Dream Team….RWANDA/UGANDA…Global Reach for Justice

I’m back at home, getting back in the groove of an already fast paced summer of ministry. This week we are having our Foster kids camp, which in itself is a life changing experience, for America’s orphans, foster kids. It is already going well, and 61 foster kids ages 7-11, and a host of around 100 volunteers are gathered on our lower campus. This experience for them is life changing. I’m so proud of our church for caring for those who are hurting and need love. Its not about us though, its all about the glory of God. This is what the word says that Christians should do, and we do it, because we want to reflect the heart of God to man. Jesus loves the world through us.

The team we took to Africa really grabbed a hold of that thinking, and did such a great job, through ministry, and practical help showing the people of Africa that God loves them, and wants to empower them to become everything He intended for their lives.

What a team, I call them the dream team. While we were there it was very hard to get pics up and video so I was unable to show many pics, but now i can, so here you go.
Dante’ Sterling, what a great guy! He was a lot of fun and kept everyone laughing and enjoying themselves. He was a hard worker as well, always learning and developing as he was reaching out to those who needed help. He was great in the clinic, and building the Classroom. He was a great part of the team.

Sam Layman is an incredible young man. He is a husband and father of 2 boys. This is his second trip to Africa with Global Reach for Justice. He is an efficient worker and an integral part of the team. He truly made a difference not only in the lives of the African People, but in the lives of his team mates. Sam is a quiet, secure leader who leads by example.

Cindy Carreno, what a great team leader. Cindy was a huge part of the planning for this trip, and managing the medical clinic, she fought a hard battle with customs, finally getting our meds in and we were able to see hundreds of people in the 3 half day clinic. She is a hard worker, a positive influence, and truly has a heart for Africa.

Sean Kilgore, an impressive young man who truly cares about people. He is 18 yrs old, and could have been doing a lot of things with his summer, but he chose to go to Africa to help those in need, and this is not new for him, he spends a lot of time thinking about how to help others and helping them. I was really impressed with Sean and consider him a friend. He is a world changer, no doubt.

Stephanie Hesser, she was also a part of leadership team, and was a very important part of our planning and organization of the trip as a whole, she is invaluable as a team leader and player. She is the assistant campus pastor at our Stillwater campus and she truly loves and cares for people. She was tireless in her efforts. She has a vision to help the people of Africa and she is succeeding.

Joe Reed is a strong leader and a problem solver. He lead the band and music at the pastors conference and ran into several obstacles but he worked it through and made it happen. He was great with the kids and worked hard in every aspect of the trip and he was an incredible encouragement to the team.

Susie O’daniel is a fighter and a hard worker. She overcame so much to take this trip. She has a willingness to do whatever is needed. She played a significant role in many areas on this trip. Her compassion is great and her heart is real in its desire to help others. She is a great team player.

Genora Spain is the praise and worship leader at our MWC campus, and did a terrific job on this trip pulling three different groups together to create strong and anointed praise and worship. She is a strong worker and a significant leader. Her heart is tender and she is moved with compassion.

Wylie Merritt, the thought that comes to mind when i think of Wylie is “heart of Gold.” He is truly a man who loves people, and cares about their condition in life. He worked hard along side the rest of the team, enjoyed himself and has an infectious laugh. He is a good man.

Heather Knowels has to be one of the hardest working people i have ever seen, she definitely gave it her all on this trip. She is a pediatric icu nurse and is in the right field, she cares about kids and their well being. Great asset to the team.

Ashley Ledford, she was absolutely in her element on this trip. She is vibrant, ecnouraging and incredible with kids. She was able to contribute to the organization of the clinic by teaching a community health class, and organizing the children. She is a great teacher. Hard worker and always smiling.

Scotty Haynes or Norman Campus Pastor. He is a great leader, and one of the most positive people I know. He is a true optimist and in this kind of ministry that really comes in handy. He was a true help in many ways on this trip, and brings a level of maturity that develops the leaders around him.

