Africa Itinerary

Here is the itinerary for Africa:

Friday, Apr 16

~ 1p, Depart CC

Saturday, Apr 17

~ 7:25p (11:25a our time) Arrive in Nairobi, Kenya

Sunday, Apr 18

~Minister at David’s church, (Nairobi)

Monday, Apr 19-

~ Travel to Eldoret and have lunch with Redeemer Bible College students at Eldoret Technical Institute. One of the students wants you to dedicate her grandchild during that meal. The media will be present to take coverage and you will have time to share our vision on media on SAYARE RTV Eldoret.

Tuesday, Apr 20

~ Travel to Mt Elgon but stop at Kamukunywa at Pastor Peter Wasai who recently joined our network, then to Chebich where we will have our lunch and ordain Pastor Peter Wasai and Pastor Dan as we also receive them into the fellowship. After lunch, we will travel to Mt. Eglon.

Wed-Fri, Apr 21-23

~ Minster in Mt. Eglon, pastor’s conference in the daytime and preach publically in the evenings

Saturday, Apr 24

~ Redeemer Bible College Graduation, Kakamega (Mtunga town)

~ 10p-12a (2p-4p our time)- live youth show at Sayare (radio) (in Eldoret)

Sunday, Apr 25-

~ 12a-4a (Sat 4p-8p our time)- ministering and praying for peoples’ needs (radio)

~ 4a-5a (Sat 8p-9p our time)- Live Morning Devotion (radio)

~ Sunday service (10a-12p, 2a-4a our time)- at Pastor Adams’ church for service, will include a small graduation ceremony (1-2p, 5-6a our time) for Redeemer Bible College (in Kitale)

Monday, Apr 26

~ Travel to Mbale, Uganda via Malaba border

~ 11a-5p (3a-9a)- two sessions ministering to pastors and church leaders hosted by Bishop Patrick (Impact Ministries)

~ Sleep in Kapchorwa

Tuesday, Apr 27

~ 10a-11a (2a-3a our time)- Meet with students on Kapchorwa campus

~ Travel to conference venue in Chewower, arrive at 2p (6a our time)

~ Have lunch there, meet pastors as they arrive

Tues-Fri, Apr 27-30

~ Conference at church in Chewower

Saturday, May 1

~ Redeemer Bible College Graduation in Bukwo 10a-1p (2a-5a our time)

~ Travel to Kitale

Sunday, May 2

~ Sunday service at Driver John’s church (their chauffer for the two weeks) from 10a-12p (2a-4a our time)

~ have lunch and travel back to Nairobi

Monday, May 3

~ 10:20p (2:10a our time) Depart Nairobi, Kenya

Tuesday, May 4

~ 6:30 pm Arrive in CC

Please be in prayer for our students in Kapchorwa, Uganda as we learned of the death of one of their classmates this morning.

All I can say is “WOW!”

You never know what, or who for that matter, to expect on Sundays at Simplicity – Corpus Christi.  With Mike and Kim being out of the country right now, we feel like we’re “incomplete” to begin and we will be glad when they return this coming weekend.

Shortly after we arrived this morning, a man rode up on his bicycle and asked if we could bless him.  We spent time praying for him and gave him a sack lunch and some coffee.   As he and I were talking, a woman we had last seen a year ago appeared with a friend of  hers.  This woman has struggled with drugs and alcohol for years, living on the streets estranged from her family.  Her greatest desire is to have a relationship with her 16 year old son, but her addictions drive the wedge deeper and deeper.  She allowed us to pray with her and the Lord gave words that I believe will be significant in His working in her life in the days to come.

We were joined for service by a young, soon to be married couple that I believe will become co-laborers with us in this ministry at some point.   With them was a young lady who has only been to church 5 times in her life (3 of those were funerals).   Before service was over we were also joined by a man I met a few months ago.  Although this man has not beaten his addictions, he sees where our first encounter has begun a process of transformation deep within him.  I prayed for him again today, but felt a new certainty about his ultimate deliverance from the addictions that have held him in bondage.  I look forward to the day that my certainty becomes a reality in his life.

