All things to all people

I believe it’s important to be all things to all people at all times.  Paul was a Roman to the Romans, a gentile to the gentiles, etc.  SO I try to do that in Belize.  Now it does have its limitations. I don’t partake in drug use with the guys I play basketball with but I do hang out with them.  Anyway, here’s a post on how I try to become all things to all people….or maybe it’s me trying to justify my somewhat embarrassing guilty pleasures.

SO I think it’s incredibly important to have some type of useful, all-purpose talent.  I don’t have many…. let’s rephrase I don’t have any.  All the “useful, all-purpose talents” I developed in college well weren’t God-honoring as time it takes to shot-gun a beer, or hurricane, or jager-bombs, aren’t useful in the mission field.  Praise God by the way for redeeming this wretched sinner out of the mire and placing my feet firmly on his ground.  God currently uses my craziness for His Glory and not the enemy’s debauchery.

Anyway, I always admire people that can juggle, or play the guitar, or are really awesome a ping pong….wait a minute…this sounds like my roommate Andy.

Note: There’s this scene in Tombstone where Doc Holiday realizes that Johnny Ringo is an “educated man.”  Doc’s response in “now I really hate him.”  Sometimes I have that feeling about Andy…but I digress.

As I have become more comfortable in who I am, I have started to embrace and be vocal about my particular skills and abilities.  Examples?  I have an incredible auditory memory.  Movie quotes, songs, poetry, anything that is spoken I can memorize with a couple of hearing.  Unfortunately for me, this only manifested itself in that I can quote the entirety of Forrest Gump, Tombstone, Friday, and Dazed and Confused.  Not useful.

In addition I know the lyrics to virtually any rap, R&B, hip-hop, gangsta rap song from about 1992 (Kriss Kross “Jump”) to 2004 (Usher / Lil’ John “Yeah”).  AND I now know any Disney princess song with my most recent addition the entire soundtrack of Frozen.  Now none of that is Earth Shattering but it is a useful trait.   In fact, to be completely honest, I LOVE RAP MUSIC.  Seriously, Tupac / Jay Z / Ludacris / Dre are my Mt. Rushmore of Rap and as I work on the logistics to the summer mission trips, I am often listening to one those.  All things to all people – Wednesday at the Market in Belize City, I was strolling through and heard a Tupac song I know and love.  I stopped bounced to the beat the only way my non-rhythmic self can and recited all the lyrics.  The worker was amazed, gave me an approving nod, and we chatted for a bit.  Tupac to the Gospel.  All things to all people – right?

Other examples: I now follow the NBA religiously AND WWE.  I know who is in what series and who the champs are.  I know the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak is over and I know that the Spurs are kicking tail in the Western Conference Finals (or they were).  I do this to relate to people I meet in Belize.  Kids here in Belize are obsessed with WWE so we can have conversations about Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena and who is worse Batista or Bray Wyatt.  All things to all people.

On the court, about the only relevant conversation that I can contribute is the stats and highlights from the NBA playoffs.  So between games or hanging around, we are often touting the highlights of our favorite players.  All things to all people.

The last guilty pleasure I have is watching The Bachelor or Bachelorette.  I love it.  It’s high comedy and entertainment to me.  One summer while preparing for missions, I fasted from TV, except for the Bachelorette.  I am still trying to figure out how this allows me to be all things to all people in Belize.  When God reveals that, I will be the first to share it!  Until then my brain is full and hurts and sometime needs dessert or maybe just a pop-tart.

This Spring our 25 teams that served all over Belize were all things to all people.  There are so many stories of victory, healing, deliverance, that I am unable to recap them all.  With permission from others, I have shared some of the most dynamic stories as a celebration of this past Spring season.

Just One Story – Chains Broken

We had been praying for a long time as an organization for a team to serve on Caye Caulker (popular tourist destination island, off Belize’s mainland).

Each team we have serve in Belize goes to Caye Caulker for a day of rest and relaxation.  But we have never had a team serve on the island for a whole week.  We knew there was need but teams weren’t on board with serving there.  It was too touristy.

Last year in Belize, there was a couple of divers on a trip to Belize.  They desired to get a group together to serve a community which gives of themselves to serve dive groups.  Caye Caulker was the perfect place.

