Season 3 | EPISODE 5

Fear Not: Discovering Grace in Unexpected Places

1:03:36 · April 9, 2024

In this episode of Grace at the Fray, guest host Emily Shrader takes the reins to discuss Jim Lovelady’s transformative journey to Kenya, visiting Serge missionaries. Emily helps Jim unravel the narrative of his eye-opening expedition, highlighting the universal themes of fear and control and how stepping out of comfort zones exposes our need for grace. They explore the essence of growth through moving into the unknown and witnessing firsthand the magnificent ways God is cultivating His kingdom across the globe. Tune in for an episode that’s more than a mere traveler’s tale—it’s a story for all of us about confronting fear and the God who always meets us where we feel the most vulnerable to discover new depths of His all-sufficient grace and love.

In this episode of Grace at the Fray, guest host Emily Shrader takes the reins to discuss Jim Lovelady’s transformative journey to Kenya, visiting Serge missionaries. Emily helps Jim unravel the narrative of his eye-opening expedition, highlighting the universal themes of fear and control and how stepping out of comfort zones exposes our need for grace. They explore the essence of growth through moving into the unknown and witnessing firsthand the magnificent ways God is cultivating His kingdom across the globe. Tune in for an episode that’s more than a mere traveler’s tale—it’s a story for all of us about confronting fear and the God who always meets us where we feel the most vulnerable to discover new depths of His all-sufficient grace and love.

In this episode, they discuss...

  • What can a broken Kenyan church teach a broken American church? (6:24)
  • How experiencing culture shock can spark new spiritual insights (10:54)
  • The clarity that comes when we leave our comfort zones (28:50)
  • The role of hospital chaplains and a holistic approach to community health (38:57)
  • Collaborating with the Holy Spirit to tell stories that honor the subjects’ integrity and transform our understanding of cross-cultural missions (51:09)

Thank you for listening! If you found this conversation encouraging or helpful, please share this episode with your friends and loved ones. Or please leave us a review—it really helps!

Referenced in the episode...


Special thanks to all our brothers and sisters in Kenya for their hospitality and testimonies of God’s grace. Our guest for this episode was Jim Lovelady, who normally hosts this podcast as part of his work on Serge’s Renewal team. Emily Shrader hosted this episode. Production by Anna Madsen and Sunny Chi. Music by Tommy Leahy

𝑮𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒓𝒂𝒚 𝑷𝒐𝒅𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒕 is produced by SERGE, an international missions agency that sends and cares for missionaries and develops gospel-centered programs and resources for ongoing spiritual renewal. Learn more and get involved at serge.org.

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Questions or comments? Feel free to reach out to Serge’s Renewal Team anytime at podcast@serge.org



Welcome to Grace at the Fray—a podcast that explores the many dimensions of God’s grace that we find at the frayed edges of life. Come explore how God’s grace works to renew your life and send you on mission in His Kingdom.


0:00:23.1 Emily Shrader: Hello, friends, and welcome to Grace at the Fray. Have you ever tuned into your favorite podcast to find that the familiar voice of the host has been somehow replaced by a stranger? Well, my name is Emily, and I will be your host for Grace at the Fray today. Now, don’t panic. I want to assure you that Jim is alive and well. But let me ask you another question. Have you ever had a conversation with someone that feels so different, so new, that you walk away from it a changed person? Maybe someone’s grown up in a completely different environment than you, and their story opens your eyes to experiences that you never even knew existed. Or perhaps someone defends their position on a certain political or theological view, and you find yourself returning to their argument because, well, you just never thought of it that way. I think it’s easy to surround ourselves with people who look and think like we do. But when we only surround ourselves with the familiar, we tend to become stagnant.

It’s almost like our love for comfort stunts our growth. There’s a Kenyan proverb that says, no matter how tall your grandfather is, you have to do your own growing. It’s true, isn’t it, that in order to grow as people, we need to intentionally get out of our comfort zones. It’s true in my own life that God uses new conversations and experiences to change me, mature me, and make me more like Jesus. Jim and his friend Allen had the opportunity to visit Serge’s missionaries in Kenya in December with the intention of experiencing and recording the lives and ministries of our people there. Now, let me just recommend that if you’re listening to this podcast right now, even though you have the ability to watch it on YouTube, you might want to hit pause and switch over because Jim will be sharing some actual footage from his trip to Kenya. Jim has a story to tell, and I’m delighted to help him tell it today.

0:02:47.2 Emily Shrader: I thought that I would interview you about your trip to Kenya.

0:02:52.0 Jim Lovelady: This is your podcast. You can do whatever you want.

0:02:53.9 Emily Shrader: Yeah. I thought that I would interview you about your trip to Kenya so that we could get everybody ready for this series of podcasts that are coming. I’m hoping that this entices people to keep coming back.

0:03:09.6 Jim Lovelady: I hope so too.

0:03:11.4 Emily Shrader: That’s kind of the point.

0:03:12.5 Jim Lovelady: I’m in full agreement with you,

0:03:15.6 Emily Shrader: I bet you are. That being said…

0:03:21.3 Jim Lovelady: What a great idea.

0:03:22.3 Emily Shrader: What a great… Well, thank you for inviting me.

0:03:25.4 Jim Lovelady: No, this is your podcast.

0:03:27.2 Emily Shrader: It is. All right. Thank you for coming.

0:03:29.7 Jim Lovelady: It’s a…

0:03:29.9 Emily Shrader: Thank you for being here, Jim.

0:03:31.2 Jim Lovelady: It’s an honor.

0:03:33.4 Emily Shrader: Seriously, though. How is it in that chair?

0:03:35.8 Jim Lovelady: I like the decor from this side. I really like the way you decorated it.

0:03:42.3 Emily Shrader: Not true.

0:03:43.0 Jim Lovelady: Totally my style.

0:03:44.8 Emily Shrader: Imagine that.

0:03:45.8 Jim Lovelady: It’s crazy.

0:03:46.5 Emily Shrader: It is amazing. Well…

0:03:49.0 Jim Lovelady: It needs work, though. I do know that it needs work.

0:03:51.8 Emily Shrader: It needs work.

0:03:52.5 Jim Lovelady: It does.

0:03:53.3 Emily Shrader: Well.

0:03:53.8 Jim Lovelady: It’s on the… Throw it on the list of things that…

0:03:56.4 Emily Shrader: Need work.

0:03:57.2 Jim Lovelady: Need work for the studio.

0:04:00.6 Emily Shrader: Well, I think you could put it lower on the list. It’s fine. It serves a great purpose. It’s warm and inviting.

0:04:05.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. I am really glad that you’re here. It’s really cool that you agreed to do this. Yeah. That’s awesome. So good.

0:04:14.8 Emily Shrader: Good. Well, I’m delighted to be here, but we really are here to talk about your trip and the upcoming podcast series. So I want to make sure that we cover the things that you feel are important and that I feel are important.

0:04:28.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:04:29.0 Emily Shrader: Since it’s my podcast today… So, in order to even prepare for this podcast, you sent me ahead of time just some of your initial thoughts in your itinerary. So I do have a little bit of an idea of certain things that happened, or it just kind of reading through that it piqued my interest in different ways.

0:04:47.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:04:47.9 Emily Shrader: And so, I’ve kind of come up with a series of questions for you. But I want you to feel free to throw in anything else that you think is important. And if I don’t think it’s important, I’ll tell you. No, I’m just kidding.

0:05:00.3 Jim Lovelady: Right. You’ll tell me what to edit out later.

0:05:01.1 Emily Shrader: Right. Right, right. Yeah.

0:05:01.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. That’s right.