November Recap

It has been several weeks since I have updated the blog. It seems as though life has been extremely hectic since returning from India. I guess we could best call this post a November recap.

Early this month a man entered our lives who was different from some of the others we had encountered on the streets. Although his story was similar and his circumstances were not uncommon, his level of confidence and his seeming determination set him apart. For 2 weeks we worked with him to find a solution for housing and employment. This man was so magnetic, that we were even meeting others, whom he was meeting in the shelters and out on the street.

Unfortunately, his desire to change was not as strong as his desire to take the easy road. We were all devastated as his choices became apparent. God also showed me just how much further I need to come as well. When it comes to personality and temperament, I am high justice and low mercy. When the deceit of this man came to light, I did not allow my justice to be tempered with mercy…reflecting back, I realize that my reactions to his actions left few open doors to continue to influence his life. These lessons are painful.

During the month we have been joined by some new faces, who are stirred by our passion and philosophy of ministry. This has always been one of the directives that the Lord has given us…showing others how to cut out the distractions of “church life” and return to a strong focus on Jesus. Through these interactions, the Lord is raising up co-laborers, who I believe will journey beside us for some time to come.

We have also be visited by a great number of people from the street, past contacts and other acquaintances. God is obviously doing something special in us and through us. It will be exciting to see what the end product ends up looking like.

This has also been our most difficult month since starting Simplicity. Carol and I did not have the money to pay our rent this month, and were very blessed when one of our new co-laborers stepped in and met this need for us. For the first time in our lives we were also unable to pay either car payment, the home in PA went into foreclosure and we currently owe the IRS about $400. God has taken us to a place of complete lack and brokenness….a place that when we read stories like Job, we hope He never does to us. I don’t regret the journey, for I see how much God has been molding and shaping us, but it has taken an emotional and physical toll on both of us. The Lord continues to assure us that this time of intense testing is almost done. This has been echoed by several close to us who intercede regularly for our family and ministry.

The Lord continues to guide me in my business building efforts. I would liken this to farming. I am doing an awful lot of plowing and sowing….in God’s perfect timing these efforts will become all that they are meant to be. It will be very obvious that God’s hand was behind all that has transpired. My role has simply been to “cast my bread upon the water.”

Just enough

I have had my upcoming trip to India planned since last year.  The dates were discussed and bantered back and forth…schedules were coordinated.  The only thing that was left was to raise money for airfare and incidental expenses.   This shouldn’t be hard….should it?

I have been watching the airfare slowly creep up as the date drew closer and closer.  Last week I only had $150 towards my airfare and I was at less than 2 weeks until departure.  Yesterday evening (1 week to go, I was still over $200 short).

We had some friends over for dinner last night.  As they left, they slipped some cash into my hand.  $200!!!!  Of course I couldn’t get into the bank until this morning.  I had been watching a series of flights that left Chicago and routed through Germany.  Over the last week those had climbed into the $1,800 range.  Another flight through the UAE had been at $979 for a while, but it didn’t arrive until a day after the other flights and over the weekend it had gone to $3,800.

This morning I awoke and ran to the computer, the money was in the bank.  I had $1,190 to work with.  I jumped on Vayama and boom…the flights through Germany I had been watching, were $1068 round trip.   I booked them and they were confirmed within an hour.  I next booked my round trip from Corpus Christi to Houston.  I had 20,457 frequent flier miles with Continental.  The round trip was 20,000 frequent flier miles and $80 in fees.   I had just enough.

God is good all the time!!!

That’s too easy

This week has been a great time of seeing God work.  Every day, I have had at least one person stop by the church to visit with me.  Some were looking for prayer, others are just trying to figure out who…or what we are.

Today was joyous, as we were getting ready to begin, I saw a woman pushing a stroller coming across the street towards the church.  I recognized this woman as someone we had met at the bus transfer station a few weeks back as we were handing out water.  During that first interaction, Mike had spoken with this woman for nearly 20 minutes.

