As we’ve been in Uganda, things have been so “different” – I decided to put away the pre-written devotions and share with you some “God-things” that we never imagined.

First, please know. West is very passionate about local missions, helping those in our immediate community. We will always support Mooresville Christian Mission, Feed NC, Kindness Closet, Bash, etc. But – Jesus also said, “Go and baptize ALL nations . . .” which infers one must go beyond one’s backyard. So, we are in Africa.

We also aren’t really content with just throwing money places. There are countless global causes that do phenomenal work in the lives of the people. But we believe as a group of people called a church, we are called to do ministry “as a group.” Therefore, we try to have very intentional relationships globally. Relationships that are both about helping the marginalized and also sharing Jesus.

By the time you read this, because of the 7 hour time difference, we will be in the middle of the “Mind, Body, Spirit” conference in Kigumba, Africa. Originally we were going to be guest speakers hosted by a Ugandan church. However as time passed and the folks of Kigumba worshiped more and more with West, Dero and his ministry partners asked, “Could we maybe have a West Church Uganda?”

For a solid year, we’ve been talking about what that could possibly look like. We’ve faced TONS of hurdles. However, we FINALLY ended up in Africa. Dero has a launch team and we are very intentionally putting all those parts and pieces together.

It’s always important to know “who” you are talking to in a presentation. Thus, tonight we engaged Dero in some conversation about what to expect tomorrow from the guests of the conference. What will they be looking for? What do they know about us/me?

“We’ve told them all about West Church. That it is relevant and basic. That all are welcome. You will have some there tomorrow that would not be welcomed in other church settings. They just need to know about Jesus.”

Basic. I laughed because I thought, “Yeah, if there’s ever been a ‘basic’ preacher, it is me.” But . . . then I immediately moved to what I know that he meant.

Basic. It had nothing to do about me (that’s that whole ego we are constantly trying to overcome!)

Basic. Guess what!?! Faith isn’t complicated.

Faith isn’t something designed to make people feel lesser than or left out. Which is exactly what some of the folks attending tomorrow have been wrestling with.

Dero shared, “They need to hear that Jesus is for all and they won’t be turned away. They have been left out so it will be good for them to hear that they are loved.”

Jesus. The Teacher.

Jesus. His whole life was the lesson.

Adam Lumley reached out to me after in-person worship was over today as he so gracious agreed to do the greeting and the prayer and he said, “I told them that you are always thinking ahead; you’re playing chess with love.”

LITERALLY, as he said that we were standing in a booth looking at Ugandan hand-carved chess sets. It was crazy, ironic timing. Or a God thing.

Playing chess with love.

There is no better analogy.

And that is what we are doing . . and can and will be doing every step of the way.

I hope I tell you enough, “THANK YOU” for allowing me the opportunity to be your pastor. To be able to have the experience to take the DNA we launched at Lake Norman and bring it to the other side of the globe, this is just the coolest thing ever! I look at my life and think, “WOW, how cool this is my life!”

Thanks for supporting loving ALL people, both near and far.

God is doing amazing things in and through you. And we learn from the best.

Jesus, the ultimate teacher.

Grace and Peace,