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Brian Jenkins Blog Wed. Oct 8, 2008 12:00AM(6:00 AM SA Time) Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.This is the now my 7th Foreign Missionary Assignment and 3rd Country to explore covenant possibilities to expand the work of Christ and the mission of Chosen 300 around the world.Before I begin I want to extend a word of thanks to all of you that make Chosen 300 what it is today.Without your prayers, financial support, and overall commitment to our mission work Chosen 300 would not be what it is today.I was reviewing in my thoughts to day how the Lord has used all of you in a great way as he continues to use me.It is through people like you that God empowers Chosen 300 to accomplish what it has and for that I am humbled.I realize that it is nothing that I have done to deserve where I am but it is all by the grace and mercy of God.
To give you a update on the ministry, from my 3 missionary journeys to Guyana in 2006, 07 & 08, we now have 4 churches supporting 3 communities in Guyana distributing close to 4,000 lbs of food a month.These families that we are serving in this country live in deplorable conditions, struggle to live off of less than $1800 US a year, but they have hearts of worship that is pure beyond what I can explain.You have to read some of my previous blogs to get the full picture.We have brought in technology tools for the church to manage funds, set up accountability measures, and have the words to songs and scriptures put on the screen.With the help we provided since 2006 it has not only affected the existing congregation, but the churches have tripled in attendance and disciples are being made for Jesus daily.The goal is not to create a dependency but an avenue to move forward.The church that I work with directly the Elim Timehri Christian Fellowship has grown from receiving $150 a month in revenues to close to $1000.00 a month.I know this does not sound like a lot, but for that context it is tremendous.This has enabled the church for the first time to give it’s pastor a small stipend.Another Church Sophia who when we first went was a plant with bible study and Sunday school has now flourished into a full operating church.Utvita Church has also seen growth and improvement.
In Jamaica we have extended the work of Christ in two communities, One is in Linstead which is outside of Kingston.With this church the need and goal was to impact their educational system and the close tie with the local church that was already established.When I visited the first time there were 1300 high school students sharing 15 computers with most not having any access to computers after school.Through you are partners in bringing in used laptops we were able to furnish 10 computers to Jamaica.4 to the McGraph High School to increase their computer lab, 4 to the Linstead Baptist Church to create a lab at the church so children could have a place to do their homework after school, one at a home where a family took in children from the street.I recently found out that one of the young people have completed their post high school courses and has now gone on to nursing school.We also helped enhance their churches technology by purchasing easy worship software for the church and providing training their church staff.
In Caccoon Castle Baptist Church the model of the food program that was established in Guyana was extended to this church.This church when I came was only taking in $30 a month with 15 members.In 9 months of the food program being established the church has grown to 45 members with.The pastors in Jamaica have multiple churches.This was the smaller of the 2 churches and in a more rural area.It is through the food distribution that families are receiving not just rice, flour, peas, dry milk, and tin mackerel; but bundled in that package they are receiving hope.The pastor expressed in my last trip that the people’s understanding of the care of God is different now.It is like manna coming from heaven each month to sustain their families, to give them a chance to make it.It is one thing to believe God cares, it is another when you experience it in a supper natural way.On my second of 3 trips to Jamaica Pastor Oniel told me how they would get 1 bag of rice periodically from food for the poor, but it was not guaranteed it would come every month.
They would often hold back some of the rice to make sure there was at least something to give out the next month.When the food program started.The deacon of the church was holding back some of the rice, and the pastor said we don’t have to do that any more.Tears are coming to my eyes already.God I thank you for blessing me beyond, as you are reading this you should just starting to thank God for every blessing not looking at what you don’t have but what you do have.It does not say what God has given them is insufficient but it does say that for some reason and I don’t know why he has given us more, I just got it, he has given us more so we can help those who have less, he is blessing you right now to be a blessing.Not always is the blessing for you, but sometimes that blessing God is giving you right now, at this moment is to get a blessing through you.
Go out today and be a blessing to someone, a complete stranger, a RAK (random act of kindness).Ok I am getting to my jabber point but there is a word here for you.When Jesus said “give and it shall be given unto you good measure pressed down shaken together and running over” it has very little to do with money, it can result in it but it is not the main focus.I know our prosperity generation has destroyed the essence of this scripture but when you read that whole chapter it is really dealing with the being kind to people, but not just anyone being kind to people who may not be kind to you or can not, will not provide recompense.
He says in this chapter evil people know how to be kind to people who are kind to them, but this giving is about being kind to people who are not kind to you, who are different then you, who may not be able to do anything back in return.So be nice to a Muslim today, be nice to a JW, be nice to someone who is not of your race, be nice to your boss (oooh that was a hard one), be nice to people that are evil to you.Philippians 4 says let your moderation (your kind ways, your gentleness) be know unto all men, the Lord is at hand, he is coming soon.
Ok there is your word that God has for you in this moment you now have to act on it, not because I said so, but it is what God is calling us to do.
Let’s get back to Jamaica.My last trip was just recently in August 2008.This was a 3 day journey which we purchased building supplies and help have them delivered to the Cacoon Castle Baptist Church.The one room church with a tin roof had a expansion progject that has taken already 30 years.With $30 a month you can’t move but so fast and this is normal in Jamaica for construction projects to take a long time.The exterior walls have built for a while and large plants now grow in the center of the roofless rooms.
We purchased $1500 of materials to move the project a little further along.As they the church completes the next phase our goal is to explore the possibility of doing more.Right now these funds will help deck the roof and help finish off one of the rooms.The goal is to have a place for the children to come during the day so that mothers can go to work.Pastor Oniel explained the high rate of single mothers in Jamaica that are often abandoned by their male companions and although there is a child support system in Jamaica no one could ever afford to fight for it.