0:05:02.3 Emily Shrader: No, no. So one of the things that you said is that when you got back from Kenya, a lot of people asked you, how was Kenya?

0:05:13.3 Jim Lovelady: It was interesting how when you come off the field, you have all these stories. And for folks who’ve been years on the field, you know this. You come back, and people go, hey, how was it? And you’re like, what? I don’t even know what to say.

0:05:29.3 Emily Shrader: Right. Right.

0:05:30.7 Jim Lovelady: Years and years, the Lord has done so many things. Well, I had two weeks worth. And so there’s… In a sense, it’s like, well, it was only two weeks, but it was so dense with… You saw the itinerary. Everybody who saw the itinerary was like, there’s no way that he’s going to be able to do all those things. And I did have to change the itinerary somewhere in there because I realized there’s no way.

0:05:52.4 Emily Shrader: There’s no way. Yeah.

0:05:53.6 Jim Lovelady: There’s no way. And it was really cool the way that the Lord worked all that out when I was agonizing over, oh, if I change things, I don’t get to do this and all that. But the Lord had a plan. It was really cool.

0:06:06.8 Emily Shrader: Wait. Wait. I don’t want you to tell me how Kenya was yet, though.

0:06:10.3 Jim Lovelady: Oh, okay. Well, I can’t ’cause there’s just too much.

0:06:14.4 Emily Shrader: Well, well, and that’s just it. So actually, I have a different question that I want to start with you.

0:06:18.4 Jim Lovelady: Alright. I’m ready.

0:06:19.8 Emily Shrader: The question is, why Kenya?

0:06:24.6 Jim Lovelady: I wasn’t planning on going to Kenya, and then Marc Davis, we were in a meeting and Marc Davis said this little thing. Oh, yeah. When I go to Kenya with George Mixon this December… Maybe December, maybe April. And I was like, wait, you’re going to Kenya? I want to go to Kenya. We have a lot of missionaries in Kenya. I would love to get their stories. I would love to tell the stories of what Serge is doing in Kenya. I’d love to hear those stories. And then, as we started making plans, Marc actually wasn’t able to go. And so I met up with George Mixon, and my friend Allen (Allen was the videographer). So that’s what started it.

0:07:03.3 Emily Shrader: Oh, I see.

0:07:04.8 Jim Lovelady: And so then, as I’m thinking about, okay, what is this trip going to look like? And then talking with various missionaries all over, trying to figure out an itinerary, you don’t want to be a burden to people like, hey, I’m coming over, like that.

0:07:18.2 Emily Shrader: Here we are now, entertain us.

0:07:19.8 Jim Lovelady: Exactly. And oh, I like that reference, by the way.

0:07:23.7 Emily Shrader: Thank you. You can put that in the bottom.

0:07:25.2 Jim Lovelady: So, yeah. A little asterisk. So, the question was, what can the African church, what can a broken African church teach a broken American church? And I wanted to hear it from that perspective because of the scars of colonialism over the years have always been, yeah, what can the West teach other cultures? And it’s like, well, we’re kind of over that.

0:07:51.1 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:07:51.4 Jim Lovelady: And one of the beautiful things about Serge is that as we engage in gospel for ourselves, we start to see, oh, wait a second. I don’t have some special message to bring, I’m actually… It’s like Dan Macha says all the time, come, I’m just one beggar showing another beggar where I’m going to find bread today.

0:08:15.3 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:08:15.7 Jim Lovelady: And so, the gospel levels the playing field to where a broken African church, a broken Kenyan church, has so many things to say to the American church. So that was kind of my lens as I was going in.

0:08:29.6 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Just for the sake of it, we should just mention that Kenya is one of Serge’s oldest fields in Africa. They started kind of when Jack and Rose Marie started in Uganda and Ireland (Serge’s earliest fields). And so you were kind of right up there. You were there with people. You had some long, long-standing missionaries that you were interviewing as well as some really new ones. And so it’s a pretty well-established place for us. We’ve had some people there for a long time in the vicinity.

0:09:07.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:09:07.6 Emily Shrader: Well, good. Well, thanks for answering that question, why Kenya? That’s good to know. And then the next question I will ask now is, how was it? How was it for you to go over there?

0:09:19.2 Jim Lovelady: I don’t know how to say… Well, that’s why we’re doing the podcast, right? ‘Cause there’s no three-minute version, there’s no elevator…

0:09:26.3 Emily Shrader: …pitch.

0:09:26.8 Jim Lovelady: It was great.

0:09:27.5 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:09:28.3 Jim Lovelady: It was a lot of things. It was… The profound thing was Allen and I every evening would kind of go rehash the day. Hey, what did you think about this day? The word paradox just kept coming up of how there are these beautiful things going on, happening in some really raw ways. And it was just this paradox. We were just confronted with different paradoxes of immense beauty, wisdom, and the Spirit moving in amazing ways, in really raw, broken, tragic, poverty-induced areas as well as places of injustice. And it was just like there in technicolor, just very vivid. Like, there it is. There’s no hiding. And so that was one of the things that is interesting about how the church in Africa, the church in Kenya, is like, hey, we’re not going to hide behind our suburban life or suburban American life. Here it is. And this is why we need Jesus right now. What about you? And it’s like, oh, I’m kind of inoculated to my comfort. Ooh. And so I was confronted with the word comfort in the idol, the idolatry of comfort in the United States. Oh, okay. Well, there it is. Like, just in very vivid.

0:10:48.7 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:10:49.3 Jim Lovelady: Another thing about those two weeks was that they were super busy.

0:10:54.3 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:10:55.8 Jim Lovelady: And, it was a mix of jet lag, and in the middle of the week, I realized that I had culture shock for the first time in like 20 years. I hadn’t experienced culture shock (in 20 years).

0:11:06.8 Emily Shrader: What was that like? Like how did that manifest while you were there?

0:11:12.9 Jim Lovelady: Well, it started earlier that day when I was haggling with somebody for something that was clearly overpriced. It started off being ridiculously overpriced, but then eventually it was just like, this is overpriced. And just the feeling of being duped.

0:11:27.8 Emily Shrader: Oh, yeah.

0:11:28.2 Jim Lovelady: Which, it’s one of the things that I put a lot of boundaries around my life so that I don’t feel that sense of being duped or taken advantage of. And it happened. And so I was just grumpy, super grumpy, and tired. And I was like, I want to go home and like, so pouty. And so then I just like took stock of that for a second, and it just hit me, oh man, you’re exhausted. You have jet lag. You’re pouty because you didn’t get your way. You are all these things. And it’s like, oh, this is culture shock. Oh, right. I forgot what this is like. But then that was in the middle of the trip. Seven days later, I was like, I don’t want to go home.

0:12:11.2 Emily Shrader: Oh, yeah.

0:12:11.3 Jim Lovelady: I love these people. I love what the Lord’s doing here.

0:12:14.3 Emily Shrader: That’s right.

0:12:14.7 Jim Lovelady: It’s just very interesting how it’s a thing. Culture shock is a thing. Jet lag is a thing. And it brings out stuff, but it’s definitely a thing.

0:12:25.2 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Well, two weeks is not a super long time to be in a place. It’s long enough for it to stop feeling like shiny new.

0:12:35.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:12:36.3 Emily Shrader: But I would venture to say that if you had been there for four weeks, you probably would’ve gone back down into some more culture shock moments and then come back up into the “I love this!” place.

0:12:44.5 Jim Lovelady: Yep.

0:12:44.8 Emily Shrader: And it would go like that for the rest of your life while you were there.

0:12:48.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:12:48.8 Emily Shrader: ‘Cause that’s what it’s like when you go to a place that’s different from your home. So this is something that you wrote. I’m going to read it back to you.

