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Vision Ministries Kenya - January 2024
In October 2023, Doug Loveday and Chris Atkinson travelled to Kenya to visit and encourage the Vision Ministries Kenya (VMK) pastoral leaders. This is an annual VMC trip and is meant to connect with and support Kenyan leaders who are seeking to establish a similar network of churches in their country. This month, we are featuring several stories from Doug and Chris' trip this past fall. Read on to see how God is working through VMC amongst the people of Kenya.
Joy:
Doug Loveday's Most Prominent Experience During the VMK Trip
When I asked Doug Loveday to reflect on his trip to Kenya to visit with VMK pastors, he promptly said - 
Joy

It was the good relationship between him and Chris Atkinson (VMC’s liaison with VMK) that brought him joy.
Meaningful conversation, soul sort-of-friendship that was spiritually rich and encouraging.
That sense of co-labouring as Christian brothers.

Joy.
It was seeing the quality of the VMK leaders.
Their commitment to the LORD.
Their fellowship with each other.

Joy.
It was seeing God make a way for people to pastor - despite tough backgrounds and heavy workloads and lack of resources.
Though conditions were not ideal, God was making things possible that otherwise seemed impossible.

In the midst of the hard work of church planting, nurturing congregations towards spiritual growth and depth, and the necessary administration and organization of a church network, the joy of the Lord was present and evident. This was one of Doug and Chris’ favourite gifts from the trip!
A Demonstration of Financial Wisdom: Table Banking
Chris explained to me the effects of the erroneous missionary teaching that has gone on in Kenya.
In the past, missionaries have emphasized in their preaching - “blessed are the poor” - and therefore, if you make money, you won’t enter heaven. This unbiblical approach to money still exists among the uneducated and mostly rural areas. Unfortunately, this flawed understanding of Scripture has discouraged people from making money - because, after all, the poor are blessed by God, not the rich!

Part of VMC’s role as they support VMK is to help them grow as an organization and become financially self sustaining. As Kenyan leaders take on more and more ownership, exciting things are happening.

For example, Chris told me about a table banking group of ladies that meet on Saturdays. Because of some of the teaching presented by Doug and Chris, a group of women had started a table banking group.
Something like this has never been established in their community before! It’s only four months old but they are working towards purchasing some goats and maybe a cow - in order to sell the milk. They’ve had some challenges but people from the local church and the community are participating together for the good of the whole community.

And then there’s a farm garden project. With a degree in farming and business management, Joshua has successfully planted a few acres of onions, plus other vegetables. They’ve hired an agronomist to help with irrigation and it’s making a huge difference. Integrating fertilizer application into the intensified irrigation system is saving time and labour. Many families and households are rejoicing as they create an oasis in the desert!

Praise God for the financial wisdom and entrepreneurship that is being practiced.
God is being honoured as the land is being revived and people are being cared for.
Fresh Mangoes. Barbecued Goat. A Potluck Feast.
As I talked to Doug about his recent trip to Kenya to visit VMK pastors, these were the things that revealed God at work.

The mangoes in Kenya were fresh off the tree - a treat that both Doug and Chris mentioned several times!
Ahhh, the taste of the goodness of God’s creation!

Then there was the roadside picnic enroute to meeting with more Kenyan pastors.
One of the women had packed Doug and Chris a barbecued goat leg and fresh mangoes for the journey.
So under the African setting sun, they paused and ate the food graciously and generously provided for them by their sister.

And then as plans were made for next year’s gathering of pastors, the question came up - what about the meals?
Doug rejoiced and sat back as the Kenyan leaders worked together to provide for each other.
There was a greater sense of ownership as they eagerly wondered how they could contribute and support each other.
I’ll bring a goat!
I’ve got eggs!
Tomatoes and lettuce - that’s what I’ll bring.
My bees will provide the honey.

It was a reminder that God is our Provider.
God provides through the created world and each other, as God works within each of us - transforming us more and more into God’s likeness.
Decisions for Christ
One of the highlights of the trip to Kenya was seeing 20 people decide to follow Jesus.

