Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sign Language

 The other day I was biking through my neighborhood and noticed a number of signs people had in their front yards highlighting statements that proclaimed the essential things they believed in. Most signs had a clear political message. Nothing wrong with that – especially during these weeks leading up to a major national election. 

As I continued my bike ride, however, I kept thinking to myself if I were to post such a sign, what messages it would contain. I certainly agreed with many of the statements on the signs I had seen, but they also did not capture all the essential truths I had committed myself to as a Christ Follower and Steward of God. So, completing my ride and spending a few minutes in my office with Microsoft Word, this is what I came up with:

As I contemplated what people might think about seeing such a sign in my yard, I also considered adding a statement at the bottom that might say: So who in the world am I supposed to vote for???

All of this has made me reflect on the story in Matthew Chapter 22 when the Pharisees tried to get Jesus to proclaim his political allegiance and trap him into a no-win confrontation. “Teacher,” they said, “what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”  If he said “Yes,” then it would be an admission of support for the pagan state of Rome with its incredibly decadent emperor, Tiberius Caesar, as well as a slap in the face of Jewish temple leaders, the self-proclaimed guardians of the God-fearing Jewish faith. But if he said “No,” it might endear him to the priests and surrounding crowds but could very likely put him in mortal danger of reprisal by Roman authorities.

Maybe it’s because of this current season of election fervor in America, but never before have I seen the context of Matthew 22 in such a political light. It was as if Jesus was being pressured by two tremendously powerful and influential political parties. On one hand, the Roman state represented big government, big taxes, social services that were intended to provide equality for all ethic groups (sort of,) and an “open-minded” morality that did not condemn anyone’s sexual preferences. On the other hand, the formalized Jewish religion of the day, guided by the temple high priests, represented local government with freedom and liberty for the Jewish people (at least from Rome,) clear mandated moral principles supposedly based on the God-given Torah, and law and order imposed by temple guards built on long-standing Jewish traditions (like stoning someone caught in the act of adultery.) 

See any parallels to some political viewpoints we have today?

With this new contextual insight, it is all the more remarkable how Jesus answered this trick question. He said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” He sided with neither of the political party choices being presented to him but instead marked a “third way” alternative that set a completely different course based on spiritual insight that seemed to have escaped everyone else. In other words, Jesus did not succumb to a simple binary political choice. He drew his perspective instead from his identity as God’s Son and the ultimate “Citizen of Heaven” (Philippians 3:20) where knowledge and understanding flowed directly from God’s Truth, not man’s biased perspective of reality. In essence, he said to give respect to the governmental authorities that are currently in place regardless of their righteousness. Even Tiberius Cesar, as personally immoral as he might be, presided over a state that had to be credited for a significant measure of social structure and stability. But simultaneous, do not let that respect eclipse a man's obligation to acknowledge and revere his Creator or the divine laws and values He has given mankind. What an amazing synthesis of understanding leading to a clear "third way" of behavior totally beyond the capacity of either political party of the day to contemplate.

So back to my yard sign. Even though I have not actually created and staked such a sign in my front lawn—yet, it does challenge me to think carefully about the binary choices I am being offered this election season. More importantly, it makes me wonder how my “heavenly citizenship” is  guiding me to determine what set of essentials I should be embracing, regardless of whether or not they fit neatly within one or the other of today’s popular political platforms.  Moreover, in the spirit of Jesus’s remarkable reply to the taxation question, what “third way” alternatives does God want me to champion and promote today in the same way his followers championed and promoted his teachings creating the greatest and most powerful movement in human history—totally superseding both Rome and the Jewish temple culture?

I’m not exactly sure what the right answers are to all these questions. But just maybe, I should start with a yard sign.

By the way—what’s on your sign?



Monday, October 12, 2020

Stewarding the End of Christendom . . . Again

 (Note: This is a copy of a blog originally written for the Christian Leadership Alliance "Higher Thinking" blog site. It and other blogs I've written for that site can be found at https://christianleadershipalliance.org/blog/ -- JL)

Christendom, as my mission history textbook explains, was a part of history and a part of the world where nations pushed their political objectives simultaneously with the goal of Christian religious domination. Peaking during the 15th to 17th centuries when European colonial powers were advancing their cause around the world, the Christendom era developed a dubious reputation of “percolating a wicked brew of ‘gold, glory, and the gospel.’”[1]

Fortunately, history records the official end of that era occurred three hundred years ago, but I can’t help wondering if we have not seen the rise of a new type of contemporary Christendom with the politically charged partisanship that has marked the last few years in our country. It would be easy to blame the media for labeling evangelical Christians as a biased voting bloc, creating the false assumption that all evangelicals think and behave similarly. The reality is, however, that we Christians have far too often done little to demonstrate that our biblical values demand that we be identified independently from the politics of nationalistic patriotism.

