Wide Awake…and back on this side of the world

Well its 3:30 a.m. here in Oklahoma, and i’m wide awake.  I guess my clock is still on Africa time, the places i was it would be 11:30 a.m. almost lunch time, I hope I don’t get hungry too.  Thats all I need to start eating at 3 in the morning.

So, while I’m up anyway I thought I would share with you a lesson I learned in Rwanda.  After a great Pastors and believers conference, we were milling around and a lot of different people wanted to talk, you know, tell me what they had learned or received from the conference, thanking us for coming, etc.  One of my interpreters came to me and said there is a little mother who would like to speak with you before you leave.  I said ok, she waited for a long time, and finally we walked over to her, and I hugged her and said hello.  She begin to tell us that she had heard me talk about what we were doing for orphans, and she would like to tell me her story and see if I could help her.  She told me that her husband had died two months previous, and he didn’t leave the family prepared.  She has eight children, not uncommon for this culture and they were making it fine when dad was alive but now he was dead, and she had recently lost her job.  She told me that if something didn’t happen, she would not be able to feed her family or pay their rent.  She asked if I would help.  I wave of irritation came over me, because there was really nothing I could do, I thought.

I had the interpreter tell her that I wish i could do something, but the budget we have is very specific and I can’t take monies that are already committed and give to her, because they would be breaking my word to people I promised I would help.  I said, but i will do the most powerful thing I can do, I will pray with you.  by the way I do believe that is the most powerful thing I can do, however sometimes in a moment like this it makes you feel completely impotent, thinking of a need that is so immediate.  So I prayed with her, She cried, and I cried, I hugged her, told her I loved her, and walked away feeling like a hypacrite.  I was thinking, you love her?  then why didn’t you help her, I said to God, this is not right,  i know that my prayer avails much, but please don’t ask me to come to a place that has such need without enough resource to meet the needs I can, I broke my heart, I have to say it made me mad.  I walked back to my room, very frustrated, very angry, this little mother, has not options.

I asked her during the process can you go to your pastor and can help you?  She told me a story that is indicitive of Rwanda right now.  They do not want churches putting up temporary facilities because they are trying to set building standards.  If you don’t have the money to build a permanent facility and you don’t have the money to rent a hall you literally have to disband your church and meet in homes, so many of them are doing cells in homes, but many of them see this as to difficult and are disbanding.  Her pastor disband his church so right now she is without a church home.  So i recommended a church she should try, and then prayed and walked off.

As I was changing clothes, and getting ready to go eat, which felt like an indictment in itself.  I just failed to help a lady who was about to go in to a very difficult time and not be able to feed her family and here I am about to take my team to a restaurant and Eat together, and the cost of it would sustain this lady for a month or more.

As i’m changing, I’m asking, “why couldn’t I help this lady,”  and I believe God impressed on my heart, “why couldn’t you?”  My answer was the same I gave her.  “I don’t have it in the budget,”  The impression grew stronger, “who cares about the budget what do you have in your pocket?”  It dawned on me, the money I had in my pocket would go along way to helping her.  I only had what would equal about 20 or 30 american dollars, but I got inspired.

I finished changing, got my bag, and headed to the bus.  When I got on, I told the bus driver “find that lady, she is walking home, find her.”  No one accept my interpreter and the bus driver new what was going on, and I didn’t have time to explain, but I asked, who will give me, I cant remember what their money is called, but it was the equivalent of 9 or 10 dollars.  I said who will give 10 dollars, I didn’t say why, I didn’t say what it was for, No one cared.  I heard I give it, another Ill give it, and from the back of the bust to the front, people started handing me money.  American’s rwandans everyone.  Finally we rolled up on this woman, I said let me off this bus, and I ran out and met with her, and I apalogized and said there is something I can do, I can give you this.  I handed her this roll of money, I don’t know how much it was, but in her life it was a lot.  She cried and was so thankful, I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but I could sense her gratitude and her love.

This story made me realize that we as americans, we do care, we do want to help, but many times we think if we can’t solve the whole problem then there is nothing we can do.  I don’t know why I thought like that, I don’t know why I thought I have nothing to give, when I clearly did.  We must make it personal, we must realize, no we may not be able to fix it all but there is something we can do.  I am reminded of Moses, God said, “use what you have in your hand.”  I’m reminded of Gideon, “use your pitchers and trumpets, ‘what you have.'”  I’m reminded of Joseph, he used his gift of administration.”  I’m reminded of the new testament church, they used what they had.  Their homes, their love, their friendship, their money, just what they had.  Its amazing what God can do, and what He will make up for if we will just use what we have, and do something.

