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Postponed mission trip teaches patience to eager student missionary
July 21, 2003
By Erika Nelson
Charles Juma had planned to spend his summer ministering in East Africa.
“It was going to be a busy summer. It was fully planned and packed ... and now I’m here [in the United States],” Juma said.
Juma, a recent graduate of Boyce College and a native of Kisumu, Kenya, has spent his summers since he came to the United States in 1998 traveling back to East Africa. But this summer God said “wait” and Juma, although reluctantly at first, said “yes.”
Juma had planned to travel between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda this summer. One of his larger projects involved leading a conference in Tanzania to equip national leaders in ministry, the second part of which is planned for the summer of 2004.
“I was ready to leave when school ended, and wanted to leave by the end of June, depending on how quickly the seminary and immigration worked things out,” said Juma, whose scheduled return date to the United States was Aug. 13.
But the immigration paperwork never came through, and Juma ran the risk of not getting back into the States when he tried to return for school in August.
“It was a hard decision for me [to continue with travel plans or not] because I didn’t know if this was a situation where God wanted me to go although it was risky and trust Him, or if it was a situation where God didn’t want me to go,” said Juma. “Almost everyone I talked to about it told me ‘no,’ including many people I expected to hear ‘yes’ from. I was looking for a ‘yes.’ ... I was so sure that I was going to go and I wanted to go regardless of the consequences.”
Despite the disappointment of having to cancel his trip, Juma said God is teaching him a number of things through this experience. He said he is learning to be sensitive to Holy Spirit’s leading and that a good soldier closely follows orders.
And while Juma is in Louisville, his youth pastor back in Nairobi and a missionary are going to conduct the conference that Juma had planned.
“I’m learning to rely on God and not so much on my schedule, planning or on my passion to serve God,” Juma said.