Staff retreat

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I arrived on Wednesday evening after teaching my last class at the jail. The others had arrived on Tuesday morning, I think. Anyway, I arrived at Doug Haags for the evening barbecue before the rest of the staff, but as soon as they arrived they made me feel welcome, greeting me like a long lost friend, for which I was very grateful. We had an American cookout with hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and potato salad.

The fun part of the evening was teaching the Kenyans to play corn-hole.  Of course we didn’t know what the real rules were, so we made up our own scoring.  But, hey, why not? We were pretty much equally horrible at the game, so it was great fun.

Our devotional time was spent on the verses in John about the true vine and the branches. I guess that on Wednesday they had centered on the word abide. What does it mean to abide?  On Thursday we centered on the thought of pruning and what that meant. Unprogrammed worship was deep and refreshing with several of us speaking out of the silence.

Each of us had been assigned a book to read and review.  All of them were about how we do missions.  Some were quite critical and engendered lively discussion.  I had read a book on short term mission projects called Serving With Eyes Wide Open.  The author was fairly critical of short term mission projects, mostly because we North Americans show up thinking we have all the answers.  This is a valid criticism, I think.

The group had done with no internet for two days and were going through withdrawl, but Doug loaded us a hotspot. and folks got a chance to get caught up.  We teased ourselves a good bit about it but we all got caught up on our emails and other communications.

I felt like I got to know the other staff a good bit better.  I knew Muhanji already and am looking forward to him being at my home Tuesday and Wednesday; we will take him to the airport on Wednesday. Robert Wafula will make a good principal for the theological college, Sammy is a kind and generous soul, and Getry is simply amazing. I have never met anyone who can be as logical and creative at the same time.  In the photo above, Getry is on the right, and Robert is second from left.  Sammy is out of the picture to the left.

I had known who Lon Fendall, on he left, was but had never really had a chance to really meet him. And I was pleased to learn that Ann Riggs will be teaching at Loyola and attending 57th Street meeting in Chicago, which is a dual member of Illinois Yearly Meeting and Western Yearly Meeting.  It will be good to have her in Western. The time we spent of Friday morning praying for each other was memorable, very memorable.

I came home feeling like I had a stake in the ministry of each of these other folks and that they had a stake in mine. It was good.

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