I really learned something that day, and I will carry it into my day to day activities in my world, because this means everyday, i can do something significant to help someone who needs my help.  Everyday, think about it……Every Day!

I love Jesus


What we can do

What we can do

How Can I Help? This is the question that many American Christians ask today. The emphasis is not on help but on I. In other words, what can “I” do about it? There are many issues, and when we really start thinking about all the things that need to be done, it can be overwhelming. In our world these issues are not small either, they are enormous it seems. There seems to be injustice everywhere. Injustice is when something is being done to a person they don’t deserve, it is assault on innocence.

I just got back from Africa and the issues there range from poverty, starvation, malnutrition to sex slavery and trade, abuse in every form, and corruption runs rampant through the continent. It is incredible however to see the Christian church alive and well there, and they are literally changing their world. You don’t have to go to Cambodia to find these types of issues. America has its own problems with foster kids, and prison recidivism rates, as well as homelessness and a plethora of abuses.

We all know how overwhelming it can be. We are in good company however. Gideon said, “what can I do?”, Moses said, “what can I do?” Esther said, “What can I do?” The truth is we can’t do everything, and we can’t change the world over night, but we can do something. One thing we can’t do, one thing we can never, ever be guilty of as the church, is doing nothing!

What can we do? What did God say to Moses? He said, “What do you have in your hand?” Moses had the equipment of his occupation, his staff. God is not asking us to do what we can’t He is asking us to do what we can. We have the equipment to do what He wants; we have the ability, skill, and talent. What we can do, is within our reach, it is no further than our next decision.

What can we do? Take responsibility. Realize, the issues that surround us everyday, whether locally, regionally, nationally, or globally are not going away, we can not hide from it, we must stand up and move out. There is a scripture in psalms 119:68 “you are good, and you do good; teach me your statutes.” David basically encapsulates the character of God in one simple statement, and then says, “Teach me how to be like you.” We’ve done well as the church at the first part, being good. We learn about how to grow and develop as a Christian and How to be spiritual, or at least appear that way. We need to begin to practice the second part, doing good. What worked in Cambodia and what is working for us right here in the metro of OKC, is coupling the two characteristics of God. Being good, and doing good. It is living the mission of Christianity, by being Christ to the world. We are spreading the message of Jesus, and we are doing works of kindness like He did, and these two things brought together, will change our world. What can we do? Not everything and we can’t change the world over night, but what the church must not ever be caught doing is nothing. Jesus did something and so can we. Lets tear down old thinking and limitations and then transform our minds, and actions to be that of Christ, and let the world know that in our churches the least of these are being effected and changed, because we are being and doing, what Jesus led us to do.


I have started this blog several times and not been able to finish it.  I guess because of the images i have seen, the people in such desperate need, your mind says, this can’t be true, there was a moment that i was overwhelmed and my mind said this is too much, there is no way to fix this.  However as I watched my friend Pat and the different leaders of the medical clinic and the feeding centers and the ministry to prostitutes it caused me to realize, what I have been saying is true.  We can’t do everything, but we can do something, and what we will never do is nothing!

Engacha Ethiopia is the most inexplicable place I have ever seen.  It seems to be ripe with resources but because of a lack of education on how to use the land, and a lack of money to resource education, and medical care and day to day living, this place for many is a nightmare.

My friend Jennifer wrote a while back, after she had visited this place, that it was one of the most difficult things she had ever seen or done.  We literally have to choose the worst of the worst to help, because they are all in a bad way.  You have to turn off your mind, which says, “There is too much need, what can we do?”  It says, “I can’t take this, I will put it out of my mind.”  We don’t want to know that there are people living like this, starving, dying of malnutrition, dying of disease and sickness that would not kill them if they had proper medical care or could afford any kind of medical care.

So, I am shouting it from the housetops, don’t turn your head, don’t act as if it’s not happening, do something, pray, give, go, do something.  People like Pat and ICA need our help.

