Encourage a Missionary Today

Stephen Covey wrote in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”

When a person receives encouragement they move forward in who God has called them to be and what He has called them to do. Hebrews 3:13 says,

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

In my opinion there is nothing greater than the encouragement that comes from a child. It is pure and expressed from a heart that is learning to think and value others above themselves.

boy writingTeach the children in your lives to encourage someone today. Give them a post card that is addressed and stamped to a missionary that you or your church supports. Let them know that everyone struggles with temptation and sin, even teachers and pastors and missionaries. There are no “Super Christians” and everyone needs encouragement to live for God. Ask them to write a note of encouragement to the missionaries that these post cards have been addressed to. Encourage them to write a note of encouragement and sign only with “someone who cares” or “a friend in Christ” or something that lets them know someone is praying for them.

Option: If you are asking your children’s class to do this as a group, have them write the cards, collect them and have the church office add the postage and mail so that you can monitor what was written before mailing.

Today they could make a difference in someone’s life. Don’t miss giving this opportunity to a child!

 

Operation INASMUCH

What happens when you give over 600 volunteers, 35 churches and 6 community agencies the opportunity to serve their community as one? Well, homes get repaired, landscaping is completed, blood is donated, food banks are stocked, clothing is distributed, the elderly are appreciated and the love of Jesus is shown to an entire community. It’s my second year being part of Tappahannock Operation INASMUCH and to see so many people come together, crossing denominational lines, with one goal, to serve as Jesus served, gives us a glimpse of what it will be like in heaven one day.  To see people come together to meet the needs of people exemplifies the goodness in humanity.

Each year brings new hope. Seeing the commitment of Gleta and Steve as they dedicate countless hours to reaching the children in Tappahannock with the love of Jesus is such a source of encouragement. Watching the kids as they give their time making crafts to bring joy to the elderly and seeing a community join forces as one demonstrates the spirit of unity in Christ.

As part of that day I was given the privilege of spending some time teaching the kids the importance of serving others. I encourage you to raise up your kids to serve others as Christ served us. Let Jesus be the everlasting example of how we should commit our lives to meeting the needs of others. Allow them to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, make new friends, give clothes to those in need, take care of the sick, and visit those imprisoned.

As it says in Matthew; “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, INASMUCH as you did it for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.”

Help Us Dig Wells!

Did you know Africa has about 9 percent of the world’s water resources but 13 percent of the world’s population.  This means that the amount of water for each person is well below the world average and often at great distance from the people.

Predictions indicate that over the next 20 years, 30 percent more water will be needed just for farming. Twenty-five African nations will suffer water shortages.

  • Everyday 25,000 people die from unsafe water.
  • 80% of all sickness is attributed to unsafe water.
  • Every 19 seconds a mother loses a child from a waterborne illness.
  • 1 BILLION people lack safe drinking water.
  • Lack of safe drinking water is the world’s #1 killer.
  • Everyday in Africa women and children walk 10 miles to get water.
  • These women and children must carry 40 lb. containers of water down long and torturous paths.

This hurts the heart of God and if we are to help alleviate the suffering it’s time for us to take action to meet this critical need by raising awareness and funds that can provide clean water for those in need in Africa.

Over the past two months, I’ve been given the opportunity to bring about an awareness of the need for clean water as I present this message to entire congregations, young and old. It’s when we see contaminated water and consider what it would be like to have no choice but to drink unsafe water that we realize how important it is to help provide one of the few things we all need to survive, water!! Without it we die and for 25,000 every day, even with it, die because of waterborne illnesses.

Joining with Africa Oasis Project and BGMC (Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge) people have been challenged to raise funds to dig water wells in remote locations of Africa to alleviate the suffering of those impacted by unsafe or inadequate water.

Our ministry hurts for the needs of children around the world. As we bring about an awareness of the needs of these children we are certain that God will stir the hearts of people to provide the funds necessary to dig wells, providing the source of living water, both physically and spiritually.

