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



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