In Aturu, Nigeria now this was my wife’s project, but I am excited to report that the food program has been going on since June and the families in the village are being fed.We are challenged with the high cost of food and we need some support to help this country so as you are reading this blog, pray about being a monthly partner towards this effort.We are feeding about 10 needy families or 40 people a month, but the limitation is due to the extremely high cost of food.
In Pradesh, India a project that is overseen by one of our board of directors Scott Rankin, we now have 290 children in our Hebron’s Children’s Home in which children now can escape the plague of child prostitution, working in rice patty fields for $30 US a year or being killed and sold for their body parts.This is real people; this is what Christianity is about changing lives and impacting people with the love, care and good news of Jesus.
Last but defiantly not least, PHILADELPHIA PA USA.My wife just calculated the other day that we are now providing over 80,000 meals a year.5 days a week to the homeless of Center City Philadelphia.We are also pleased to announce that we have opened up site 2 in West Philadelphia in the Upstairs of the Mill Creek Baptist Church.This project is brand new.We are feeding some homeless people, but what we are experiencing now is needy families are coming to eat who like people in countries around the world they are suffering from the world food crisis and the rising cost of food.
We also partnered with Helping Hand Rescue Mission & Sysco to distribute uncooked food to needy families on Friday’s at 12:00.People can just come to pick up food.My foster mother Theresa Jemison comes once a week to pick up food to make food boxes for needy families.She was sharing with me one week that a mother cried one evening and went to bed because she did not have anything to feed her children.My mom was at Chosen 300 picking up food and on the way home God placed this family on her spirit.She packed up a box and took some food to her and the women’s tears of sadden turned into teardrops of Joy.People are suffering, so many people that don’t have the basic necessity of food.My prayer right now is God will continue to use me as a instrument, that he would use you as vehicle to help Chosen 300 reach more people to relieve them from the hurt of hunger.I just feel God leading me to appeal to you in this moment right now to give.This is no gimmick, I am not going to tell you that that there is a special miracle that is coming in 7 days, but all I can give you is the word of God.“Blessed is he that considers the poor.”
Ok let me keep going…The last 2 months we have done some exciting projects that have had a tremendous impact on those we serve in Philadelphia.In addition to the new West Philadelphia site, we continue to have our first Tuesday learning lunches.Yesterday (I really don’t know what day of the week it is right now I been on a plane for close to 15 hours so ok it is yesterday) we had a class on how to weed through the obstacles of obtaining your ID & Birth Certificate; we had 60 people in the class.Adam who currently serves on the street has a great program that he provides checks to homeless people payable to Penn Dot to help them get a ID.He has a amazing system and so why should I re-invent the wheel.I brought him in, he taught the class, he wrote out his checks like he normally does and we reimbursed for all the checks he wrote that day.Now more people can have the ID s they need to seek gainful employment.
Last month we had a women’s day for homeless women, we brought in 18 hair stylist 120 women walked out of Chosen 300 with their heads held high.One of our volunteers Taira Bell brought a co-worker from the HR department of Johnson and Johnson and taught a class on job readiness, getting your resume together, how to conduct yourself on a interview, how to dress for success.This is what it is about helping people to move forward.You can give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but if you teach them to fish they can eat for a lifetime.What often happens though is that we think that since we taught one person we can stop.There is always someone else that is going to need our help.Jesus himself said the poor would always be among us.I don’t know why that is but I do believe that it is our role to help them.
We are still proceeding with our goal to continue the process of the 3-Tiered Transitional Center.The Capital Campaign right now is up to $160,000 and we have a long way to go but the second phase is to open a day and training center to increase services to move the homeless towards self-sufficiency.There 3rd phase is to create transitional housing units for the homeless.Now one thing is going to be different about this place.It will not be a warehouse for homeless people.It will be a place for transition.In order to stay there you will have 2 choices go to work or go to school.There will not be any TVs or recreational equipment there.It will be a place for people to move forward.I just want you to know we are moving ahead, but we still need your support.
Ok.I am now on my Journey to Johannesburg, South Africa in which we will be working along side of pastors from townships around that city to learn their context and to see if there is a opportunity to develop partnership.For right now all I can tell you is that my butt hurts from sitting in this seat for 16 hours so far.We have 1 hour 56 min to go.I will say this South African Air has the best airline food I ever tasted in my life.I was prepared for the worst,I brought some KFC on the plane with me.I am sure there will be some needy person outside the airport I can give it to.But that is always my motto expect the best prepare for the worst.
I can say that in everything that has happened in my life has been for a purpose.I look forward to you joining me throughout this journey.By the way remember the rule to reading my blogs, do not judge, do not condemn, and do not criticize.This is the raw me no fluff no making things sound nice,I call it like I see it.I also can’t spell worth a lick, and my grammar is horrible, but my goal is to get you to be able to travel with me and see through my eyes.
Oh I have a word before I sign out for now.I often hear people say why are we helping people around the world when there are needy people right here, Because God said so.But to put it scriptural in Acts 1:8 it says And you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon you and you shall be witnesses BOTH in Jerusalem, AND in Judea, AND in Samaria AND into the uttermost parts of the earth.”Many people for years have quoted this scripture with “then” instead of “BOTH” and “then” instead of AND.When you change it does say to help home first and then take care of everyone else if you have anything left.But that is not what the word says it says to do both.
Wed. Oct 8, 2008 1:55PM (7:55PM SA Time) We arrived at the airport in Johannesburg safely.I want to say that South African Air has the best food I ever tasted on any airline.I had got some KFC in New York but only needed one of them.I was hoping to take it back to the hotel with me, but upon my exit through customs there was this dog was sniffing on my bag and jumping up and down.Ok I knew I did not have any drugs, but then I realized he was aiming toward the chicken.The customs person made me give it up.Then she petted her dog and said good job.Basically was thank you for tracking down our dinner.