Doug and Chris travelled most of the day to Pokot - a very remote and hot region of Kenya.
They visited church plants, churches, and a borehole there, encouraging the believers along the way.
They ate together and shared their stories of faith.
At one church, the gospel was preached and 20 people made the decision to follow Jesus.
They were kids and young adults.
Chris and Doug were able to lay hands on these people and pray for them as they began their journey of Christian faith and life with Christ.

As Chris said, “a cool moment in the trip that has eternal value.”
Chris noted that the boldness with which the Kenyan pastors spoke.
God is drawing people to Himself - the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Advance Evangelists Summit - Fan the Flame
February 20-22, 2024 in Calgary, AB
VMC is hoping some of our evangelist types will consider attending the Advance Evangelists Summit hosted by Message Canada.

It takes place on February 20-22, 2024 at Foothills Alliance Church in Calgary, AB.

Registration and addition event information is available here - https://advancesummit.org/

"If you are an evangelist I pray that you will be encouraged to fan into flame the gift that God has graced with you and that you will steward, share, and declare the gospel with bold humility.
If you are a spiritual leader who does not self-identify as an evangelist, may you be encouraged to “do the work of an evangelist” and fan the flames of evangelism within your ministry sphere or congregation.
If you are an everyday Christian I pray that you will be encouraged and ignited to make much of Jesus and show and share the love of Jesus with broken people in a broken world."
-Dr. Bill Hogg
National Director of Message Canada and Lead for Advance Canada
VMC Webinar with CREST Leadership:
6 Keys to Flourishing in the Second Half of Your Life
March 14, 2024 at 12 noon EST
The majority of pastors are 40+ in age.
75% of all leaders flatline in the second half of their life.
We need to talk about this! 

The transition that happens in the mid years of 40s and 50s affect the rest of your life. 
That’s why after decades of faithful service you need to pay increased attention to your life and leadership. 

In this webinar Dr. Dan Reinhardt will reveal 6 keys to flourishing that we all must intentionally engage if we are to flourish in the second half.

To register or obtain more information contact Mike at mike.stone@vision-ministries.org

Meet Dr. Dan Reinhardt, CREST Leadership:
He was 43, leader of a large and growing organization … and tired. 
The research says that if you are 40+ there is a good chance you have reached your apex and will flatline in the second half of your life. He was determined not to join that statistic. 
A doctorate later, Dan Reinhardt launched The CREST Leadership Centre, passionate to help midlife adults make the necessary deep shifts to make their second half their best half. 
With hundreds of graduates, CREST has emerged as a premier life and leadership program for men and women in the mid years who want their life to matter and to flourish.
RECOV-19: International Research Project
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is encouraging pastors and other local church ministry leaders to participate in RECOV-19, a University of Montreal study exploring how religious groups fared during Covid. 

What is learned in the study will be of interest to evangelical leaders in Canada and will help those forming public and health policy to understand how public health decisions affect religious communities. 

To participating in this anonymous 15- to 25-minute online survey, please go to: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Z75DRP5  
Save the Date!
Thinking Shrewdly 2024
April 19 - 20, 2024
Save the date for VMC's national, in-person conference happening this April in Waterloo, Ontario!

Come join others from across Canada to celebrate, learn, connect and be encouraged together! We are thrilled that our featured presenter will be James K. A. Smith. You can learn more about the award-winning author, speaker and philosopher at jameskasmith.com

Registration will open soon. Watch for all the details at vision-ministries.org/ts2024
VMC Storytelling
Every week, we share stories from across our network of churches that show how God is at work in and through His people.

Here are a few stories:

Watch for more stories by following us on Facebook, or Instagram or visit vision-ministries.org/stories
Pray with Us
Please join us as we gather and pray together online each month for our VMC churches and leaders.
  
To sign up or request further information contact Henrietta at info@vision-ministries.org

The VMC prayer team gathers on the first Thursday of the month at the following times across the country:  1:00-2:00pm (Atlantic), Noon-1:00pm (Eastern), 11:00-Noon (Central), 10:00-11:00am (Mountain) and 9:00-10:00am (Pacific).