0:12:57.6 Jim Lovelady: Okay.

0:13:00.7 Emily Shrader: When people ask you, how is Kenya, you said, “When I hear that question, in a flash, my mind thinks of a lot of things to say, like how the colors in Kenya seem more brilliant than where I live. It’s like the saturation filter on my eyes is kicked up a few notches. So the greens of the landscape are greener, and the reds of the dirt are redder. The blue sky seems bluer in Kenya.” So my question for you is, what does going to a new place, why does this do this to us? Why isn’t the sky the same blue at home?

0:13:35.7 Jim Lovelady: It’s interesting. I’ve been thinking about this because, it may very well be that, well, it was December in Philadelphia when I left. So it was gray.

0:13:46.0 Emily Shrader: So it literally was not. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

0:13:49.8 Jim Lovelady: And then I’m in equatorial Kenya where I’m closer to the sun than I’ve ever been. And then I go up to the mountains in Chogoria and it’s just this jungle, but high altitude and everything is fertile year round. The bananas are growing off the trees. I ate a banana right off the trees. Like my bucket… It’s on my bucket list.

0:14:16.4 Emily Shrader: Not anymore.

0:14:17.3 Jim Lovelady: Not anymore. To do it again.

0:14:20.4 Emily Shrader: Oh, there you go. This time in South America.

0:14:24.9 Jim Lovelady: That’s right.

0:14:25.5 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Yeah.

0:14:26.1 Jim Lovelady: And so there was something about, like, maybe the change from being in Philadelphia to being in summertime. Or it’s not summertime, it’s just almost the same year-round. But there is something about, and this is like a case for short-term missions where you get an eye… It’s like your eyes are open to the possibilities of everything. And I’m a very curious person. And so I go into those kinds of contexts and I’m just wide-eyed, and I think that it’s a posture of being receptive to whatever the Lord would do. And so some sense of… maybe it’s the same, that curiosity and being receptive are kind of the same thing, but just open to whatever could happen, and you just receive more with your eyes. You’re just a little bit more open with anticipation.

0:15:24.8 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:15:24.9 Jim Lovelady: I think that that’s probably what it was. I don’t know. You’ve been overseas, what was it like for you?

0:15:29.8 Emily Shrader: Well, I think there’s a lot of things that happen, and I venture to go back to what you were saying about comfort. I think when we’re taken… I think that our senses get dulled by our comfort. And so when we’re no longer comfortable in those things, I think our senses are heightened. So we smell things differently. We see things differently. We hear like these are new sounds.

0:15:57.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:15:58.3 Emily Shrader: And I think it just depends on the kind of person you are. Your personality.

0:16:00.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:16:01.5 Emily Shrader: Some people will walk through and be like, this is amazing. And other people will walk through and say, danger, danger. This is very threatening. And so it’s really important, I think, to know that different people deal with it in different ways.

0:16:15.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:16:16.7 Emily Shrader: One’s not right and one’s not wrong, it just is what it is.

0:16:19.3 Jim Lovelady: That’s right.

0:16:20.3 Emily Shrader: And so you just want to say that. So I think that that is something that I think about when… Like, just even moving out, doing something risky, something other than what’s normal. And to be honest, I think that society right now is a lot more risk-averse than they are willing to take risks. But I wish people would take more risks.

0:16:45.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. So there’s a vigilance that I had almost the whole time, partly because it’s unfamiliar. And so it’s just natural when you’re in an unfamiliar place that you’re going to be on the lookout.

0:16:55.8 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:16:56.5 Jim Lovelady: But we actually did go into a good number of very dangerous places where before, we heard, “Hey, here are some warnings. Don’t do this. Hey, when we drive through this part of town, keep your window up. Hey, don’t have your phone in your lap and the window down. Here’s a story about how someone’s…

0:17:14.2 Emily Shrader: That’s right.

0:17:15.0 Jim Lovelady: …how someone got their phone just right out of their hand as they were holding it.” 

0:17:19.2 Emily Shrader: Oh, yeah.

0:17:20.3 Jim Lovelady: Stuff like that where you’re like, oh, okay.

0:17:20.9 Emily Shrader: All the time. Oh, yeah.

0:17:22.3 Jim Lovelady: “Hey, don’t go here because there’s a lot of pickpocketing.” That kind of vigilance makes it where you’re… But I think you’re right. The nature of, oh, this is a little bit dangerous. And so I’m anticipating that probably… that probably opens things up to where the risks. We had a wonderful time and the worst thing that happened to me was I paid a little bit too much for this thing. And then everyone’s like, look, get over yourself. You’re helping the people who made that. Stop being a jerk. And I’m like, okay, yeah, you’re right. So it was a very vivid trip. Everything about it was just vivid.

0:18:06.0 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Okay. So we’re going to get to some lighter questions.

0:18:10.9 Jim Lovelady: Lighter questions.

0:18:11.4 Emily Shrader: Lighter questions. The first thing is, what is the weirdest thing (for you) that you consumed?

0:18:22.8 Jim Lovelady: I didn’t eat anything that I didn’t like.

0:18:24.5 Emily Shrader: That’s good.

0:18:25.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. I did discover, on this trip, the thing that I don’t like and I will never eat again.

0:18:33.2 Emily Shrader: What’s that?

0:18:33.8 Jim Lovelady: And it’s… I don’t remember what it’s called, which is the one thing that worries me because…

0:18:40.2 Emily Shrader: That’s worrisome.

0:18:41.9 Jim Lovelady: If it gets served up to me again, I’ll just Google it again. It ended up being beef lung.

0:18:48.1 Emily Shrader: Ooh. Spongy. Was it spongy?

0:18:50.4 Jim Lovelady: It is spongy and bouncy and squeaky.

0:18:55.1 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Well, yeah, during the Eid-al-Kabir, we would like… And when they sacrificed the lamb, they would always have the lung meat. Organ meat the first day.

0:19:09.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:19:10.5 Emily Shrader: But see, that’s us. That’s very culturally… it is like a delicacy for them.

0:19:16.6 Jim Lovelady: I had the best stewed goat that I’ve ever had.

0:19:19.8 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:19:20.3 Jim Lovelady: And here in the States, I’m not a huge fan of the goat, but over there, every goat dish that I had, I was like, oh, I could eat goat.

0:19:29.8 Emily Shrader: They know how to cook it.

0:19:31.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. We were coming back from the Maasai Mara, and we stopped at the Chariots for Hope Children’s Home in Maai Mahiu. And they served us this feast. And she gives us a tour of the orphanage, and then she goes, now we will take water together. And I’m like, oh, yeah, I’m thirsty. Sure. Okay. And water is a feast. And it was amazing. Gigantic avocados. And I said, how much would this avocado, this gigantic avocado be at the grocery store? Or it’s not the grocery store. It’s…

0:20:08.8 Emily Shrader: Right. In the market.

0:20:09.7 Jim Lovelady: And they’re basically like, I don’t know, 10 cents. Because you can’t… They grow everywhere wild. And so it’s like, you can’t sell these, everybody can get them everywhere.

0:20:18.2 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:20:19.4 Jim Lovelady: But the goat was amazing. So I never had anything I didn’t like, but I did have, the goat was like, oh, this is how you make this.

0:20:28.7 Emily Shrader: Yeah. This is…

0:20:28.9 Jim Lovelady: Oh, this is amazing.

0:20:29.9 Emily Shrader: So, did you learn some Swahili?

0:20:32.2 Jim Lovelady: Oh, I did. Well, I practiced it a lot.

0:20:34.8 Emily Shrader: So if somebody gave you a delicious goat stew, what would you say?