We were in the airport for a while, I saw Paul, Lott Carey’s mission partner from South Africa and then I walked up to another man and shook his hand and found out he was the Pastor that is hosting me.He said his church is somewhat Pentecostal; I can work with that.He did say though if you preach “A Long” you will Preach Alone.You will get in a second.His church is about 9 hours from Johannesburg.We have a couple days before we leave.We have some process groups and instruction before we go and then I fly out to his region, which is in the southern part of South Africa.So I have another flight to go for hour and a half.I just checked to make sure it was not one of those planes where they ask you your weight; sorry I have faith but Lord help my unbelief.
On Sunday I will be preaching 2 services and then Monday through the next Sunday 1 service a night plus a class at the seminary.I hope I have a voice when I get back.
I remembered from our Jamaica Trip in Oct 2007 with Lott Carey they asked us for feed back and I told them that we could have more preaching opportunities.I guess they tried to be funny, but I came ready to work and ready to serve.
I also had a few of the US pastors interested in the Guyana project.I think a lot of them wanted to get through this project first and then start investing back in the countries they invested in.
We are on a bus now headed for the hotel.Everyone pray for Shandai and the staff as they work hard to make things work in Philadelphia while I am away.
Friday Oct 10, 2008 1:00AM (7:00 AM SATime) Greetings everyone.I did not have a lot of time to right yesterday.We have were in classes all day long preparing us for the South African Emersion.Tomorrow I will fly out to Port Elizabeth South Africa to work with my host pastor.
Wed. Night we arrived at the lodge about 8:00 PM and had dinner.As we pulled up the dirt road inside the compound of the garage I saw the grass like decorative roof tops and I began to brace myself for the worse.The director of the Lott Carey project said ok when you get off the bus you will go register at the front desk and then go to your tents.I knew she was playing but it still wasn’t funny.The food was outstanding here and when we arrived to our rooms they were great and the hospitality is wonderful here.Don’t get me wrong it is not the Hilton or anything but it is far beyond what I prepared myself for.
The highlight of my day yesterday was during the didactic the African pastors began to sing, “For Thine Is the Kingdom” One of the female pastors led it and then the men echoed her.I closed my eyes and I could feel the spirit of God out of the heart and soul out of the land of Africa.I just can’t explain it in words.
We took a break for tea (they do that here), and when returned they were singing again but they had more time.I could not help but to worship him.I was engulfed in tears and I found myself bowing down before the Lord on the floor and worshiping him.I have been struggling with stuff in my own life and challenges and at the moment I was healed.I have not been sick physically, but one thing you must know that Pastors are human and we have trials and troubles just like everyone else.
One of the benefits of being here with other pastors you see that everyone struggles with something and it helps me realize that it is ok that I am human.Thank God for his loving kindness and his tender mercies.
I was a little challenged with the subject matter.This is a black convention.Ok you know how I feel about the black church stuff and maybe I am extreme in conviction, but I just believe that the kingdom is bigger then just “us”.I will applaud the convention though for the work it does in the area of missions, and I will say that is what is attractive.It gives me the opportunity to explore potential partnerships around the world and for that I am grateful.A friend of mine told me that even a broken clock is right twice a day – LOL
Anyway I did not realize the impact I have had on some people here.Ron one of the pastors came to me yesterday and informed me that “I inspired him” he went on to explain that his church decided to expand his homeless ministry and purchase a property to have a indoor feeding program for the homeless.I also have been working with others sharing how our ministry works and ideas for effective models with helping the poor.I am also learning too, but I am excited about the week ahead.Yall pray for me.I have 10 sermons to preach in 8 days.Ok some are coming out the file.
Anyway I have to run now.Hope to share again today.By the way Internet access is limited here so I am not sure how much I am going to be able to load up.
Mon. Oct 13, 2008 11:20AM (4:20PM SA Time) Ok I have written since then however with no internet access was not able to load and had a computer glitch and lost everything I wrote since I left Johannesburg.I guess I will start where we left off.For the first couple of days we had classes at the Lodge.We were kind of sheltered for the first few days and matter a fact they warned us not to leave the compound, so I thought it was a good idea to listen.We had several didactics classes on the context and what to expect,they also had some stuff on the black church, but since I don’t believe there is one.The convention does some great work in the area of missions and exposing us as pastors to other context for partnership opportunities, but I am don’t care for the Afro-centered position many of its leaders take.I don’t believe that the executive secretary takes this position.I admit I voice my position, because I don’t ever want anyone to think I agree with that crap.The church of Jesus Christ is a kingdom made up of everyone that believes on him.Ok that is my venting moment.What I was amazed about, it was the African Pastors that supported me on the issue more than the US pastors.Some of the US pastors supported me but others gave me flack.I really don’t care.The Love of Christ ought to go beyond race.
We left Friday afternoon for our flight to Pt Elizabeth South Africa.We are being stretched across several regions of South Africa, there are 50 of us here.Apparently I have something called the favor of God as I am stationed in what is called Eastern Cape which is the lower end of South Africa near the beach.To bad it is real cold here, They are entering spring so the weather is pretty much what it is at home.Real cold in the evenings and the mornings.At least I don’t have to sweat myself to death like I was in Guyana and Jamaica.
Our driver was late picking us up to go to the airport and we got stuck in jammed traffic.We got to the airport 30 min before our flight and was still able to make it in time.It was just a 2 hour flight, but I was knocked out the whole way.When we arrived in Pt Elizabeth some of the other host pastors greeted us there so we could go to our separate assignments.JT and I went with my host pastor to where we were staying.Ok they said we were staying in houses and I just was not sure what to expect.The key was brace yourself for the absolute worse so whatever you wind up with will be better.My image is a wooden shack with no hot water and one room that they sacrificed for me because I was their guest.