She entered the door with her 3 year old daughter and we began to interact and I learned that her name was Nellie.  Nellie has been watching us to see if we were going to stay put.  She decided that today was the day she would come to see what we are all about.  Nellie is a hodge podge of religious thought.  She has been influenced by a Pentecostal grandfather, Jehovah’s Witness friend and a myriad of other voices that have generated a great deal of fogginess in her mind about things pertaining to God.  Nellie asked one question that stood out:  “Why is Jesus called the Lamb of God?”  This allowed me to to talk about the perfect sacrifice that was made for all mankind when Jesus gave up His life on the cross.   When I was done explaining this to her, she was so excited, because “she could finally understand.”  Before the morning was over, I gave her a Bible.  She told me this was the first Bible she had ever owned, with the exception of a small Precious Moments Bible she had once had as a little girl.

As we were finishing up today, a man walked in, burdened by some things that were causing him to question whether he was truly ready when this life is over.  This man carries a piece of baggage with him that has weighed him down for 50 years.  Mike shared the message of salvation and forgiveness that is found in Jesus.  This man declared, “that’s too easy!”  Sadly, he could not accept that God would extend grace so freely.   We are praying that God will show Him grace in a powerful and unmistakable way.

I am currently about $300 short of having my India airfare with one week to go.

Sunday recap

We were joined yesterday by two representatives from Burn 24/7.  We are hosting September’s Burn this weekend, so they were here to scope out building and neighborhood.   This was a very moving experience for both of them.  I wanted to share with your Rachel’s thoughts to her email list:

Good evening CC Burning Ones!

This morning I visited Simplicity Church- where we will be holding Burn CC this month. I was left utterly broken. Last month someone told me, “your feet will go to dark places” I never imagined that would mean I’d be taking the Burn too!
Simplicity Church is located right across the street from a gay bar where the rainbow flag hangs proudly, its down the street from the abortion clinic and its passed by many lonely travelers- all walking alone- all holding baggage (physically and spiritually). With an open door and a bright orange water cooler with the words “compliments of Jesus Christ” boldly written these few hold church every Sunday morning. Oftentimes people wander in- stare and leave or ask for prayer. Inside little kids sing along their parents and even ask questions and pray for prayer requests during the service. While we read I watched a Dad give his son a bottle and let the little boy fall asleep on his chest.

And the entire time the Lord was speaking to me-
His banner will hang higher than any of the enemy’s flags.
AND His banner over us- over everyone is LOVE!

Hearing the simple prayers and the sweet off-key voices of children made me cry with sweet happiness and I was reminded why the Lord loves these “little ones” who wisdom and faith and trust is SSSOOO much greater than mine!

I believe its pivotal that’s we’re here.
That we are lifting up praises and going to impact the atmosphere!
That our praises will tear down this wall that this church has been coming up against.
That we will raise the banner of Jesus Christ over that area and light a lamp in the darkness- and see His people saved and set free- He will “see the reward for which He was slain.”
Please everyone be in prayer.

“Gird yourselves- consecrate yourselves… for tomorrow the Lord will do increasingly wonderful things!!”
Worshipers- soak up His oil in your secret place- because it will be lit on fire this weekend.
And remember in our intimacy we have victory- it is in this place that we are given our boldness- our words- our strategies- our battle orders.

Also please be cautious-
this is not a safe neighborhood- no one walk anywhere alone- please watch your surroundings. Use caution and be wise.

And please be in prayer for this church-
pray for fiances, for co-laborers and “arm- holders” to share the load, for strength and endurance to keep plowing this land, for walls to be broken, and for the Lord to provide for all of their needs.
And if anyone would like to donate nonperishable food and bottles of water or articles of clothing, shower supplies, etc. (they pass these gifts out to many of the people that visit their church) I know it would bless them tremendously
During the morning and afternoon we met and prayed with Charlie, Everett (our first time to meet him), David and his friend (both believers in Christ), and Richard (I see him walking by almost daily).  Some of these men allowed us to pray with them.  Others shared lunch with us, since we were cooking out in the parking lot.   Each one was a reminder of how God wants to move in this neighborhood.
I am still struggling to get airfare together for India, even though I leave 3 weeks from today.  If you would like to help by contributing financially or even donating frequent flier miles, please let us know.

