Here are some highlights of the Rwanda side of our trip.  Night of leadership for next generation leaders (college students), concert outreach to kigali high school, Community festival and concert, and Concert outreach at university.  1200 college students worshipped together and heard the word.  Work projects on a school.

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Ethnolinguistic map of Uganda.

Image via Wikipedia

As I sit here at the watoto village called Subi I realize the difference between talk and action.  It is clear that much of the church world can talk with the best of them.  We have a tendancy to tell about the things we are going to do, or cast vision about what we should do, but There is a significant difference between talk and action.  We all know this, but when you are in Uganda and you see the results of acting on what you say it is an eye opening experience.

It seems to be this simple for the Skinners.  Uganda has an orphan and Widow problem, we are going to do something about it, lets take them in.  Now what ever that means in terms of practically building facilities, raising leaders, creating a philosophy is merely steps of action on the way to doing something about the problem.

James said, I’ll show you my faith by my works.  Yes we must talk, we must share, we must cast vision, but at some point for things to change, action has to be taken, and if we just keep it simple the “way” to do it will become clear, as long as we are committed to ACTION!

Something to say about honesty

It matters not if it comes from a republican or democrat, I am truly tired of the dishonesty in Washington. Is it honest for the president to say in the state of the union tonight, “And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions. But we cannot stop there….” When his administration has many lobbyists in it.

* Eric Holder, attorney general, was registered to lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm.
* Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association.
* William Lynn, deputy defense secretary nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive.
* William Corr, deputy health and human services secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use.
* David Hayes, deputy interior secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric.
* Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs.
* Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone.
* Mona Sutphen, deputy White House chief of staff, was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003.
* Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director, lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
* Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.
* Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union.
* Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to the president’s assistant for intergovernmental relations, lobbied for the American Association of Justice from 2001 until 2005.

Is it honest for him to say, “I want congress to continue down the path to earmark reform.” When they put around 9000 earmarks in the omnibus bill, and he signed it. This would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

You can’t keep saying one thing and doing another and expect the american people to support you, no matter how well you say it. I am not against our president and hope that he can work together with all of congress, i just want truth. I want our government to tell us the truth.



The clinic…

We are so excited that we got all the glitches worked out for the clinic. Here in Rwanda many times the national govt is a very cooperative and forward thinking and grateful for people coming in and helping, but sometimes, not all the time, just sometimes the local govts are not. Thank God for giving us connections and friendships that have helped us get through the issues and have our clinic. The clinic was a huge success. I will have to post pics later, due to some technical difficulties.

The area that our clinic is in is a major prostitution area one of the biggest in Kigali. A lot of the problems we saw were STD’s, some stomach viruses, some infections, some problems that were severe enough we were able to refer them to a hospital and doctors care.

The first day because of some of the difficulties it took us a bit to get started once we did we saw around 175 to 200 patients total. The second day we had more dr.s and were able to see around 500 patients. It was a very busy day.

The children were dirty and mostly bare footed. They’re community was the poorest of the poor. It was a slum. One of the dr’s told me that the ditches there, and he pointed to them, they were filled with trash and all kinds of filth. He said when it rains and the ditches fill with water, they will use the water out of those ditches to drink. So you can see what a need their is for medical care and for teaching these families how to be healthy. What not to eat, what not to drink, what promiscuity is doing to them.

One of our doctors spent time while people were waiting in line teaching them. He said they are just ignorant of the facts. This is how they have lived from generation to generation and their thinking has to be changed.

I can’t imagine that their life expectancy is very long. In this culture if you are 50 or above you are considered old. Some places even 40’s are considered old. To most of the young guys we were working with, i was old, and as you all know I am very young. (sorry a little of my mid life crisis coming out

When we talked to the minister of Justice, he said something that is very true. There is something to do to help in every sector of society. Humanitarian efforts, spiritual efforts, infrastructure efforts, business efforts, and on and on.

Our meeting with the ambassador was very informative. Stewart Simington the third. He is a good man. He has only been in Rwanda since September, but he definitley has his finger on the pulse of this nation. He was very helpful in giving us ideas for the future and was so welcoming.

He was very appreciative of Americans coming here trying to help. He has invited us to bring the entire team to his house this afternoon to talk. He wanted to see them all. He is a great representative for America here in Rwanda. You would be very proud of our embassy here as well.

So We have done what we can, the team is out shopping for souvaneirs and I am staying back in my room recovering from a bout of either food posining or a bug i picked up but either way yesterday was tough. Its times like these that you truly miss home. I’m feeling great today. Just resting recouping my strength, and ready to come home. let me say again how great this team has been. I always say this after a trip but its true every time. I would take harvest people anywhere around th world to help people because our culture connects well with those who we are trying to help. Thanks Pastor Kirk and Nancy for raising us to care about people locally, regionally, nationally, and around the world.

Love you all and look forward to seeing you soon.


overcoming frustration

Many times in the forty years of my life i have battled with frustration. The feeling that things just aren’t working out. The irritation that I’m trying hard to accomplish something and for some reason it just isn’t happening. The consternation that comes with expecting certain responses and results from people and them not living up to it, or worse, expecting big things from myself and not being able to meet a goal, or complete a task or get the results i was aiming at.

Frustration is a killer, its the step before discouragement and depression. Frustration unresolved steals motivation and momentum from your life, and brings everything to a halt. It opens the door to bitterness and offense in our lives, which lead no where but to negative circumstances.

So what is frustration really. Frustration is the difference between Expectation and reality. You expect your kids to behave a certain way, and in reality they are not perfect. Everything between the two is frustration. You expect to be at a certain level in your career by a certain time, but you don’t make it. The difference between what you expected and where you really are is frustration.