Get involved by:

  • Donating directly to Africa Oasis Project
  • Donate through BGMC by downloading the Africa Oasis Project Special Target Form and mailing along with your donation. All donations received through the target form receive BGMC giving credit and can be credited to your local church body.
  • Visit Help Us Dig Wells and sponsor a children’s pastor to run a Half marathon.
  • Pray for our ministry that we will be able to reach the hearts of children and that they would respond with compassion to the needs of others.
Matthew 10:42, “If anyone gives even a cup of water to one of these little ones, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

 

Our Family is Growing

Since our last newsletter we have seen some exciting changes in our family.
In April our first grandson arrived. With much anticipation, Nathan Jack came into the world bringing joy and happiness to his parents, Russ and Frances. Needless to say we are very proud  grandparents and anticipate each visit with excitement. Each day Nate grows cuter and stronger. We look forward to teaching him about Jesus

Amongst these major events in our family we have been able to invest in our church families. We have been able to visit and minister at 6 churches, help with 2 Easter services, teach on Mother’s Day, attend 3 missions conferences and conduct 2 training sessions at the NACMC (North American Children’s Ministries Conference) Each gave us opportunity to pour into the lives of children and the people that minister to them on a weekly basis.
Serving as BGMC coordinator for the Potomac District, I was able to help prepare and mail 315 bright yellow Buddy buckets to every church in our district encouraging giving to missions through Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC).

Just recently I was part of a summer long lunch program for low-income families. This week I was able to help as the team served lunch, led a craft and spent time with the kids.
With sculpting balloons and pump in hand, it was with great excitement that I was able to make and teach kids how to twist a variety of balloon sculptures. On the last day I presented each child a balloon cross letting them know that Jesus loves them. Though it may seem like a small act of kindness it is showing the love of Jesus through service and time committed to bringing hope to families.
Now we turn our attention to a summer filled with kids camps. Our first camp is the beginning of July as we prepare for Camp Wannahockalugie, a day camp in Hagerstown, followed by 3 weeks of district kids camp and then a trip to the Sioux reservation in South Dakota to conduct a sports camp, serve meals, share ministry and help as needed with home improvements on the reservation.
Please be in prayer that as we plant and water the seed that God himself will make it grow and that many children will be added to His family this summer.

Man Plans But God Directs His Steps

I just finished reading a book “Whose Child is This” by Bill Wilson and he made a statement that resonates in my heart. He said, “We have to come to the point where we are willing to win the nation one person at a time.”

As we make plans for 2010, we desire to reach children one at a time until we see the millions come to know Jesus as their friend and Savior.

Here are a few things we are planning and would appreciate your prayers as we work out the details.

South Dakota Indian Reservation
Together with Pastor TJ at Warwick AG, we are heading to the Sioux reservation where we’ll be working with Missionaries Tim and Elaine Harris. With two teams of twenty, comprised of adults and children ages 10-15 we are planning evangelism and some hands-on projects.


Homeless Women and Children

We are praying that we can partner with Hope Alive, a Christian ministry called to embrace homeless women and their children with the life-changing love of God. They provide transitional homes and the skills they need to live self-sustaining lives filled with hope and a future. With a team we are offering our assistance with hands on projects as well as evangelism.

Ecuador Missions Trip
I am also planning to be part of a training team to Ecuador in September. Many missionaries around the world need experienced children‚Äôs leaders/workers to come and train children‚Äôs workers in their countries in skills for reaching kids. As part of the team I will be helping to equip leaders/workers in that country to be more effective in sharing the message of Christ’s love and forgiveness.

Urban Church Plant
We are also in the process of joining with a pastor of an urban church plant. We’d like to take a mission team into that community to conduct a fun day and three-night crusade. Such an outreach has the potential of bringing more people into the community of believers and changing lives for eternity.

Training and Encouragement
Along with several weeks of kids camp during the summer we will also be conducting training workshops for those serving in children’s ministry. On a regular basis we visit churches to teach the children how they can help people locally and around the world. We encourage them as we share how they can be a powerful tool in the hands of God as missionaries to their community.
Although we make the plans it is God that directs our steps. Be in prayer that as we plan, God will open the doors and direct our steps so that we see his purpose revealed in all we do for Him.

Eternal Differences? You Can Help!

