By Steve McCracken
Sometimes I’m slow to notice God at work. On more than a few occasions I have prayed for things yet lacked an alertness to notice God’s answer. But, there have been times where I heard of a need, prayed about it, and before I knew it, I became part of the solution. My trip to Eldoret, Kenya last month was a recent example.
Earlier this year, my friend Bill MacLeod asked me to play a little part in the final session of Mission ConneXion. He wanted me to talk about ways Mission ConneXion had touched people in my church and then pray before the offering. His idea made sense to me since I could point to at least two couples in my church who have spent time on the mission field as a direct result of Mission ConneXions influence. So I did my thing and sat down—deciding to stay and hear Ramesh Richards.
I had never met Ramesh, but it wasn’t long into his presentation that I heard him say something that I’ll never forget. He said, “There are approximately 3.5 million pastors in the world today of which only 5% are formally trained”.
“What did he say?” I asked my wife sitting next to me. She repeated what I had heard then softly shushed me as she was eager to hear more! I’m not sure if I remember anything else that he said that night.
The next day, I contacted Bill. I asked him if I had heard correctly what Ramesh had said. He thought that it sounded right but gave me Ramesh’s e-mail address and suggested that I contact him directly. I did. And he confirmed those numbers. Stunned, I asked him a follow-up question that I had a hunch I knew the answer to: “Is it safe to assume that as a pastor for 35 years with two Masters Degrees, I am one of the 5%?” He chuckled and confirmed what I suspected!
That was January 17th.
Fast forward four months…
David Gallagher, co-founder of Open Arms International contacted me to inquire as to whether I might be interested in speaking at a Pastor and Church Leaders Conference sponsored by Open Arms in Eldoret, Kenya in September. The purpose? You guessed it…to train and equip some of the 95%!!
Now, for a guy who is sometimes slow to connect the dots, even I had no trouble seeing the obvious! God had raised my awareness of a serious need at Missions ConneXion and later that spring gave me my first opportunity to do something to meet that need!
With two other men from my church, we traveled more than 9,000 miles to a place that—in every way—was out of the box for us! I spoke 6 times to and felt like God was using what He has entrusted to me to help train Kenyan Pastors!
One of the many “bonuses” was being able to spend time with a Grace Point couple who live and serve at the Open Arms Village thanks to a first introduction made for them at Mission ConneXion! They too connected the dots.
I’m excited for next January’s conference…and plan to have my eyes wide-open for other dots God might have for me to connect!