In fact, we actually tend to embrace this identification ourselves when we ring our hands with every new poll and statistic that signals the decline of religious influence in society, the rise of the Nones (those with no religious affiliation), and the acceleration of church closures. Couple all that with the impact of COVID-19 that leads many to question whether regular church attendance will ever recover from its online alternatives, and is it any wonder that many express a corporate depression about the future of Christianity in our country?

Malcolm Muggeridge
I would like to propose, however, that much of this bad news should be associated with the decline of contemporary Christendom, not with Christianity itself. The late Malcolm Muggeridge brilliantly made this delineation in 1972 during a series of lectures presented at the University of Waterloo in Ontario,
Canada.  “Previous civilizations have been overthrown from without by the incursion of barbarian hordes,” he claimed. “Christendom has dreamed up its own dissolution in the minds of its own intellectual elite . . . The whole social structure is now tumbling down, dethroning its God, undermining all its certainties.  Christendom is the institutional edifice on which Western civilization rests. It’s dying, but it’s not Christianity.”[2]

So, as God’s agents living today in the middle of whirlpools of political debate, racial tension, and pandemic trauma, how are we to steward this moment of Christendom’s new decline? Here are three suggestions:

       First, remember that we are God’s stewards, not stewards of Christendom. Our mandate is to cultivate what belongs to our Master—His Gospel, His Truth, His people, His image embedded in us, and even His creation. Let us not confuse those things with the promotion of a Christ-centered state, as wonderful as some think that might be.

      Second, if indeed we are seeing historical Christian institutions (churches, colleges, missions, etc.) falling in the flames of cultural upheaval, let us not lose heart, but instead focus on rebuilding communities that God has truly "refined by fire" that are prepared to show the world what faith, hope, and love really look like.

      Third, instead of always embracing whatever political platform has the most bullet points we can agree with, let us clearly define what a biblical platform of social values should be regardless of political bias and begin to articulate them with unity and power. Just maybe, we might begin influencing the traditional ideology on both sides of the political aisle.

Here is Muggeridge again with a great final exhortation:

We should rejoice when empires fall to pieces, when all is confusion and conflict. For it is precisely when every earthly hope has been explored and found wanting, when every possibility of help from earthly sources has been sought and is not forthcoming . . .  when in the shivering cold the last stick has been thrown on the fire and . . . every glimmer of light has finally flickered out, it’s then that Christ’s hand reaches out sure and firm. Then Christ’s words bring their inexpressible comfort, then His light shines brightest, abolishing the darkness forever.[3]

Christendom may rise and fall. To be a faithful steward of Christ’s light is our responsibility, regardless.



[1]S. Moreau, G. Corwin, G. B. McGee, Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey, Second Edition, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015), 110.

[2] Shayne Looper, Shayne Looper: The Prophet of the Fall of Christendom, https://www.timesreporter.com/article/20140130/NEWS/140139920/10704/OPINION

[3] https://worldandeverything.org/2020/10/les-sillars-the-end-of-christendom/

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Good Lament


Of all the days of Holy Week—between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday—Good Friday (today) is the darkest. So why is it called “Good?” According to etymologists, it comes from the obsolete sense of using that word to mean “pious” or “holy,” such as calling the Holy Bible, the “Good Book.”
But the actual events of that day, experienced by Christ and his followers were anything but good. The horrific sequence of Jesus’ betrayal, fake trial, mocking, torture, and crucifixion, so graphically portrayed in Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of Christ, help us today get a glimpse of just how opposite of “good” that day was.

