Kenya Trip Report

•January 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Happy New Year!

Do you know how long it takes to make time for and then sift through 600+ pictures and write up in more detail about the key experiences from being in Africa? I can tell you! It takes about a week of vacation to get us enough time to just start sorting through it. With the Christmas-New Year’s holiday, that’s exactly what we did, and we’re still not done!

We returned from Africa in July after being there for 3 weeks. It took at least another week for us to settle back in a bit to the time zone and surroundings at home. Then August hit and the backlog of being gone for 3 weeks combined with the start of the busiest business season of the year at the office. We put our heads down and worked straight through until Dec 23rd, including the busiest November we’ve ever had. We were only home for 6 days total in November.

With the down economy, this was a very tough year, as I’m sure you know. To make the Africa trip at all during this time was miraculous as was your support for us in doing so.

We ended the year relatively ok in the businesses at FrontGate Media and Extra Mile Merch in that we didn’t lay anyone off and navigated the revenue loss. We also got into launch mode for our newest ventures to hedge against the lost business this year: the commerce/fulfillment service Splatter and the online radio network for worship leaders Creator Leadership Network. We also were blessed to be able to launch our non-profit My Broken Palace–dealing with addiction, suicide prevention and depression among the 15-24 age group (which I’ll tell you more about another time.) The next year or two should be interesting!

All that to say that this update is long overdue.  Here’s a general summary. I will reflect more on Madison’s involvement at a later time.🙂

Trip Results

e3 Partners tracks the following info so these are the direct results of God using the Shuford family in Mwangaza, Kenya. We’ve stayed in touch with the mother church’s pastors David and Sarah. I’ve also kept up a bit with my team members Wilfred and Mary, and of course with Thomas. It sounds like our Mwangaza church is doing well! From our week of walking all over the plains of Mwangaza…

Number of people hearing the gospel:   243
Number of seekers: 56
Professions of faith: 96
Number of follow-up visits:  56
Number of people at follow-up visits:  119

I guess those aren’t “results” as much as just statistics, so if you want a deeper glimpse into the trip, I hope you’ll enjoy the much expanded explanations that we’ve posted up to the first batch of pictures online…

Trip Photos

I have posted about 90 pictures along with much more detailed explanations into my Facebook album. You don’t have to be a Facebook member to view them. See and read them here:

We’re still planning to upload the total catalog of pictures we’ve taken after we’ve tossed out the bad ones. I also want to transcribe my daily journal and post it so you can see what it was like one day at a time.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for blessing us by contributing financially and prayerfully to the trip!! We truly could not have done this without you.


•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

June 27

We finished our mission time on Friday afternoon with a big ceremony. It was a truly an awesome week with so many people and experiences. I can’t really even begin to tell you yet. For example, I spent 1-2 hrs every day with a guy named Thomas and one or more members of his extended family. He was so excited. I missed him on Fri AM and thought I would not see him before we left. When he came home, his wife told him we had come and he went to look for us. We were gone already but he tracked us down walking 3 miles to find us! We were both glad we got to see each other again.

We have some great pics and a lot of stories when we return! We have made several friends that we will be able to stay in touch with by email. Today the whole team is going to a safari park together for our day off!

You haven’t missed the stories of what happened last week! Scott is having to text updates from his phone as he can, and will be able to talk in depth on his blog when they get back!


•June 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

June 19th

          We are standing on Kenyan soil! The flight was LAX to JFK to London to Nairobi. Lost 3 pieces of our luggage, but it should come in 1-2 days. Good we packed 1/3 of our stuff in each of our bags. That was a great tip! Slept great last nite and had a great hot shower. Breakfast – hard boiled eggs, sausage, potatoes, beans, cereal and milk , coffee or hot choc. Hanging with the team getting ready to depart to Isiolo.

