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Monday, May 11, 2015

World Traveler - SC, Kenya, South Africa

We’ve just returned from a week attending a conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.  There is nothing simple about traveling with four children, but we survived and had a good time visiting with several friends, being encouraged from each other and the word, and receiving some additional follow up ministry training specific to Africa.  We are so thankful to work for an organization that equips, encourages, and understands the challenges of transitioning a family to a new country, culture, and language. 

Our last night in Joburg we hit the town and visited a huge mall, caught a movie with the whole family (Mall Cop 2 - save your money), curb stomped a bunch of South Africans in Laser Tag, ate a great South African steak, and stocked up on some American candy.

Our last two months have been anything but normal in terms of rhythm.  We've had two teams visit us from the SC & GA, I traveled to home to SC for ten days, followed that with some East Africa specific meetings north of Nairobi, and capped it by this most recent trip to Joburg for the whole family.  We are excited about getting back in a normal schedule where the older kids can get back to school and finish strong these last three weeks and Sarah and I can dig deeper into ministry. 

5, count 'em FIVE!  Standing: Daniel (in front),
Angel,  & Antwan
In my lap:  Benjamin and Amelia  
Although I did not get to see everyone I wanted to in my short trip to SC, the ones I did were a huge blessing to me.  From work friends to church family, and even time with old buddies from college on the golf course – it was all extremely refreshing.  My trip was highlighted by meeting 5 (FIVE!) new nieces and nephews that had been born or adopted since I left in April of 2013.  It was a joy to see them, hug them, and watch my brother and sister have to parent them while I sat back and ate some more good SC food!  At times I felt guilty sitting at my mother’s table with no one to fuss at, while my siblings were interrupted several times to take care of their offspring.  No diapers, no switches, bibs, no threats, and no spilled drinks to clean up – I felt real bad.

Another high note from my time was getting to be in my home church, FBC Sumter.  They allowed me to share on two Sunday’s and have the entire program on Wednesday night to share what the Lord has been in doing in Kenya and in our family.  It was humbling and amazing to receive the hugs, prayers, and encouragement from all of the people that helped raise me physically and spiritually.

Me and my brother, Scott "Pony Boy" Dinkins in his
awesome golf outfit at the beach.
On top of getting to connect with family and church, I was also awestruck at the generosity of friends who blessed me with their time, prayers, and even my plane ticket.  To be the beneficiary of such sacrificial giving is hard to describe, to see how people love us, but to also see their desire to be a part of and invest in the mission of reaching the unreached by blessing us.  My only regret is that all six of us couldn’t come, but we look forward to the fall of 2016 when we will get to return to SC for about 6 months for a stateside assignment. 

Please continue to pray for our work – for the Spirit to be at work and for us to have discerning eyes to see where he is working and join him for his glory.  If you are interested in praying more specifically, please email me at stephen.dinkins@gmail.com and I will add you to a group praying for one of our three target areas.  We will give you specific streets to pray for, people, and even days when we are going to be in that area intentional to share the truth we have in Jesus.

Lastly - if you are a twitter user - check out @still_further and sign up for some ministry specific tweets about Nairobi and Kenya -and some real time prayer requests.

Jesus is better,

SLD