Balance and Powerful Encounters

One of the things I know about myself is that I am a “high” justice and “low” mercy type individual.   Fortunately Mike is just the opposite.  He is high on the mercy scale and low on the justice scale.   God knew what He was doing when He put us together.  Here is a great example.

As we were getting into our cars on Tuesday evening a lady approached and asked us for $2.  I asked what she needed it for and she said she needed it so she could stay at the mission for the night.  When I asked her the name of the mission she couldn’t tell me, but said it was on Agnes (I did not know of any missions on Agnes).  I asked her how much lodging for the night cost and she said it was $8.   I commented that she then obviously had the other $6.  She said she had $5 and that she was going to ask someone up the street for the rest.   I then told her that I would think if she really needed lodging she would ask for the entire $8, and that I was concerned she was looking to use the money for other purposes.   At that she left and walked off.

Mike and Kim got in the van and we began to talk about the conversation.  I could tell Mike was troubled and he said that he believed we were supposed to take her to the shelter and provide for her room.   So we went and looked for her.  We caught up with her a few blocks down the road and ended up taking her to a shelter in the area.  I found out when we arrived, that she had been staying there and had left a day before.  They were happy to welcome her back…God’s will was done…and I had to repent.   I’m so thankful for balance in the body of Christ.

Today a woman and man entered the building.  The man asked if I remembered him?  He had entered into our service about 6-8 weeks ago and asked us if we could pray for his mother.  He had received word that she had nearly died that morning and was in ICU.   We had all gathered around him and prayed over him and his mother.    Today he stopped by to tell me the story of the miracle that had taken place in her life.  He had called to check on her that afternoon and learned that she had made a miraculous recovery.   What was more profound to him though was the way he had entered our door.   He explained to me that he had actually passed by and was nearly 2 blocks down the street when he was compelled to cross the street and come straight towards the water jug.  He told me, “I even remember what it said: ‘Cold water compliments of Jesus Christ.'”   He told me he had no intention of coming here, but the compulsion was too strong and the words on the water penetrated deep within him.

In talking with this couple (over a cup of cold water from our new fangled refrigerated water cooler, donated by one of our overseer’s church) I found out that they are needing to find housing in the next day or so.  His companion once served the Lord in ministry, but she fell into sin and has walked away from the faith.   The Lord impressed upon me that the stain of her sin, makes her feel unworthy and that she has given up.   Before they left I prayed for them hand in hand and asked them to keep me informed of how they are doing.

This visit was a validation for me once again.  I found myself wrestling with doubt as I got here today and this encounter was helpful in crucifying those lies.

Wind in the sails

This past week has been full of wind gusts in the sails of our lives and the ministry.   Let me give you a few examples.

Last week one of my overseers came down to the building and we talked about his recent trip to Africa, the ministry and the challenges.   After re-arranging our worship space (and he did a fine job I might add), he rattled off a list of things that he felt we needed to make us more inviting to our community.  Before the week was over we had an oscillating ionic fan, a water cooler (with hot water option I might add) and a sofa and love seat.

Last weekend, Carol and I had been faced with a decision.   We became aware of two needs in the lives of pastors we minister to and we felt very burdened to somehow meet that need.  Of course we have many needs in our home as well.  Within 24 hours, we were given an amount of money that would meet the need for the 2 other pastors and we felt prompted to forgo our own needs and send that money off to these two ministers.   Last Thursday I was handed an envelope containing that same amount of money and told to use it for my own household needs.

Carol and I had been praying for the replacement of the rear brakes on Carol’s van for about 4 or 5 weeks.  Last weekend we were blessed with a new set of brakes and someone to install them with me.

