YALC Session 2

This morning we started with powerful praise and worship, another great interview with Joe Reed on “between the trees.”  He interviewed Natalie Boyce.  They call her “Hitler”  Really Joe?  Let me just say, as a person who has been interviewed by Joe Reed, I do not recommend it!

Grant Pankratz the Executive Director of Youth America Spoke on “Pioneering Spirit”  He said, “My goal is to make the young people that come to Youth America fall in love with their local church, because Youth America can’t really disciple people, its the local church that disciples people.”

He spoke on the five characteristics of a pioneer.  I encourage you to go to http://www.harvestokc.com and listen especially if you are in the first phases of staring something.  Pioneers are different and have a different role, so some of the principles they live by are extreme.  It takes an extreme person, with extreme methods to create the inertia to get something off the ground.

What do you think?


Next Generation….

OK, I’ve had it…Sound mad don’t I? Not really, I just hear so much talk about how bad the Next generation is coming up. It May be true for some, but I know a lot of young people who are productive, who care about life, who care about the important things. It will not be some political plan, some technology, some process or ideology that ushers in the next great thing, or the next great leadership movement. It will be the leaders of this next generation. The young people so many love to hate today.

I know that all we hear about is the negative on everything, partially because the media stokes that fire, and partially because we buy the smoke. However There are some great young leaders coming up. Oh there not in Hollywood, they are not even visible to you and I, but they are there and they have some thoughts.

My Daughter is one of those. Guess what, My daughter is not in to drugs, My daughter is not caught up in things that are illegal or self destructive. Now hold on before you judge me for being prideful, which, alright I’m a little guilty of, She isn’t perfect, and she tries my patience on a consistent basis, just by being a teenager, I try hers as well.

Taylor turned 15 today, she is, and I can’t say this without partiality, one of the best kids I know. She really wants to change the world. She cares about people, she cares about her relationship with Jesus and allowing Him to use her life, and their are tons like her. Volunteering, using their gifts and talents, and time to help others.

I think our future looks bright! I love it that my daughter wants to change the world. That can sound kind of idealistic to us over 40 crowd. I must still be idealistic too then cause I’m trying to change the world as well. So Taylor is going with me to Cambodia this year, and we will do our best to help others together, and by the way, that’s how you change the world. So all you young people out there, we believe in you, we see potential in you, and we are depending on your leadership and enthusiasm in the future to help change the world.

I have people ask me all the time how did you get your daughter to think like that, to be like that. I use to say, just the grace of God, but the truth is a little more specific than that.

1. I spend time involved in her life, and listening, cultivating and supporting her dreams and talents.

2. I surround her with dreamers. I have lots of friends who are big thinkers, and world shakers and I get her around them and let her listen and naturally they speak into her life.

3. She is planted in a great church and has great Pastors and pastoral figures speaking into her life, and helping to encourage and support her.

4. We Talk, talk, talk about everything.

5. I have listened to parents who have gone before me, and employed their advice.

6. She has the most incredible down to earth yet faith filled mother on the planet.

7. She surrounds herself with friends who are full on committed to Christ and she creates friendships with kids who she is reaching out to for Christ.

I can hear someone saying right now, well she’s still young and she could mess up. Yep, and probably will, Thank God for His Grace and the knowledge that His dreams for her do not hinge on my imperfections, her mothers, her leaders or hers, but rather on His perfection.

So Thank God for Taylor and her generation….Can’t wait to see how the world changes.


Second day in Kampuchea (cambodia)

Our second day in Phnom Pehn, has begun with a bang. Before I share about today, I want to recap yesterday. One thing I love about working with teams is to watch different team members grow and develop, and stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones. The great thing about harvest teams though, is they all seem to be consummate pro’s when it comes to relationship. They all act as if they have never met a stranger. It is so easy to love harvest people, but I wish everyone had the opportunity to see how our culture truly translates everywhere we go.