It’s the same problem that we have in getting people to decide to help fight human trafficking.  It’s not that people don’t care, it’s not that people are unwilling, I truly believe that in our pristine world we just can’t fathom that there are people who buy and sale humans for the purpose of perversion.  We want to think that people who are being prostituted are choosing that life, and that somehow gets us off the hook from helping.  When we find out that these are little girls 4, 5, 6 years old and up are being sold, or tricked, or kidnapped for the purpose of prostituting them for people who are so depraved that they would have sex with a child.

Its ugly, we don’t want to see it or know it.  There is an indictment on the church, and that is we are condemning not caring. What if a person has chosen this life?  What if they said I want to do this to make money, would we then say, you deserve what you get, or would we try to reach them with the love of Christ?  What did He do with the woman at the well, the woman caught in the act of adultery, or Mary Magdalene, he didn’t disqualify them from his love, they all made choices, but he loved them any way and helped them.  Let’s not consign people to the dark while we are holding the light, even when they are guilty by choice.  I know that I was guilty by choice, and Jesus reached me, and I know that you were guilty by choice but he reached you.

And if we are supposed to reach those who are guilty by choice, then we definitely have a responsibility to reach those who are captive to injustice.

The good thing is that someone is doing something about it.  There are great people in this world, who are giving their lives to the cause of Christ.  They are praying, giving, going, and changing things to reach those who need our help.  In Engatchah, they have put in a new clinic that is seeing lines of patients a day.  The doctor their used to live in this community he got out and the opportunity to go to university and was at the top of his class, he could have chosen a lot of posts, but instead he said I want to go back to my home and help my people.  There are people who are manning these feeding clinics, who are building orphanages who are planning to teach community farming that will help them find their own solutions and bring dignity to their world.  Pat would not want me saying this but he is a real hero, and he is doing something to change the world.

They all love him and respect him for what he has brought to this area.  He has made a way for people to have a changed life.  There is a local governmental leader whose name is Ababa, and he has done so much to help ICA because they are helping his people.  He said, “I am so happy these things are happening for my people, and I would rather die, than think that this change was not happening.”  He said he would rather die, then live and know his people were not being helped or learning to help themselves.

Oh God let us say with the passion of our hearts that we would rather die, than to live and know that nothing is being done, about starvation that nothing is being done about human trafficking, that nothing is being done about the injustice in the world.  Please, I mean this please pray for Ethiopia, pray for Engatcha and hosanna Ethiopia.  Find a way to help, there or around the world in other works that we are doing.

Find a way to help right here in our own community.  Does it really matter how people got in the situation they are in, or do we just need to do something about it.  I will not stand before God and say, I would have done something but they chose that life; imagine if Jesus had said that.  Remember our light can only shine its brightest in the darkest of places.  Remember John 3:17 For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.

This is only the beginning and I am going to put one picture on this blog that can give you a bit of an idea of what it was like, I really don’t know how to put it in words, but it should inspire us to say, right here in my own city, in my own neighborhood I will find a way to help people who need help.  Whether it is just love or acceptance they need, or whether it is money or resources they need, or just dignity or education or food, or someone to care.  Please, please get it in your heart, get it in your mind, its not enough to know God, we must make Him known.


A Special Family…

Alex was the young man of 24 years whom we met at his shoe shop on the strip not far from the house we were staying in.  When I say shoe shop, it is a small area in front of a store front.  He started with 3 pairs of shoes and now has about 15 or 16 pair of shoes.  a good day is if he sales at least one pair, two or three pair would be a great day for him.

Alex, became a follower of Christ about one year and a half ago.  He was totally changed.  We saw pictures of him from before Christ and he doesn’t look like the same person.  Ive never seen anyone so physically changed as a result of conversion.  He looks mean and hateful before and now has visable joy and such exuberance in following Jesus.

He has the responsibility to care for His 18 year old sister, his 67 year old mother and his 10 month old daughter.  He was married but as soon as the baby, “praise” was born the mother ran off and they have not heard from her sense.

After doing ministry on the streets that night, he asked if we would bring a bible to his mother and share Christ with her.  We did so and took the a lot of food.  We road the botah (motor bikes) to their home, down some fairly treacherous roads, in the drizzling rain.  We arrived and walked down the alley, and into their home.  It was a small one and a half room home, but they were so proud to have us there and kept a very nice home.  We came in and brought them some food like sausages in a can, and crackers and cheese, as well as some sweets, and candy.  They were very happy.  There is not a lot of money to go around so sometimes they have days where they cant eat.