0:20:39.4 Jim Lovelady: Here’s what they taught me to say at… George Mixon, Ben Nihart, and I went to Kitengela for a pastor’s conference. And so it’s like these pastors from all over the country. And immediately I’m like, okay, teach me how to say this food is good. And so this is how you say it. Are you ready? Hiki chakula ni kitamu.

0:21:04.3 Emily Shrader: All right.

0:21:04.5 Jim Lovelady: That’s how I say that.

0:21:05.4 Emily Shrader: All right.

0:21:06.3 Jim Lovelady: Hiki chakula ni kitamu. I practiced a lot, and I don’t think I said anything like your mom is a whatever…

0:21:16.4 Emily Shrader: Oh, yeah.

0:21:17.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. …to embarrass myself, but I did mess up a lot. But Swahili is fun to practice. Blessings, the Lord bless you, is ubarikiwe.

0:21:30.2 Emily Shrader: Oh, okay.

0:21:30.7 Jim Lovelady: So that’s be blessed.

0:21:33.3 Emily Shrader: Are you going to start the podcast with…

0:21:34.9 Jim Lovelady: Ubarikiwe.

0:21:35.1 Emily Shrader: Or end the podcast with that?

0:21:36.8 Jim Lovelady: I never learned how to say hello, beloved. I’ll figure that out.

0:21:40.2 Emily Shrader: That’s gotta be…

0:21:40.6 Jim Lovelady: Hello, beloved in Swahili.

0:21:41.8 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Yeah.

0:21:42.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. I’ll figure that out.

0:21:43.2 Emily Shrader: Oh, yeah. That’d be good. So what’s the coolest (for you) animal that you saw?

0:21:50.3 Jim Lovelady: When we went to the Safari?

0:21:51.5 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:21:53.2 Jim Lovelady: Well, we saw a black rhino, and so that’s kind of rare.

0:21:56.8 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Although they had one in the zoo in North Africa, a black rhino.

0:22:03.4 Jim Lovelady: That’s a zoo. We saw it in the wild. And we saw it in the wild.

0:22:05.3 Emily Shrader: Yeah. In the wild. Sorry.

0:22:06.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:22:07.4 Emily Shrader: My bad.

0:22:08.8 Jim Lovelady: It was amazing. They did say, they said, okay, we could do a day trip to the safari in Nairobi, or we could do a trip down to the Maasai Mara. And when some of the plans fell through, I was like, you know what? Instead of a day trip to the Nairobi National Park, let’s do it. Let’s just go down to the Maasai Mara. And that’s how we ended up stumbling across the orphanage, which was all part of the Lord’s providence, but when we were there, we saw elephants, and we were in this huge Land Rover with the top off, like up. And we’re just looking, and we come up against this herd. Is it a herd of elephants?

0:22:47.7 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Yeah. I think so.

0:22:49.3 Jim Lovelady: With two babies and…

0:22:50.9 Emily Shrader: Or is it a pod? It might be a pod. No, that’s whales. Herd. We’ll stick with herds.

0:22:55.4 Jim Lovelady: No, we’re going to stick with herd. We need the Grace at the Fray fact-checking. So they just hung out around the truck for a long time. And we’re just taking tons of pictures. And we got really close. I did have… I made the mistake. It wasn’t a mistake, and nothing happened, but we came across a couple of male lions that were just chilling out on the side of the road. And so I’m filming one, and it’s like over there, and I have my arm out the window. And Allen’s right here. He’s like, “Dude, get your arm in! Get your arm in! Get your arm in!” And so, I look down and the other male lion just kind of walks under my arm. And I was like, ooh. So that was pretty cool. The safari was pretty amazing.

0:23:39.1 Emily Shrader: I want to go on a safari one day.

0:23:40.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It was awesome.

0:23:42.8 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Well, cool. Well, in thinking more just about your personal experience, we’re going to talk more about kind of like the goal that you had of going there. I want to talk more about that. But before we get there, just more about your experience. What was something or things that really surprised you?

0:24:03.8 Jim Lovelady: Well, something that surprised me about myself was the culture shock.

0:24:09.2 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:24:09.9 Jim Lovelady: And so that was humbling. It was good. It was good to kind of be confronted with that. And I was talking to Lori that night. It was like, whatever, dark. And it was morning for her. Yeah. I can’t remember what the time change was. And as I was talking to her, that’s when it was like, oh, yeah, this is, culture shock. And I was embarrassed. And I told her, I said, I’m afraid. And I was embarrassed to be afraid. And so that was something that I had to confront in my… I’m not the guy that’s like, fear isn’t just like the thing that’s right in front of me, it’s more like anger and arrogance and some of these other things that are like… I just know about those things. So when fear comes up and sneaks up on me, I’m kind of like, what is that? What is that? What’s that emotion? What is that emotion? And then as I’m talking to Lori, I’m like, oh, I’m afraid. And so it was this, oh, Jesus, help me to not be afraid.

0:25:14.1 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:25:14.4 Jim Lovelady: I don’t want to be afraid. And so moving from the culture shock, that kind of brought out my fear. By the end of the week, it was like, oh, I’m not afraid like I was. So that was something that surprised me. And that was about myself. About the culture, though, I don’t know, I think it was like you go into the slums of Nairobi… And I’ve been to the slums in North Africa. And where we went in Nairobi was considered the largest slum in all of Africa. And so we’re walking through and I was just… Allen and I both were just overwhelmed. And people were prepping us. “Hey, we’re going to be going into these slums, and it’s going to be pretty overwhelming.” And I was like, yeah, I’ve been to slums before, I know what you mean. I think I have an imagination for this. But the difference was when we walked around, actually talking to people and hearing people’s stories, that’s what it was. It was… Other slums that I’ve walked through talking to people, but not actually like really sitting down with their stories and hearing their stories. And I don’t know if I’m skipping ahead, but that’s part of this profound quandary that Allen and I found ourselves in, where we’re hearing these stories that could be easily exploited for likes and subscribes, and all of that.

0:26:49.7 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:26:50.1 Jim Lovelady: And we’re like, what is our responsibility to these people as they’ve told their stories? How do we honor these people? And we realized just in the wrestling with that, we realized that what we were trying to protect was the image of God that that person has. And we don’t want to dishonor the fact that they are image bearers and they are inherently honorable, inherently valuable. And we’re not going to objectify them and use them. But then, at the same… Later, a couple of days later, I realized, oh, well, I was really wrestling with Jesus about what do I do with this? What do I do about what I’ve seen? What do we do about what we’ve filmed? What do we do with this stuff? And I woke up the next morning, maybe two days later, and the morning reading was Jesus, I don’t remember what it was. Luke, Matthew, Gospel, [chuckle] Jesus. [laughter]

0:27:49.4 Emily Shrader: Jesus said it.

0:27:50.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Jesus said it.

0:27:51.1 Emily Shrader: Yeah. There you go.

0:27:51.6 Jim Lovelady: Jesus saw the crowd, and he had compassion on them. And it was like, okay, well, we have the compassion part because we saw. Oh, well, what would it be like to help other people see so that they can have compassion? And then the next part of that verse is, and so he went about healing them. Okay. So that’s where we were overwhelmed because we’re like 1.5 million people in this one square mile area. What kind of healing can we bring? And we were just both overwhelmed. And so, let’s pause the healing part and just look at the compassion part. Okay. Well, let’s pause the compassion part and just look at helping people see. And so that’s what… When that episode comes out, the idea is, I want you to see this so that you can have compassion, and maybe, just maybe, you might participate in some way with the healing.