They signed up and we as an organization began to pray for a partnership that would be perfect.  After two closed doors and no peace from the Lord, I attended Pastor Ed’s children’s ministry training in October and met a church planter who was sharing the desperate need for ministry on Caye Caulker.  He has a church there pastored by Pastor O.

This church planter began to share with us the Central American Immigrants who have come to Caye Caulker in hopes of tourist jobs but end up as sex slaves in the seedy night-life on the island.  We knew this was the partner.

The trip was one of the most challenging, darkest, and most rewarding we have ever experienced as an organization.

The local church took the team literally into bars to play pool with drug dealers.  In the same bar, the team spent their fundraised ministry money to “purchase girls’ time” from their pimp so the church could share with the girls the Hope of Jesus.  In the same bar, the team, the local church, and the dealers, pimps, and prostitutes circled around the pool table and prayed for the Lord to break them free from the chains that bind them.  Truly the Lord was breaking every chain.

And that’s just one story.

We have seen God perform miracles.  Barriers broken, blind receiving sight, all things to all people has resulted in God showing up and showing off.

Those stories don’t even touch the most dynamic life-change that is happening as over 50 Belizean’s surrendered their lives to Christ this Spring and an others took their next steps of faith into Baptism.  In fact, this past Monday, we attended a Baptism event with Pastor Ed’s church.

Our teams have become all things to all people in Belize and the Lord is rewarding those efforts.  But it’s just the beginning.  This summer as we have 40+ teams serving we know the best is yet to come.  Praise God!

 

Praises / Prayer Requests:

  • Praise – Life-change – We attended a Baptism celebration with Pastor Ed’s church this past weekend.  7 people were baptized!  Praise God.  Two were an older couple.  The woman had been wanting to get baptized last year but was fearful of her husband’s reaction.  This year they BOTH were baptized TOGETHER.
  • PraiseNo denominational lines – We were fortunate enough to participate in Pastor Ed’s children’s ministry training this past weekend.  Attending there were 180+ people, representing 4 countries, 70+ churches, and over 10,000 kids.  It was a true blessing worshiping to God of this City arm in arm.  There was no man / woman, no racial lines, no denominational lines. We were all God’s children, believing God to change Central America…one child at a time.
  • Praise – ministry update.  I was able to stop and talk to our first team of the summer today. In speaking to the group leader about ministry the last night, he said “Last night was one of the best nights of ministry….ever!”  Praise God for the divine appointments He is knitting together.
  • Praise – Basketball league is over.  BUT during our last game, I caught the fire!  I hit the (6) 3-pointers!  27 points!  It was awesome!  And created some more people “remembering” who I am in the village!
  • Trip Starts tomorrow – I am leading a trip to our church starting tomorrow.  Please be in prayer that this trip can help the church reach out to the surrounding community.
  • Women’s Bible Study – Amy and Ms. Kimbell are starting a woman’s bible study after this trip is over.  Pray for follow through and pray for fruit.
  • Endurance – it’s the first trip of the summer for me. Pray for endurance and patience for Amy.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go and do my research for the Bachelorette March Madness-style bracket I have printed.  All things to all people…..right?

Nations coming together to impact children in Belize for the Lord.

Nations coming together to impact children in Belize for the Lord.

arm in arm.  I watched and was in awe of the partnership between churches

arm in arm. I watched and was in awe of the partnership between churches

The entire group at teacher's training with Pastor Ed.

The entire group at teacher’s training with Pastor Ed.

my girl

my girl

Amy watching baptisms

Amy watching baptisms

Life-change in action

Life-change in action

After baptisms!

After baptisms!

swimming in the lagoon.

swimming in the lagoon.

Heart and Belly Full

It’s been two weeks and my heart and Belly are full.  My heart is full of God’s answered prayers.  My belly is full because Pastor Lloyd and I have had the wonderfully opportunity to do church a couple of times together over the last few weeks.

A digression for a moment – when I say church, I am not discussing what happens within the walls of a church building or opening the Bible and learning from the Lord.  One must remember that I grew up Southern Baptist.  When I say church that means Pastor Lloyd and I are sitting down in the evening over a nice, really nice plate of food, often fish.  Also to note I find it interesting how one of the most godly men I know LOVES fish…just like Jesus (cooking fish for the disciples, feeding the 5000 with fish, etc.).  So there you have it.  Church is a meal.  There is also chapel – usually lunch and much less frequently devotion which is typically breakfast or lunch on the go.

