Somewhere between Entebbe, Uganda and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are six suitcases waiting to be found and rejoin their families.

Is it theologically correct to pray for objects to be obedient and to stay on the road to redemption?

Anyway, as I write this update, the five humans: Mei Leng, Lo, Becky, Robert, and Evelyn arrived exhausted but intact on Friday, January 10. They had left in 2019 and returned in 2020. A two-year project. Two weeks of intense ministry can feel like two years
The time of teaching in Kigumba was well received as the core group of 21 students pursuing a degree or diploma in counseling continue to stay on task and make the sacrifices necessary to be successful.
Evelyn had written to one of our encouragers, “please pray for our stamina and energy as well as the Africans’ hearts and minds to be opened to what God wants to invest in them. Challenges abound. As the saying goes, ‘a hungry woman has no ears’ – abject poverty has a way of skewing reality.”

This is an investment into people’s lives. We had shared earlier about the outside perspective at this time, looking at this vision of a school. Currently a large amount of human and physical resources is being poured into a small number of people. On a balance sheet, not sustainable. This will be our continued challenge. Our goal is to step back as the Africans step forward. Pray for our sensitivity and realistic assessment of each next step.

But back to the suitcases. As people of faith we do not believe in such things as omens of doom. However, the little warnings kept arising. We could not check in on-line because of glitches (“systems error…systems error”), the three hour van ride to the airport became five hours because of traffic congestion, the airport electricity kept blinking off and on, computer systems went down, the flight was delayed 110 minutes waiting for the plane to arrive, reserved seats were arbitrarily changed, the wings didn’t look in great shape. Although very tired, the team are seasoned travelers, took it all in stride, making good use of the downtime.

Despite the above, the connection was made in Addis Ababa and the team arrived on time in Kuala Lumpur. The four Malaysian passport holders breezed through immigration. The USA/ foreign passport line person, Evelyn, took 90 minutes to clear immigration – which had its positive. The four were able to use that time waiting for her to find that none of the bags had made the flight. They took the time to fill out claim forms and directions for contact with expectant delivery to our homes.

Of course, we would hope the wayward bags find their way to us. If you believe in prayer for inanimate objects, please go ahead and offer. The contents are mostly personal clothes and student assignments!! Each team member had originally planned to do laundry right away. Instead, they could just fall in bed.

I will conclude this news with an update on current GMI projects that are overlapping over the next two weeks before Evelyn departs for the USA. She begins teaching tomorrow (Monday) a 10-day course on counseling skills. She’ll incorporate a manual which she wrote and published. A side story which we have shared before is that it is being translated into multiple languages for use in other countries. A side story to this side story is that the young man who did the Nepalese translation arrived last night from Kathmandu with his wife. They will participate to observe and learn from Evelyn’s presentation of the knowledge and skills. They will then multiply this impact by teaching the same material in Nepal.

On Saturday the 18th, the new diploma-level School of Lay Counseling (SLC) in Kuala Lumpur will start with its first course. Evelyn and a team of 14 MA graduates from AOIC (Malaysia) have been working long hours creating the courses. The team will be the core teachers in the classroom and will duplicate them online.

Did you follow all that?

I leave for the USA in three days. Evelyn leaves in 17 days. Never slack time for just sitting. As I journey back to Virginia, I want to give a shout out to some special people. The Sylvia family in Yorktown has been our house watcher, package receiver, go-to resource. Darlene High, GMI’s treasurer has handled our mail, GMI banking, and just been a super supporter of the ministry.

Thank you again for spending time with us. Will let you know how much fun the bags have had when we get opportunity to ask them.

I want to get this out and start packing for my journey. I am hoping the above delinquent suitcases will arrive for their journey to North America.