As we traveled the host pastor DM mentioned we were staying in the best Bed & Breakfast in Pt Elizabeth, ok being that I don’t stay in BNBs in the US that did not help me but at least I knew they probably had a room and food.
As we pulled up to the BNB I began to whimper with fake tears ofjoy as I looked at JT the other US pastor with me.The pastors wife asked is it ok, do you like where you were staying.I replied to her with joy, this is wonderful.God has spared me again.I cant tell you everything that was in the room because then you think I was on Vacation so we will just leave it that it was nice.I believe the pastors here are helped in someway by Lott Carey for hosting us.But they are not required to put us in a place as nice as this but I am defiantly not complaining.
Up to this point of my journey, I was a little disappointed that we stayed so sheltered.The next morning JT and I journeyed out to check out the landscape and get a morning walk in.I did not see a need anywhere yet because the area we were staying in was like being in a suburb of Miami with a large mall, department stores and I also saw a Woolworth, for those who never heard of it was a department store in the US years ago.I was still at a state of disappointment, but then I had to refocus my mind.I realize the other pastors had to stay in some rough spots in the townships,but maybe this is a way of God giving me a break.Ministry has been overwhelming in Philadelphia and I had been constantly running and I did need a chance to breath.Before yesterday I had not yet got into my assignment.
On Saturday, we went back to the mall to get some needed items.JT’s host pastor and his wife picked us up in the afternoon to go and meet the other US and African Pastors to go to a elephant camp.On the way I began to see the poverty as we drove along.Although South Africa is the most developed of the 3 countries we have been newly exposed to, it has its struggles.Wages here are low, people make about $300 us a month on a 40 hours week which is about $2.00 a hour.The economy is different; you can buy stuff for so cheep here.The only thing that is consistent with our economy is the gas prices.But even still there are people suffering.I would not say I am happy to finally see it, but at least I know there is a potential to help someone here.
We stopped at a Zionist Church that was having a conference later that evening and they were getting the animals ready for the feast.They had just killed a goat and were gutting it when we arrived.JT had the nerve to pick that thing up by it’s legs to take a picture.I was not touching that thing.They had a pot sitting on the fire in the middle of the exitement and then they brought a lamb tied on a rope.They tackeled the lamb to the ground stabilized it and then a man pulled out a long knife and cut its throat as blood shot out from it’s neck and the lamb took its last breath.It is the first time I seen a animal killed right in front of me. That was gross.
The Zionist are referred to as the indigenous people, the poorest of South Africa.The church bishop is a blind man, and one of our host pastors mentioned they often don’t have a lot of education but they share God’s word the best way they know how.There were several children around and JT gave the pastor 100 rand (about $11.00) to buy the kids some sweets.This was suggested by the host pastor since we pretty much invaded their space to get some pictures.
We continued our journey to pick up LB & KZ other US pastors and then we traveled in 2 cars to the elephant camp.When I saw where KZ had to stay I just thanked God.Now I would have been willing to tough it out, but hey who am I to argue.
We at a the restaurant at the camp, I had Kudo which is in the deer family,I had some interesting stuff this week.By the way I had steak today and a full meal for $8 US.Now that is amazing.Cant barely get a cheese steak for $8 with a drink.Anyway JT asked the waiter what the catch of the day was.I told him what ever was killed on the road this morning.LOL
After lunch we journey through the vast safari and seen several animals including the elephants.KZ looked at his phone for a signal and it said SOS.He said I guess that means no signal.I told him no it means if you get stuck out here you are SOL.I am not interpreting it for you.
After the Safari we headed back to the designated places.I will say I was real impressed with JT’s host pastor and his wife.They are a young couple whom God has given the task of planting churches.As one church is planted and it grows to where it can be stable they leave and plant another one.They talked about their son who is 4 years old that stays with their parents, till they complete school and get more stabilized.He pointed out it is for the cause of doing the work of God.I take my hat off to them.
Anyway the next Morning was Sunday and I could get started.When I arrived to the area where my church was I was even more thankful that they put me at the inn.The shacks surrounded the church was as I imagined my worst place I could possibly stay.The people of the congregation come both from these homes as well as the surrounding townships.
The worship was amazing,I could not understand much they said, but I knew the presence of God was in that place.It was like the other day at the Lodge when the worship seemed to come out of the land of Africa.After sharing the gospel over 22 people either gave their lives to the Lord the first time or rededicated their lives to the Lord.We then went to the home of one of the members to have dinner.He was one of the more together members of the congregation.Pastor DM mentioned that the people of the congregation will often have diner afterwards and invite those who don’t have over to eat.Now he did mention that it was so many people at the one house because I was there as their guest.It was if the village had come together to make sure I was taken care of.
Pastor DM & I had some good conversation, around 4:00 which was 10:00 AM Philadelphia time I called into the church in Philadelphia to open up worship.I had DM lead the morning prayer with the church and afterwards the portion of congregation that was there circled around and sang to the people in Philadelphia.They were touched that they could share their voices across the globe.I have to learn this one song before I go.
Oh before I go please pray for my brother Byron, our sister Rene went home to be with the Lord.He has been on my heart for these last few days.Byron if you are reading this, I can only continue to encourage you to Rejoice in the Lord Always and I again I say rejoice.It will be alright and I am going to get home as soon as I can.
We left to go back to the evening service.I was tired and I was sitting up the front as if I was praying during the initial prayer time.I was really ina sleep mode.But then they began to sing and I got a little strength.After preaching there was a outpouring of the holy spirit and people went out under the anointing of the Holy Ghost and they were being filled.7 more people came to Jesus.We closed out the service about 7:30 or so and there were two young ladies caught up in holy laughter as the spirit of God was saturating them.They had to stay on the floor for a half hour after everyone was gone.I asked one of them were they driving and she said no.I told her that was good because she should not drive drunk (in the spirit).