Given that life is imperfect, and there will be many times when our reality doesn’t line up with our expectations, how do we keep from being overrun with frustration?

The common Mistake we make is to get focused on our reality. There is nothing wrong with evaluating your reality, or being honest about it, but if we get to obsessed with it, or focused on it, especially in light of its deficiencies in relation to our expectations we will be overcome by frustration.

The answer is to keep our eyes forward, looking forward towards our expectations, moving forward towards stated goals, thinking forward in the direction of our vision, focused on where we are going, not where we have come from.

Expectations are powerful, we should set them high and shoot for them, and as long as we stay focused on that, then at some point our expectations will become our reality. Frustration can destroy that from happening.

Overcome frustration. Focus on your expectations.


President Barak Obama

This is a great day. A day that we will not soon forget. As President Obama is making his speech, my thoughts go to Martin Luther King Jr. his fight, his dream, his sacrifice, his and many other African American and Caucasian American efforts have come to fruition in the embodiment of our 44th president. Its time now for the country to come behind him, to support, to pray, to honor his role in our nations History. I haven’t and don’t agree with every policy or plan he has laid forth, but He is my president and I honor him. What a remarkable day in our history. Let’s cross lines and find places of agreement, and lets thank God for His grace on us. Grab the hand of the people around and lets partner to help each other, and people around the world


The Obama Speech…

Wow, what a great speech.  Although I don’t agree with everything he said, i also didn’t disagree with everything he said.  One thing I know is Barak Obama is an inspirational communicator and when you watched the speech and realize that 45 years ago Dr. King gave his “dream” speech the moment became a piece of history.

Whatever way you go politically, you can’t deny his ability to communicate, or the historical context of his campaign.

Very Interesting!


Do I want to wait in the emergency room for a year and a half?

Well, this seems to be one of the more peculiar years in a presidential race history.  I find it all very interesting, and hope everything turns out in the best interest of our country.  I have no desire through this blog to endorse a candidate or try to persuade anyone based on my own political passions.  I just had a thought the other day that was worth voicing.

I’m sure you have heard about the FEMA Trailer fiasco on the southern coast.  After Hurricane Catrina and all the damage, one of the solutions was to house people in trailers so they could come back home and pull their lives back together.  So many were just leaving and staying gone, which would have been my course of action.  Seeing that nothing major has changed has only solidified my position on that.  By the way, when it happened we opened our facility and took several families from new orleans in for about six months, so we have some first hand experience with the situation.

First we all know how long it took for help to come in the first place, which is rather frightening for everyone in the united states.  Do I believe the slow response was racially motivated? No.  Do I believe it was all Gearge Bushes Fault?  No.  I believe it was poor planning on the Mayor, Govener and federal Government part, of which our president is a part.  Not to mention the local corruption.

The bottom line is that is what beuracracy gets us.  Slow response times, bad decisions, complicated issues.  There is nothing simple about it.

Now, back to the trailers.  These trailers were mass produced to house as many people as they could while things are being rebuilt.  A year and half ago, a report came out, where many of the people in these trailers were complaining that they and their children were getting sick, and having headaches, and they thought it was because of the trailers.  Now that sounds far fetched, and I can see someone saying, “no, how could it be the trailers?’  but recently a year and half later, they send a specialist in and find that the way the trailer were made, and i cant remember at the moment what element it was that caused the problem but something in the construction of those trailers was making people sick, and “now, we have to get all these people out of the trailers and get them another place to stay.”  35,000 trailers by the way.

So what’s my point exactly?  And how does it relate to the election or politics.  Here is how, we need to know the policies of the people running.  We are naive when we think the President, and I mean any president, is making all the decisions, and influencing all the policy.  There are three branches of Government, and they all inform our lives.

So we need to know what the candidates think about specific things and do we agree?  So, still, how does that relate to this.  We have big government candidates.  People who want to socialize health care, which a little research of nations who have it will enlighten us to the enormous problems with it.  My point is, do we want the system that took so long to respond to Katrina, and then took so long to respond to their own mistake, with the trailers, and still have not created a good solution in New Orleans and the coast, do we want that system to be our health care system.

Do I believe that everyone should have health care available to them?  Yes.  Do I believe that the corruption in the health care system, and the insurance companies, and the legal system should be addressed and dealt with because of their appearent unholy allience held together by greed?  Yes.

I believe there are ways to deal with this and I believe that everyone should have access to health care, and there are ways for the govt to help make that happen.

Lets be honest with ourselves however and look at the operations of many things the government takes on versus the private sector and as far as being successful is concerned there is no comparison.  Lets be careful that in our compassion we come up with the best solutions, and beuricratic, govermnet controlled, government being the answer to all lives problems, has never, will never, and can never work effectively.

Just some thoughts I’m having.  There is something to like and something to hate with every candidate, thats why we should base our decisions on principles, values, and Record.  Things that are fact, and final.  What people say can and will change in the course of political battle, that is the nature of the beast.

I have interest in what the candidates think about injustice, and how they propose to change things, and so far, I haven’t heard anything new, or anything at all.  We need to help others and we need to provide for those who need provisions, while empowering them to learn to provide for themselves.  There are organizations that can do this, and are, but where do our candidates stand really?

So Just think Long and hard, not with the passion of personality, or the enflamed partisan view point, but with our brains and our hearts, and in my case much prayer, research and consideration, and remember there is more to vote for than the president.  Lets make the goverment take responsabillity but not be our answer for everything.