Six straight weeks of kids camp, two United States missions trips and 126 souls later I’m humbled how God chose to use me this summer. As I sit down to share what God did in the lives of children over the past four months I continue to think, ‘what more can I do to reach the children that have yet to know Jesus?’ God opened the doors for me to minister to children throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. In the 3,700 miles I traveled, I led 126 children in first time decisions to follow Jesus.
clownsThe summer started in Appalachia where I partnered with Pastor TJ Wolfe from Warwick AG. We trained and prepared a team to go into Oak Hill West Virginia where we did street ministry and then held a three day evangelistic outreach for the children in that area. Over 26 children invited Jesus into their lives that week.
COHNext I headed to Dallas Pennsylvania where I spent a week at Camp Orchard Hill as the guest speaker. Using “Deeply Rooted” as the theme, I challenged the campers to evaluate their personal relationship with Jesus and to grow deeper in their faith. 76 children gave their hearts to Jesus and many others fell deeper in love with Him. When testimonies were shared one girl stood up and said, “Before coming to camp I really didn’t know Jesus and didn’t care but today I want everyone to know that I know Him and want to live for Him forever.” One of the boys stood and shared, “Now I know that Jesus will provide for me and I don‚Äôt need to worry about things.” The most touching was a girl that said, “I’ve learned that I can still have happiness even though my dad just died.” There are children here in the United States that are hurting and need the hope and love that only Jesus gives.
KeyserThe summer was rounded off with five more weeks of kids camp and then I headed to Keyser WV with a team from 1st AG in Harrisonburg VA led by Trevor Whetzel. We had been invited to participate in a city wide outreach and minister to the children. All of our efforts were rewarded with 24 children making decisions to follow Jesus.
There are many more children to be reached. I want to continue to prepare people, train teams and minister to these children but we need your help. We’ve raised 28% of our budget. To remain on the mission field we’re asking you to invest in our ministry through a monthly Faith Promise. We are making an eternal difference in the lives of children, now you can help.
Click on our Donate page for instructions how you can partner with us. Please prayerfully consider investing in the lives of children through our ministry!

I can give them a Bible!

Are we looking beyond ourselves to see the needs of others?

Homeless Family FACT: Homelessness affects 200,000 children every day in the United States. Following Paul’s instruction to the Galatians, I spoke to the children at a local church about the needs of the homeless and challenged them to seize every opportunity to do good to others. I tried to help them understand that doing good comes in many forms including, physical, emotional or spiritual. It was my prayer that they would look beyond themselves, grasp hold of one of those areas and look for the needs of people around them.

After the service I felt a gentle tug to my shirt. As I looked down I saw a young girl looking up at me with big blue eyes. I crouched down to hear her speak as she said, “I want to give them one of my Bibles. Can I bring one of my Bibles from home to give to the kids that don’t have one?” She had grasped hold of the need to tell the homeless children about the love and hope that only comes from Jesus. Providing them with a Bible was her way to share that love. Often times it takes the eyes of a child to help us see how simple it is to share Jesus with others. What we sometimes overlook is often times what others need the most, that unused Bible laying around the house. I pray that I will always be able to see through the innocent eyes of a child to see the needs of others and be willing to reach out to meet that need. Servant Training

I know that I won’t be able to reach the 200,000 homeless children or the 24 million children in the United States that need to hear about Jesus. But, I can help to develop a ministry team committed to reaching children in their neighborhoods, one at a time, until the millions have heard about Jesus and His amazing love. By training people in individual churches I am committed to Jesus’s approach of multiplication so that we can reach the multitudes and see children radically saved and serving Jesus.

This summer, in preparation for two different home missions trips, I’ll be coordinating two teams, one from Hampton, VA and one from Harrisonburg, VA. They will be heading to Oak Hill WV and Keyser, WV respectively, to minister to the children in those communities. I will be training them in the use of Kids Quest USA, a focused strategy to empower local church ministries to reach kids in America by partnering with another church for outreach.¬† The greatest value of training teams is its ability to mobilize the local church for evangelism.

Please keep these teams, the partnering churches and myself  in your prayers as we reach and change kids lives for etermity.

The harvest is plentiful…

What more can we do to reach the lost children in the United States?

There are over 24 million children in the United States that lack the hope and the joy that comes with knowing Jesus as their friend and savior. Only 32% of those between ages 8 and 12 that hear about Jesus’ love will make a personal commitment to Him. This number is too low. This number can only rise if we better equip people to do the works of ministry so that they are more effective in their call to reach the lost.
Since my commissioning in March, my face as a Children’s Missionary has been ever changing. Each different venue brought with it an opportunity to reach kids that have not yet committed themselves to a relationship with Jesus.
chef-tera-masu

As Chef Tera Masu I hit the streets again as I traveled to Potomac District Kids Camp. My goal… to bring about a missions awareness and the need for shelters in Togo Africa. Along with Head Chef Ramsey and the 2,500 campers that attended this years camp over $8,000 was raised to help build 12 shelters, protecting over 2500 children from the harsh elements in Africa so that they can attend Sunday School.togo-shelter

Hiking the “Friendship Trail” became my next adventure as I acted as a missionary consultant over a 3 month period in a large church in my district. We journeyed with kids as they discovered the many exciting aspects that come along with a friendship with Jesus Christ. Filling the gap between children’s pastors, I was privileged to help maintain the momentum until a full-time pastor had been located.