I headed back to the Inn for some needed shut eye.I had been up since 1:00 AM, my body is still not adjusted and it is hard to get to sleep at night.I talked to Shandai for a moment and attempted to begin to upload my pictures when I collapsed on the bed with my laptop next to me.
Today was a light day.I took a long walk,went to the mall and then to get some lunch.I came back to the Inn to change and I am sitting here waiting for the pastor who has been late every time he picked me up.
Tues Oct 14, 2008 1:20AM (7:20 AM SA Time) Well all I can say is Wow about my experience yesterday.I want to back up a little and then we will get to that.Yesterday the pastor took me to see a property that is going to be leased to them for 50 years (wow what a lease) for 200 Rand a month which is about $22 dollars,but the property is in much needed repair.The goal was to have some kind of administrative office there.I told him to express his needs to me and I know I won’t be able everything he presents to us but we will do something to partner with him.
Yesterday we bought monitors for the stage.I told him I would buy one, but he got 2 so I just went ahead and told him I would pay for the both of them, they were not as much as I thought they would be.I admit this purchase was a little self fulfilling.Sunday morning I almost blew my throat out and I figured there was no way possible I would make it through the week.
One other thing I saw yesterday that challenged me.I came with the idea that I was going to harden myself and we were not going to add another country at this time because we were stretching ourselves to thin.But as we were driving to the church I saw a child about the age of David & Jonathan walking through the trash, picking up things as he went.It was bad enough that he was in the trash at all.As he began to pick up things I asked the pastor what he was looking for and he said he did not know.I continued to watch,I figured maybe he was just looking for some toy to play with or something that was once someone else trash but could become his treasure.He then reached down to pick up a bottle that someone had threw in the trash heap.He looked inside and then lifted to his mouth and drank the small amount that was left that sat at the bottom.It seemed this small amount was satisfied.I could kick myself in the butt.I should have had the pastor stop to give him something.I talked to him about doing a feeding in the community around his church on Sat.We are going to have food bought this week and then put the congregation to work.We will feed the community right on the outside of the church just like we do on the parkway in Philadelphia.I am looking forward to it.
The pastor was a little late ok a lot late yesterday.In the US we have CP time (colored peoples time) in the Africa they have SAT -South African Time.It is when they have their guest SAT on their butt and wait for them till they get there.He was supposed to pick me up at 4:30 he got their at 6:00 PM.We got to the church late but they had already begun worship and as I pulled up I heard one of my favorite songs.Ok I cant tell you the name of it or the words to the song because I don’t know the language, but I just like how it sounds.It is kind of like listing to rap you just bob to the beat and you have no clue what they are saying,even some of church choirs in the US sounds like they are singing in tongs when they sing.LOL
Anyway, I jumped out the car in excitement and ran to the front to join in.They sang till about 7:30 PM and then the pastor welcomed me to the stage to share the gospel.When I got up to speak I heard someone laughing in the back.I have to go back to Sunday night so you can understand what is going on.I mentioned to you yesterday about the move of God that happened on Sunday how the holy spirit came in and filled the people and the peace and presence of God fell on them.
After the service was over there were three young ladies on stage just being saturated with the holy spirit and they continued to laugh and roll all over the floor.They were in a state of Holy Ghost drunkenness.Well one of these young ladies had been at the church since about 4:00 PM on Monday still laughing,She laughed through the entire prayer time.She was supposed to get up and help with praise and worship and I was wondering why I did not see her up there.She was the one of the people who greeted us at the airport cannot remember her name to save my life nor could I pronounce it.Anyway when I got up to speak she just kept on laughing.So I just told everyone to just praise the Lord for one moment with her and hoped it would just quiet down for a moment so I could get into the message.
Well Sunday night I preached on the Peace Of God and the presence of the holy spirit coming after the wrath of God but we did not have to bear his wrath because Christ took it for us, and all we have to do is to receive the holy spirit.Last night we dealt with having peace of mind or at least I tried to but never got to that point.The spirit of God began to speak through me and I mentioned that the young lady that is laughing is just caught in the spirit.I continued that many people talk about how they “caught the holy spirit”but in reality the holy spirit is like the wind it goes where it pleases, what actually happens is the holy spirit catches us.I asked them how many people what to get caught tonight,and they all shouted with agreement.I had them repeat it“I want to get caught”I did not realize till later what the holy spirit was doing.
In Guyana I preached the longest sermon I ever preached, here I preached about the shortest one.I gave my brief introduction and read one word of the text from Philippians 4:4Rejoice.I began to explain that this was a command to allow the joy of God to flow from us and bring forth sounds of joy.I brought in the Psalm as a sub point “I will blessed the Lord at all times and his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”I brought one illustration in that by you rejoicing in the midst of your circumstances it will spread to someone else who is “humbled” by their own circumstances and it will cause them to be glad and rejoice also.
