Category Archives: Missions

Time to Tell the Tales of Tongaland

Gathering together to share stories is as old as time itself.

 

God brought our team through and we are all back home from a very successful mission to Zimbabwe.  I am excited to have this opportunity to invite you to gather around with me as I share all the wonderful things God did through you and I in the dry and dusty bush of Africa.  So, pull up a log or a Tonga stool (like the man in the  top center of the picture), and lets begin to tell the tales of a great and wonderful God, and His love for us.  There is too much to share in just one sitting, so I will share different stories over the course of several different posts.  This post will be a summary of sorts, highlighting how God used yours gifts and prayers to accomplish His work these past few weeks.

First I want to explain the situation the Tonga people are in right now.  Zimbabwe is ruled by a socialist dictator who has run the country into the ground.  There is a 90% unemployment rate with the bulk of the jobs being found in the larger cities.  For the people of the bush, many of them will never work for a living.  Therefore, they must survive off the land, sell handcrafted materials, do odd jobs for pay, or hope that one of their children will be able to find employment.  The seasons are changing for the Tonga right now.

Elephants destroyed this crop at the home where we camped.

After a long and dry winter, there are no crops to be found where there is no water supply.  The rains will fall in December, but many Tonga will struggle greatly to find food before then.  The very dry conditions make it difficult for man and animal alike.  The elephants roam tirelessly looking for food, and many times devour small crops robbing the people of a major food source for the year.

What makes the Tonga different is their strong work ethic and gentle spirit.  They are a people of peace and humility with weak ties to ancient religions.  These characteristics work together to provide fertile soil for the spread of the Gospel.  Indeed, the Lord prepared the people to receive the Gospel, and a great harvest ensued.

  • Over 220 people received Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
  • Four new Baptist churches were established in some of the darkest places in the bush.
  • Medicine was distributed to over 400 men, women, and children.
  • Food and funds were provided to help many families affected by the loss of crops or lack of employment.
  • Associational church leaders were equipped as they follow up with the churches and oversee their growth.
  • A process was started that would lead many more people to Christ in years to come.

The first Sunday worship service at Msenopongo Baptist Church.

 

All this was made possible by the power of God and your faithfulness to give of yourselves in resources and prayer.  The evangelism teams, made up of lay church leaders from the area, will now follow up with all the decisions and baptize them.  They will also disciple the new believers and help unify the new churches.

As I close this tale, I want to take time again to thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.  God used all of us to do a mighty work for Him and build His Kingdom.  God faithfully carried our team through many challenges due to your constant prayers.  Not only was our team taken care of, but our families at home as well.  I look forward to sharing more with you.  Please, check back often for more pictures and stories.  Also, don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions about our mission and the things we experienced.  I would be happy to share.

Thank you and God Bless.

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14 Days Out – Family Sacrifice

It is very difficult to believe that I am 14 days away from serving God in Africa.  So very humbling and exciting.  Yet, in the midst of my excitement, I must not neglect my family.

A handful of the supplies I will be taking.

Yesterday, I was able to spend time with them as we celebrated the First Day of School, purchased extra school supplies, and picked up many of the items I will need for my expedition.  Over dinner, the kids asked a few questions about Africa and we had an opportunity to discuss some of the details about the trip.  They are very excited about the project, and I can’t help but think they each have aspirations of serving God oversees themselves one day.

I am so blessed to have a wife and kids who are so supportive and committed to our ministry, wherever it takes us.  Full time ministry is a team effort, which many times means team sacrifice.  In the case of this mission project, Ronnie will have to parent solo, plus fill in for me in many of my ministry duties at the church.  The kids will have extra responsibilities, as well, which will encroach on the little bit of free time they have to begin with.  Our family will suffer emotional tolls as contact between myself and them will be very limited for a portion of the project.  Our home will a much different place for awhile

These make up the greatest of all the sacrifices, but personal finances are not immune, either.  God provides graciously for all our needs through one salary, and we are very blessed.  However, special events, camps, and mission trips often cause strains on our budget.  Thankfully, He has provided everything I needed for participation in this mission project through our church and many people like you who were sensitive to His calling.  Even a portion of my personal expenses have been covered, and for this I am so grateful.