The moment of that Friday, two thousand years ago that interests me, however, is when it was all over—when Jesus was still hanging on the cross, now just a dead human corpse and the farthest possible thing from the conquering king the crowds of Palm Sunday had imagined. Scripture doesn’t dwell very much on that moment. Matthew and Mark simply let us know that there were some women still watching from afar. John moves right on to assure readers all he had recorded up to that point was true. Only Luke gives us a hint about the emotion felt by some of the people at the crucifixion event: all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts (Lk 23:48.) My study Bible notes tell me that’s another way of saying they were experiencing anguish and grief.

It is anguish and grief that are exactly what interest me this particular Good Friday. As I write this, (on April 10, 2020) the United States is just about to reach a peak death rate statistic thanks to the devastating impact of the coronavirus. Personally, I don’t have the capacity to grasp the anguish of some 2000 families in my country who this very day will experience the loss of a loved one—let alone the other 3000 who will experience the same thing around the world. Then there is the grief associated with loss of jobs, diminished savings accounts, missed graduation experiences, or of depressing isolation. How are we to grapple with the immensity of such incredible global pandemic impact such as this?

One of the things that strikes me about the events of Holy Week, is that for some reason, God decided that the resurrection should not occur until the Sunday after Good Friday. How come? Why not the very next morning? What was the point of having to go through all of Saturday and Saturday night carrying all that anguish, grief, and hopelessness when the whole point was to “conquer death” anyway?

I think the answer to that question has something to do with the importance of lament. This is a word that I have never really understood before. Of course, I’ve been aware that many of the Psalms are expressions of lament and that the Old Testament has the entire book of Lamentations. But why does the biblical account feature this aspect of lament so much and what does it have to say to us today?
Kintsugi and the art of making repair visible - Austin Kleon
Example of Kintsugi art piece
This past week, I heard an online discussion on the Veritas Forum (http://www.veritas.org/) that helped me learn for the first time why lament might be so important—why lament might actually be GOOD. During the forum, the well-known artist, Mako Fujimura used the Japanese art form called Kintsugi to illustrate how people might need to process what we are currently experiencing with COVID19. Kintsugi is the art form of taking a broken piece of pottery and reassembling it using gold or silver lacquer in the cracks to cement the pieces back together. The result is actually something that can be more beautiful and valuable than the original unbroken piece. But the key, says Mako, is to differentiate between simply fixing something as opposed to crafting and transforming it with new beauty and purpose. In the Kintsugi tradition, in order to make something new that is truly a new work of art, you literally must hold on to the broken pieces for a significant amount of time to study them and get to know their shapes well before proceeding. Making the link with real life, Mako went on to suggest that is exactly what lament is—a period of time to embrace and fully grasp the brokenness that exists.

I have to admit this idea is very foreign to me. I’m a fixer. I like to repair things in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Just ask my wife about the countless times in our 43 years of marriage when she shared a hurt or an emotional wound and instead of identifying with her and trying to feel her pain, all I wanted to do was fix the situation as quickly as possible. That’s why the idea of taking time for lament is not natural for me. Nor do I think it is natural for our modern society in general. Most of what I hear in response to this pandemic (besides who to blame for it) is how to “fix” things as quickly as possible so as to get back to “normal” again.

However, just like at the first Good Friday, there may not ever again be a “normal” the same way we thought there should be. And maybe the “new normal” that will result is going to force a totally new way of thinking about ourselves and our world in order to carry on.

It’s easy for us with our historical hindsight to quickly pass over the anguish, grief, and lament that Jesus’ followers experienced during the hours that immediately followed the crucifixion. We love to shout out that phrase, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!” because we love to focus on the glorious image of Easter morning with the empty tomb and the victory over death it represents. After all, why wallow in despair and darkness when we know the joy and brightness of the “end of the story?”
But is it possible that experiencing a season of true lament is actually needed in order to more fully appreciate and embrace whatever “new normal” the future may hold? Just like the longer a Kintsugi artist holds the broken pieces of his pottery, the more beautiful he or she will be able to transform it into new work of art, so should we fully grasp the brokenness of this coronavirus moment in order to consider how we could emerge more sensitive, caring, and more fully human than ever before.

So, if there is anything that the story of Good Friday has to say to us on this particular April 10, 2020, it’s that lament can be GOOD after all!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday, Crowns, and the Coronavirus

Palm Sunday Prayer and Call to Worship Ideas | Faithward.org
Today, on this Palm Sunday, I have been asking myself this question: Why did Jesus plan and go through the triumphal entry experience commemorated by this day? Was it because he wanted people to have an opportunity in recognizing him for who he really was – the Messiah, the King, their Lord? Or was it because he wanted to do something that would finally tip the scales with the religious authorities and trigger the ultimate events of Holy Week? 