We gave them some other gifts as well.  His sister “Lukiah”  was a beautiful young lady and had a brilliant mind.  She spoke fluent, and articulate English.  I ask her what grade she was in and she said she had completed secondary and had tested to go to university, she had high marks and was accepted at the highest level.  I asked her when she started, she looked sad, and said, “no money.”  I was so upset, in this nation it is very important and really the only way above poverty is to get an education, which is a no win situation because the people who are in poverty can’t afford an education.  There education to us cost very little.  I was heartbroken, here is this brilliant young woman who is stuck.  She said, its ok, my brother, and she spoke of him and looked at him as if he was the worlds greatest hero, is looking out for us and if he can do that, i can watch the baby and take care of mother.  She had been going to school, but has had to come home, as a result of mom not being able to work because of health reasons, and this has truly effected their finances.

So Tyson gives her a bracelet, and then several more and said, “these are for your friends.”  She immediately dropped her head, began to cry and said, “i have no friends”, she explained to us that when she had to drop out of school all of her, “friends” began to make fun of her and not hang around her anymore.  There is a real stygma with being poor not getting an education.  They said she was cursed.

she really began to cry, She said, its ok, and she pointed to praise, who was sleeping in my arms, and said “praise is my friend, the baby is my friend.”  She said we will make it.  You must understand this girl was really sharp, she was so dynamic, so strong, Tyson and I were at our wits end to see her future robbed from her.  We said we will be your friend, which is little consolation.

So we all prayed together, and of course we are going to try to help her.  We had a chance to bless the mother and share the love of Jesus with her and she was so responsive, praise God.

In this nation, if she gets her education it could really change their entire situation.

So when you think about it, you might say a prayer for The mother, Lukia, Alex and Praise.  They are trying very hard, and working very hard, and I believe that God is going to bless Him and he is going to use us to do it.  Remember there are a thousand cases just like this and there is hope for the people of this nation wrapped up in the arising generations, lets do what we can to help them take that next step.

Lets not let poverty rob them of their future.


Where the Asphalt Ends

first let me say there may be several mistakes in this blog because I am using a keyboard that is set up a little different.  I am currently sitting in the Niarobi airport, waiting on a flight to Ethipia to continue this great adventure.  The story I am abut to tell you is true and one of the most impacting of the time we have been here. 

The team in uganda really had one objective when they came here, and that was to build an educational faciltiy for watoto and to connect with the kids, and we did that every day.  At night after the work day was over, we would walk into the community and mingle with the people, talk to them, give them gifts, and just get to this neibhborhood.  This district had a huge nighlife, and we got right down in the middlle of it. 

Tyson had met a young man whos name is Alex, alex is about 24 and a year and a half ago he gave his life to Jesus.  He has a little sidewalk shop where he sales shoes, im sure you will see pictures of it later.  He is doing his best to make a living for he and his family.  He is responsible for his mother, his sister and his baby.  He had a wife and she ran away, she had the baby, left her with the family and ran away.  She is a precious littl baby girl named praise.

Alex, is not only a shoe salesmen but also a preacher, he goes up and down those streets, and preaches to the pimps and prostitutes and addicts and impoverished and everyone he can talk to about Jesus.

Before i arrived from Rwanda the team had gone out ministering and i hadn’t gone yet, it was evening and dark so Tyson, John and I went to the slums.  This is what they call it.  Its off the beaten path.  The main road is one club after another, one pool hall after another, one shop after another, but when you go up this road, where the asphalt ends and you are walking on mud and dirt, the further you go the worse it seems to get.

We took Alex so he could interprate and we went up into the slums.  There were people everywhere, kids roaming the streets, there parents not having any idea where they are, if they have parents. There are men and women out and the smell of marijauna is pungent in the air, and merchants selling their wares, and prostitutes doing the same.  It was shocking how many kids are out and roaming.  We had made a friend, his name was mike he was nine years old, his mom died, his dad moved away and he lives with his older brother, who i don’t get the feeling ever knows where he is at.  It is a sign of friendship for friends to hold hands, so Tyson and John are carrying bags with bibles and goodies in them and michael and i were walking along and michael was holding my hand, and alex was telling me of the great things God is doing in his life.