Ok, we’re back.  Anyway, as I sit back and reflect on where the Lord has directed me over the last couple of weeks, I am overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction.  I am overwhelmed by his goodness.   My heart is full.

For example, in our last update I was calling for prayers for the churches to work together.  God answered this prayer in a mighty way. Here’s what happened.

Through Pastor Ed we connected with a potential new ministry in a more remote area of Belize.  After thinking that I may have to dodge poison blow darts (joking), the winding and bumpy road opened up to a beautiful Yucatec Maya village.  The scenery alone was truly breath-taking.   I approach the first church we see and ask for a specific pastor that we are looking for.  The pastor at this church speaks the one who we are looking for’s praises.  He takes us to his door step and prays for The Lord to bless our meeting.  Pastor Ed and I speak for some time with this pastor and he mentions that the churches are unified in the village.  They are not vying for each other’s flock but working together to reach additional people in the village for the Lord.  They even mentioned that all the evangelical churches were working together to manage a primary school….UNHEARD OF IN BELIZE.  I left hopefully but cynical.

 

I was then speaking with one of our staff for the summer who has intimate knowledge of the village and without my prompting, he goes on and on how he has never, ever seen churches work together in Belize like they do in this village.  He said it literally was like there is only one church but different outposts and worship styles.  Well, I called Pastor Ed right away and asked him to schedule another meeting in this village.

Yesterday, Pastor Ed and I had the opportunity to meet with a council of the 5 leaders of the evangelical churches in the community and they shared their heart for ministry, their partnership with each other, and their desire for assistance.  They were looking for ideas.  It was a huge blessing to let them know that this summer we have a team of 70 people ready willing and able to give ideas and time to encourage not an individual church or pastor in the village but The CHURCH of the village.  The smiles and joy I saw was truly inspirational.  God is up to something here.

Another story: I have been praying for some time for a couple of additional items in Belize.  The first is sustainable ministry.  Really I am wrestling with the balance of how do we have a team come down here and do ministry that is lasting, that goes beyond one week a year but into each week.  I come back to vocational training, ministerial training, and meeting physical needs on-going.  As I sat in a Catholic Parish in Western Belize, I sat with a Father and 2 leaders of schools and it was as if they saw through me into my heart and confirming and agreeing with everything that was there.  We could not have been MORE EQUALLY YOKED!  I am so excited to spend more time there.

Next Level: Burton, a great friend of mine, has a song called “Next Level.”  It is about how as Christians we can move on to the next level.   There were some growth points for me in my walk.  The first was when I stopped living in habitual sin and pretending I was a Christian.  The second was when I read the Bible all the way through for the first time.  And so on.  I have been wrestling through “what is the next level that we, that I, can be doing here in Belize.  So the other day Rob and I are talking about it and we come upon the idea of a Pastor’s conference.  It’s time that much like Pastor Ed gets people together for children’s ministry, that we get ministry leaders together to share transformational ideas in ministry.  I have the awesome opportunity to see churches really getting after it and succeeding in specific areas of ministry, so how do we share that with The Church in Belize.  This is the answer.  So after speaking with some of our Belize staff, and key presenters, we are targeting having a Pastor’s conference this fall.  I am so excited to see Belizean ministry leaders share with other Belizean ministry leaders ideas on social programs, how to create a generous culture in the church, children’s ministry, leadership development, and youth ministry.  I ask for prayers for wisdom and discernment as we move forward in preparing for such an event!

The Lord is up to something big here in Belize.  We may be part of a new church revival here in Belize, in fact I am sure of it.  The next generation isn’t held back by the denominational ties that bound them before.  The time is now for The Church in Belize to work together and transform ministry, transform communities, and transform this country.  I am so unbelievably excited about what the Lord is doing here!  Prayers are being answered in big big ways!