Perhaps these are both correct. But, might there be an even deeper significance to this day that God wanted to use in order to contrast two very different perspectives that resulted from Palm Sunday versus Easter Sunday?

Consider the following:
  • ·         The people welcoming Jesus on Palm Sunday were doing so because they saw him as the Messiah—a savior and a solution to their political bondage and frustrations.  They were ready to offer him a crown of a ruler in the way they understood the concept of kingdom. It was to be a kingdom where they (as common people, Jewish citizens, etc.) had everything to gain and nothing to lose. In a sense, they wanted to offer Jesus a crown while keeping the crowns of their own private, personal kingdoms. No wonder they were excited: It would have been all gain with no pain!
  • ·         In contrast, God unfolds his Eternal plan of salvation through circumstances very different from those expectations. His Son is betrayed, maligned, rejected, and ultimately crucified. The sign nailed on the cross "King of the Jews" is put there not in honor, but in derision. Instead of the type of crown the people were ready to give Jesus on Palm Sunday, he now wears a crown of thorns--a symbol of the price paid for experiencing the horrific rejection of both mankind and also, for a time, of God the Father.
  • ·         On Easter Sunday, however, exactly one week later, Jesus rises from dead as the true King, not only of the Jews, but King of Kings. In stark contrast to the hope and expectations people had a week before, now to acknowledge his Kingship, as well as his being Messiah and Savior, there is a cost involved. Another way to say it is in order to crown Jesus with the crown he deserves as King of Kings, one must first experience the costly acknowledgement of personal sin, repent of that sin, and humbly accept the forgiveness, redemption, and restitution he offers. In other words, one does indeed have much to gain, but only first by experiencing the pain of losing his or her own personal crown.
  • ·         Therefore, a Palm Sunday "Messiah" seems to represent a two-kingdom solution to what was a temporary, local dilemma, whereas Easter Sunday’s "King of Kings" represents a one-kingdom solution to mankind's ultimate dilemma of sin and eternal salvation.


Relating this to the Coronavirus
Coronavirus emergency: here's what we know so far - Ecobuild.club 
Wikipedia offers this following definition: The name coronavirus is derived from the Latin corona, meaning "crown" or "halo.” This is due to the crown-type appearance of the virus when viewed under an electron microscope.   

It is interesting that in the midst of this current pandemic, the coronavirus has indeed taken on the symbolic crown of a "king" that has totally dominated the world and ruthlessly exerted its power of life and death over all mankind. As we witness how most people view these events, it seems evident that most would simply like this situation to go away quickly so that all can go back to normal again. It’s easy to see how people don't like how the coronavirus has exerted a one-kingdom domination forcing them to give up their own personal "crowns" and kingdoms of comfort and self-reliance in order to be subservient to laws of isolation, containment, and survival.

The displeasure of being de-throwned from their personal kingdoms is further illustrated by the popular  tendency to 1) try to find who to blame (Chinese, Trump, federal government incompetence, etc.) and 2) wanting to get back to "normal" as quickly as possible. All of this is evidence of desperately wanting to maintain a two-kingdom world.  In other words, God or the coronavirus can do whatever they like, as long as it doesn't overly impact my own personal kingdom.

In 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 God says to his people: When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, IF my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Is it possible God has sent this world-wide plague in the context of 2 Chronicles 7? Is it possible He wants to get the attention of people who are so caught up in their two-kingdom worlds that they can't possibly conceive of the fact that God created the universe to run as a one-kingdom system? Like C.S. Lewis says in his book, The Problem of Pain, is it possible God is using the pain of this coronavirus pandemic as his “megaphone to a deaf world?”

I have to admit that during most Palm Sundays, I have focused primarily on the joyful image of Jesus riding on a donkey, prophetically portrayed as our future King and highlighted by children marching into church waving palm branches and singing “hosanna” songs.  I have not ever thought about it as a possible object lesson God might have planned to contrast my preferred gain-with-no-pain, two-kingdom world with his gain-through-personal-repentance, one-kingdom world of Easter Sunday.

