As we wrap up this year, I am so grateful for everything the Lord has done in me and through me. It has been a full year of sharing the Word of God and I am truly honored that God would use me in this way.
In 2013 I had the privilege to share the Word of God in many churches and communities including:
- Godet, Haiti;
- Entebbe, Tororo, Mbale, and other villages in Uganda;
- Nairobi and other villages in Kenya; and
- Narus and the surrounding area in South Sudan.
As you know, I also had to miss a big opportunity to preach the Gospel in the Middle East earlier in the year due to security issues that led to visa closures for foreigners. I am already working on plans to get into that country later in 2014. Of course, for security reasons, I cannot name the specific place in this email.
TOUCHING THE WORLD WITH THE WORD
I really do not take it lightly that I get to do the work I do. I am often overwhelmed by the fact the God would use me to touch people’s lives with the message of salvation and hope found in Christ Jesus.
One of my favorite stories from 2013 was at the Youth Ablaze conference back in August as the group took a day to hike up a hill overlooking the town of Mbale and where we spent the morning sharing from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Each of the guest speakers shared a different section of the passage while standing on a rock overlooking the crowd of people just as Jesus Himself may have done on that day so many years ago.
After the morning messages, the big group of around 1000 youths aged 13-29, scattered across the hillside to spend some alone time in their Bible and in prayer. During this time a young girl who had been so moved by hearing the messages approached one of the speakers for specific prayer.
Although this young girl claimed faith in Christ, and I have no reason to doubt her, she was still dealing with some very intense spiritual warfare internally. As this other speaker and I probed deep into the life of this 13-year-old girl we learned that she had been kidnapped by the so-called Lord’s Resistance Army — Joseph Kony’s rebels — was raped repeatedly, and was intended as a child bride for one of the lead soldiers.
One night she miraculously escaped her captors and returned to her family. She was now in a Christian school and pursuing a normal life, but could not escape the condemnation, guilt, and shame of her experience.
As we began ministering to this girl, her pain and junk began to boil over, and a demonic presence began to manifest. As she rolled around on the ground over jagged rocks, the other speaker and I prayed for deliverance. As she was set free through prayer, we were then able to minister the Word of God to her, speaking the truth of God’s love to her. Jesus set this girl free, and she left that hilltop knowing that she is beautiful, loved, and forgiven, and that as Romans 8:1 says, “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I am looking forward to the coming year with excitement and anticipation to see many more people just like this young girl come to know the greatest love of all as I continue my mission to share the Word of God.
On a more personal note, I have wrapped up 2013 in the book of Ephesians I have spent the last month or so reading and meditating there daily and it has been a major encouragement to me.
The major theme of Ephesians is that we have been adopted by God and in Christ have been given a new identity that we get to walk in. It changes our attitudes toward sin and others, and leads us into a righteous life led by the Spirit of God until the day comes when we find full perfection at His coming.
I had the opportunity to preach from Ephesians 1:1-14 on this very issue in my home church, Redemption Churchof Odessa Texas, on the final Sunday of 2014. I will be carrying the same message back to Uganda in late January as we I make an administrative trip there with HG Africa Executive Director Denise Matthews and HGIM President Jan Ross.
Let me close out 2013 by encouraging you with this. The Word of God changes lives. It is a missionary message intended to be preached all over the world, and that is what HGIM wants to be a part of. But the Word of God is also a personal love letter written to you. Make it a daily part of the new year and I promise it will change your life, too.
(Christmas and New Year’s Wishes from Our Kids in Haiti)
- Please be in prayer for the many administrative and leadership trips planned for 2014. God is expanding and directing greater things in many of HGIM’s ministry areas.
- Please pray for every missionary team forming for the new year, or even pray about joining one of these teams yourself.
- Pray for my personal fundraising as I continue to pursue getting this year fully funded quickly.
- Please pray for God’s clarity in all things as we enter the new year.