 

Family Update:

Things are crazy fun in our family right now.  Madeline is working hard in school and things are gearing down.  The garden is in full swing, especially now with the surprise appearances of potatoes and additional watermelon plants (the rain and soil with compost must be good!!).  We are enjoying the spoils of okra and tomatoes and are waiting for squash and zucchini to come in.  Jojo is jojo, wild and cray and a servant at heart.  Madeline’s compassion still reigns in our house.  Low compassion for those in her family, HIGH compassion for those on the outside….we are working on compassion within our family.  Elijah is still thin (please be in prayer for his weight, he needs to gain some!).  Amy and I are doing great.  And we just booked a vacation for just the two of us for THREE NIGHTS at the end of the summer!!  AND they gave us a 50% DISCOUNT!!!!!  The Lord is with us here in Belize.

 

Praises / Prayer Requests:

  • Praise – The Lord is answering prayers in putting people in our path who want to see The Church in Belize work together!  Praise God for new genuine partnerships.
  • Praise – Amy and I are booked for a vacation at the end of the summer and it was 50% discounted because we live in Belize!!!  YES.  Praise God for this time away already.  Pray for Leah, who will be with our children for these days!
  • First Trip – We are kicking off summer trips this weekend.  Be in prayer for 500 people to be saved this summer.  Pray for Herman and the first team serving in and around Belmopan starting this weekend!
  • Staff Travel – over the next couple of weeks, we have our full-time and seasonal staff arriving in Belize.  Pray for them as they leave their families for some period of time.  Pray specifically for protection from the enemy and any attacks he may try and bring.  I am blessed to serve with this team of world-changers.  Pray that the Lord opens their ears, eyes, mouth to not only be Jesus’ hands and feet but to be Jesus mouth, eyes, ears to the people we serve this summer.
  • Elijah’s weight – the boy needs to gain weight.  He needs to gain 2 pounds by his next doctor’s appointment.
  • Pastor Ed’s Training – Amy and I are participating in Pastor Ed’s children’s ministry training this weekend.  Pray for us as we are teaching some high-energy VBS songs and I am preaching Saturday morning.  We are praying for 200 children’s ministry workers and 75 churches from 3 countries!
  • Broken homes and broken girls – I was somewhere a few days ago and I heard stories of pre-teen girls sold by their families for very small sums of money or worse yet virtually nothing at all.  Some of these very young girls even ended up pregnant and they thought there wasn’t anything wrong with the transaction.  My heart aches for things like this.  I have asked The Lord to reveal where the battles are.  Pray for me for endurance as my eyes are opened.  I do not know that I am ready for this.
  • Margin – We are doing a great job of margin in our lives right now.  As summer kicks off and things get busy with trips, please pray that I have the discipline to keep the margin appropriate in my life.
  • Fundraising – Amy and I are in a great place with fundraising.  We are however looking to on-board 6 new monthly supporters by the end of June.  If you have not contributed to our ministry financially before or if you have given a one-time financial gift, we are asking you to prayerfully consider becoming a monthly supporter.

 

We are so thankful for your love and support of our family.  Continue to write when you can. Your encouragement motivates to continue pursuing the Gospel of Jesus and making Him famous throughout Belize!   We look forward to sharing with you all the miracles our Lord will do this summer!  Praise God!

 

Because They Haven’t Heard,

Madeline wanted to go to work with daddy so we visited a pastor then got ice cream and THEN dinner.

Madeline wanted to go to work with daddy so we visited a pastor then got ice cream and THEN dinner.

Pastor Lloyd giving our staff a charge at the staff training last weekend

Pastor Lloyd giving our staff a charge at the staff training last weekend

Madeline refused to leave until she had her school picture taken with Jojo

Madeline refused to leave until she had her school picture taken with Jojo

the afternoon class at Madeline's school

the afternoon class at Madeline’s school

Okra plants producing like crazy

Okra plants producing like crazy

 

Missionary Mommy Advice – Cook like a local – Tortillas

Amy LOVES giving parenting advice.  She is passionate about cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and sleeping.  One of our friends recently found out she was pregnant and asked Amy for advice.  This series hopes to capture that email exchange for posterity sake!  Missionary mommies, mommies on mission or anyone in general…ENJOY!

Mommy’s, is this a conversation in your house?

Me: What do you want for dinner tonight?

Husband / Kids: I don’t know.  Whatever.