Greg Willis, aka “Big Man” Greg was great on this trip. A lot of fun, and a hard worker. He brought a high level of leadership and work to the trip. He was constantly developing and growing through the process.

This team was truly a joy to lead, hard working, compassionate, full of faith, unified, and flexible. True servant leaders. Thanks to all those who supported them, and to those who gave towards the projects of Global reach for Justice. You truly made a difference in Africa.


Christianity around the World…

I am always amazed at how I can cross into other cultures and so easily connect in relationship with Christians there. Its because we belong to the same family. We are not so much interested in the cultures of our nations, or people groups, but we are enamored with the culture of the cross of Jesus Christ!

We have so many great relationships that we have built over the years so far, and God is opening the door for new and exciting relationships. Our whole team has gotten very close with each other and have connected with the local teams here as well. You can not be treated any better than the watoto ministries have treated us. What a great day. So we come across the world, we find brothers and sisters of other nationalities, but their praise is the same as ours, there concerns are the same, their passions are the same, when I go abroad I never think of how different people’s are, I think more on how similar we all are to each other. We have truly connected with the body of Christ in Africa, and together we are going to partner, to make a huge impact on this part of the world.

Very sweet thing happene today. We went to a place called BBeara, this is one of the first villages that watoto put up. While we were touring it, and looking around, a young man 14 yrs old but standing about 6 ft, walked up behind Greg and I. Greg turned and saw him, and said, “Hey I know you” He had recognized him from his photo, because Greg sponsors him. It was a great renuion, and an awesome time for Greg to see, what we are doing makes a difference.

Today if we will open our hearts, and hear the voice of God, He will use us to bring positive change to all those around us.

God bless

PS we will be coming home tomorrow.

Throwing bricks…

To start off the morning this morning, we had to move bricks so we could continue building the wall. Me and several of the guys were at the place they make the brick and we were loading the front end loader with bricks to be taking to the building. We had finished one load and we were waiting on the loader to come back, we talked about the fact about how we are literally building the kingdom. We are literally building a structure that will give a great foundation for young men and women to be taught and encouraged to achieve greatness.

We talked about how for year to come, students would go to school in this classroom built by church of the harvest, so the impact we are making and made two years ago, will last not for a year, or two but for a life time. I can not tell you how satisfying it was to see students having class in the room we built two years ago. Wow! Let me say to all those who have contributed in any way to Global reach for justice and all that we do as harvest, you are making a difference around the world.

I so wish that the internet was better so i could put up all the pics I have but its impossible, so as soon as I get to a better internet situation on the way home I will start putting them up.

I love this team, Scotty, Greg, Ashley, Genora, Susie, Sean, Stephanie, Cindy, Heather, Sam, Wylie, Dante’, and Joe, have been incredible. They have such Team Spirit. We have laughed together, cried together, worked together, and ministered together. God has used this team in so many ways, and they are all talking about how God is going to use them at home. We are talking tomorrow about what they think God is going to have them engage in when they Get home. They all have huge potential to make a difference, not only in their immediate circle of influence but they could effect the lives of many people.

I’ve seen them step out of their comfort zone, overcome obstacles, put their own desire down in order to do what was necessary at the time. I have seen them really push themselves to do and be more than they thought they could.

We have had some great devotional times, and have enjoyed the spiritual insight of each of them. I appreciate them so much for their commitment to the cause. What a great job they have done.

We were so fast in building that we completed it early, so tomorrow we will dedicate it, spend some time touring watoto, then we will have some free time, and this group is going to be a blast having free time with. The one thing that i would say more than anything is that this group knows how to have fun.

Tired, and a bit sore, but its all worth it!