0:28:50.8 Emily Shrader: Yeah. I think that there’s an interesting dynamic when we put ourselves out of our normal places, our normal, normal. And we’re confronted by things like that. Oftentimes I would imagine, like you said, you kind of go in there into a place like that and you think because of experiences that you’ve had, you’ve kind of conjured up in your mind what it’s going to be like and how you’re going to respond, and how you are going to impact the people that you come in contact with. And then you go in there, and it’s like, all of that just flies out the window, and you are just being barraged. You are being impacted. You are the one. Why does God take us into situations like that? Why do you think he takes us into situations like that?

0:29:46.2 Jim Lovelady: Isn’t that interesting? It’s like you are going to be you. And sometimes you have to be taken out of a place where you can no longer be strategic about how you present yourself, you can no longer be just in control of the decisions that you make. He puts you in places where you go with your gut, you have to go with your gut. ‘Cause it’s happening so fast, it’s so new. You don’t have a context for this. And so there you are. There you are. And so for me, it was like, oh, you think that you don’t have fear. It’s because you’ve been living a life where fear hasn’t been the thing that has tempted you away from trusting Jesus. Well, let’s just put you in a place where you discover that that’s a thing. It’s still a thing in your heart. You’ve just figured out a way of managing it in your suburban Philadelphia life where you’re just not really afraid anymore.

0:30:45.2 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:30:45.8 Jim Lovelady: And that’s not good because why am I not afraid? ‘Cause I’m not being threatened. Well, when I’m threatened, what do I turn to? And that’s always the question. [chuckle]

0:30:57.8 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:30:58.8 Jim Lovelady: And I turn to grabbing hold of control in some way. Well, the beautiful thing about that trip was, it was out of my control.

0:31:08.7 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:31:09.5 Jim Lovelady: And so it’s almost like everything speeds up the process of what following Jesus looks like when you discover, oh, I need to confess this sin, and I need to repent, and I need to receive the grace that Jesus offers me right now. And when that’s just happening faster in a new culture maybe, ’cause I experienced that.

0:31:34.3 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:31:34.8 Jim Lovelady: And he took… When he took me out of my normal.

0:31:40.2 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:31:40.5 Jim Lovelady: And so that was really… It’s really good. It’s really good to be taken out of your normal.

0:31:44.4 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Yeah. It is. I agree with you about that. And I think that the reality is that in those moments, you are experiencing what is closer to the truth.

0:32:03.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. That’s right.

0:32:04.8 Emily Shrader: There’s a level of clarity that you have in those moments that you don’t necessarily have when you’re in your comfort zone.

0:32:13.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:32:14.2 Emily Shrader: And again, I think it’s really important as we talk about these things, just talking about any person in any place different from where they are. So it’s not so much that like Kenya is the place that does this to people.

0:32:27.8 Jim Lovelady: That’s right. That’s right.

0:32:28.8 Emily Shrader: We don’t want to… Well, that’s not what we’re saying, we’re saying if somebody went from Maine to the West coast, they would experience the same thing. So this isn’t necessarily like a national kind of thing that we’re talking about; we’re just talking about people who live in a certain way and are somehow put in a place where that’s not the way people live.

0:32:53.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:32:54.1 Emily Shrader: And how experiencing that opens your eyes to God’s power and presence in a deeper way.

0:33:05.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And I, someone who loves change and loves a new adventure, even I was confronted with, oh, I’m afraid. Oh, I don’t like this. Oh, I’m uncomfortable. Oh no, I’m uncomfortable. And Jesus goes, yeah, what are you going to do about that? And I go, I can’t do anything about that. And he goes, finally, you admit that.

0:33:30.8 Emily Shrader: Yes. As you’re talking, I’m just like, I’m so happy for you. 

0:33:34.8 Jim Lovelady: Right? Yeah.

0:33:35.9 Emily Shrader: No, seriously. 

0:33:36.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:33:37.3 Emily Shrader: And also, now that you’ve experienced that, how is that going to be worked out here? How is God going to use that experience of you understanding a little bit more about what it is to be fearful? How is that going to work out in your life now?

0:33:54.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:33:54.5 Emily Shrader: Where can you see that being fruit from that? Are you a dad?

0:34:00.4 Jim Lovelady: It’s funny, we were talking about how… I can’t remember how I was talking about this, but I was like, am I getting old? Is it because I’m getting old, or is it because the world is more scary? Like measurably more scary, or is it just me? Do I feel like the world is more scary or is the world actually more scary? And it kind of doesn’t matter either way. Either way, fear is there and the loss of control is there. And as you talking about kids, my oldest is… we’re looking at colleges, and I’m just freaking out. Oh, teaching her how to drive, and Lori’s like…

0:34:35.5 Emily Shrader: Well, that’s scary for everybody. [laughter]

0:34:37.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Well, what’s funny is, Lori’s like, I thought I was going to be the one that was paranoid, but man, you’re kind of off the charts scared about all of this, aren’t you? And I’m like, well, I want to be thorough. [laughter]

0:34:52.9 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Thorough.

0:34:55.7 Jim Lovelady: So it’s there. It’s just, it’s there.

0:34:57.8 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:34:58.2 Jim Lovelady: Going away, I didn’t go to where fear is, I brought the fear with me.

0:35:05.8 Emily Shrader: Oh yeah. For sure. Yeah.

0:35:08.3 Jim Lovelady: And so it’s here, it’s right now, it’s in this room. There’s no threat.

0:35:12.4 Emily Shrader: So is Jesus.

0:35:13.5 Jim Lovelady: Exactly. Exactly. And so there’s a heightened awareness of both. And that’s the key is that when we are honest with these things, Jesus is quicker to meet us than our fear is.

0:35:29.8 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:35:30.2 Jim Lovelady: And that’s why you’re like, oh, I’m so happy for you because it’s liberation.

0:35:35.7 Emily Shrader: It is. And that’s just it. And I think so many of us going into a situation like that, if we were to feel fear, our automatic response to that fear is shame.

0:35:46.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:35:46.7 Emily Shrader: And that shame can keep us from going to really the only place that that fear can be dealt with.

0:35:53.9 Jim Lovelady: That’s right.

0:35:54.8 Emily Shrader: And sometimes we’ll scramble to try to push that fear down by doing other things, by going to other places when really Jesus is right there. To say, what do they… It’s like one of the most common phrases in scripture.

0:36:10.4 Jim Lovelady: It’s the most common command. Fear not.

0:36:14.3 Emily Shrader: Fear not.

0:36:15.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:36:15.5 Emily Shrader: And so, yeah, I just love that. I really am happy for you in that. And I also know that it kind of sucks. [laughter]

0:36:23.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:36:24.4 Emily Shrader: I’m like, I’m happy for you and I hope I don’t have to go through that anytime soon.

0:36:26.8 Jim Lovelady: Exactly. That’s right. That’s right.

0:36:28.3 Emily Shrader: But however, you know David, my husband, he’s deploying soon.

0:36:32.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:36:32.8 Emily Shrader: Six months. And so there’s a lot of that, not… I don’t want to say negotiating ’cause that’s not what it is, that’s not the right word.

0:36:40.7 Jim Lovelady: Contending.

0:36:41.5 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Contending and taking and then giving back, and taking and giving back to the Lord. Like, all right. Yeah. So it’s there and it comes and goes in all sorts of ways, I’m sure.

0:36:52.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:36:53.2 Emily Shrader: I appreciate that. So, okay. You shared your itinerary with me and some short notes, like I said at the beginning. So without giving too much away, there were some things that piqued my interest.

0:37:06.3 Jim Lovelady: Okay. Give it to me.