So, as we get closer to the departure day, I ask that you join me in praying for:

  1. My family
    • That God will continue to bless my family, even more so while I am away.
    • That God will provide the extra finances we need to recover the rest of my personal expenses and help ease some of financial concerns.
    • That my wife will be strengthened through her reliance on God while I am away.
    • Our kids will have a constant peace as to my safety and the work God will do.
  2. Our Team
    • We will all be leaving someone at home.  Pray for and praise God for the sacrifices their families will make, as well.
  3. Our Suppporters
    • Our supporters have and will continue to make sacrifices to help our team spread the Gospel.  Our prayer is that their families be blessed, too.

 

Mission Trip Update 7/27-Pressing Need

We are growing very close to the departure date for the Zimbabwe project, and time is galloping forward.  Much has fallen into place, thanks to a gracious God and the help of many people abroad.  Many of  you and others have responded by joining my prayer and financial support team, in which I am grateful beyond words.  All the letters have been sent out at this time, and now we wait upon the Lord to provide all things necessary for His mission to be accomplished through our team in Africa.

Our trip actually begins from the port of departure.  Our team will assemble in Chicago before flying internationally.  Therefore, it is our own responsibility to get to Chicago.  My pastor has priced air flight tickets from Amarillo to Chicago and will need to purchase those tickets soon.  I am sharing this as a matter of prayer, fully confident in our Lord who will provide.   I need approximately $400 to purchase these tickets for my travel, above and beyond the money needed for the overall trip. I need this money in one weeks time, as well.
Please join me in this pressing need as you pray for the mission overall.  Also, continue to pray for more people to join in prayer and financial support.  Thank you.

Mission Trip Update 7/10

What does it take to prepare for a mission trip like this?

I asked this same question, as this will be farthest I have traveled on mission.  There are four areas that we have been asked to begin preparing:

  1. Physical – We will traveling into the “bush”, which is a simple term for a very large area of Zimbabwe that is undeveloped and wild.  Their roads can be  nothing more than wide trails and homes nothing more than mud huts.  There will be much walking involved at “African Pace”, which means long distances and few to no breaks.  There will be food available, that we can eat, but often times we will not finish what we eat so that we can share with the children.  It will also be very hot during the days.  I am walking 5-7 miles per day in an effort to condition my body for the trip.  Many times, I will walk in the heat of the day, as well.  I am watching my food intake and drinking lots of water.  As well, there are a number of medical issues to prepare for.
  2. Spiritually – Sensitivity to the Spirit is vital in all situations, but especially on mission.  Walking closely to the Lord daily is a requirement, along with forming a prayer team.  I would like to invite you join my prayer team if you have not already.  You will get updates from now till the conclusion of the project, all that is required is a commitment to regular prayer.
  3. Mentally – Patience go a long way on mission trips.  I have to prepare now to deal calmly with stressful situations that may occur there.  I am also beginning to journal now as we lead up to the project.
  4. Emotionally – Fear/panic, home-sickness/crisis, pride/hurt feelings, stamina as all areas about which to be on alert.  A proper emotional description for the team members are Flexible – Team Player.  We will have travel and warm up/cool down days book-ending the project, but our days among the people will be intense as we minister from 6 am – midnight or later.

Other preparations include equipment, gearing, training.  For this Colorado mountain guy, I am struggling to gear appropriately for the trip as all my things are for cold weather camping and hunting.   Yet, I am confident that I will have all the right items needed for the project, and I appreciate your prayers in this regard.

Prayer Requests

  • As mentioned previously, please pray for our team members, their needs in regard to the project, and their families.
  • I have just started forming my prayer and financial base for the project.  Pray that God will raise the finances needed for my portion of the costs and for any items I will have purchase specifically for the project.
  • Pray for the hearts of the Tonga people we will be sharing the Gospel with.  Pray that their ears will hear and their hearts will receive.
  • Pray for our preparations, that we will be able to make all arrangements and be ready to go when it is time.

Thank you for your time.  If you are not a team member, please click here to find out how you can get involved.