And since this particular Palm Sunday occurs smack in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, what additional lesson does God want me to learn from the way He could be using the coronavirus as a personal call back to a 2 Chronicles 7 response of humility, prayer, and confession?  

I guess I definitely have no excuse about having enough time to think about answers to these questions!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Advent Adventure

Last Sunday, Anita and I had the privilege of initiating the Advent season at our church by lighting the first candle of the Advent Wreath with the special help of all four of our grandchildren. Before the official candle-lighting, I had the chance to review with our congregation some of the history and meaning of this tradition.

Most remember that the roots of today's Advent tradition go back to the early days of the Reformation when Martin Luther and other church fathers sought practical ways to make the Gospel message clear and meaningful, especially to children. Along with the Christmas Tree, the Advent Wreath was a great way to teach such things as the circular wreath being a symbol of Eternal Life as well as a royal crown for King Jesus, the prickly holly a symbol of His crown of thorns, the pine cones of rebirth and new life, the candles of God's Word lighting the darkness, etc., etc.

But as I reviewed what to share at church, there was a new aspect that I had not thought about before. It had to do with the Latin word from which we get the English advent.The word is adventus which means arrival or coming. What I learned, however, is that the etymology of adventus shows it is actually made up of advenio (arrival) and tus (a suffix that turns it into an action noun.) This means that the concept of advent is not a ho-hum type waiting, like waiting for the school bus to arrive. It is a much more active involvement, like sitting on the edge of your seat with great expectation. Think of the word adventure, which is also derived from the same Latin root. You embark on an adventure with great expectation that something exciting, unexpected, and remarkable might lie ahead.

Another great way to capture this concept of active waiting is to think of the five candles on the Advent Wreath as similar to a NASA countdown toward a rocket launch: 5-4-3-2-1. . . Every second ticked away brings you closer to the exciting climax of a BLASTOFF! In the case of the wreath, the five candles count off the weeks toward the celebration of the most remarkable event in all of human history--the arrival of the Christ Child, Emmanuel, God-with-us! And just like NASA uses countdowns to remember critical action steps in a rocket launch sequence, so too, the five candles provide important reminders of what Christ's coming means to us. The first candle is the Prophesy Candle with a focus on the Hope the prophets told us about. The second is the Bethlehem Candle with a focus on God's Love demonstrated by the incarnation. The third is the Shepherd's Candle with a focus on Joy, since they were the ones who heard the "tidings of great joy." The fourth is the Angel's Candle with a focus on Peace, from the announcement of "peace on earth, goodwill toward men." Finally, the last one is Christ's Candle, lit on Christmas Eve when we celebrate His coming as God's Light to a dark world.

Just like the Advent Wreath is a great exercise in waiting expectantly for the celebration of Christmas, it is also a wonderful reminder that we all still live in the tension of waiting for Christ's Second Coming which is still in the future. May all of our waiting for that ultimate event be an active adventus-type waiting with readiness and great expectation--since without doubt, God definitely has more ADVENTURE waiting for all of us ahead!

Merry Christmas
Jon Lewis                          

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Strengthening the Foundation


One of the most amazing stories of impressive church growth has been documented in the book by Jerry Trousdale called Miraculous Movements. Utilizing a methodology called Disciple Making Movements (DMM) that results in planting small house churches even in tough, resistant communities, the book tells about explosive church multiplication in various countries of Africa and Asia. I have actually been using this book as one of my required texts for the class I teach at Whitworth University on The Global Christian Movement.

I recently sat down for coffee in Addis Ababa with an Ethiopian friend, who shared some insights about how this strategy is faring now years later. As former director of a church planting organisation intimately involved with DMM, he and his staff have used it to plant literally thousands of small, house churches during the past ten years. According to him, it was some of these very "miraculous movements" that Jerry used as powerful illustrations in his book. 

He explained that most of those church plants are doing just fine, but that there were some, as might be expected, that have not stood the test of time.  "What do you think those that have not lasted were missing?" I asked. "I can't  give you a definitive answer yet," he told me, "but I believe it involves five key elements that were not present or emphasized enough. Today, as we continue to plant churches especially in larger urban areas, we are making sure that those five things become an integral part of the life of those churches with the hope it will help them be sustained indefinitely."