I took the hand of one of one of the worship leaders and told her to just rejoice.And she began to jump and leap and laugh and then she fell on the floor and just kept laughing.The girl that was sitting next to her began to smile and I explained that the result of the first girl rejoicing caused someone around her to hear her rejoicing and be glad and caused them to rejoice themselves and I grabbed her by the hand and said rejoice.After this it was all over it spread across the stage and then the congregation began to laugh in the joy of the Lord.In 20 years of ministry I never seen anything like this before,I did not even get to the big stuff yet.I heard people laugh in the sprit before but never to this capacity.I tried to restart my sermon but then I heard God speak to me to stay right there and let me move.So I sat down and took a couple pictures (I know a little unconventional).This went on for about 20 min and I realized I am not going any further in this message.I invited people to come to the alter and receive the joy of the Lord they lifted up their hands and I just continued to tell them to rejoice and the Presence of God filled the room and they received the holy ghost.They began to laugh and rejoice.I went and began to lay hands on them and the presence of God began to fall on all of them and more of them began to laugh and then the holy spirit led me to back the adults up and bring the children there were children as young as 2 years old and I began to lay hands on them and the presence of God fell on them and they fell out as well under the anointing I saw some children that were about 5-7 years old on the floor laughing.The laughing continued for about a hour and we had to just let worship somewhat end but it never did.People continued to laugh and roll on the floor and the presence of the Holy Ghost Continued to saturate them.I think the pastor had to drop someone off and he was gone for about 5 min as I talked to some of the people in the church that were still sober.The young lady that was running the sound was amazed about what had happened and she said “please bring more tomorrow.”She continued by saying I want to experience that too.I asked her did she want to experience it now and she said “No tomorrow”So I said how about now and I told her to lift her hands and she did.I laid hands on her and told her to receive the joy of the Lord and she began to laugh, and laugh and laugh and fell o the floor and continued to ball up and roll around and laugh.
This is the funny part, well I guess you could say it was all funny.The pastor’s wife had a real weird look on her face and I asked her what was wrong, she said “she was scared”she continued she never saw anything like this where people just laughed like that, she was not sure if something was wrong.I asked her did she laugh when she was happy about something,now just imagine the magnitude of laughter when the joy of the Lord comes upon you.I asked her did she want to experience it? She said “No” and walked away from me to the other side of the church as far as she could from me and sat in a chair.She sat for a while looking around and so I looked at her again, and I said do you want to experience this.She said No again,I told her to come here and she reluctantly out of much uncertainty of what was this was happening to people in her church.I told her to lift her hands and I laid hands on her and told her to receive the Joy of the Lord, and the presence of God fell on her and she began to laugh, and laugh and laugh and she and others had to be carried out of the church and put in the back of cars so they could get home.
It was like people when they were getting arrested after a protest and they are taken to police cars with their feet dragging or being carried by 3 people and they continued to just laugh and laugh.The pastor’s wife laughed and was drunken in the spirit.I think we are going to need some designated drivers for this revival.
One of the young ladies who had been laughing it was a real miracle to her.She mentioned to me that she had been on pills for depression, she called her Dr. the next day and told him she does not need the pills anymore,she had been healed by the joy of God.
10 more people came to Jesus tonight so including people coming to Jesus and people rededicating their lives the Lord has drawn 22 Sunday Morning, 7 Sunday Night and 10 last night for 39 people and we still have several days to go.I am looking for a continue move of God.I have a feeling that Friday night we wont be going home.Well I am up getting a little bite to eat, the pastor was to be here at 8:00 but of course he is late like normal.
Thurs. Oct. 16, 2008 9:30PM (3:30AM SA Time) I know it has been a day since I wrote, but I been running around a bit and there is no internet access so I am kind of jacked up anyway.But one good think it has caused me to keep Philadelphia off of my mind and take a breath, ok not completely but it would be a lot worse if I had access.
Well let me go back a few days and catch up.On Tuesday morning we drove out about 30-40 miles to meet the other US pastors and African Partners for our process group, upon our arrival we were just glad to see each other,we have been pretty much by our selves for the last few days, each at our own assignments.JT who was with me one day, moved out of the bed and breakfast and was relocated, and then was relocated again because of security concerns.I have no security concerns; things are pretty nice over here where I am staying at night, but during the day the place where the church is pretty rough.
The South African group leader asked me to give the morning devotional message.I felt honored because there was a lot more educated and decorated pastors there that he could have chosen, but here I was able to share the morning devotional message to the approx 20 pastors that were there.
Afterwards we broke up in our groups.I heard some of the tough spots the other US pastors were staying.One pastors said he was humbled that he had to go outside to the bathroom and he had to wash up in a bucket.I told him well I was humbled by where I was staying because I had much luxury surrounded by poverty, he suggested that we should trade,I told him what God has for me it is for me.We don’t choose our places but they are assigned to us, but I thank God I am assigned where I am.
I also shared my experience at the churches.There is something special about being here in Africa, one of the US pastors said he just wants to bottle some dirt and take it home,I think I am going to do the same.
After this we headed back to our host homes to prepare for evening worship.God’s spirit continued to move.When I got up to speak the spirit of God was so high I was not sure whether I should preach or not.I kind of felt uncomfortable not preaching 2 nights in a row.The night before they only got 10 min of a sermon.I just did not want to rob the people but looking back it would have been all right that I did not speak but either way people were blessed and the anointing of God did fall on them.
Yesterday (Wed) morning we went to the hospital to pray for those who were at the rehab.Faith who was one of the members of the church also worked at the hospital co-coordinated us to come.By the way she is one of the ones who had a laughter issue and she said she found herself laughing at people on the phone while she was at work.Anyway, the patients there were under rehabilitation for accidents, stroke or some other tragedy.Faith & LeAnn (one of the other staff members) mentioned that a lot of the patients struggle with sadness due to their condition and need a visit to be uplifted.We made our rounds to the different persons, some were white and others were black, but it was the one place this week beside the mall where everyone was together.
The highlight of my visit was when I reached a young lady named Tonya, she just was in a car accident.She looked she was only about 20 years old or so.You could tell she was pretty athletic, but the car accident paralyzed her from the waste down,but God was able to give me a word for her,If you are reading this Tonya, I will repeat my words to you because I know God brought them through my lips for you.There is so much potential for you.While we talked her smile radiated the room and I walked out of there feeling great, I don’t know who got more out of the visit her or me.Everyone who is reading lift Tonya up in prayer and let’s continue to believe God for a miracle in her legs.I want to see her play some basketball.