0:37:07.8 Emily Shrader: I gotta turn my page over. I was particularly interested in hearing more about your interactions with the chaplains in Chogoria, possibly because I’m married to a chaplain, but also because the things that you wrote about them and about their ministry were just fascinating and a little just bizarre. I just want to hear more about it. Can we talk about it now?

0:37:36.5 Jim Lovelady: Well, yeah. Be more… Yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:37:38.2 Emily Shrader: Okay. Okay.

0:37:38.8 Jim Lovelady: Be more specific.

0:37:39.2 Emily Shrader: So well, my…

0:37:39.8 Jim Lovelady: Which ones piqued your interest?

0:37:41.3 Emily Shrader: Well, who are these chaplains and what do they do?

0:37:43.3 Jim Lovelady: Well, so when I was in Chogoria touring the hospital with Derek and Lauren Webber.

0:37:49.2 Emily Shrader: Who are sweet, wonderful people. They’ve done a podcast with you, haven’t they?

0:37:52.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:37:53.2 Emily Shrader: Yeah. You can go back and look at their podcast if you want to learn more about that.

0:37:56.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And what’s so cool about it is that episode two of… This is, Lord willing, going to be episode five.

0:38:04.3 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:38:04.7 Jim Lovelady: And episode two was an interview with Paul and Lynn Opare-Addo, who are doctors in Chogoria.

0:38:13.2 Emily Shrader: Okay.

0:38:13.4 Jim Lovelady: And so part of the way that, just again, like the way that… Okay, let’s go back to the original question. Why Africa or why Kenya? And I go, well, now that I really think about it, it’s like that’s what Jesus wanted. [laughter] ‘Cause there’s so many things…

0:38:29.1 Emily Shrader: Good answer.

0:38:29.7 Jim Lovelady: There’s so many… Jesus. [laughter] There’s so many things that it’s clear that the Lord worked them out. And from Derek and Lauren Webber last season to Paul and Lynn Opare-Addo visiting, and I got to interview them. Before I went and staying at their house in Chogoria while they were here.

0:38:52.2 Emily Shrader: Oh that’s amazing.

0:38:53.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And thanks Paul and Lynn. [laughter]

0:38:57.3 Emily Shrader: Shout out.

0:38:57.8 Jim Lovelady: And shout out. So we find ourselves in Chogoria. Derek and Lauren are giving us a tour of the hospital. And just the way that the hospital is, just the architecture even, the location of the hospital grounds. All of these things are significant and meaningful in ways that are just like really surprising. And I said, I sit down with the chaplains who… I sat down with three of the five chaplains. And just getting to hear what their life is like, where they wake up and they pray together, and then off they go to different departments in the hospital. And the most powerful thing, and I can’t wait to talk more about this in that episode, the most powerful thing is the way that there was holistic medicine happening at Chogoria hospital. So if anybody feels… If any doctors out or nurses or PAs out there feel like they’re stifled, that they can’t do more holistic medicine, that there’s no place, there is a place.

0:40:09.2 Jim Lovelady: And how chaplains are invited to come. And they’re considered a valuable asset to the business of the hospital. Like there’s a deep understanding, we can’t do this without chaplains. And that was so refreshing. And then to hear these chaplains humility as off they go to go minister to the sick and the dying, to the mentally ill, to that culture that is dealing with all sorts of things like witchcraft and demon possession. And it’s just this beautiful picture of holistic medicine, and there they are doing their thing.

0:40:56.6 Emily Shrader: Yeah, immediately when I read that, and even just hearing you talk about it now, it does remind me of Serge’s mission, which is to reach, renew, and restore. And a lot of the ministry that we do as an organization falls under one or more of those categories. But to have one that falls into all three is like jackpot.

0:41:25.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:41:25.7 Emily Shrader: And that’s really exciting. It’s so exciting to hear that those things are happening. So the two words that were in the itinerary that jumped out at me, and you may decide to edit this out, you may not, it’s up to you. But the first one was exorcism.

0:41:41.5 Jim Lovelady: Oh, right.

0:41:42.3 Emily Shrader: And I was like, whoa!

0:41:43.3 Jim Lovelady: What? Yeah.

0:41:46.8 Emily Shrader: And then the second one was circumcision.

0:41:49.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:41:50.4 Emily Shrader: [laughter] So there you go. They’re actually important parts of the job that these chaplains are doing and their goals. So talk a little bit… Are you okay to talk a little bit more about that or is that for that episode?

0:42:04.4 Jim Lovelady: I’m going to give you a teaser. I’m not going to tell you.

0:42:06.7 Emily Shrader: Oh, dang it.

0:42:07.3 Jim Lovelady: But in that episode, we’re going to talk about the crisis of manhood ’cause that’s what I learned about. And the rituals of circumcision are a significant aspect in Kenyan culture, for all the tribes.

0:42:22.3 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:42:22.8 Jim Lovelady: …How it’s part of what it means to be a man. So what does that look like for Christian men? What does that look like for Chogoria Hospital, for these chaplains to be guiding young men into manhood? And it’s just really cool. And that was another aspect of what can a broken Kenyan church teach a broken American church? Well, what they can teach about the crisis of manhood that we are experiencing here in the United States is really interesting. And I don’t necessarily have any like silver bullet answer about that, I’m just fascinated about the conversation, the discussion that that generated, a cross-cultural discussion in American hearing about what ritual circumcision looks like for these… And the way that the Christian community is ministering to people. And then what that means for the American church, oh, very fascinating. And the other part, so I use the word exorcism, they use the word deliverance.

0:43:32.2 Emily Shrader: Praise Jesus.

0:43:34.3 Jim Lovelady: And so we’ll tell some stories about what deliverance looks like and what syncretism looks like and what living in a culture, but not being of a culture and offering and how Jesus is victorious overpowers and principalities. Like all of that in the American culture is downplayed significantly.

And so what does it mean to be delivered from the powers and principalities of darkness that manifest themselves in this kind of mental illness? Well, what does that mean for us Americans, and what does that mean for our wrestling, not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities? And so I’m not going to say anymore. [laughter]

0:44:05 Emily Shrader: But I do think it’s interesting that there’s this holistic aspect to the spiritual realm as well as the physical realm, and this idea that, yeah, it’s not simple. 

0:44:19 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:44:20 Emily Shrader: We wish it would be, but it’s not.

0:44:22 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And that’s part of the expectations in American culture where you go, well, just take this Tylenol and your headache will go away.

0:44:31 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:44:32 Jim Lovelady: Well, I’ve got a story. It’s kind of cool. It’s pretty cool. I’m not going to tell you right now. 

0:44:41 Emily Shrader: Oh man. [laughter] Alright. Alright. Okay. So again, no spoiler alerts, but, or no spoilers is what I want to say. So most of what you did while you were there was you visited different missionaries and ministries of our organization, of Serge, including not just medical work, but I think there were some athletic ministries, like sports outreach. You got to visit a boarding school for missionary kids. You got to talk with people who were doing storying, Bible storying, which we would as an organization kind of file under facilitative church planting, coming alongside and helping to build up the church. But you also talked with some homeschooling moms. Just give us a little picture because they’re missionaries too.

0:45:31 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:45:31 Emily Shrader: And yeah, I just want to hear a little more about how that was… How are they doing over there, those homeschooling moms?

0:45:41 Jim Lovelady: If I said, hey, homeschooling moms, would you love it for a missionary kid teacher to come live with you guys and teach your children? Who wants that? It’s like unanimous hands up. We would love to have help. And the beauty of it is like, without that help, and there’s always a need for missionary kid teachers, always.

0:46:06 Emily Shrader: Always.

0:46:07 Jim Lovelady: [chuckle] And as I’m hanging out with kids running around and it’s awesome. They’re like, yeah, we’re doing a Shakespeare club where all the kids are going to be doing, I don’t remember, was it The Tempest? I don’t remember what it was.