We started handing out bibles, you would have thought we were giving out free food, we gave out 100 i believe and we could have easily given out 1000, Tyson was brilliant though, he would tell them, “i am giving you this, share it with all your friends, bring them over and you all read it together.” 

So we would give out bibles talk to different ones abuot Jesus, and tell the Jesu akwagala, Jesus loves you.  They would grab those bibles and say thanks.  It was really amazing.  We continued to walk up the street and we came to a church, I’m sure it is nothing like what you may picturing right now in your mind.  It was a one room building, beat down and run down, but they were keeping it the best they could and were very proud of it, it was called “Christ in you the hope of glory church. We walked in and there were several women and a few children, worshipping God, they were praying, we asked if we could join them, it was one of the neatest moments, i wish i had pictures of tyson, worshipping with them, but i didnt have my camera and the moment was not appropriate for a picture, it was one of those times that is so surreal you have to remind yourself its actually happening. 

After we prayed we begin to sing songs with them, they danced, and we loved on them, and we felt like giving the church an offering, i think what we gave was about 100 dollars, which would probably far surpass the budget for a year, you would not believe the response, they shot off like a rocket, and begin to dance and shout, and we were overjoyed by there gratefulness and simple thanksgiving.  So alex said, pastor you should share with them, and so i preached a short sermon to which the responded with great joy.  We prayed with each of them, and hugged them and the crowd grew by double by the time we were finished with kids and women who heard the commotion. 

As we walked back down, we gave away neclaces, candy, treats and bibles, and we shared our faith with them.  We had told Alex earlier that we were interested in ministering to the pimps and prostitutes, and wanted to give them a bible, so we were walking down the street he had us by the hand, and all of a sudden we ducked into this dark ally, very narrow place, and as soon as we did there were men who grabbed our hands and begin to offer women to us.  It was a disgustingly filthy place and very dark, there were men standing, and many women setting on a bench waiting to be sold.  These were not women being forced at least it didn’t appear that way and alex said these were women who didn’t want to do anytihng else, so they did this, he said he frequantly tells them they need Jesus and they need to Him to change their lives.

It became very uncomfortable very quickly, so I leaned in to Tyson and I said they are obviously misunderstanding our purpose here.  Which is fairly naive of us, white men from america, handing out gifts and walking straight in to prostitute central, what were they going to think.  I said, “lets back out and try this another way.”  We backed out and sense they know Alex and that he preaches Jesus to them and does not approve of their lifestyle we sent him in with a bible.  Then we walked off, knowing we did the right thing, we stopped and had a coke, and when we did the most miraculous thing happened. 

We turned around, and there was one of the prostitutes she had followed us out, she said, “I want to know Jesus.”  We were a bit shocked, but right there on the street, we prayed with her and she gave her life to the Lord.  When she asked, another young teenage boy who was standing there said, i want to know Jesus too, so he prayed with us and received Jesus.  While we were basking in the glory of this moment, another prostittute came, she was probably 17 and she said i want what they have, so we prayed with her too, about that time, the pimp sent one of the girls down to tell the two who had given their lives to Jesus not to ever come back, and we said praise the Lord!  We used wisdom and left at that point, but left knowing that we had shared the love of Jesus with people who were hurt and bound by sin, and just let Jesus does, He set them free.

Sometimes we need to leave the asphalt of our lives, we need to say goodbye to the good road and go ahead and trek up that muddy dirt road of the world, and well find that there are people shining a light there, and we will find there are hungry hearts there, we will find people who need Jesus there, and if we take the love of Jesus where the asphalt ends, it will change us as it changes them.

What is the asphalt in your life?  Your comfort?  Your status?  Your pride?  Your fear?  Step onto the dirt, and get your feet dirty, it will be the greatest experience of your life.

My next blog I will tell the rest of the story, we went to alexes house, to reach his mother, it will break your heart for those who need love and help, and inspire you to do what you can to reach another’s world.

Please excues type o’s and blunders i am using a keyboard that is not like what we are used to and can cause more mistakes than normal, which i’m famous for anyway.


Building and Blessing

Wonderful, beautiful, excited, intelligent, brilliant, purposeful, loving people are what we found at Watoto. This place is one of the best thought out, powerful, life changing ministries I have ever seen. It would be fruitless for me to explain how they do things because I only know a portion; it’s enough to say life changing could not begin to describe how this place affects you.