Plowing along as Harvester Harriet I made my way across the county helping to bring in the harvest. This was not a harvest of corn, wheat or even hay but this was a harvest of people. Equipped to bring in a harvest, I was able to help kids realize the need to reach the lost in their schools, neighborhoods and communities. ‚Äúthe harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”. We must train our children to reach the harvest field around them and become one of the much needed workers that Jesus is calling us to be.
surgeon

Convoy of Hope provided the backdrop to see kids and adults alike give their lives and their hearts to Jesus. This time I portrayed a frantic heart surgeon and helped kids realize their need for a pure heart. A heart in need of the good things that only Christ can give. As a surgeon, I was able to challenge kids to ask for the forgiveness that only Jesus can give so that their hearts, currently filled with the ugliness of sin, could be instantly changed and made pure by Christ himself. Then and only then could they live a life that honors God. That day I had the privilege of leading over 75 children and adults to the Lord.

Although I was able to reach out to a number of children over the past few months, it wasn’t anywhere close to the 24 million that need to hear about Jesus’ love.
Let’s keep the children of the United States in our prayers and ask that God provide opportunities for us to share the gospel message with as many as possible.

The Tears Fell From Her Cheek

Training adults to effectively minister to the thousands of children that need to have a personal relationship with Jesus is as vital to the child as food, water and shelter.

The air was filled with the excitement and expectations of 170 girls, ages 9-12 as they arrived with suitcases and sleeping bags in tow for a weekend of fun, fellowship and training. It was a military setting and the theme was “HOT pursuit of God”. Donned in pink camouflage t-shirts, carrying Bibles and jewel-adorned notebooks the girls arrived at the service anticipating God’s next move.

This was my opportunity to train these girls how to put aside their earthly burdens and wholeheartedly seek after God, the one who has a plan for their lives, the one who gives hope and a future.

Children throughout the U.S. are under a tremendous amount of pressure to be accepted by their peers, to live up to parents expectations and often times carry the burden of a family that has been torn apart. With 45% of children living in single family homes, over 18% living in poverty and 12 substantiated reports of maltreatment per 1,000 children, it’s no wonder that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 14 and that as many as one in every 33 children may have depression.

The tears fell from her cheek As the evening came to a close the girls were invited to spend time with God, seeking His direction and His healing power in their lives. One by one the girls came to the altar and began to pray. As I glanced to the right my attention was drawn to Tonya. Her head was bowed and body leaning forward. Tears fell from her cheek. What could be burdening this child so much?

We can no longer minimize the cries of a child at the altar. They are no longer tears over a lost toy or a pet that has died. We must realize that the tears are being shed for much deeper reasons. We can’t minimize the tears simply because they are children, lest one of them becomes a statistic.

As I knelt down to pray with Tonya, I knew that this was the first step to her healing. The second step would be her relationship with a trusted adult that could give her the much needed spiritual teaching and guidance necessary to pursue after God.

Are there people ready to help Tonya wipe away the tears?

My desire is to train an army of compassionate adults who will be able to recognize a child’s pain and be equipped to effectively minister to that child offering the peace and hope that only Christ can give. It’s imperative that I help churches identify individuals that are passionate about a child’s need for Jesus and then train them to reach the lost. That is my primary purpose for establishing iRock ministries through US Missions.

There are thousands more like Tonya and I can only reach a few of them. By training a group of 10 adults in every church in just my district, over 3,000 people will be equipped to reach, at the very least, 3,000 children. As I continue to help churches train their leaders I’m going to need your help both prayerfully and financially. Consider becoming a financial partner so that I can devote all of my time and energy training people in hundreds of churches across the United States.
Together we can change the world as we reach the millions of children that need to hear about Jesus, one at at time!

What’s happened in January

We just finished our most recent newsletter and would like to share it with you. We had the privilege of going to Jubilee Christian Center with Pastor Todd McKeever in Fairfax Virginia and to Warwick Assembly of God in Hampton Virginia with Pastor TJ Wolfe. Take a look at the January Newsletter . To see pictures from Jubilee click here. Or if you want to check out pictures from Warwick, click here.