Yesterday morning we had a man enter the church.  He said “I’ve been watching you guys handing out water at the bus transfer station.  I designed some T-shirt logos for you. ”   He handed a series of designs with scripture, water and Simplicity.  Saturday while we were at the bus stop, we had talked amongst ourselves that we ought to get some T-shirts printed up to help identify us as helping hands to those who are there.

Also yesterday we had a man with us that has been with us for 3 weeks now.  We met him 3 weeks ago around the water cooler on the parking lot.  He was running from God, so God ran him into us.  This man is now working, has shelter and is building a solid foundation for his life once again.

I am beginning a time of focused preparation for India next month, but I still find myself lacking airfare.  I know that God will provide, but I still am not sure how that will come about.

Family and freedom

This past week and weekend was filled with great reminders of God’s work all around us.   The man we had met the previous Sunday, spent several hours with me on Tuesday.   He was able to get settled in at the local mission, and he is interviewing to do carpentry work on behalf of the Marine Corps for the families of soldiers who are deployed.   He is still fighting the old ways and habits, but I believe he will see victory, if he will fully surrender himself to the Lord.

Wednesday, my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and my niece came down for a Labor Day weekend visit.   My brother-in-law twisted my arm real hard to go deep sea fishing on Thursday and Friday.   Here are the results of our time together:

Thursday's catch

Thursday's catch aboard the Gulf Eagle

Friday's catch aboard the Gulf Eagle

Friday's catch aboard the Gulf Eagle

Sunday was another great day of ministry.  Our morning service had ended and we were all sitting around talking.  A woman, named Elizabeth,  walked in and asked if we would pray for her.  In fact her request was worded this way:  “Please pray for me.  I am in bondage to addiction.”   We gathered around this precious woman and prayed for freedom in her life.  Her tears flowed and joy entered her countenance.  When we were finished praying, she allowed us to minister to her with food and water.  One of our ladies then took her where she needed to go.   I believe Elizabeth has received freedom; however, she must now choose to walk in it.

Donuts, bologna and relationships

This morning as we were getting ready for worship.  A couple of guys came across the street to get water out of our cooler.  I brought some donuts out and while we were talking another man came across the street.   We talked a few minutes and he asked when service started.  I told him, and invited him to come on in, since the coffee was hot and the chairs were plentiful.   This man told me how he had returned to Corpus Christi from San Antonio and was here to do some work for a man for a few weeks.  He said that he normally lived in one of the shelters when he came to town.

As the morning went on, I learned that he had once been on fire for the Lord, but had made some choices that led him into the land of the prodigal.   He went on to say that God had been convicting him about his need to return to the loving arms of his Heavenly Father.   He admitted that he had been fighting the conviction that he needed to return to church, and in fact had no intention of being in a church today, but when he saw Mike and I talking with the other two men, he knew he had to come.

Before the day was over we prayed with him, had him join us for lunch and got him a shower and fresh change of clothes.  Tomorrow he will be looking to get into one of the missions and I invited him to spend the morning with me down at the church until his work begins in the afternoon.

Also this morning I got a phone call from a man who had no food in his house and does not receive his monthly money until the 3rd.  His request was simple:  some eggs, some bologna and a loaf of bread.   The Lord prompted me that I needed to respond.   I showed up on his doorstep an hour later and he invited me in.  He was somewhat surprised that I had actually followed through on my promise.   As we talked I learned that he suffers from severe diabetes and that he is trying to make things work on $767/month.  His rent takes $450 and his medicine takes another $200.

As we talked he said, “I need to be truthful with you.  I got your number off of your TV program.”  I laughed and told him, that I was glad somebody was watching it.   As we talked further he shared his uncertainty of whether or not he was truly a redeemed child of God, bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus.   I shared with him, how he could have certainty today.  He told me that he would not pray in front of me, because he didn’t want my presence to influence his response, but the mist in his eyes told me that my words had gone straight to his heart.

He hugged me as I left and I now have an open invitation to come and see him anytime.  I will take him up on that offer…he loves coffee, so next time I stop by it will be with a fresh cup in hand.