We have been able to build and educational building, working alongside African workers; this was a great learning experience. We were able to play with the kids and just have fun with them. They are so much fun, and appreciate everything.

When you hear their stories it’s unbelievable. You have to shake yourself, and say, “Could this be true?” The fact they are still alive, or doing well, is a miracle in itself. We’ve met some of the leaders for Watoto and they are hard working people and many of them were Watoto children themselves, have grown up and become independent. One young man is called Walter, he is like a Forman, he is 24 years old and he oversees the building projects in the village we were building in. He was a watoto child himself, and he is grown up with a desire to help the elderly women of Uganda, so he and his friend James have bought a plot of land and are planning on building a widows ministry. They are currently taking supplies and ministry to many widows in the community. He is attending university and studying project management.

We’ve seen the kids that came to our church last year at momentum. They remembered us, and were very happy to see us. We had lunch with them in their homes. Side note my stomach is presently suffering the effects of the multiplicity of ways to eat the banana.

Last night we went to a very nice restaurant, an Italian restaurant in the heart of Uganda, yes seriously, the owner is from Italy, great guy, and to our surprise Marylyn Skinner showed up to eat with us. We ate with her and she shared her story with us, which was gut wrenching and inspiring, I can say without equivocation I have never met any person like her. She is the personification of faith, and Courage. She is fun and friendly but when she starts sharing what they have gone through to do what they do, you immediately realize this is a formidable person. She is a definite hero. Gary and Marylyn are truly influencing and bringing change to Uganda. I won’t tell any of the stories because she will be at our girlfriend’s conference in June and she may communicate some of these things. If you are a woman and you are reading this you have to be there, you will truly miss a moment from God if you are not there.

I have been so blessed by our team. These young men and women have worked tirelessly every day. Getting up early, working hard in the hot son with brief intervals of rain and wind, the weather here is beautiful, but that son will get you if you aren’t careful, don’t ask me how I know. They have loved on these kids, and played with them for hours at a time after working hard all day, or in a lunch break. We have a great people in our church and this team of Misty, Emily, John, Tyson, Nicole, Maggie, and Gretchen are superstars. They are caring, loving, compassionate people. I am sure they have been impacted to a greater degree than the impact they have made.

Our clinics in Rwanda are doing great as well. They are seeing hundreds of medical cases, and getting the opportunity to treat them, to pray with them and win many of them to the lord. I’m so excited that Church of the Harvest is following the will of God and doing something to change the world, bringing the Gospel to people who so desperately need it, in word and in deed.

Again let me say thank you to all those who have helped us to be able to fund these projects, and send us to Africa, it has made a mark and that is to your account.


A world Class Team…

a world class team…. What a great two days we have had in the pastors conference, it has been a great experience. These pastors really want to make change, they really want to do great things, and they are so teachable, they are soaking it up. Tomorrow is my last day here in rwanda, then I go uganda to join the other team.

Can I just say, thank you pastor Kirk and Nancy. Thanks for being great leaders and teaching our people so well. This Rwanda Team is just incredible, harvest has the greatest people. Chad, Angeliegh, Roberta, Christa, Cameron, Chrystal, Stephanie, Cindy, Susie, and of course Bryson and Siearra. They have worked so hard they relate so well with the people here and they have spoken and they have been so great. We have such depth and true leadership in culture in our people. They are heros. Doing something to change the world.

We had right at 100 different pastors there today, all representing different churches. They were like sponges. It was emotionally overwhelming because the just draw it out of you.

Tomorrow we will be training childrens leaders, and pastors again, then having services for everyone. Sunday the team will be in churches as I travel to Uganda.
Monday we will start the medical clinics, and conduct those through the end of the week. God is so good, and we are priveledged to work for Him. If you are family of this team know that they are thinking of you, and you should be so proud of the work they are doing.

Chad spoke about connecting generationally
Angeliegh about reaching outside rwanda
Cameron about no limit living, no excuses, taking responsability
Roberta spoke on the value and importance of the local church, that girl can preach
Chrystal spoke on doing reaching out against injustice
Christa spoke on the importance of Childrens ministry in the church

Cindy, Stephanie and suzie will be speaking. This has been so good for them and for the people receiving.

I look forward to meeting up with the uganda team and work with them for a few days. I heard from misty that it is goig well. They have truly been impacted already.