We believe in servant leadership, and it shows when we work in these type of settings. We believe that relationship with Christ and relationship with other believers and even those who do not know Christ yet, are very important. This team of Andrew, Allison, Amy, Kelsi, Shane, Jennifer, Jenna, Nicoli, Terry, Travis, Jordan, Kerri, Kelly R., Kelly K, Hannah, and Autumn simply put, are a collection of superstars. They are flexible, inspiring, compassionate and caring people. I respect each of them deeply; I also respect those responsible for sending them. Family, friends, loved ones and people inspired about changing the world. You would be so proud if you could see them in action.

Yesterday, we connected with our friends at new life church and jumped right in to ministry. We Toured their facility, and ministry offices and began to interact with students, with teachers, with church staff and with people just wanting to learn English. Different ones of the team had the opportunity to use their gifts and skills to help in areas that were a good fit. Travis, you guessed it, is doing his best to get all the “IT” kinks out of their system; yes it’s an issue everywhere. Jenna was able to help in the admin offices of the “at risk kids dept.” With her knowledge she was able to do some things in 30 minutes that will literally save them 100’s of hours over the long haul. Shane had the wonderful opportunity of traveling into the village with a couple of pastors from “New Life.” A couple of years ago they planted a church in this village. The village is with all handicap people. They were a part of the Khmer Rouge and in the process of the government telling them to lay down their arms, and giving them amnesty, they became outcast, banded together and live in this village. New life has gone there and started a church and now has a great work there. Shane was able to go, and do a leadership session with the leaders and then a church service in the afternoon. His testimony of the stories when he returned had us all in tears, as he had an awakening and God used him to touch others. Terry and Nicoli went to one of the pastor’s homes and did some work, that was needed, they were having issues with flooding and we were able to solve a major problem for them with minor difficulty and little money. It is amazing how far, our knowledge, our money, and our skill sets will go in this culture. We are able to help them and then educate them on how to continue that new skill. They were having flooding issues around their septic tank, with a bit of money and effort Andrew, Nicoli, and Terry were able to get a sump pump, hose, and solve their problem. Then educate them on things that need to be done to keep the problem from recurring. They also trimmed back some trees, “had to create their tools.” But did a great job.

Shane, Kelsi, and Jenna, set in a “youth party” meeting which is their major outreach and weekly bridge from the English classes to the church. They prepared for our team to do it, which is right down their ally and will be a lot of fun.

The rest of the team and many of the people already mentioned were a part of the “joy club” which is basically like a weekly vbs for street kids. They literally wash their feet clean up cuts, play with the kids, and make sure they are cared for with certain supplies and ministered to with music and teaching. No worries, they took every sanitary precaution, realizing, many of these kids are hiv positive, or have some type of physical problem.

We wrapped up the day with dinner with Pastor Jesse and Soar, and their Baby Girl Jessica. He spoke to us about the value of what we are doing, it was a great moment. We ate lunch and had a great cultural experience with Pastor Pisit and his wife Sei ha.

Then we had a team meeting to prepare for today. We are teaching English classes all day long. This is a great contribution to society and is also the major outreach to getting people into a relationship with Christ and the church. Our team put together a dynamic, interactive program, that develops basic English language skills and tons of great relationship, and then we invite them to come to the youth party with us Saturday night, this process is truly genius.

We will eat lunch with all the regular English teachers and develop relationship with them, as well as hear their testimonies and how they came to faith. Many of which were saved through this process. We are having the time of our lives, and the people of Cambodia are getting deeply engrained in our hearts. It is so incredible to see the faith of the Christians of this country and their dedication.

As the day continues, we will continue to teach English, some of the team will run for supplies for another ministry opportunity, and a small team of four will be going with the outreach team to minister to children in the slums. Tonight we will eat at the dorms, 30 men, and 30 women. This is a place they allow people to live, if they commit to come to church. Many of these people are orphans, once they reach the age of 18 they are made to leave the orphanage, so they literally have no place to go, and need help learning how to take care of themselves etc. So this is a ministry they have begun. We are having dinner with them tonight to fellowship and witness, and invite them to the “youth party.”

Then we start again tomorrow. I will be introducing guest bloggers to write some experiences they’ve had to give you a personal look at the affect of being in this atmosphere.

Again, let me say thanks for helping us, to help them.