Giving Meaning to the Season

Since its Christmas, I’ve saving some uncharitable comments about some of the articles in the new issue of Red County for next week.  But today, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Doug.  He will soon leave for Africa to spend a month working with children and refugees as part of an outreach program from Saddleback Church. 

I have coached Doug’s kids in soccer and baseball; he’s coached mine as well.  His wife Lori and their sons are friends we’ll have for life.  They are liberal on some issues, moderate on some, and conservative on others…a lot like the rest of America. They epitomize the words “strong family.”  I am blessed to count them among my friends.

Got this email from Doug recently and wanted to share it; I have edited out details not relevent for this crowd, but it captures the problems in Africa and how people like Doug can make a difference.

If you wish to support this trip, please contact me via email at  Checks are payable to Saddleback Church and I can provide details on what to write in the comment field that allows you to make it a tax deductable contribution. 



As many of you know, I plan on traveling to Kenya for a month starting in early February.  The primary purpose of this note is to let you know more about this mission trip.

I will be going to Kenya for 30 days with a group from Saddleback Church.  We will do many things to help the local church leaders in their ministries to the poor, sick, unfortunate, and uneducated people of Kenya.  We will be based in Kitale, which is in western Kenya, not far from the Ugandan border.   Among our activities:

  • Help host an “HIV/AIDS Prevention Conference for 800 women.
  • Work at a Christian medical clinic in one of the poorest regions of Kitale.  Many here will be sick and dying of AIDS.
  • Travel to the northeast area of Kenya and help feed/provide comfort to some of more than 100,000 refugees at the Kakuma Refugee Camp.  Many are Sudanese refugees from the Darfur region.
  • Work with Kenyan pastors and church leaders, training them to be trainers.
  • Travel to the hinterlands to work with the Massai and Pokot tribes–showing them love, compassion, and teaching them some basic English.
  • Help build life-saving footbridges over washed out ravines.
  • Help distribute 1,500 mosquito nets to mothers in “the bush”.  Malaria, transmitted by mosquitoes, is the number one disease in Kenya
  • Deliver antibiotics and medical supplies to local clinics, and school supplies to local schools.
  • Feed, bathe, and clothe ‘street kids’ in the slums of the Kitale area.  Most of these kids are orphans who had parents who died of AIDS, and due to the stigma of AIDS have been kicked out of their tribes in the bush.
  • We will be bring over used eye-glasses, and put on a vision clinic—testing basic vision and providing free eye glasses to those in need.
  • Minister at men’s and women’s prisons.

The statistic that grabbed me the most is that there are 14 million orphans in Africa.  Africa needs the world’s help.  I am trying to do my small part to help make a difference.

I’ve been busy preparing for this trip–getting training in language (Swahili), the Kenyan cultures, and how to minister to the Kenya people, and reading all I can.

As mentioned above, my main purpose in this note is to let you know about this trip.  Secondarily, if I could get you to pray for me during my trip—for me, my family, and pray that God will use me to touch people of Kenya.  Your encouragement and support are appreciated.  I’ll send you a note to let you know how it all goes.  I’m excited.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.  God Bless.