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Trips

Africa Exploratory Trip

Undisclosed Location April 5-16, 2012

Howard Foreman is traveling to five locations to explore potential partnerships for TLI

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Field Notes   Africa Exploratory Trip

Apr  19th,  2012Kenya

We are now in the middle of our time in Kenya. After spending the night in Nairobi at the Mennonite Guesthouse (which was superb!!) we headed off to Kilgoris to see Rich and Ann Smith and the Children's Home (orphanage in our terms; they don't call it that nor the kids orphans.) It was another 6 1/2 hour trip from Nairobi through Masaai land up to 6000 feet on the top of a hilll that overlooked valleys on all sides. It was literally "on the top of the hill." There are about 100 children that they care for, and the kids from the home and from the community go to a school there. This is an amazing ministry.
 
There is as a result of their ministry, a new "pastor training" ministry that we went up there to see as well. There were 15-20 pastors who came from Kenya and Tanzania to participate in this training time. Rev. Adam Talbott was the main teacher and had help from another elder leader from Chicago. It was exciting to see what they are doing and we encouraged them to persevere. We will be talking more about leadership training.
 
We left on Wednesday affternoon to go to Eldoret. We knew it would be another long ride, but little did we know that there was severe road construction and they detoured us for 30 miles out into the rural areas on a dirt and gravel road. Then we hit some severe downpours and had to go slow because of slow trucks. We finally arrived at 9 pm after 7 hours on the road.
 
Today (Thursday) we toured the ministry of Don and Amy Rogers. They are a part of Empowering Lives International and have a training center where they have built and a sustainable ministry training center and children's home. They grow crops not only for consumption but also for income. Their children's home has 120 children and are broken down into 4 families of about 30 children each. There are green houses where they graft passion fruit and avocados for eating and for sale. There is livestock of varying kinds, fish ponds, and vegetable gardens. It is an amazing place! We are so glad that we visited here. In all honesty, if God had not had us in church planting and now in theological education, I would have wanted to have been here and done this. We leave tomorrow for Nairobi to visit another missionary and head for home Saturday night and arrive on Sunday afternoon (we go with the sun!!)
 
This has been an amazing trip and we can't wait to synthesize all the details and see what God will bring form all this.

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Apr  11th,  2012T.I.A - This is Africa

On Wednesday morning we left Ganta City for Monrovia. It was another 6 1/2 horu drive back. This time it was a beautiful day. It was just a long ride.
 
Something interesting happened when we got to the airport. We checked in and went to Immigration. The officer there looked at my immigration departure card and asked, "So you were at LICC (Liberia International Christian College)? When are you coming back?" I was impressed that this immigration officer, 200+ kiometers away (6 1/2 hours by car) had heard of LICC and its work, and accomplishments, and asked WHEN we were coming back to the school. That says something about the school!
 
Then, while we were waiting for our flight (we were going from Monrovia to Accra then on to Nairobi), it was announced that the leg from Accra to Nairobi was cancelled due to equipment malfunction and that we would have to spend the night (again!) in Accra, and fly to Nairobi (and on to Lusaka, where we were supposed to go) in the morning. That puts a wrinkle in plans in Zambia.
 
So, I am writing again from Accra with a smile on my face: T.I.A. (This is Africa.) It has been good so far and always, when traveling in Africa, you have to adapt to things that happen. We will get a good night's sleep but have to get up at 4 am. (or so) to catch the 5 am. shuttle back to the airport. Can't wait for the next two countries and what God will show us there.
 

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Apr  11th,  2012Monrovia

Just a quick note while the internet is up. After we arrived in Monrovia on Monday afternoon (instead of Sunday) we met our contacts and got in the car for Ganta City. We did not know that it was a 6 1/2 hour drive! Because of the civil war some years ago, the road is all torn up, potholed, broken apart and in bad shape. You spend as much time on the left side of the road as on the right, avoiding the holes. We had a huge downpour on the way and that slowed us a bit. We arrived at 10:30 at night.
  
We are in the rain forest! Lush and green. We made it to the LICC center (Liberian International Christian College). Wow! What an undertaking. What vision. They have a very good school here and a well balanced program. The school opened in 2009 and last January graduate their first 51 students. Some are working at the College now and some are in other jobs.
 
