door we used the last time I was here. As we entered we were invited into a small room (10×15) to wait a few minutes.
When we walked out onto the “stage” there were about 450 men packed into the room. If you read my blog from Feb 2015 you will get a feel for it. It is remarkably more pleasant this time because it’s at least 20 degrees cooler than it was then.
The service started with Tadele giving the IGL message and then introducing me. He suddenly realized that he was looking at the service sheet for our next prison…I was scheduled to give the IGL message and Matt is the emcee. I got up and very briefly told the men how happy I was to be back again and then I invited Matt to run the show 🙂
He introduced Nathan who did a great job on his testimony. Scott then gave a short sermon and Tadele then took a full 15-20 minutes sharing on the woman at the well. We asked him not to use a translator – we didn’t need to know what he said, we wanted the men to hear him undistracted.
When he finished i was charged with the Altar call to which about 26 men responded by raising their hands. We weren’t going to attempt to call anyone forward in a tight crowd like this so I prayed for them and then Kali offered a healing prayer for about 12 men. She is a powerhouse of a tiny gal. She did a great job, also having translated for us part of the service.
This was a very lively church and a very energetic service. After Matt offered a closing prayer we went back to the room where we began and the church leaders gave us each a soda (Fanta and Pepsi). They then told us about their needs…they said that the prison has been redesigned so they are going to have to move their building. There are many different religions in the prison, but I didn’t quite understand why they have to move or what the other religions had to do with it. They told us that they need money and materials to build the new building and they were hoping for our help. Just like yesterday at Wolayita prison I explained to them that we are a small ministry with a very specific focus. I assured them that we will pray for them and their needs but that we would not be able to help in this area. Every prison we visit has needs much larger than we can ever even begin to meet.
After leaving the prison we had another 90 minute drive to our next institution. The roads were only a little bit better. This is another temporary correctional institution.
Great news! We get to travel the same roads again Thursday, our last service of the week is at a prison even further away.
We stopped at the “police station” and met with the OC. Scott introduced us and gave him or usual selection of gifts. He invited us to visit the institution and gave us permission to take photos. We drove 3 blocks and arrived at the “prison”. When we arrived Nathan decided that he would leave with Benjamin and find a restaurant where we could purchase meals for the inmates (like we did yesterday).
A dozen men were seated in the grass on the hillside and it was just beginning to rain lightly. We debated whether to move inside but the officer didn’t want us to do that. Since it appeared we were going to have to keep it short and it was going to begin raining harder I decided that we wouldn’t do an entire service, I would just share a message with the men. It began raining harder and continued the entire time I was speaking. I’m used to it but Tadele was translating for me and he definitely is not accustomed to the weather. We were nice and wet when we finished. One man came forward and our team (Scott and Matt) prayed for him. I charged the rest of them to consider what I had just said and not let another day go buy without considering their fate without faith in Jesus.
We all went inside and Scott presented our gifts to them. He gave everyone a New Testament, we left a box of 50 bars of soap, and he gave them a soccer ball. We all waited in a covered room while we waited for Nathan to get back with the meals. It was a stick and mud room with a bed and a nightstand/desk. This is the room where the guard stays. Nathan showed up 20 minutes later, we gave the men the food and we all headed out to the vehicle.
Because of the rain and the very bald tires in our LandCruiser Benjamin began skidding out and then pulling even further down the hill. We kept getting stuck. He finally put it in 4WD and we got away to begin our three hour journey home. I’m so thankful it wasn’t a very hot day…these long drives can be brutal.

Nov 7 – Temporary Correctional Institution

Today was a really good day. Long day, but not as long as tomorrow..

We went to a temporary correctional facility. Similar to a jail at home – These are men that have not yet been sent to the prison. 26 men were in the jail and 17 of them came out of the makeshift cell (a dark concrete room with a window with a wooden shutter on it) to be part of our service. It was a good service (Nathan just killed a cockroach for me) and everyone did a great job.