Me: Ok how about (insert something delicious and yet low maintenance to make)?

Husband / Kids: Umm…not really I don’t want that.  How about (insert something less delicious and healthy and quite labor-intensive to make)?

I end up making what they want and then the kids only eat a portion of it!  Talk about SERIOUS aggravation…Ooh I best pray for a calm heart right now thinking about it! Dear Jesus…..

….ok I’m back

Now imagine you are in a new country and don’t have access to those family favorites of the States.  For the missionary mommy, cooking like a local becomes a necessity to maintain your sanity!  This was one of the top 3 lessons I have learned since being in Belize.  But cooking like a local was a hard missionary mommy lesson to learn.

It was September 2012, we had just moved to Belize, quite literally that day.  We go to the grocery store, not really knowing what we were getting into and thought ourselves “let’s have Mexican”.  We are so excited so we scour the aisles.  We get the cheese; we get the tomatoes, green peppers, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, for the pico and then we start looking for the tortillas.  So we look in the usual places refrigerated aisles, others as well.  We make one pass, then another, finally a third and we realize….

Uh Oh!  They don’t have pre-made tortillas here.  Then we thought…how do they even do Burritos?!?

I distinctly remember with each pass of the aisles the panic in my voice raising and volumes that are embarassing.  Heads turn and look.  Josh tries to calm me down. We quickly finish the shopping and leave.

So needless to say, after waking up at 3AM that morning to MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY and FAILING at grocery shopping, we did NOT have Mexican food and I was sure we were going to go hungry FOREVER!

The next 4 – 5 weeks were much of the same, story…wash, rinse, repeat.  Desire something “American”, Belize doesn’t have the ingredients, and I left the store frustrated and determined that I wasn’t sure we made the right decision moving here.

Then it hit me… We were at a friend’s house eating and I watched her make tortillas….What’s that I remember asking?  She said tortillas.  That night Madeline literally ate 7 12″ homemade tortillas and the LIGHT BULB went off!

It was time to learn to cook like a local.  But there was one problem.  I am a recipe-follower.  If it says put 1/2 of a tablespoon in something, I am the person that gets a knife and levels it off.  Exact, precise, that’s how I cook.  And it drives Josh BONKERS!  He is an engineer’s cook I guess.  A lot of estimation and risk in cooking.  I want to know if something didn’t come out ok then it was the recipe’s fault and not mine!!

In Belize, recipes, a lot like time adherence, are dreams and not realities.  SO I had to adjust.  There was NOT going to be a recipe for tortillas.  I was just going to have to figure it out.  After a couple of failed attempts, we had a Belizean come over and walk me through the process.  She cooked, I scribbled down a make-shift recipe.  She said things like “on really humid days this is what I do for the recipe!”  I thought to myself. what on earth do you mean “YOU ADJUST THE RECIPE BECAUSE OF THE WEATHER!!!!”  This missionary mommy, may never learn to cook like a local I thought to myself.

But the number one personality trait that I rely on while in country is my own stubbornness.  I was personally tired of eating “mercia food.  It was time to push through my own hang-ups. First there were the gooey ones and then there were the cardboardy ones and then the so-so ones….and then it happened. I made a batch of perfect tortillas.

The only way I can describe my elation is like when you make a batch of cookies or a cake and it comes out just right, the icing is perfect, shape is perfect, taste is spot on.  That’s what it was like for the tortillas.  They came out and looked the part and then I tasted one and wow…it was not just good, it was great!  Then Josh tasted it!  Got his approval.  Then Madeline ate one and then another and then another….We had success!

Now I am happy to say that I am a tortilla master, both corn and flour versions.   And this missionary mommy can start lowering the food budget as I begin to master cooking like a local.  Instead of having something American that costs too much, we now are eating fry beans, eggs, and tortillas.  Cooking like a local has changed my demeanor, frustration level and quite frankly budget!

So for all you missionary mommies or really just mommies out there, stop using the store bought tortillas and start making your own!  It’s not as hard as it seems and the results, rewards, and lower food costs, will speak for themselves.

And since I know there are rule / recipe-followers like me out there.  This is what I came up with after my trial and error for the

Perfect Flour Tortillas.  Enjoy!!

