This is my first trip out of the country for the calendar year of 2023. And for this one, I’m adding a new country to my list – Kenya in East Africa. The decision was made to combine east and west Africa for this third and final session of the International Leadership Program, and to do so in Kenya, This will include both English and French speaking brethren, and there are a number of logistical hurdles to clear to make this work.
I have one couple from Nigeria, with a babe in arms (11 month old little girl), and now 14 people coming from Ghana. Ghana was where the primary challenge was found.
In order to get a passport, one needs a birth certificate – which makes sense. But the Ghana government decided their old style birth certificates aren’t good enough – makes less sense. So those wanting to travel need to submit their old birth certificate along with some paperwork (and money of course) to get the new one. Trouble is, the government then announced there was a shortage on the paper to print the new style birth certificates – didn’t anyone plan for this and see this problem coming??
Our congregational leaders all scrambled to get through this process, but not everyone was able to get it done. In the end, we have our three pastors and their wives, and 8 other congregational leaders who received their paperwork and got their passports.
I was able o book all the tickets from both Ghana and Nigeria to land in Nairobi, Kenya within 5 minutes of each other – a real blessing! And they should land in Nairobi around 6 am Friday morning. It has been arranged that a bus will be waiting to take us all out to Nakuru where the meetings will be held.
My trip is the longest I believe I’ve had to take so far. I left Arkansas at 2:00 pm on Tuesday the 25th. I transit through Atlanta, then Heathrow and then down to Nairobi, arriving at 5 am local time with flights and layovers, a 30 hour trip.
I should have Thursday to rest up some, and get ready for the rest of the trip. I plan to be at the airport with the bus to meet the brethren from Nigeria and Ghana, and we’ll all board the bus for the 3 hour drive out to Nakuru.
After the ILP I will fly from Nairobi to Lagos to spend several days on visits, and then fly out to Benin City for the Sabbath and more visits. By the time I return home on Wednesday May 10th, I’ll have had 9 individual flights on three separate airlines.
But I will also be able to visit with nearly all the members in Nigeria, plus take part in the ILP in Kenya. Busy couple of weeks, but I believe worth the effort!