We left the guest house at 7:30am and went to breakfast which was great coffee and a decent omelette. Then we drove an hour to the prison.
I served as emcee and then Scott did a great job with his testimony. We decided not to do a short sermon since the group was so small and we had two interpreters (Tadele translated into Amharic and then one of his volunteers translated into the local tribal language) so we moved right into Nathan giving a sermon that really shed a light on what we deserve from God:
God wants to rescue us from our sin. Everything bows down to God – he won’t let us slide. He cast the stars and planets into their place. He told the mountains to rise where he wanted them. He told the valleys where they were to be. He told the sea that it shall go this far and no further and all of creation says “amen”. He tells us to come to him and we say “NO”. We aren’t sinners because of our actions but because we are corrupt. We have wicked hearts. We are all made for God. Without him we will never know peace. Not enough room here to write the entire message, but it was great.
Four of the men came forward when Kali gave the altar call and were on their faces in prayer. We all prayed for them and then Matt offered a healing prayer for six of them that asked for prayer for physical ailments. Matt distributed gifts of a bar of soap and a New Testament for each of them.
After the service we went to a local restaurant and bought hot meals for the inmates, that was our humanitarian aid for these inmates (and a bar of soap).

Afterward we all went somewhere else for our lunch (I had pizza) and then back to the guest house to prepare for the leadership conference. We left the guest house at 5:30pm (we were supposed to be there at that time), this is the first time we have been late for anything this week. Tadele does such a great job of organization and making sure we are on time and well-prepared.

The conference was going very well when Nathan shared about Why Jesus Must be Preached in the Prisons and Matt spoke on some Biblical examples of Good Leaders. Unfortunately, though, because we got started almost an hour late, Scott didn’t get to speak about some Examples of Bad Leaders from the Bible. Tadele told me that we had to finish in 15 minutes and I wanted to be sure that I shared on the Five Levels of Leadership. We left the conference at 7:45pm and went back to the guest house.

We talked about tomorrow’s services and then prayed corporately. Now it’s time for bed. We prayed for tomorrow’s services, the Tanzania team which currently is waiting to see fi they will be able to get into the prisons this week, and we prayed for our nation with the election tomorrow (how dreadful). We asked God for forgiveness for our nation. We desperately need revival.

The weather has been quite nice. A little warm today but not uncomfortable. The entire trip has been very smooth with no major hiccups.
Tomorrow is a really long day. We are leaving at 7:00am. It will be an hour and a half drive on a rough road to the first prison (3,000 inmates) and then another hour and a half PAST THAT to the other prison (another small temporary correctional institute) for a second service, and then all the way back here. We will be probably six hours in the car plus two services.

I think I might finally be over jet lag. It’s now 9:45pm and I’m still awake. The rest of the evenings I haven’t been able to keep my eyes open past 8:00pm.

I hope to have enough time (and a reliable internet connection) tomorrow after we return to post another update.
All glory to God through Jesus Christ!

Nov 5 – Conference Day

Today was our training conference. There were over 100 people in attendance. At the beginning of every conference we ask how many people are currently involved in prison ministry. 16 hands went up today. Tadele did a great job inviting people to the conference and working hard to make sure all preparations were made in advance. There were people from more than 100 miles away, a long distance to travel with the conditions in this country. At the end of the conference we asked how many people would like to serve in prison ministry that were not serving prior to the conference – 32 additional people came forward so we could pray for them and charge them into the mission field. Everyone on our team did a great job in teaching. The conference lasted six hours including our one hour lunch break. All topics were thoroughly discussed and all attendees were very attentive and encouraged.

I hit a wall shortly after lunch – jet lag caught up to me. Since I served as emcee I still had a lot of work to do. We returned to the guest house at 6:00pm and I crashed hard – 45 minutes were gone in what felt like 30 seconds. Nathan and Matt had plenty of energy so they went to get the humanitarian aid for the week. They bought 2,500 large bars of soap for inmate humanitarian aid.

They returned around 6:45pm and we all talked for a while to try to keep ourselves awake until 8:00pm. We made it, then we all hit the sack. Everyone is totally wiped out.