0:46:22 Emily Shrader: How fun. Yeah.

0:46:23 Jim Lovelady: I was like, wow, this is a legit education.

0:46:28 Emily Shrader: There is Shakespeare.

0:46:29 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And what, these kids are seven? So they’re doing amazing work with their children. But there’s a sense of discouragement and tired because a lot of these people have medical… A lot of these women have medical degrees.

0:46:45 Emily Shrader: Oh, yeah.

0:46:45 Jim Lovelady: And so there’s a real sense of, the Lord has called me to this and it doesn’t feel as glorious as maybe this over here. And just watching them contend with that and see how this really is glorious.

0:47:06 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:47:06 Jim Lovelady: So now I’m saying two things. I’m like, okay, well we need missionary kid teachers in all… In basically every field.

0:47:16 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Oh yeah, I could list them. And I’m going to do a little commercial in just a moment, so…

0:47:19 Jim Lovelady: Oh, nice. Nice.

0:47:20 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Yeah, but go ahead.

0:47:22 Jim Lovelady: But then at the same time, what the Lord has given them right now, they’re leaning into. And so we got to sit there where this one was in Chogoria, where it’s like, hey, who’s up in this hour to do, I don’t know if it was math or whatever it was, it was like one…

0:47:43 Emily Shrader: Yeah. It was a cooperative.

0:47:44 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And they’re just working together in this beautiful community, And that’s part of this payoff where they’re not alone, and they’re working together in this beautiful community to raise their children. And so it takes a literal… It’s a village. It’s literally a village. It takes a village.

0:48:04 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:48:05 Jim Lovelady: So it’s beautiful and they would love it if someone would come.

0:48:11 Emily Shrader: Well, and…

0:48:12 Jim Lovelady: Imagine the blessing that that would be.

0:48:14 Emily Shrader: Oh, well, and this goes back to what we were just talking about, about getting out of your comfort zone. Like not only would you be a blessing to these families, but you would be blessed. I don’t know if you heard this or not, but my oldest who’s a TCK (third culture kid), grew up overseas. One of the women that she knew as a child overseas was a foreign worker on her team, a single woman. Knew they were really close, but she was little. And she’s almost 21 now, and she’s studying abroad. And she had the opportunity to go and spend the weekend with this woman who had invested so much in her 15 years ago.

0:49:00 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:49:01 Emily Shrader: And it was just so sweet to see the lasting impressions that both of them had on each other.

0:49:11 Jim Lovelady: Wow.

0:49:12 Emily Shrader: Even all these years later. And I do think that that opportunity, and I also think this is why Serge likes to send in teams. The opportunity to live as exiles in or as foreigners in a place together is something that is just really special.

0:49:36 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:49:36 Emily Shrader: You don’t really get it anywhere else. It’s like unique, and it forms these really amazing bonds and friendships. So yeah. We do need missionary kid teachers. We need missionary kid teachers. Now, I’m looking right into the camera [laughter], and I’m not supposed to do that. He told me not to. And I’m saying that as a recruiter now, I’m not the podcast host, I’m a recruiter, if you know of anybody who’s interested in being a missionary kid teacher, please, please, please visit our website and check out the opportunities and come alongside them. If they’re younger, come alongside them and look at the website with them and pray about whether or not this might be something God is calling them to do. I just had to do it.

0:50:23 Jim Lovelady: It was good though.

0:50:24 Emily Shrader: Well, thank you. And there’s all sorts… I wanted to say this too. There are all sorts of teaching opportunities. It’s not just like the rural Kenya teams, there are established schools where some of our teams are that also need teachers where you could go and work at that school and be attached to a Serge team. So it’s not just about like going out to the bush and doing that, although that’s awesome, but there’s also places really all over the world that there are opportunities, if you’re a teacher. Yeah, please. So there’s that.

0:50:59 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And there was an apprentice there in Chogoria. And she was doing… It’s like she’s a part of the family, and so as you’re talking about the legacy, she’s leaving a legacy. Oh yeah.

0:51:09 Emily Shrader: Oh yeah, for sure. For sure. Okay. So the last question that I have for you, and this is actually the one that I’m really excited about is, you’ve gathered all this footage. I would love to hear you talk a little bit more about your creative process. I would love… So I have basically three questions, and I’m going to give them all to you at once, and then you can just talk about it, ’cause I know you can handle it. How do you tell stories with integrity? Do you feel any kind of pressure to deliver? And how do you decide what stays and what goes?

0:51:48 Jim Lovelady: Oh, man. That third one’s hard. What was the first one? ‘Cause I can handle it.

0:51:57 Emily Shrader: You can handle it. Well, I think the first one kind of actually encompasses all of them, which is like, how do you tell stories with integrity?

0:52:06 Jim Lovelady: Every human has a story, and every story is fascinating. And so it’s the curiosity of, hey, who are you? How did you get here? Because it’s going to be fascinating. And so, yeah. That’s what it is. It’s, you’re looking for the humanity of it that just so happens to be image of God bearing story. It’s a story of someone who bears the image of God. And so…

0:52:39 Emily Shrader: Whether they recognize it or not.

0:52:41 Jim Lovelady: Right. Absolutely. And so it’s almost like a detective, like scoping it out. What’s the Lord doing in this person? What’s the Lord doing in this area? The second question, what was the second question?

0:52:54 Emily Shrader: Do you feel any pressure to deliver?

0:52:58 Jim Lovelady: The pressure I feel is like, I want to honor these people’s stories, and I don’t want to fumble it. And then, yeah, that goes into like the third question where I have over 25 hours worth of footage that Allen and I filmed together.

0:53:18 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:53:19 Jim Lovelady: He did, obviously he did the bulk of the filming. [laughter] His arms were tired and he never got over the jet lag. And so he’s just kind of like, oh, holding the cameras. [laughter]

0:53:31 Emily Shrader: That’s a disclaimer if any of the footage is a little wobbly.

0:53:34 Jim Lovelady: No, he did great.

0:53:34 Emily Shrader: I’m sure it’s perfect. Yeah.

0:53:36 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. It was so cool to get to go with him. And I’m super thankful to get to do that. And he refuses to be in front of the camera, and so…

0:53:47 Emily Shrader: Which is so funny to me.

0:53:49 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:53:49 Emily Shrader: That’s ironic.

0:53:50 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. He’s awesome. So looking through these things and going, okay, what’s the story that I can tell? And I guess what I feel most is, there’s so many stories, so little time, so many stories, so little resources. Are there people that can come alongside me and edit for me? I did not go to seminary to edit film.

0:54:14 Emily Shrader: No.

0:54:15 Jim Lovelady: I don’t know what I’m doing, but figuring it out.

0:54:18 Emily Shrader: Yeah, you’re doing a great job.

0:54:20 Jim Lovelady: It’s been well, thanks. It’s been fun. But the creative process is, okay, where can I pull out the story that is going on here? And it’s always going to be a story that in some way reflects renewal and mission going hand in hand. Where the Lord has called this person to some place where they are shown their brokenness and God’s glory, and they’re responding in a way that is a blessing to the people around them.

0:54:50 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:54:51 Jim Lovelady: Rinse and repeat.

0:54:53 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:54:54 Jim Lovelady: And for each individual, it’s just like this over and over. And what’s been really fun doing this podcast for Serge has been, those stories are just kind of like always at the forefront of people’s hearts and minds, the Serge workers, they’re just always there. So it doesn’t take much for me to like poke somebody and out comes Gospel glory of weakness and brokenness and humility and vulnerability of these people that are kind of like, oh, I don’t really know what to do here, but Jesus seems to always rescue me. And those stories, like, I can’t get enough of those stories because I need to hear those stories too ’cause I’m constantly doubtful.