A few others gave their lives to Jesus and many were encouraged.I kept the conversation open between Pastor DM and LeAnn about making opportunities for the pastors to come in once per month and pray for people and as the chapel gets build even the church worship team could come and lead worship.
We invited LeAnn to come to church but she may have had something to do.Worship last night was great.It is funny now I am getting tired and it is almost time for me to wake up.This is Shandai’s fault everyone.She decided to call me and wake me up at 1:00 Am.But once I am up I am wide-awake because my body is still way off.
Mon., Oct. 20, 2008 5:40AM (11:40AM SA Time) I am at the South African airport waiting to go home, I have not wrote in a few days so I want to catch up.Before I do I want to share how I feel at this moment.It feels like I am leaving home.Being here in Africa was amazing,it does not take away the wonderful experiences I had in Guyana and Jamaica but there was something special about being here in the land of my ancestors, well at least half of them (I am a Oreo) .In this moment the Psalm comes to me “As the dear panteth for the water so my heart longeth after thee.”As the people sung as they express their worship, as they lifted up God,I found a love here that I have not experienced anywhere else,I am not here to say one trip was better than the other, but this was a experience that could never could be duplicated.I can’t find the words of how I feel at this moment.
I don’t really know how to go in order with this chronologically so let me just share with you as I work my way back.
I am leaving a day late from Pt Elizabeth because I wanted to get back home before Rene’s funeral.I tried to leave out yesterday, but there was no more flights that could connect me to the NY flight from Johannesburgh.I am going to get back a day late, but at least I will have a chance to visit with Byron, see Shandai and the boys.Happy Birthday David & Jonathan,I cant believe it has been 5 years since we had you.Their birthday is today,I am going to miss it, but we have a big party ready for Sat for them.
As I arrived at the church yesterday, it felt weird that it was the last day.I had been sick with the Flu the last few days but I pushed my way through.On Friday night I told the pastor that you are going to only get 15 min out of me.I was coughing, sneezing and had a high fever.Well I got up to preach, it felt like I was Rocky going into the ring, my head down at one moment, if I was catholic I would have done the chest cross thing,but I just shook my fists and leaped from my seat when it was time to preach at that moment I felt God give me the strength I needed.When I was finished the pastor told me “I thought you were only going to speak 15 min?I told him I did and then God kept going.
Oh before I forget there were about 75 people who gave their lives to Jesus this week.I am humbled that God still uses someone like me in all that I am not he still sees something in me.I know people look at me and pat me on the back but I know myself better than everyone, and I know I am wonderful through Christ but of myself I am nothing and my works are as dung in and of myself but through Christ they impact people for change.I had gotten big headed for a moment and started to say what I accomplished, but it is none of me and all of him and I just want to thank God for him using me as a vessel.
Let me jump back a couple days.On Thursday I was at the beginning of my Flu,Larry Branch who is the pastor of one of the Churches that support our Guyana mission effort did not have a preaching assignment on Thursday night.Shortly after the service started he walked in.That night I was at about 60%, but as he walked in my spirit was charged and he gave me the extra boost I needed.Thank you so much Larry.I mentioned in our sessions that the guys I came here to serve with particularly in Group six, we have formed a special bond, I mentioned to Larry that I did not realize how strong our relationship was until he walked in that night.It was not a surprise that he came it is just how it made me feel that he was there.
Another thing comes to my mind so I want to switch.Not even sure if I mentioned this before, but earlier in the week their was a little boy who was in the lot next to the church that walking through the rubbish (what we call trash, I am starting to talk like them).I watched to see what he was going to do.He scuffed around for a while and I asked the pastor what was he looking for?I assumed he was looking for a toy to play with or put something together to have some fun.I saw some kids earlier kicking a home made ball made out of a plastic back and something inside.It was pretty durable I must say.I continued to watch and then the boy moved some things over with his feet.I saw him reach down and he picked up a juice bottle that had a small amount of juice in the bottle.Kind of like you through a bottle away and it is that little bit that is left even though you turned the bottle completely up.He lifted up the bottle to his mouth and drank.He seemed so satisfied that he had found something, but my heart was whelped with sadness, as my tears coming just from remembering that moment.A child drinking out of a bottle from a trash heap.
When I came here I came determined that we are not going to start something in another country, we do enough, this is where my mind was, but I cant turn my head to this, these people need our help.I realized I am stretched pretty thin, and we may not be able to do everything but we can do something.
After seeing the boy go through the trash, I mentioned to the pastor that I would be happy to fund a feeding program that Saturday, well it was two fold it gave the chance to not do a preaching assignment on Sat.When we arrived to the church on Sat.There were children already there.
I then began to go around the neighborhood with one of the ladies from the church.Our first stop was the trash heap.And as I expected there were 3 children there going through the trash looking for something to eat.Most of the children we encountered did not understand English,so I gave it my best shot, as I pointed my finger to my mouth and said “food”,had a imaginary fork in my hand and said “Eat” and pointed to the church and said “At Church.”They got it because they went running.We walked through the small dirt ally ways through the wooden and tin shacks petitioning the children to come.One little boy he was so cute, he was about 2 years old as he tried to run and keep up with the others.He kept dropping his hat.We went through several allies and to see how people live,I cannot begin but to thank God for what he has done in my life, we should always be thankful but not just thank God, we should share what we have.
The children lined up for food,I see hunger all the time with our mission project in Philadelphia,but as in Jamaica it is so different when Children are in line.I think the difference with a child is that they have no choice no option, and not a chance to do anything to change their situation.Even the adults have struggles of their context and environment,but I guess you know what I mean.When I returned with the children I had gathered up from the community, the children that were there were sitting on the ground eating their food.The smiles that were on there faces moved me, I took some pictures and they held their forks up in victory that they had a full meal.
