I love days like this, I don’t know why but they slow me down. They cause me to think. To reflect and to meditate on things to come. I am thinking of the true possibilities of our Global Reach for Justice in Rwanda. We are leaving on June the 8th. I was meeting with the team just days ago, and we ask the question, “why do you think you are supposed to go on this trip?” There were many different answers. Some said, “I want to help the children,” while others said, “I’m not sure what I can do but I want to help change things for the people of Rwanda.” They all truly gave good answers.
I think we all should take time to ask that question about our lives in General, as to why we do what we do. Why are you involved in this or that? Where are you serving and why? It should bring perspective and clarity.
I asked myself, why are you going to Rwanda this year? My response is simple. To produce potential in people. I see this as one of the main reasons for my life. I have a vision for the potential in people and I feel my assigment in life is to help people realize that potential.
I know when we look at places like Rwanda, we see all the bad things that have happened. After having been there and built so many great relationships, especially with young Men and women who want to lead their country to health, I see a lot of promise and unending wells of potential.
My purpose in going this year, is not to just give a fish, but to teach them how to fish. I have kept relationships going through the web as much as possible, and we are planning a major connection with young leaders when we go. I believe that interaction and teaching, and relationship time is going to make a real difference in the lives of these young Rwandans, and in the life of the future of their country. We are going to help them in humanitarian ways, and in leadership.
How do you change the world, by seeing the potential of change, and producing it.
That’s why I am going to Rwanda. Why do you do what you do? Please share.
The word proud is incapable of describing the way I feel about my daughter Taylor. Don’t misunderstand, Taylor is a normal 14 year old girl. She is not perfect, but she is remarkable. Her heart for people is unmatched by most adults I know. Her desire to change the world is real, and her passion is palpable.
I and her mother have raised her to believe in, and live for the Cause of Christ. We’ve told her that nothing is more important than the grace of God, and that everyone should know about it. Thank God she has taken this to heart.
Many of our good friends have seen the potential in her and have believed in and supported her in many ways. This has bolstered her confidence and stirred her passion. Her pastors and mine, Kirk and Nancy Pankratz have always been so kind, supportive and encouraging to her.
All of this has culminated in her life, to cause her to want to answer Gods call. 2 or so years ago I went to Cambodia for the first time, in our global reach to bring hope and the Gospel to people who so desperately need it. From the moment she saw the pictures and heard the stories she vowed, “I will go to Cambodia!”
A few years ago when Taylor was younger our friend Chris Cain said to her “Taylor your a world changer” she took that to heart and while on a trip to Florida at eight years old She was nervous on the plane. It was her first time to fly. My wife Janae said, “taylor are you nervous?” I will never forget her response, she said, “yes mom, but if i’m going to be a world changer, than I can’t be afraid to fly.” Yuu know, that my sound silly, and maybe a little over dramatic to say, but the truth is, she has for years seen herself as a person who will change the world. She has dreamed of reaching people all over the globe. I have no doubt that she will. She went to Mexico last year, and had a very successful trip with our youth group, and we have decided that she’s old enough to branch out and go with Dad on this years trip to Cambodia.
Taylor’s trip is going to cost $4200, she has already raised over $600 babysitting, and has a huge garage sale planned, but she will need more help to get it all covered.
If you would like to help support Taylor fulfill her dream, and give her a start, really to the rest of her life, of what I believe will be one world changing adventure after another please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a message on my facebook page, from there i can instruct you on the procedure to give to her trip. Which is tax deductable.
Thanks in advance for considering to help propel the dream of a teenage world changer.
A blog i wrote while in Rwanda april of 2008 and never published….
Relationship is the Key….
We just wrapped up our three days pastors conference, it was phenomenal. Lives were changed. All of our team preached, and taught on many different leadership topics. It was life changing for the pastors and their teams and it was life changing for me and our team. We had right at one hundred pastors representing over 50 churches.
One of the things I taught them is a Jon Maxwell maxim, which is to say, “Leadership is influence, and influence comes through relationship. I have just read Pastor Kirk’s notes for this weekend’s services and that is basically what he is communicating. We can lead, “persuade,” “Influence” others without having relationship.
I love it when we are able to teach something and exhibit it all at that same time; it creates such an authenticity that everyone is impacted by it. I have made some great connections on this trip, and begun some great relationships. I have to say Rwandese people are the most resilient people I have every experienced personally. The team and I were discussing one night about the fact that sometimes we in America have something happen to us in life, and it shuts down our future we cease to be functional people, and here we are standing in front of young men and women, who have suffered the worst of travesty’s and they are praising God, they are testifying of His power. They’re not perfect and they have their issues like everyone else, but they just keep moving. Keep your eyes on Rwanda, God is starting something wonderful. I truly believe what is happening there will impact the world.
Like it does usually when you go to a third world country it brings things into perspective and it makes us realize how good we have it, and reprimands us for whining so much. What I am saying is not to de-legitimize real problems In your life or mine, but it is to say, take a look around, you don’t have to look very far to gain perspective.
I taught on relationship and how important it is, and God set me up with some great new friends. Friends that I will have for the rest of my life, young men and men my age who have a heart to change things. These men don’t think like the average person in Africa, they have a new way of thinking, it’s a new breed. Pastor Jackson, the man who worked as our point person for the Rwanda portion of the trip. He is a go getter by anyone’s standards. I say this without equivocation he would put a lot of pastors I know in the states to shame in vision, passion, faith, tenacity and plain old bull dog persistence.
I won’t try to put all of his stories in this blog, but I will put them in later blogs. They will encourage you and build your faith. I also, met a young man who interpreted for me, he is one of the best interpreters in the nation. He is a brilliant young man named Henry, he has stories as well that will make you want to stand up and shout. I also, began a relationship with a young man of 26 years of age who has a real heart for unity in the church and orphans, he is one. His Dad died in the war in Rwanda in 1990, and his mother died when he was born. He has real compassion on orphans. He has an organization called together as one.
I received the great privilege of speaking a special session just for them. I walked in and wanted them to speak to me. It reminded me of our church. They were all young adults and some teenagers, and they are absolutely passionate about making a change. They are renting an office building themselves and they have three goals. One is to evangelize, use their talents of dance, singing and preaching to impact the globe, many of them are orphans. Second, they are working on getting land and building a children’s home. Third they want to bring Christian Television to Rwanda, and with that host and coordinate big conferences. They have already invited me to bring our worship team and come back and speak in the big stadium which they believe they can fill 20,000 people.
They had such passion, such grace and humility, and they are serious about changing the world. I was so inspired! They are not talking about changing the world, they are changing the world. They aren’t victims they don’t think like that at all, they think it is their responsibility to do something and so they are.
My relationship with them, and theirs with our team and the relationship we built with the rest of the pastors, has given us influence with them, and affected them and us. Relationship is key, and if we are going to reach people, if we are going to lead people in a positive way, we must not be afraid, or threatened, or fear to take a risk to have a relationship.