Tag Archives: africa

Unabashed Self-Promotion

In the past months I’ve begun reading the blog of one Father James Early, a priest in Texas.  He published a book.  I asked him for a signed copy.  And he asked me to contribute to his blog.

So after some consideration I agreed to write a series of posts about my journey from Protestant missionary kid through rejection of Christ on to embracing Orthodox Christianity and being called to return to Africa as a missionary.  The first installment is up.


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It’s been a while since I’ve gotten myself completely absorbed in a good long book.  Right now I’m two-thirds of the way through The Wizard of the Crow by the Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and it is absolutely spellbinding.

It’s a mature novel.  Ngũgĩ developed his writer’s talent as James Ngugi, writing in the 1960s in English– books about the colonial encounter, independence, first-generation stuff.  A Grain of Wheat was a fine and nuanced novel, with complex and sympathetic but broken characters.  When you think of classic postcolonial lit, you think of A Grain of Wheat.

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It’s more than a trip

When speaking to me and others about the upcoming work of us five new long-term missionaries with the Church in Tanzania, folks have frequently referred to our efforts as a “mission trip.”  As in, “James is going on a mission trip to Tanzania.”

Growing up in Kenya I encountered a lot of teams on “mission trips.”  A mission trip is a wonderful thing– a group of people sacrifice their vacation to participate in the life of a Christian community far from their own.  They construct schools and churches, they feed the hungry, they provide medical ministration, they teach; and more than any of this they come as ambassadors to participate first-hand in work far away.  They bring friendship and they build lifelong relationships.  We Africans were greatly encouraged by the love that these teams shared with us.  Mission trips are wonderful things.

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