I then went back to the BNB to rest, I had been sleeping all day on Sat except for the 2 hours I was at the church, but I need the rest and drugs.I had picked up some Advil cold and flew to try to kick it,but I am still congested as I write this.
Yesterday (Sunday) at church was very emotional day for me.I said I was not going to cry,I said I was not going to get attached,there is a lot of things I said I was not going to do,I tried to be hard, but I guess with God’s spirit in my life it is impossible to do so.I can not understand a Christianity that sees a need and does not get moved with compassion.Jesus when he saw the needs of people he was moved with compassion but he just did not feel compassion but he was compassionate and reached out to help.I take no glory of myself or credit,God gets all the Glory because it is him working through me that my heart reaches out.
I was fine at the beginning of service on Sunday, but my heart kept reminding me this was the last day.They then called me to the front and they brought my wife and I gifts,For Shandai they had a outfit with a skirt, a top, a wrap, hat with matching pocketbook that was hand made.One of the girls from the church came to the front so the could demonstrate how to put it on as one of the guys videoed with the camera.They also had a matching shirt and pants for me that went with her outfit, and another shirt as well as key chains of the South African Flag that was hand made as well.
I now was no more good.I bent down to try to hide my tears and when I came up my face was a mess.I treasured my moment here.I spoke that day on “something that will never leave” and I spoke on the love of God.
As they left out of the church that day, each person hugged me and I embraced them back.Some were leaving with tears as if their brother was leaving that had been with them a long time.I have seen them laugh,I have seen them rejoice, I have laid hands on all of them and our hearts were joined.
I have a love in Africa I will never forget, my heart will always remember her, her landscape, her kindness, her people, her songs, her laughter, her valleys and her mountains, her trees and her forest.Although she is trapped in her situation and lack of resource to stand solely on her own.Although not trapped by law, but trapped by lack, she is yet wonderful and beautiful and always be in my heart.
One young man said to me as I was leaving the church, he held my hand tight looked in my eyes and told me that they would send the prayers of Africa for me and my people in the US.It meant a lot.Out of Africa I have found not what I thought I would, but more than I could have ever imagine.
There is a song they sang through out the week.If I believe, and you believe, and we together pray; the Holy Spirit must come down; then Africa will be saved.Let us all pray for the salvation of Africa, not just for a salvation that is spiritual, but salvation from poverty and struggle.
Tues., Oct. 21, 2008 8:00 PM USA Eastern Time I am finally back home, at least my body is.It was so good to see Shandai and the boys again, but let me back up some.I took out the flight on Monday Afternoon 12:35 pm African time out of Pt Elizabeth and arrived in Johannesburg about 1PM.I had about 5 hours to be at the airport before my next flight.I went into a music store because I wanted to find a good recording of my favorite song “Uphakeme” The guy at the store wanted to have me listen to other songs but it was not the same.The words of the song say the Name Of The Lord Be Praised, but I mentioned earlier this song brought me to my knees in tears.
After about an hour of searching he found the song.He asked me to listen to it to make sure it was what I wanted.I began to listen and the tears rolled down my face with my eyes shut.I know the guy in the store did not understand as much.He just agreed that it was a powerful song.
On my way home I met several pastors that were not part of our group, and there was one young pastor who name was Shun.I was actually not sitting next to him originally, but I had a very nice bucket seat till some lady came with her crying baby.I could just not hang on an 18-hour flight hearing a baby yell.I moved my seat and I believe that God place me there for a reason.He is 28 years old and he was in South Africa with a team to help plant churches.But there was something so peaceful about his spirit.You know how you encounter someone and you know the love of Christ is on their life.That was him.
Now there was also a guy who sat in the window seat next to me,I had fell into a deep sleep and they said he tried to wake me up when he needed to go to the bathroom but I guess when I didn’t he decided to climb over me.I had to look on his hand to make sure he was married.Sorry he climbed over my legs and I woke up then.
I arrived in NY at 7:10 AM USA Eastern Time on 10/21.It took 25 hours to get to New York, and then I caught a cab to Penn Center Station to catch a train.I fell asleep on the train and almost missed my stop but there was a lady that over heard me say I was getting off a Philadelphia and woke me up in time.
I told my wife to take me right to the Doctor, because I caught this bug in Africa that was hurting me all around.My chest and back was hurting on the plane so much.I just said Lord don’t let me go out like this.
Afterwards we went to pick up the boys from school.They did not know I was coming home early and they were just so exited.We then headed out to my brother Byron’s house.His Sister Rene (don’t try to dissect this) but she is my sister too went home to be with the Lord.When I finally saw him we embraced and held each other as we walked to the kitchen.I will say that my brother is about the only person in this world next to Christ, my wife and children that I would lay down my life for.I did not make the funeral and I held off my own sadness for him because he needed a shoulder to lean on.I shed my tears in the car but they were mixed with so much,the beauty of Africa I have come to love, the suffering of the children, the worship that the people brought forth and my sister Rene going home to be with the Lord.
When we arrived home, we began to pull out the outfits the church presented to me for my wife and I.I put on my CD and we looked at pictures and my tears continued to flow.Shandai did not know I was Crying at one point and she started talking about something from the work in Philadelphia.I told her earlier I really can’t process anything here right now.But even when she tried again she figured out it would not work talking to me.
I know I am at home but I don’t know when this blog will end.As my emotions continued to fly over the next few days I will share my thoughts with you.
Wed. Oct. 22, 2008 9:00 AM EST Everyone is gone out the house.Shandai took the boys to school and then is heading into the office.I figured I take a day off today.I am sitting at the kitchen table listening to my CD from Africa, no matter how much I try to hold back my tears they continue to come.Africa has impacted me in a amazing way, she has embraced me, and captured my heart.As we work in the months ahead to establish programming for South Africa we pray for the resources we need will come to help the people.