June 21st

     Stayed Nairobi nite one. Drove 4+ hours to Isiolo on Saturday. Tough roads closer to Isiolo. Got our 3 missing bags today. No warm water in the shower, but no bug problem so far!!! Rooms are warm, no fans, no AC. It’s warmer than forecast.

     Went to Free Pentecostal Fellowship of Kenya today. I was the 1st of 2 speakers from our team for the  message. It went well. Everyone on our team was introduced. About 60 or so at the the church. Spent the morning at their church then our team of 14 ate at the pastor David’s house. Best food we’ve had so far here. His wife Sara is great with lentils, rice and mutton stew! Then went back to their church to be commissioned to go out for the week. Met the team I’m overseeing, about10-12. Isiolo is like Mexico in general appearance but many many people speak English. Met our translators today too. Her n ame is Mary and she’s been at the church for several years. She’s been married 8 yrs and has 2 boys ages 8 and 4. We’re getting the hang of each others’ accents.

     Out early tomorrow to start going farm to farm. All 3 of us are paired up with different church members on teams we’re leading, including Madison. We’ll be meeting Kenyans with our teams of 3 getting to know them, presenting the Gospel with the evangecube and running an afternoon study/church mtg before dinner.

     Will update as often as I can!


•June 8, 2009 • 1 Comment

Of the millions decisions involved in going on a mission trip and travelling overseas, many of those are going toward planning what to take with us and what to leave behind. There’s only so much space in our bags. We’re part of a group going, so we’re taking the fellowship of other people with our luggage. We answered a couple of questions about what’s going with us….
“What are you packing?”
“While I am planning on not staying connected, I did realize that I do need a few things in order to be Twittering from Kenya, and “just in case”.  I am planning to take my Blackberry Curve. I need to get it unlocked.  It looks like I’ll be packing an Acer mini notebook to have something on hand in case I need it while there. Other than that, I’m taking mostly clothes of various kinds.  I’m planning to pack light and do some laundry at the half way point there.  I’m concerned about the plane flight… I need to figure out how to keep myself occupied, and how to sleep.  These will be the longest flights I’ve ever taken.  I don’t sleep well on planes, so some sort of sleeping pill will be going with me.”
“I’m packing clothes. They told us to over pack so that we don’t end up with only dirty stuff to wear by the end of the trip.  I’m going to take my iPod and DS at least for the plane.  We’re collecting soccer balls to take over.  I’m still not really sure what the weather will be like.  I have to take my backpack over to have with me everyday.  I am also going to take my video camera and normal camera so I can record blogs daily. I’m going to take my binoculars to hopefully see some awesome animals like MONKEYS!  We’re taking bug spray for all the bugs.”


“Do you know other people that are going?”
“I’ve met them a couple of times, but I haven’t really talked to them talked to them yet.  I’ve kind of just gotten to know them a little so far. There are 5 other kids going, including one other 14 year old who is almost my age.  Her name is May. There are 4 other kids older than me who are 15-17 years old.  They seem nice.  I hope to get along with them while we are in Africa.”
“We’re just starting to get to know the people we are going with. We’ve met together two times.  One of the gals is only 14 and is going without the rest of her family. She had some kind of disease/illness where her body would not tell itself that it was full. You can’t tell from looking at her now, but at one time she was extremely overweight.  The doctors told her it was likely she would have a heart attack before she was 18.  They were trying tons of different medications but nothing was working.  To hear her tell it, her body wasn’t able to work right until her parents started to pray by laying their hands on her every night.  She’s already had to live through a lot being only 14.”

Hope for Orphans

•May 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

God has been bringing up my “orphan” status to work on. I’m not an orphan in the traditional sense of the word, but I did have an absent Dad and not much of a family relationship from my tween years on. I was talking to my wife Kyle the other night, and remembering that I was probably already running most of my life by the time I was 14 or 15, only a year or two older than my son Madison is right now.

