Thursday, 18 December 2014

2014 Africa Journey of Hope

                                  TEAM AFRICA 2014

                                 Scott Langley Photography

One month ago today I left Alaska, on behalf of the Journey of Hope...from Violence to Healing, for a four week road trip.  The doors were open for the Journey’s message of love and compassion for all of humanity. On November 5, the day after Election Day I headed to Amsterdam to meet SueZann Bosler and Bill Babbitt. 

Bill Babu Babbitt and I looked forward to working with SueZann who is a Journey Cofounder on this African Journey in particular.  We knew it would be a life changing experience for her.  Babu and I were returning to Kenya and Uganda on the heels of our 2011 visit knew what would be in store for her.

The three of us would be in Kenya from the 6th to the 12th.   I had been hoping that Marietta Jaeger would join us.  Marietta is also a Journey Cofounder and has one of the most powerful stories on forgiveness I have ever heard.  When Marietta maturated off the Journey board several years ago she was given an honorary “Lifetime Board Member” certification.  She is the only person who has that distinction.  Marietta had a fall about three weeks before we left for Africa and hurt her elbow and suffered several cracked ribs.  Her doctor recommended highly that she not go.  I had so wanted her to be there for so many different reasons.

Our events in Nairobi were pretty much Christian settings, mainly due to the fact that is where the doors were opened.   The impetus of the Kenya trip was to watch Evangelist Martin Ndolo graduate from Diguna Discipleship Training.  Babu and I met Martin in 2011 when we were visiting at the home of Pastor George Thiongo. 

I had met Pastor George through the internet when he began a search to see what this “Journey of Hope”  was all about” George is Pastor of Agape Bible Fellowship in the KWA REUBEN slums of Nairobi.  The AGAPE church also hosts a school where students range from 4 years old to 8th grade.  We spoke at his school and church in 2011. The Journey had gone to Uganda and while there we had received an invitation from the World Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty to go to Rwanda for an important conference upon leaving Uganda.  In order to accomplish that it required up to a three day lay over in Nairobi and since I had an open invitation for the Journey of Hope team from Pastor George we spend three wonderful days with him at the school and church.

On the last day we visited George’s home for a meal with his family.  Martin stopped by for a visit and before he left Martin asked Babu if he could pray for him.  Martin said a powerful prayer for Babu and you could tell Babu was spiritually touched.  They developed a strong relationship and Babu even helped put Martin through Bible School.  It was important for Babu to see him graduate and it opened the door for the 2014 African Journey of Hope.

When my friend Carlo Santoro, of the Sant Egidio Community, found out the dates we would be in Kenya on this trip, he suggested trying to arrange for Kenya to have a Cities For Life conference while the Journey of Hope.  The conference was held on the 10th of November to coincide with the Journey’s visit.  For the official day of “Cities For Life” is November 30 and it was honored by almost two thousand cities this year.  On the 30th SueZann went Rome and Florence, Babu to Madrid, Curtis to Rome and Bari and I went to Barcelona and Bari.
This link is an article about the Cities for Life conference

While in Nairobi we were invited by many of the staff to their homes.   Diguna’s Director Hans Seppie and his wife welcomed us with a wonderful lunch and several others also provided breakfasts and lunches.  Dinner was always available in the schools dining hall.  We were truly welcome by everyone at Diguna.  They definitely showed us their appreciation for us coming to Martin’s graduation. 

During the course of events in an around Diguna, Martin told me he would like to join the Journey of Hope.  I was thinking of how expensive it would be to fly him to the US sometime for a Journey.  Martin’s story is not the typical abolitionists but one who as an Evangelist endorses the Journey of Hope’s message of love and compassion.  Martin had learned from us a new way to look at forgiveness.

It suddenly dawned on me that for about $50 dollars we could get him a round trip bus ticket from Nairobi to Kampala, Uganda.  He wanted to come so he became the tenth member of the Journey team traveling to Uganda.

SueZann, Babu and I flew to Entebbe, Uganda on the 12th, where we were met by Ronald Katongole.  Ronald is our good friend that we met in 2011.  He is Edward’s dearest friend, helper and manager of the Ugandan School project.  He was the person I dealt with the most in coordinating the visit.

Curtis, Randy and Martin us over the next several days, and on the 15th Colleen, Rachel, Terri and Scott joined us to make us a team of ten.

Let the Uganda begin!!!