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Keeping Africa In My Heart

2 months ago today, I was preaching at a church in Eldoret, Kenya checking on our mission projects, visiting widows & orphans in their affliction, and planning what our next steps need to be in Africa. Since then I have been so bogged down with my day-to-day life, all its changes and distractions, that I have failed to send a trip update.

I set out for what had been an annual pilgrimage to Africa on December 3rd, 2012. I missed my trip in 2011 due to a major accident me and my family endured, so I couldn’t wait to be back where I am most fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. Time, distance and even an assassination attempt couldn’t separate me from my eternal partnerships and the work God has purposed in me to fulfill.

Nairobi Airport with Sammy & JoshuaAfter a 2 day journey from Houston, TX to Nairobi, Kenya, I arrived on December 4th, reconnected with Pastor Lawrence, my friend, brother and our missions Director in Kenya. He was accompanied by his brother, Sammy, and Joshua. These men are such a blessing and we couldn’t do what we do without them.

After settling in with “Mama” Joyce, a Jamaican missionary from Canada, a shower and a good night sleep, I met with local pastors for fellowship, vision casting and Kingdom building discussions on the 5th. 2 Mama Joyce feeding us boysof the men, Apostle John & Pastor Job, are long time friends from previous trips. I was introduced to Pastor Mark who, like Pastor Lawrence, has a passion for the poor, widows and orphans of his country. These men represent the “boots on the ground”. They are the epitome of “missional community”, only “christianese” buzz words we speak in the US to feel good & make ourselves seam more spiritual…

I digress…Anyway…

Fellowshipping with pastors in NairobiI am hopeful for our future projects in Kenya. Partnership with these men of passion, conviction, and purpose give me confidence in the success of our endeavors as we follow Christ. They truly understand their culture, its challenges & distractions, and are fully committed to be catalyst for Kingdom change through the sharing of the Gospel of Christ, walking out missional community, and by the Presence & Power of the Holy Spirit.

After a day of travel, on the 6th, in a 10 seater shuttle & matatu (a 14 seater shuttle crammed with 30 people), a full body beat down, and lungs filled with dust & diesel fumes we settled in our guest house in Ugunja, Kenya. This is a town about an hour from the Uganda border. I was only about 5 hours from my pastor, who was in Uganda at the same time, but we were unable to share this experience together. This is a town about 10km from Lawrence’s village and family homestead.

Me and Cornelius at the homesteadOn the 7th of December, we journeyed into the bush to the village of Sikalame, by way of Sidindi, another small town. On a side note, I was thrown off a motorbike, called a “border border”, a couple years ago and survived what would have been a fatal accident. I truly do not walk alone in this. Here we met with Lawrence’s parents who have adopted me as their own son, along with my normal travel partner Jim White. Lawrence’s parents adopted one of the orphans we have supported over the past year with food. His name is Cornelius, and now our support goes to pay his tuition and books for what is equivalent to our high school. He would be a junior, like my youngest son Chris, which makes this connection even more special. I met with several of the bush pastors from the surrounding villages to speak on leadership development. They are so open and hungry for God’s spiritual authority and leading of the Holy Spirit. There’s never enough time to fully pour into them everything they need.

It’s a shame 7 days of my trip are spent traveling: 4 days from & to the US, 1 day from Nairobi to Ugunja, a day from Ugunja to Eldoret, and a day from Eldoret back to Nairobi. I can’t help the 4 days of intercontinental travel, but if I had an extra $5-7K available, I would buy Lawrence a car for us to travel instead of by shuttle & matatu. I spent the 8th on the road and my opening paragraph states where I was on the 9th, and then I traveled back to Nairobi on the 10th.

The next 2 days, 11th & 12th, Lawrence and I spent working out the bugs in our culturally and language challenged email conversations, laying out our plan for the next 1-3 years, and fellowshipping with various men & women he is associated with in ministry. There are so many things to discuss, oversee, plan and work on we just don’t have enough time in our short visits. However, this was very productive considering it’s been 2 years.

Here are the milestones:Me with Jackie, a widow who cares for orphans

  • 2 widows and the orphans they care for no longer require our support, as a result of our initial plan to provide them food and micro loan for a start up business; they are now self sustaining
  • We have a local partner who provides food during harvest time to stretch our monthly support
  • We help start a school in Eldoret for the poor children who can’t afford to pay for schoolOrphans we care for
  • We help provide tuition, books, supplies and teacher salaries
  • We provide medicine for several of orphans we support who have HIV
  • We continue to provide support for a widow, who is HIV positive, with food and to run a vegetable stands so she can support herself and the orphans she cares for
  • School in Eldoret we helped startWe oversee several pastors and churches in Ugunja, Sidindi and Sikalame
  • We are partnered with several pastors in Nairobi who have like faith, vision and passion

In light of all that God has done through us, the burden is still grave, the need overwhelming and His grace sufficient. Continue to pray for us and please consider partnering with us as we continue our current projects and begin laying the foundation for future endeavors.

Humbly,

James Miller Jr
“Missionary to a Generation”

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