Last week, I was thinking about how I’m pretty much making up this fathering thing as I go along. I don’t have anyone to ask about it. I realized that I pretty much feel that way all the time: about work, about marriage, about fathering. I always seem to be pioneering without much other guidance. I was a bit frustrated about having to figure everything out alone and sharing that with God. The very next day, we went to hear John Eldredge on his speaking tour “Fathered By God”. I had not heard him nor read any of his books, but he sounded like he’d been reading my mail. There was an obvious connection with what I’d been thinking and feeling earlier. He talked about the stages of life from Boyhood to Cowboy to Warrior/Lover to King and eventually to Sage. I kind of had my boyhood stage ripped from me, and somewhat skipped the Cowboy stage jumping early into Warrior/Lover, and currently King. It’s not that those stages were left out, but that I didn’t fare too well in them with the absence of my Dad. The things I learned from life at those times aren’t serving me all that well now in my relationship with God as my father.

This theme bled over into church this weekend. I’ve be worn out and did get in some good rest over the Memorial Day weekend. During the end of service prayer time at Vineyard on Sunday morning, I was feeling a little renewed. As we prayed, I had a picture pop up in my head of me hugging Kenyan orphans. I think God is going to “work together for our good” my changing orphan attitude and these wrong ways I approach Him and Life.


•May 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

One aspect of this trip that is important to me is to see how Kenya will change our perspective. We answered a few questions from a friend to outline some of our thoughts before we go.

“What do you think you will learn?”

Scott- “I told God a while back that I want to be involved with things that make me cry. Not sadness in particular but I want to care. I want to be passionate. I want to be real. I want to experience. I want to be involved with things that matter. With the Kenya trip, I think I’m set up for a whammy on all of that. I’m already passionate about my son and our family. I’m passionate about worship. I’m passionate about travel and experiencing the world. I think meeting the Kenyan people is going to be significant. I’m going to experience people and a part of the world that is very different from where I live. I’ve only been out of the country on vacations, and mostly to places with warm water and snorkeling. Snorkeling is my definition of vacation. I’ve never been on a humanitarian or a missions trip other than a day trip to Mexico. I think I’m going to learn more about myself and about God. I want to see God do things that I don’t see everyday in Orange County. I’m excited about being outside of Western culture. All the stuff that I take for granted in my culture, in my home, in my life… is all going to be different there I think. I will need to learn how “to be” in Kenyan culture, to understand Kenyans and their lives.”

Madison- “I’m going to learn to have better hospitality like the Kenyan people have and learn how to teach people. We have a lot to learn before we go. It will make me think more about what I have and what I buy.” ________________________________________________

“What excites you about this trip? What scares you?”

Scott- “I don’t get excited about stuff. I think that’s hard for my wife Kyle. I kind of experience things as they happen, and lay in plans to try to prevent bad things I anticipate as being possible. I’m just starting to process how I feel about the trip because it’s coming up REALLY fast now. I am realizing how much we have to do before we go. I’m looking forward to experiencing Kenya. I’m a little nervous about leaving behind my businesses for 3 weeks. I have great people working with and for me, but still I won’t be there. This will probably seem funny or stupid when I get back, but I’m actually a bit afraid that our DVR will fill up and stop recording shows I’ll be missing. Not life threatening certainly, but I am trying to figure out how to work around that…”

Madison- “I’m excited to be going to meet African kids! We will be out in the middle of nowhere, doing our own thing with no rules except the ones e3 gives us. I’m scared of the diseases and bug bites and traveler’s diarrhea. I don’t want to get sick at all. I hope the shots help. I am also going to be away from my friends and the rest of my family and other people.” 


“Do you know other people that are going?”

Scott- “We just met the team members for the first time. We played a game to get to know everyone where we had to say everyone’s name who came before us and one fact about them. We all had to say our name, tell why we were going and say one fun or interesting fact about ourselves. We were able to write them down, which was good for me. I’m horrible at remembering names from a first meeting. I was surprised at how many teens are coming with us. I think we have a good mix of people.”