Continue praying for us, believe God to use us to do more than we thought possible.

Africa is an absolutely beautful place and the people are some of the most endearing in the world.

God is good….I’m not doing many pictures because the internet here is very slow, We will put them up when we get home and you can see it all.


An eye opening experience

some of the pastors and some of the team a picture of the family at the group home

Yesterday was incredible! We started the day with an early breakfast, and a small meeting as a team, just to talk about the day and what our expectations were and the attitude we wanted to take so we would be the most effective in our ministry to these wonderful people.

After eating we boarded the van to go to a group home for Rwanda survivors. These are homes that are set up with extended family members who come together to help one another. This particular home had several young adults and teenagers, cousins who lost all of their immediate family and were helped by having this home provided for them and receiving support to be able to function. These kids were all trying to get their education and were helping each other live. There were children and early teens and young adults. 32 People in this house. It’s better than nothing, but it’s no near enough space. They are still facing difficulties like money for education, transportation for education and work, and money for medical bills.

We met with them as a team, and after the formal introductions and a bit of small talk, we ask them to tell us their story, one 23 year old young man stood up and begin to speak. He was very unassuming and humble and maybe a little intimidated. I will tell you now the story he told is hard to imagine, hard to even think about, never the less he actually lived it.

He was about 9 years old when the genocide came into full effect, and he was in his home with his mother and Dad and his two sisters. The soldiers busted down the door, they came to kill the family. According to his account they chased his mother and father around the house with machetes and killed them. They then proceeded to chase down his two sisters and killed them both. They came back and got the young boy, and built a coffin in front of him, and told him we are going to bury you in that coffin alive, in fear of such a tortuous death he ran for his life. He hid in the woods and waited to see if it was safe. They had a practice of burning the wooded areas and all the refugees would run out of hiding, when they thought they would burn to death. That’s what they did that day. So when it started burning he ran out of hiding and continue to run, until he ran into a lady who said she would help him, she told him not to worry, then she started berating him for his race, she threw him on the ground and said you are worth nothing, I know this is graphic but true, she then proceeded to urinate on him as if to say you are lower than human waste. She then had him beaten and cut and he showed us scars on his arms and legs and head where he was cut with a machete. They then pulled this nine year old boy who had just watched his mom and dad and two sisters massacred, stripped him of his clothes and tied him in the crucifixion position to a tree, and beat him, and left him for dead, to make sure he would die they set him on fire, then left. Amazingly the fire burned through the ropes and he was spared, when the ropes burned and ran to safety.

As we set listening to the young man it was hard to believe he was standing there in front of us even able to communicate such an occurrence. Can you imagine what this must have done to the mind of an impressionable nine year old boy.

They were made to feel like trash, lower than trash, like nothing. Like they didn’t matter, they were referred to as cockroaches.

As we listened the Lord prompted me to tell them the story of Joseph and how he was abused betrayed and was completely innocent, and how God had given him a vision, and I related to them that God has a plan and purpose for their lives as well, and they should hold on to that and move forward. We then prayed for those who were still suffering physically and emotionally from things that happened during that time, three of them had been shot and still suffer physically as a result.

Pastor Jackson, a man of faith and an excellent spirit is a great visionary and he and his church provide for this home and 23 others. The Church is alive and Well in Rwanda.

We then proceeded back to our meeting hall and had a great first day of conference. The people are wonderful, and have a true heart for God. We did worship, several of our team shared, and I spoke on the identity of being a child of God. The one thing that this nation struggles with is identity. We declared, you are Christian this is your identity, which transcends the thoughts or limitations that man puts on us.

We had a great time with the team and some pastors that with us to hang out, we had some great bacon cheeseburgers, yep that’s right, right here in Kigali. Things are going well, our team is awesome, let me say people of harvest are just a different breed and really live to serve.

Today we start the pastor’s portion of the conference and we hope to help them with church growth, reaching out and leadership development.


“Times they are a changing”

“Things, they are a Changing”

I have seen the effect of genocide twice up close, once in Cambodia, and now here in Rwanda. It is an unbelievable event. It is something that you cannot rationalize or really comprehend. My new friend Mike is a pastor here in Kigali who is doing a great work with young people. He was about 10 or 12 when the genocide occurred and was spared. He said, “it was like the devil came to Rwanda personally In 1994 and just possessed people, when you ask people who were involved (many of whom are still being tried) they can’t tell you why they did it.”

