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Dear Friends,

I was able to combine a trip to Babati in Tanzania, with a visit to a game-park for my recent visitors, Raphael and Philine from Germany. While there, I sought to confirm a plan I had tentatively put together 12 months earlier, to teach at a Bible school for up to six weeks in early 2019. The arch-bishop of the church there welcomed me to do that. Pray for ongoing planning, and that this might work out.

Following this time in Tanzania on Sunday 30th September, I boarded a plane for Beirut in Lebanon. Arriving in Beirut at 14.15 am wasn’t the best time of day . . . then flying out again 3.55 am the following Saturday . . .

A one-time friend from 26 years ago, Martin Bernhard, is now working as a missionary in Lebanon. It was a privilege to visit him. We saw mount Hermon from his home – so weren’t far from places where Jesus walked. Although time was short, and I ended up with a troubled tummy also, it was good to learn a little of what he was doing and how, especially in reaching out to Syrian refugees (we could even see over the border into Syria).

I saw something of the Middle East from the inside! Just seeing the city of Beirut is an incredible experience. Hearing the statistics, of the millions of refugees there are around there, was mind-blowing.

The conference sought to look at the place of patriarchy in contemporary Christian mission. This was particularly of interest to me because much missionary activity in Africa only works because of Western money. We were a smallish group (about 40) of accomplished scholars on issues related to patriarchy. Mine was just one of 20 papers presented. (A recording of my presentation, and others’, should be available in the next couple of weeks.) My paper seemed to be well received. I learned a lot about patronage in the Middle East and Asia. I was the only delegate at the conference representing Africa. We hope that my participation at this conference will help draw people to our proposed UK conference to be held at All Nations College in December 2019.

For whatsapp enthusiasts: I can now be found on WhatsApp, +254721804282