Madison- “We met some of the people last night. All the people are older than me, but younger than I thought. There are two girls who are 14 and 17 and three guys who are 17, 17 and 14. One of the older guys was like me. He likes to run too. There are some dads and moms going too. We only met some of the people over the phone. We are going to get to know them better in the next few weeks before we have the trip. We played a game to get to know them. It was hard. Some of the things I learned were that one person fell over a waterfall, one person does not have a drivers license and one person likes to take long walks on the beach.” 


“What are you going to miss from home while you are away?”

Scott- “I don’t think I’m going to miss much from home. I like being away from the everyday routine and focused on “one” thing rather than trying to keep all the balls in the air like I do daily at the office. I may miss some of the creature comforts of home. I can have a hard time sleeping in unfamiliar places. What’s great is that we’re going as a family! That’s the number one thing I miss when I travel. I hate leaving my family and I don’t enjoy the actual travelling process through airports and sitting on a plane, but I love being at the destination. I may miss water. I love water, and long showers. I’m not sure what the water situation in Kenya is like.”

Madison- “My friends and the family staying home. My cat. Technology. Cleanliness. I’m not sure how I’m going to like the places we stay. My skateboard and getting to work on my skateboards.” 


“Scott, what do you hope your son will learn?”

Scott- “I hope Madison will see the whole world differently. Up to now, his only reference point has been growing up here in Southern California. I hope he’ll see people to be different but the same. I hope he’ll see what joy and satisfaction are outside of the OC. I hope he’ll see his life as unique and special. I hope he’ll see God do amazing things, and do them through him. I hope he’ll learn to treasure his family even more. I think this will help him mature in being who he is and in becoming a man. “

The Idea

•May 9, 2009 • 3 Comments

How do boys become men?  There is so little attention focused on the topic of being a great man or growing a boy into a great man. Rites of passage? Do you even hear about them any more?

Our culture has almost completely lost the importance of this time in a boy’s life.  What can we expect from a culture that generally doesn’t hold much value for men or fathers. We are living within a largely a fatherless generation where Dads are often absent, addicted, or outright abusive.

They don't stay little forever

They don't stay little like this forever!

Today’s sons are our future fathers and leaders. In history, boys were led into manhood by their fathers. They had to become men and learn what that meant at a much younger age. Now we have this odd and non-sensical “teenager” status that starts at 13 when manhood used to start, and seems to last through college, and for some even beyond college. I’m not up for that with my son.

My son Madison turned 13 a few months ago. My Dad was largely absent and addicted, so I’ve been anticipating this time in my own son’s life for quite a while. I don’t want him left out in the cold on his own. At the same, I don’t have a great point of reference to start from. I’m making this up as I go along too… It has always been important to me not to raise him in a bubble – speaking Christianese with a limited, cushioned view of the world. I want him to grow up appreciating the amazing country we live in, the opportunities and choices that are before him, and the gifts he has been given with the purpose of serving others. One piece of that means seeing a different part of the world, like Kenya. It means experiencing different churches to understand the core of who God is and what He’s doing in the world. It means having reasons and experiences matched to his beliefs and values. It means seizing small opportunities for growth and self-development now to discover how God has made him.

As part of his year of passage activities, my wife and I chose Kenya as the place to take him. Kenya is a completely different culture and standard of living. It is a place in great need of the experience and knowledge of God’s life defining love, and of human kindness.

We’re going on this trip in partnership with e3 Partners because they value a family serving on a mission together. Their Families Division is focused solely on the family experience. The leadership team for our trip is a family. Their family will be leading our family and others. I love that model. Part of my son’s journey is not just to discover who he is but also how his relationship with us grows as he grows.

I love my son. I love him enough to see him go through challenging experiences. I am sure that experiencing another country and culture won’t be easy, but I hope to see his compassion grow, an appreciation of his blessings and his brotherhood within mankind, his courage rise, his love for God overflow to others in need, and his actions reflect character of a man who puts others before him.