(makes about 6-7 burrito size tortillas)

3 cups of flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons of shortening

1 cup of water (may not use it all)

vegetable oil for counter

Place first 3 ingredients in bowl and mix together. Add shortening and make into cornmeal consistency. Then add water until moist. Knead lightly on a lightly oiled counter until mixed. Let rest for 20-30 minutes. Then divide into balls. Then flatten them with your hands or a rolling pin (all Belizeans laugh at me when I do this. I can’t do it by hand yet). Then  place onto a cast iron pan or griddle or comal over a medium heat. They will start to get hard around the edges and then you flip.  Finish on next side and place on plate to rest.  Then Enjoy!!!

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I want more of you God

One of my favorite songs on Earth is Set a Fire by United Pursuit.  It is particularly my favorite when I listen to one of our staff, Lorelee, lead our teams in crying out the chorus to God

Set a Fire down in my soul

That I can’t contain and I can’t control

I want more of you God, I want more of you God

Lorelee plays a bridge when she leads us in worship and calls out to God “I want more. I want more. I want more.  I want more of you God.  I want more of You, God”

It’s a cry that moves me to tears each time she plays it.  I want more of God.  I want God to reveal more of His Glory.  I want God to reveal more of his character.  I want God to reveal more of His Understanding. I want more of God.

I just got back from a week in Minneapolis, MN (BURR!!!) where we had our Praying Pelican Missions, staff meetings.  It was a week full of great reunions, training and encouragement.

Matt began the weekend sessions Friday night by challenging us that “I want more” is really a cry out from God.

From 1910 – 2010, the percentage of Christians in the world (approximately 1/3 of world’s population) has remained flat.  For 100 years, there has been no change in the percentage of the world that is Christian.  In addition, during that same time, Islam and Atheism are two of the fastest growing religions.  And Percentage of Christians in the US has decreased from 94% in 1910 to 76% in 2010.

Those statistics are alarming.  If the population of the world is 7 billion people and 2/3 are NOT Christian.  Then that means that there are 4.7 Billion people in the world living without the joy and peace of Christ.

God is CRYING…. I want more.  I want more of them.  I want more of the Americas, more of Europe, more of Africa, more of India, more of the South Pacific, more of Asia….God wants more.

Matt proposed, what would that look like if we worked together, collectively as the Church (big C) to get 10% more before the end of my life time, the year 2100…that’s right I am going to live to be 119 years old!

Assuming 25% growth of the world’s population, that means that we would need 3.8 billion Christians in the world then!

I often think back to my big audacious prayers, I call them Sun Stand Still Prayers (term borrowed from book of the same name by Pastor Steven from Elevation Church).  I think of those times in my prayer life when I was bold and specific and it turns out that in my prayer life the Lord appreciated that clarity and answered.  Prayer’s like….

  • God allow me to marry my girlfriend right now (asked at 16 years old) – God answered NO!
  • God show me why this adoption fell through – God answered, Madeline!
  • God if this is your will sell our house in 1 month -God answered,  it sold in 3 weeks
  • God we are raising support we need $1000 today – God answered, how is $2000

God will answer our BIG AUDACIOUS prayers!  And HE WANTS MORE.

So the real question is how do we do it?

The church working together is the answers, working past the little C, my church and working together as the Big C (The Church)

At Praying Pelican Missions, including here in Belize, we are seeking ministry partners who look past denominational lines, look past raising one’s own flock and working together to reach an entire village.  People are going to come into a full relationship with Jesus when we STOP thinking that we are the ONLY ones that are getting it right and start collaborating.

Matt said three things are going to help us reach our goal:

  1. Vision – Defined by Andy Stanley – “a picture of the future that produces passion in you”
  2. Motivation – made up of two things – Discipline and Sacrifice
  3. Objectivity – literally measuring how we are doing, with clearly defined and measurable markers

When The Church moves with these three things in One Direction (goal not the band) to get MORE for God, I literally don’t think that there is anything that can stop us!

Rob shared a devotion the other day from Luke 8, healing of Jarius Daughter. 