Anxious to hear more, I ordered another round of coffee macchiatos, pulled out my notebook, and said "OK, tell me what those five key elements are." Here was his reply:

  1. People need to truly be in love with Jesus. This means a sincere desire to get to know Christ and imitate Him in their daily walk.
  2. People need to learn how to study Scripture with real depth. This has to be more than just reading a passage and sharing what you think it means. It  means really digging in to learn the full truth God wants to reveal in His Word.  He also added that just listening to a preacher, no matter how gifted or popular, is also no substitute for committed personal Bible study.
  3. People need to worship through singing that truly comes from the heart. It is not enough to sing songs other people think are neat. Singing from the heart, even composing personal worship songs, is a critical measure of someone's passion for God.
  4. People need to develop a consistent habit of pray. It is not good enough to just go through the motions of prayer. They need to enter into a prayer experience that helps them connect personally and intimately with God.
  5. People need to understand what true fellowship of the Body of Christ is all about. This cannot be for just an hour on Sunday morning, but a commitment to community that causes them to care for each other throughout the week.

As I jotted all of these down, I was struck with the fact that nothing here seemed to be earth-shaking or radical. But in every case, my friend kept emphasizing words like "truly" and "sincere." So, it appears that consistent discipleship that encourages these five habits just may be the bottom line "secret" to house church communities that are able to stand that test of time. 

I will be very interested to stay in tune with my friend and hear what reports he might have down the road about lasting impact of these efforts. In the meantime, it seems to me that all of us as Christians around the world could benefit from following the insights being learned and modeled by our brothers and sisters in Addis Ababa and the house churches they are planting.

(Note: This blog post has been rewritten from its original version and re-posted here on March 13, 2020. This is due to my misrepresenting what I had understood my friend had shared with me as well as lacking to request his permission for sharing his name and picture. For this I apologize to him and to all who read my original posting. Unfortunately, I also must delete some of the comments in order to preserve my friends anonymity.  I trust that this new edited version is now both more accurate and continues to honor my friend and his amazing work in advancing God's Kingdom through church planting.)


Monday, May 13, 2019

The Wisdom of Solomons


It’s not often that you get to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. But it is even more rare to benefit from the collective wisdom of two Solomons at the same time! Yet that is exactly what I got to do on May 4 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia when I was able to introduce two friends from my past life as manager with MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship.)

Solomon Gizau was assigned to my region in the early 1990s as the first Ethiopian national to qualify as an MAF pilot. At that time, he and his family lived in Uganda, but even then, I knew his heart was set on some day returning to fly in his home country. That is exactly what he did, eventually starting the Abyssinian Air Service business with one leased Caravan aircraft and over the years, expanding it to seven Caravans, a helicopter and ten training aircraft used for his flight school. Today AAS is second only to Ethiopian Airlines as a national aviation company that trains and hires all local staff to accomplish its mission.

About that same time back in the 90s, I first met Souleymane Kouyate when I was searching for someone to recruit  for helping to open up a new program. A handsome, six-foot-plus, West Africa, Solo, as we called him, brought along two things he had picked up along the way in France—a degree in electrical engineering and a five-foot-two, blond-haired, blue-eyed wife! It’s been a pleasure watching him grow in experience and capability over the years to the point where today he serves in the same position I used to have—MAF Regional Director for Africa.

Never having met each other, I felt it would be mutually beneficial to getting these two Solomons together to see what collaboration just might arise from their collective wisdom. Finally, this last May 4th it worked out and for half a day, along with MAF VP of Operations, Dan Whitehead
 we shared experiences, lessons learned, stories, and also some outstanding enjera wat Ethiopian food. As I expected, the insights gained were many. Here are just some of the topics we covered:

  • The state of aviation regulation in Africa and how it impacts a small business start-up.
  • The future use of light aviation by the church and mission community.
  • The challenges of maintaining a safety-conscious aviation culture in an African context.
  • The margin of profitability for a small, commercial aviation organization in Africa.
  • The importance of not submitting to expected bribes by government aviation officials.
  • The possibility of giving Western MAF pilots an introductory internship with AAS before beginning their ministry assignment.


 If there is anything I came away with from our time together, it was the satisfaction of knowing that despite the challenges, Africa’s future is in good hands if outstanding national leaders such as these two Solomons are at the helms of their organizations.  And, they might even have some pretty good wisdom to pass on to the rest of us non-Africans as well.