At the Museum I watched some video of these men being tried, and they can tell you what they did, but they don’t really know why. The motivation here was hate. A feeling of superiority and long standing contention between the tribes, that boiled over into full on move of one tribe to wipe out the other. It was organized to the point that once the first blow was struck they had lists of people who were to die. Outside forces, religious, political, and governmental contributed to wrong thinking, and the ability to take it to this level. I wish people could only see what present decisions can do to future circumstances.

The Bottom line is, over a million people slaughtered, innocent people. Men, women, boys and girls, families torn apart, women raped, people cut, beat, and mutilated with a violence that is incomprehensible.

One issue in all of this thats different than other genocides is it happened a mere fourteen years ago. This nation is very much still getting over it. They still mourn, they still carry out weekly trials, and they are trying to educate their people to what racism, ethnic conflict and hate can do. Their goal is to never let this happen again.

The worst thing about this for me is the world turned their back on this war torn nation while for 100 days it tore itself a part. Someone, several someone’s could have done something. We did not do enough, period. If we look around we can see that it has happened again in Darfur and there is much more awareness about it, but still more can and could be done.

The shining star in all this are many of the people we are meeting with while we are here and many more are living their lives with hope. They are pushing into the future with a passion and purpose. This is the hope of the future of Rwanda. Rwanda’s own people are helping one another, ministering the gospel, building and running orphanages, bridging the gap between the different ethnicities, and peoples. There is hope in Rwanda, and, “Things, they are a changing.”

DSCF0128.JPGThis is the genocide museum, this flame burns for 100 days to memorialize the 100 days of devastation. They built this here, because this is where the majority of the bodies were found in Kigali. There are over 285,000 people buried in the mass graves you will see.DSCF0129.JPGThese slabs are mass graves.DSCF0133.JPGThere are 2000 names listed so far on this wall, there are 285,000 buried here, this gives some perspective.

They wouldn’t allow us to take pictures inside the museum, but we saw actual footage of these atrocities, I won’t attempt to describe it to you, because really there are no words. There is true evil in the world without a doubt, but that is why we are to be the light in the darkness. It is our role as Christians to love each other, and everyone, to reach out with compassion and grace and mercy to all those in need. God wants us to shine the light of his word into this dark world and see change. I love the quote by St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use your words.” We are to do as much as we are to say.

One whole room in this museum is devoted to atrocities perpetrated against children.

Children are precious in the sight of God, and He has called us to bring hope to the forgotten children. I believe by the grace of God, and by the light that is shining in this place Rwanda has great hope for its future.


On our way to africa…

Well, we have made the transition from United States to United Kingdom and are currently awaiting a flight to the great continent of Africa. Our team is a great group of people, who absolutely love what we are doing. I met several people on the way over and am arriving at the conclusion that people want to change the world, or they want somebody to change the world. I guess the question is what does change look like to each person. One thing we can settle on is most people want injustices in the world made right. Everyone I’ve talked to so far, get really excited about what we are going to do.

Everything went great on our flights out of OKC, with the exception of the united express flight which was a tiny plain that made me feel like a giant, and I’m not very tall, and “hey no comments about my weight thank you,” can you say, discomfort.

We arrived in Chicago right on time and only waited a little over an hour before boarding, and flew a little over 7 hours to arrive here in London. I wish we had time to see the sights but the team will see that on their way back. This is a great place, and the people are awesome! Met some really nice guys from England that live a little north of Bradford. I’ve heard people say that the English do not appear friendly, which is not the case in my experience. They were computer software guys but were really intrigued about what we are going to do. They kept saying how great it was.

We tried to sleep on the plane but you know how that is, especially in coach, on and off. When we got to london we checked in and crashed in the floor and slept for a while. We are all up now doing different things and prepering for a nine hour flight to Nairobi, Kenya, where our team will split up. Several going to Uganda, and several to Rwanda.

We are all very excited to be here, but are ready to get there and get to work. Thanks to everyone who gave, or bought stuff, or told others about it so they would help. We really are grateful to all who made the investment to impact the world. We will give it our all, and make the strongest effort possible to Teach, train, work, give medical attention, and bring awareness to the issues of the day in Africa.


ps….look at the pics