Jarius approaches Jesus and says come quick for my daughter is sick.  Jesus seemingly takes his sweet time, having compassion on all those around him. He even stops and speaks to the women who was healed from her hemorrhage.  Eventually, Jarius’ daughter dies and he tells Jesus not to fool with it.  People are laughing all around Jesus and mocking when he goes into the room.  They are saying she has been dead.  Jesus looks at them and says “she is not dead but only asleep”

Rob challenged us at the meetings.  A flat line of growth across the last 100 years may look like death.  When someone flat-lines, we say they are dead.  But we know, God knows that the CHURCH IS NOT SHE IS ONLY SLEEPING.

But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up” – Luke 8:54-55

We are an organization that looks at the scoffers and mockers and says “The Church is NOT dead, she is only sleeping”  We then go out into the world and hold out our hand to help the Church get up and have the Spirit of the Lord return to go out and fulfill the mission of MORE!

10% more Christians in the world by 2100.  That seems like a big goal but the truth I rest in is that my God is bigger than any goal I may put before him.

I want more of God for me.  and I want MORE people to know God!  I am looking forward to working together for the more for God!

Praises:

  • Community / Purpose for Amy – Just last Tuesday, Amy went to a leadership meeting at church.  Note: it is because of her involvement in children’s ministry (albeit frustrating) that she is invited to this meeting.  She shares her heart for the women of the community and now she is starting a women’s bible study in two weeks.  She wrote me and literally said “this is my purpose from God and I know I have crazy Chris Hankins like thoughts but I truly believe that the Lord can use this group this concept and this village to change this country.  The Lord is up to something.”  Praise God for His revelation to Amy
  • Staff Meetings – The weekend portion of our staff meetings was our seasonal staff get together where we have all of our college interns and part-time US assistant trip leaders come in.  It was a huge blessing to spend 3 days with our Belize staff team and I am so excited about the work The Lord has for us this summer in Belize.  We have the most dynamic, fun, focused, and anointed staff team we have ever had!  What a blessing it is to get to serve with these people this summer!
  • School restart – Madeline has restarted school after Easter Break and it has been great!  She isn’t getting picked on as much and is really loving being around her friends again!

Prayer Requests:

  • 10% more – We prayed for 500 people to come to know the Lord last year in Belize.  This year we are at 50 people thus far.  We are going to be praying for 10% more.  So we are praying this year for 550 to come to know the Lord!  Pray for 10% more!
  • Staff team – as our staff team prepare for a summer of service.  Please lift them up.  In the name of Jesus we declare that Satan has no place in their lives and that they would be protected from any warfare that may come.  Pray that this summer they are transformed through experiencing more of God, God’s glory and His presence.
  • Belize staff training – we are preparing for a Belize staff training next weekend.  Pray that this would be a great time of fellowship, friendship, instruction and preparation for the summer!
  • Pastor Ed’s teacher’s training – Pastor Ed and his team are preparing for another teacher’s training in three weekends.  We are partnering with Pastor Ed and his team to teach some new songs and dances!  We are so excited.  Join us and Pastor Ed and his team in praying for 85 churches to register for the training presenting somewhere around 12,750 children all over the country of Belize!  We are humbled by the opportunity to be a part of Pastor Ed’s ministry and what God is doing through him and his team in Belize
  • Basketball League – I have a series of games this weekend.  Pray that I am able to play well so then I have street cred so that then I can speak into these men’s lives! 6 three pointers per game is my prayer!  That’s a SUN STAND STILL PRAYER 🙂
  • Elijah James – Elijah is a little on the thin side.  The doctors are not too worried about it but they are watching it.  Please be in prayer that this little boy would put some FAT on him.  He eats everything all the time, just doesn’t put on weight.  Pray that this would not weigh on myself and Amy!
Daddy got an Eno for his birthday.  It's fun for everyone!

Daddy got an Eno for his birthday. It’s fun for everyone!

Most of our seasonal staff team for Belize.  World Changers!

Most of our seasonal staff team for Belize. World Changers!

It's not a staff meeting unless Burt performs.

It’s not a staff meeting unless Burt performs.

Staff meetings aren't all meetings.  I was blessed to spend my nights playing this!!

Staff meetings aren’t all meetings. I was blessed to spend my nights playing this!!

This little girl loves her braids.  She demanded them for returning school after Easter Break

This little girl loves her braids. She demanded them for returning school after Easter Break