Back to Reality

Labor Day has come and gone…which means summer has too! For many, it’s “back to reality” after taking one or more weeks to vacation and rest, refresh, and renew.

My wife and I just returned from a three week international trip. It was, in one word, “awesome!” In addition to celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary in Amsterdam, Holland and Bruges, Belgium (both of which were magical), we spent the majority of our time in Kenya for both a mission and vacation experience. It’s amazing to witness the beauty of God’s creation, meet people from various parts of the world, and serve side by side with Christian leaders who approach life and ministry so distinctly and beautifully.

In Kenya, we were an active part of a pastors and leaders event at St. Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya. I spoke on the subjects of spiritual leadership, soul care, and humility. I was struck by the servants who were present for this gathering, all of whom work in adverse conditions and yet with a joyful heart. Their teachability and openness to the content we shared was remarkable. Ruth spent time with a group of young moms, pouring courage into their weary hearts. We concluded the conference blessed and challenged by their collective and individual faithfulness, perseverance, mercy, and love.

At St. Paul’s University, I also had the privilege of speaking at the dedication of the newly constructed Soteria Women’s Center, a facility designed to train, equip, and empower women in their roles as mothers and wives, leaders in the church, and entrepreneurs in business. Soteria is Greek for “salvation” which I expounded upon as a wide open space of God’s grace and goodness, using The Message translation of Romans 5:2, “We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.” It was a grand day of celebration, inviting all who were present to see this building as a place to invite others to receive God’s gift of soteria/salvation and spiritual renewal.

We had the joy of visiting two schools and a church that were built by our hosts, Matthew 28 Ministries, founded 7 years ago by our dear friend, Dr. Jewel Hyun. We were truly amazed to see how this ministry has been blessed and enriched by their generosity and used for the expansion of God’s Kingdom in Kenya. We also were encouraged by seeing ten micro-finance projects, all led by women who had been trained by M28M and St. Paul’s University, received a small loan, and then put their newly discovered insights and resources to good use in their small businesses. We were astounded to see how well their investment was reaping a great harvest.

We ended our trip on safari in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya. Here we were wowed by the splendor of God’s handiwork in the wide open spaces of incredible beauty and among the habitation of birds and mammels that share planet earth with all of us. We saw nearly 30 different mammels, including giraffes, zebras, elephants, wildabeests, lions, cheetahs, monkeys, gazelles, topi, impala, and many beautiful birds. We serve an awesome and creative God!

As you reflect on your summer, let me encourage you to journal your memories so that you don’t lose the power and importance of each experience. The Lord is gracious and merciful, compassionate and loving, and He wants you to notice His work in your midst…all for His honor and glory! God bless you with the abundance of His joy as you remember and give thanks for the gifts of summer 2013.


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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.