We had some very good discussions on Tuesday and had an informal get together last night to meet their wives. There are some very interesting possibilities here, including teaching other disciplines to help them in the AA program.
 
We leave today for Zambia, traveling all day by car to the airport then all night by plane to Nairobi and then to Lusaka, Zambia. I think there re more interesting things aheaad of us. Thanks for praying. Keep praying for strength for the journey and safety. More to come.
 
Howard and Debi
 

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Apr  9th,  2012Ghana

HI Everyone,
 
After some food and a night's rest in Ghana, We get back on the road (airplane), heading for Liberia and a road trek out to Ganta City. I have had some time to de-stress from yesterday.
 
I wanted to give a bit more information about our time in Togo. The school was set up by Baptist missionaries in the very early 70's. They continued the theological education until the late 90's when they gave the school to the Baptist denomination in Togo. Since that time the school has maintained the program, but has struggled. The present directorSylvain Allaboe, was trained at the school and has his masters. Currently they have three types of programs: the baccalauret (for those getting full theological credit), the licence (for those who do not have the preliminary education for the "Bac."), and night courses, which are open to everyone. There are about 45 students altogether. The pool of teachers is quite small and thus, they need qualified teachers to teach to so as help them complete their program. Here is a great opportunity for TLI.
 
They have amazing facilities with classrooms with 50 desks and total seating capacity of 90+. There are rooms for student housing, though some live in town and stay at home. Student nationalities cover a wide range: Mali, Cameroon, Benin, Ghana, Cote d'IvoireBurkina Faso, DR Congo, and others, about 10 nationalities represented.
 
The director, Sylvain, has a passion for the theological education of pastors. As in other parts of Africa, there are many false and strange teachings, and pastors lack the ability to respond to many of them. Pastor Sylvain wants to see the church grow strong, and that means having strong shepherds.
 
So in spite of the humidity and heat (small things in comparison), there beats a heart for God's Word. We all know the importance of having gifted and qualified shepherds. Being here gives me a greater vision of what God is doing and greater passion to pray for the church here in Africa.
 
Off to Liberia. Thanks for your prayers and encouragements.
 
Howard and Debi.

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Apr  8th,  2012Togo on Easter

After 20 hours we made it to Lomé, Togo. We got off the plane and were hit by incredible humidity blasting us in the face. Welcome to West Africa!! It took a long time to get our luggage, quite chaotic. But everything arrived. The school we were going to was only about 5 minutes from the airport. We got there dripping with sweat, went up to our room, but there was no electricity in that half of the building. :(( crying It came on about 2 hours later. The director of the school was excited we were there and wanted to begin our discussions on partnership. We were exhausted! Finally at about 10 pm. (we arrived at 6:30 pm.) we ate dinner. Needless to say, we dropped into bed right afterward. 
  
We got a real good night's sleep (!) and woke up on Saturday to the same humidity we had the day before. Seemed like all we did on Saturday was suffer form the humidity. We were able to get some cooling by fans in our room that were directed right at us. I think we each took 4 showers that day to cool off. I had a very profitable conversation about partnering with the school. They do have a program of studies, but need additional help to complete it to graduate well trained pastors. They have amazing facilities for Africa, built by missionaries in the 70's.
 
There was a pan-African CEF conference at the school. So many countries represented. We met some neat Christians, involved in exciting ministries.
 
Sunday was Easter. We were able to attend part of the services at the chapel at the school, then we left for the airport. It was still pretty hot and humid. We had to fly from Lomé, Togo to Accra, Ghana, get off the plane get our luggage and get on Air Mali to fly to Monrovia, Liberia. That was what was supposed to happen. T.IA.! The plane was 20 minute late in taking off which then left us only1 hour and 5 minutes to do the next act. We got off at Accra, Ghana, and found that the the flight to Monrovia had been canceled (it was first said that it had departed early!). We had to go to the departing terminal (by passing a visa because we would only be there an hour.) We had to get a new flight to Monrovia and it would leave on Monday. So we are spending the night in Accra, Ghana. They put us up in a hotel and will feed us. I finally made contact with those who were to pick us up in Monrovia and tell them of a change in plans. We'll get there tomorrow (Lord willing!!)
 
I'll write again when I get a chance.
 
Blessings,
 
Howard and Debi
 

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