Photo by Tony Cece

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pastor’s Conference

Monday 07-29-2013

The day began with a bible study focused on I Thessalonians 5.   The lesson emphasized edifying one another (11), listening to those appointed over us (12) and helping others (v14).  The teaching, in conjunction with prayer, set the tone for a wonderful day of teaching and ministering to God’s people.

Today was the first of a two-day pastor’s conference.   We taught lessons regarding Grief and Loss, Loneliness and Abandonment, Hope, as well as Quality of Life.   Following the Grief and Loss and Hope presentations, a pair of Regent Team members (RTM) led small groups to discuss personal reflections, lessons learned, and practical application.  Some stories touched us deeply.  For example, one pastor shared his story regarding the loss of his wife, and later, the loss of a child.  Another pastor spoke of being physically cold for one year following the death of a loved one.  A major theme across the different groups was the purpose of tears in the grieving process.  Although, there were six groups, the pastors asked and commented about crying in each one.  It seems two commonality between Kenyans and Americans, are the beliefs that men don’t cry and grieving should be a relatively brief process.  There was a combination of relief and surprise that crying could contribute to the healing process.  Overall, it quickly became evident how necessary the need was for teaching the pastors about these topics.  The presentation on Hope was difficult for the Pastors to grasp because they kept referring back to the Grief and Loss Presentation.  The workday ended with a solo from Dr. Keyes, who apparently, was a vocal major in college.  The things you learn about your professors on trips.  J 

Immediately after the conference, some of the RTM spent time conversing with the pastors and interpreters.  We have found that a great way to become informed about culture is to spend time with the local population and engage with them.   They seem to appreciate our curiosity and openness.  Before dinner, Elena, Jen, Merrill, Ashley, Kelly and Sarah took a walk around the compound.  On the journey, an opportunity presented to take numerous pictures with farm animals, specifically cows.  The highlight of the photo session was the staring from the local people.  They literally stopped all activity to watch us.  We are quite sure they must have thought the Americans were crazy for posing with their livestock.  Later in the evening, it was made known that Maria and Kathy were secretly stalking the first group on a walk of their own.  All in all, it was a wonderful day full of teaching, counseling techniques, and dancing. 

God Bless,

- Elena & Jen

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