0:55:37 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:55:37 Jim Lovelady: Is it, are you really going to save me? Are you really going to take away my fears? Are you really going to? Are you? And then someone comes along with a beautiful story and they’re like, and that’s what Jesus did for me. And I’m like, I believe.

0:55:54 Emily Shrader: Oh, my own belief. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, I…

0:55:56 Jim Lovelady: I don’t know. The short answer is I’m overwhelmed. There’s so much from Kenya from two weeks.

0:56:03 Emily Shrader: Well, we were just in a meeting before this because we both work with Renewal and we were talking about this project that we’re all working on and just the importance of the leading of the Holy Spirit. And I just don’t want to underestimate… I just want you to know that I’m praying for you that the Holy Spirit will lead and help you sort through, because I would imagine that it would feel like quite the responsibility.

0:56:34 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. I appreciate that.

0:56:35 Emily Shrader: Yeah. ‘Cause it’s not just you.

0:56:37 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:56:38 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:56:38 Jim Lovelady: Well, and that’s the creative… The creative process is the Lord loves it when we make stuff for him. And even in the making, we are being like him.

0:56:50 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Yeah.

0:56:52 Jim Lovelady: And so we sit down and we go, okay, what do you want to make today? And I go, I don’t know. What do you want to make today? And he goes, no, what do you like? Tell me what footage you like.

0:57:02 Emily Shrader: That’s right.

0:57:02 Jim Lovelady: So there’s this beautiful collaboration with the spirit, and there’s a book that I love called The War of Art, which is a play on the Art of War. That’s an ancient…

0:57:12 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Yeah.

0:57:13 Jim Lovelady: So this is The War of Art.

0:57:14 Emily Shrader: The War of Art, okay.

0:57:15 Jim Lovelady: And it talks about the creative process, and the book is super helpful for me. And so the dude talks about the muse, i.e., the Holy Spirit.

0:57:24 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:57:24 Jim Lovelady: And he ventures into spiritual territory just more than…

0:57:29 Emily Shrader: How can you not, when you’re talk about creativity?

0:57:31 Jim Lovelady: Well, yeah, so than he rightly should for his worldview. So he’s borrowing Christianity in order to make this argument about how the muse, the spirit. You put yourself in a position where the spirit through the disciplines of the work of being a creative person in its work, you put yourself in that place so that when the muse hits, you’re ready for it. And so there, while I was there, it was a lot of Jesus put me in the right place ’cause I kind of don’t… I’ve got jet lag. My brain is foggy, I don’t remember… I don’t even know what I’m saying right now. And like I’m interviewing somebody and having that conversation with Jesus in my mind where I’m like, did I ask a question? They’re answering, pay attention.

0:58:19 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:58:20 Jim Lovelady: All of those things, jet lag. And just trusting that Jesus wants those stories to be told too. And there’s a tenderness and there’s a joy ’cause he’s a joyful king who loves to wrap his hands around our fumbly hands and go, hey, let’s sculpt this.

0:58:42 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

0:58:42 Jim Lovelady: Hey, do that. Ooh, what do you think about that? And suddenly we were participating with the divine.

0:58:48 Emily Shrader: Yeah. One of my favorite parts of my work as a mobilizer, as a recruiter is that I get to ask people to give me their testimony to tell me how they met Jesus. And I don’t think I’ve ever finished any one of those interviews without being like, well, that was a miracle. Praise Jesus. Like to God be the glory. And there is this really beautiful thing about hearing people’s stories that really do exactly what you said, they bolster our own faith. They’re these tiny… And then when I say tiny, I mean like in the scheme of all of God’s creation, these tiny explosions of his grace that just come out and they really do, they strengthen us and they help us. So I love that. I love that about my job. So I guess my next question is, where are you going now? What’s next on the agenda?

0:59:46 Jim Lovelady: People ask me that. I don’t know. Well, I laugh because two years ago, I was like, oh man, I’d love to go to Kenya with Allen.

0:59:58 Emily Shrader: That’s amazing.

0:59:59 Jim Lovelady: And then Jesus goes, okay. And then a year and a half later…

1:00:03 Emily Shrader: Boom.

1:00:04 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. So, I don’t know.

1:00:06 Emily Shrader: Yeah.

1:00:07 Jim Lovelady: But right now, so the conference is in Spain this May. And I was like, oh, I should go ’cause I want to connect with missionaries and tell their stories. And then I was like, I don’t have it right now, later.

1:00:21 Emily Shrader: Okay. Yeah. Later. Another time.

1:00:23 Jim Lovelady: So we’ll see. I don’t know, we can pray about that too.

1:00:25 Emily Shrader: Yeah. Yeah. That’s good. Well, thank you so much for coming onto my podcast today.

1:00:33 Jim Lovelady: It was an honor. You’re amazing.

1:00:38 Emily Shrader: Oh, thanks, Jim. You cannot put that in there.

1:00:43 Jim Lovelady: And I love what you’ve been doing with this podcast. It’s one of my favorites.

1:00:50 Emily Shrader: Oh, I see what you’re doing.

1:00:54 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

1:00:55 Emily Shrader: I was like, that’s…

1:00:56 Jim Lovelady: You can’t put that in there. Oh, well, let me finish.

1:00:59 Emily Shrader: He’s talking about himself. He’s talking about himself. 

1:01:04 Jim Lovelady: Thank you so much for hanging out.

1:01:05 Emily Shrader: Oh. It’s fun. Thanks for having me.

1:01:15 Emily Shrader: So, in the course of this interview, I asked Jim what surprised him about Kenya, and he shared that his own reaction was surprising, along with a lot of other things. Even though the goal of this podcast was to pique your interest in the upcoming episodes about our amazing missionaries in Kenya and the beautiful communities they serve. And by the way, I hope that we did that. If you asked me what was surprising about hosting this podcast, I would say that even though we talked about all those things, we talked about so much more. So now I want to leave you asking a few more questions. What do you do when you’re afraid? Do you believe Jesus meets you in your fear? Are you feeling like your senses are numbed by the familiar? Are you willing to move out of your comfort zone to experience new things with the expectation that God will meet you there?

In fact, he’s already there. I’m really thankful Jim left the comfort zone in Philadelphia and traveled halfway around the world. I’m thankful because we’ll benefit from his storytelling, be better equipped to pray and support God’s work in that place. But I’m also thankful because Jim is my friend and my brother in Christ. And isn’t it delightful to see our friends growing in their faith? If you’re thinking you might want to step out of your comfort zone, I want you to know that Serge offers short term opportunities that come alongside our missionaries all around the world. We have a lot of resources for renewal and mission in your life. So check the show notes to see more about that. And if you haven’t yet, leave a rating on your podcast platform. If you’re watching on YouTube, like this video and subscribe to Serge’s YouTube channel. And now I want to leave you with these words of blessing. Fear not, for God is with you. Be not dismayed, for he is your God. He will strengthen you, he will help you, he will uphold you with his righteous right hand.

Emily Shrader

Emily is a Mobilizer and Renewal Specialist for Serge.  She and her family served with Serge overseas for more than a decade. She currently resides in NC, where her husband David serves as a Chaplain in the USAF.


Jim Lovelady

Jim Lovelady is a Texas-born pastor, musician, and liturgist, doing ministry in Philadelphia with his wife, Lori, and 3 kids, Lucia, Ephram, and Talitha. He is passionate about the ministry of liberating religious people from the anxieties of religion and liberating secular people from the anxieties of secularism through the story of the gospel.

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