Building Lives…

We worked at Watoto today. This is my second time, and it feels like the first. What an experience. The compassion, inspiration, call, and vision of this place is extraordinary, the way they do things, the things that they do, and the faith they practice is truly powerful. The team is so inspired and they have worked so hard. We will be finished a day earlier than we thought. I feel like I’m with a team like the Israelites working with Nehemiah, “these people have a mind to work!” I will be putting on some pictures of the team working in Uganda soon, probably tomorrow, but for now I would like to put some others up from Rwanda, and feature of few of the team. We have already talked about Scotty, and Ashley, Joe, and Wylie, so here are some thoughts and pics about others on the team.
Genora has been great leader on this trip. God is using her in big ways. In Rwanda at the pastors Conference and night services, she and Joe worked together to pull local musicians, singers, and dancers together and with a few people on our team and making one group out of them, and we had some great moments in Praise and worship, and let me just, the girl can lay some brick now. None of the guys have anything on her. She is a powerful asset to the team. She has a team mindset.

Great Team….

Here we are in Uganda, we had orientation today at the watoto church and then went to the village to build. Wow what a great experience. The whole team did well. They told us we are fast and organized and the were excited about how we did. So we have two more full days of building and can’t wait to get at it. This team is really good, I know that I keep saying that but its true.

The watoto organization is one of the most impressive organizations I have ever seen. I will talk more about them later. Here are some of our team on this trip. Wylie was great with the kids at the clinic. He is making a great contribution to the team… Pastor Scotty, a man of many talents. He is been such a great leader on this team, he has a huge heart for people. He has been very inspired, and he Is very inspiring.

God is using us, and helping us help people. More to come. if you are wonder why i am not putting everyone up at once. The internet is real slow and it takes forever to upload pics. Keep watching your loved one she show up soon. They are all doing so well, and you would be very proud of them. Keep praying for us. God bless you!


What a Team…

We are now in Uganda. It was sad saying goodbye to our friends in Rwanda, but we could leave knowing we have done our best and made a significant impact on the lives of the Rwandan people. We arrived here right before lunch today, got moved into the watoto guest house and rested. We went to see some traditional dancers and drummers tonight. Great night, and some interesting dance moves by Dante and Joe. I will put them up on video soon.
This is Ashley Ledford, what a great team member she has proven to be. In this pic she is engaging the kids at the medical clinic while their parents watited to see the doctor.
Joe Reed helping me preach an illustrated message, a “Healthy church is a compassionate church” Joe has been a real problem solver on our team.

I was going to do a pic for every team member but I’m going to have to do them a few at a time, because the internet is just too slow.

God is good, and has been so faithful to us.


The Embrace….

This morning, I took the team to the clinic and dropped them off and set out to make some new relationships for our future endeavors here in Africa. We are enlarging and strengthening our vision for the future. Praise God for the opportunity to help develop leaders and reach out to the hurting.

However, before we set out, I went down to the clinic, when I got out of the bus, I was embraced by numbers of sweet little Rwandese children grabbed me around my legs, held my hand, and hugged me tight. So open, so excited to see the muzungu (white person). No judgement of me, no fear, no rejection, no criticism, just pure unadulterated embrace. They laughed, and squealed with Joy. It melted my heart, it made me want to pick them all up, load them in the bus and bring them home with me. I wish I could, but unfortunately I can’t. What we can do, and are doing, is trying to help them have a future by teaching them how to be healthy, and giving them time with a doctor and medication that can help them. I saw this same thing have an impact on every team member, from the biggest guys and all the ladies, impacted by this type of embrace.

I had this thought, what if the whole church and every person who is the church had the same type of embrace to those needing Jesus. No judgement, no criticism, no rejection, just a party of acceptance and love poured out on them like someone who is a long lost member of the family. What a surprise that would be to people, and what an expression of the love of Christ.

My heart went out to them, because it was drawn out by their total embrace of me. What would make us so attractive to people who need and want change, would be to embrace them with the Grace of Jesus. So I encourage all of us, lets embrace others like Christ has embraced us. Let our faces shine with the bright smiles like those little impoverished Rwandan children, and embrace people with love.