So I acutally got to hear Steve speak today during one of the breakout sessions at the Global Health Conference in KY. He was a little off topic but it was still a good session. The title of the session was Putting Indigenous Leaders in the Driver’s Seat and talked about the need of empowering indigenous peoples and letting them control the ministries in their country. Steve is a big proponent of moving away from dependency building relationships towards empowerment. It is save to say that ministry is much more effective when coming from someone “similar” to you and it is also a better use of resources.

He shared a lot about what his company, I-Tec, is doing around the world, specifically their dentistry programs. It was neat to hear about inidigenous lay leaders who are being trained and empowered by American dentists to take care of the dental needs of their own people.

Other speakers today that I heard included Dr. Peter Okaalet, the Senior Africa Director of MAP International. He is a Ugandan physician with an MDiv and Mth working on the issues of HIV and AIDs throughout Africa. His was a little more technical presentation but some of the points I took out of his presentation were:

  • Swaziland has the highest concentration of churches and also the highest prevalence rate of HIV, while Muslim countries have very low prevalence rates.
  • Commercial Sex Workers (prostitutes) are making the choice between eating today and living for a few more years or dying of starvation.

After lunch I attended a really good breakout entitled Ten Essentials of Highly Healthy Marriages by Walt Larimore, based off of Ed Young’s book The Ten Commandments of Marriage. I’ll just list the “10 Commandments” because they are good enough for their own past later!

  1. Thou Shalt Not Be a Selfish Pig
  2. Thou Shalt Cut the Apron Strings
  3. Thou Shalt Continually Communicate
  4. Thou Shalt Make Conflict Thy Ally
  5. Thou Shalt Avoid the Quicksand of Debt
  6. Thou Shalt Flee Sexual Temptation Online and Otherwise
  7. Thou Shalt Forgive Thy Spouse 490 Times and More
  8. Thou Shalt Keep the Home Fires Burning
  9. Thou Shalt Begin Again and Again
  10. Thou Shalt Build a Winning Team

The final Breakout was entitled From “Churchanity” to Christianity in Forging an Enhanced Biblical HIV Prevention Response. This was presented by Troy Lewis, who is loosely affiliated with Christian Connections for International Health. The basic summary of his presentation is that Churches and Christians get so caught up in arguments about things like condoms or focusing on marriage as a prevention tool that we lose sight of the real impact, lifestyle changes. Marriage is great, but not if one partner is infected or is unfaithful. He gave much food for thought about our perspectives and stereotypes and how they negatively impact our prevention efforts.

Finally, the evening Plenary was by Yvette Maher, the VP for the Sanctity of Life division at Focus on the Family. She shared about some of their work, primarily focused around abortion but also other sanctity of life issues. Her main points though were why are we here? and what are we afraid of? She said that the Bible says 366x’s that we should “Fear Not.” Finally, Fear is a Contradiction of Faith.

This was a crazy busy day. They are keeping us well fed with boxed meals and plenty of time for the two of us to discuss what we are learning and to visit with many great exhibitors.

Thanks for reading and please pray for us that we would be open to God’s leading and understand where He might be calling us to. Thanks!