Gotta tell ya’, seems like old times!

The obligatory team photo at the airport on the day of departure!


I’m not pictured, of course, ’cause someone had to snap the shot.

The long flight seemed very familiar, although we went a different route, through Dubai.  It is an interesting note that the flight from DFW to Dubai is 14.5 hours long….and the return flight from Dubai to Seattle will be 14.25 hours long.  Shorter, I guess, going over the north pole, or at least closer to it.

The layover is not so bad, however, as it is only four hours, and takes about two to transfer gates.

And then the flight from Dubai to Nairobi is only 6.5 hours; much shorter than we are used to.

It also seems like old times to be sorting through luggage at the Maua Basin Hotel.


What seems strange is to not have our former home to go to for the things we forget.  Suddenly we are back to living out of a suitcase and making do without the things we forgot…just like normal folk.

The drive up-country was very familiar.  Peter, my driver, kept asking me if I remembered where we were – what town, what region, etc.  Of course I remembered.

There are more speed bumps, however, and traffic is worse than it was; many more motor bikes.  We did stop at the Trout Tree, however, and that was fun – eating trout at the base of Mt. Kenya in a treehouse.  What’s not to like?

So there is a familiarity to it all – a greeting from Stanley, and a tearful hug from Frida – it all seems so “old time-ish!

More tomorrow, as we will have finished our Medical Camp and first day at the house build.  But for now, just this reminder of the amazing people of Kenya, and what a joy it is to spend this brief time with them.



All is good….except for the time zone lag……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz







Or something!  But whatever clever name you come up with, it is a wonderful blending of two annual conferences.

We are 13 strong.

Bishop Mike Lowry, Randy Wild, Katy Wild, Jim Monroe, Sue Owen, Lisa Nesloney, Thom Larson, Jim McClurg, Jim Frisbie, Rinya Frisbie, Dawne Phillips, Frank Briggs, and Dave Beckett.  (No offense to naming Dave last, but his journey to date is the most harrowing!  His flight from Redmond was cancelled, and he had to weather an extra day of snow and travel to get here just in time!  Had to get here, because we brought his luggage with the rest of us from Portland to Ft. Worth, and if he wanted clean clothes…..well……)

We got to our first meet and greet and day-long training as a team this morning at the Central Texas Conference headquarters, across the street from Texas Wesleyan University, and what should greet us?????  Snow.  And ice.  Hmmmm…….Ft. Worthians drive in a bit of snow about as well as Portlandians…not that much difference between us after all!

Part of the day was spent just getting to know each other…part of it was spent going over the obligatory do’s and don’t’s of our upcoming time together in Kenya.  A lot of it was spent in worship and laughter.  All of it was spent in Christian community and fellowship.

Oh…and we tossed yarn at each other.  We named our hopes and our fears, and wove a web of community.  Must have worked, because if you look again at the names above, and if you did not know any of us, you would not know who is Texas and who is Oregon and Idaho.

And if you look at our pictures below, then the same truth holds…we all blend beautifully!




Dave Beckett and Bishop Mike Lowry were not tangled up with the rest of us, but sure will be as of tomorrow.

For those of us from the Pacific Northwest, it will be a new route….14 hours from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Dubai, a four hour layover, and then another 6 hours to Nairobi.  We will leave tomorrow (Saturday) at 11ish, and arrive in Nairobi Sunday evening around 9ish.  Monday it will be on to Maua, and the work there will begin on Tuesday with a Medical Camp and school children deworming.  Wednesday will see the start of the AIDS Orphan home and, for a couple of us, the clergy training sessions in Meru, about an hour away from Maua.

It will be an interesting experience for Sue and me – returning to our home of three years without the house and the sense of permanence.  We suspect we will be flooded with good friends and washed with warm memories.  We are excited, even if a bit apprehensive.  I was raised with a strong ethic of not going back; not returning to former parishes.  So this tests me a bit, but it is a test worth taking.  Hopefully it will be a homecoming, even if just for a few days.

Bishop Mike is going to speak to the gathered MCK (Methodist Church in Kenya) clergy about exegesis and the study of scripture from a historical as well as faith perspective, and I am going to speak to issues of communication and preaching.  Probably Bishop Mike will hold them spellbound and I will put them to sleep….would be consistent with my topic……

We are hosted by Bishop Joseph Ntombura, the presiding bishop of the MCK.  I have experienced his leadership during our time in Maua, and always felt his support when I was CEO of the hospital.  He insists on transparency of finances, and on excellence in leadership.  He is a gift to the church and a brother in Christ.  His wife, Pauline, is, in effect, the “Mum” (Mom) of the MCK, and has her own business exporting fine art, which supports, in turn, women and children in Kenya.

You may not hear from us for a couple of days, but then all we will be doing is waiting in line, sitting in our seats, watching old movies and, hopefully, sleeping.  But y’all will not be far from our thoughts!

Baraka – Blessings!

Jim et all the ORTEX’s




KENYA 2017

Every journey has a beginning.

This journey is no different, and our beginning is cold, cold, cold!

Sue and I are helping lead a team from Oregon and Central Texas that is heading to Maua in two days to work at Maua Methodist Hospital, and to lead two, two-day seminars for clergy – on in Meru and one in Nairobi.

It is summer in Kenya, which is a good thing, because our beginning here in Oregon is anything but summer.

We woke up this morning in Sisters, Oregon, to 6-8″ of new snow.  The car was buried, the driveway was buried, the neighborhood road was buried, Central Oregon was buried – when I first saw the car I sighed, broke out the broom, the scraper, gloves, my snow boots and a heavy coat.


Out to the car I went.  I brushed.  I scraped.  I shoveled.  I shivered.  And then I drove the car around the loop of the driveway about six times – kind of a poor person’s plow.

I went inside, took a shower, had a cup of coffee, and looked out at the car…another 6″ of snow on it.  So I brushed…scraped…shoveled…shivered…drove the loop, and then we loaded it up and blasted out of the neighborhood.

We got 500 yards or so and then Sue asked, “Did you remember to bring……?”  Obvious answer?  “No…”  So back we went to the house, plowed a bit more and finally hit the road.

Our number one route was closed because of an avalanche (Santiam).  So we took the long route.  Not good either.


This is what we encountered as we drove up the highway and started up the flanks of Mt. Hood.  The weather finally broke near the highest part of the pass and we went from white-out to:


Bottom line on all this is that we made it to Oregon City, just outside of Portland, and are spending the night with our kids.  We packed six duffles this afternoon of various school and medical supplies, and will leave early tomorrow for Ft. Worth, where we will pick up the rest of the team.

Over the next few weeks we will be in Kenya, and I will try to give you a day by day blow on our joys, sorrows, travails, and work.  So many of you have supported us through supplies, financial support and prayers – we could not do this without you!

So read the posts, note God at work, and email if you have questions or comments.  All are welcomed!

We will be gone until the 21st of January, and will return with stories and witnesses to how God is changing the world through the efforts of our team members!

Baraka – Blessings!