Posted by Brian on Apr 06 2011 | 1 Comment »
As Americans we are used to the idea of freedom of movement. What I mean is that we are used to the idea of going wherever we want to go, whenever we want to do it. It’s not that way in the majority of the world.
Last Monday we traveled to Dajabon to do training with the Haitian church leaders with whom we work. We’ve done this many times before. They cross the border, and we meet in a hotel room in Dajabon. There is a picture in the last post of one such training. This time, however, things didn’t work out.
There have been several times that the border has been closed because of political tension or unrest. This time the border wasn’t closed, and the men had their paperwork in order, but the Director who has to sign their paperwork had decided to leave town. When he was called, he said to talk to a Major of the crossing guards. It ends up he’d left town too. We talked to the border guards, but they were being very strict. It’s been much tougher for the Haitians to cross since the Cholera outbreak. The result is that we weren’t able to do the training this time.
I write this post for two reasons. First, I wanted to illustrate the difficulty that these trainings are to do. We really believe in the importance of giving these church leaders the resources they need in order to effectively minister in the important places where they serve. This trip has helped us to think strategically about how we are going to try to make these trainings happen in the future. These trainings are crucial, and they need to happen no matter how difficult they are to do.
Secondly, I want us to think about what daily life is like for the Haitian church leaders. Their experience is not freedom of movement. Even when they should be allowed to cross, it doesn’t mean they will. Even if it’s just because the correct official decided to leave town that day. We should never take our freedom of movement for granted, and in fact, we need to realize it is a blessing from God, to be used for him! It gives us the responsibility to use our ability to go to other places for the sake of the Kingdom of God!
***Update–Thursday, April 7th***
Just found out this morning that the Haitian church leaders will not be allowed to attend the Men’s Conference this weekend either. Their entry was denied.
Posted by Brian on Oct 18 2010 | Comment now »
Currently we meet the Haitian ministers with whom we partner in DaJabon on the Haitian border. We had the opportunity to meet for another class early in October. We looked at God’s plan of redemption for his people and his creation. This material is so crucial, because it’s only through God’s power that the many problems in Haiti are able to be addressed. The church leaders responded very well to the teaching, and had great questions and good discussion.
God is working through these leaders and their churches to bring redemption to the communities where they serve. It’s a privilege to serve alongside these leaders! We’d love for you to participate in this partnership as well. There are wonderful opportunities to help make these trainings possible. Please contact me if you’d like to help: email@example.com.
Posted by Brian on Sep 23 2010 | Comment now »
One of the blessings of the time I spend in the DR is that I’m always asked to preach in some of the churches with which we partner.
Last Sunday, Sept. 19th, I was asked by one of the students in my 1 Peter class to preach in the congregation where he serves. I had never preached to the church in Sabaneta de Yasica before. It’s quite a drive through the mountains to get this town. John Martinez drove and translated for me on this trip. You can click on this link to see our route: View Larger Map I’m not sure you can tell from the map, but this is a route through the mountains on a very winding road. It is a beautiful trip, but not an easy one.
When we arrived in Sabaneta, there were a group of people already assembled waiting for us, though we were there earlier than the time we were told services began. We were told this was because they wanted us not to have to be on the road much after dark.
What a blessing to share with this great group of people! Two young ladies sang specials. Another group of young ladies performed a worship dance to a praise song. After the sermon, Gregorio Thomas sang a song in his booming voice.
I preached a message of encouragement from Ephesians 3:14-21 about what God can do through his Church.
Congregations like the one in Sabaneta are making a real difference in their communities. We spoke to two young mothers who had just accepted Christ a few months before. They were there with their children. Leaders like Gregorio Thomas are ministering in a very real way to these congregations, and I’m trying to use the gift God has given me to strengthen and encourage Church leaders like him.
When Josanne and I ask for support for our ministry, we want to be sure you understand, it is not for ourselves, but so that we can continue to minister and serve in the way that God has called us. We pray daily that there are others who want to become partners with us in what God is doing through G.O. Ministries in the Dominican Republic and beyond.
Posted by Brian on Sep 20 2010 | 1 Comment »
First Peter is one of my favorite books to teach, because the truths it contains helps us in very practical ways to live appropriately as Christians in our culture. It was a pleasure to teach this class to the preachers and church leaders of G.O. Ministries who were gathered this past week.
The attendance was very good and very consistent. I’ve had lots of good responses to the material that was taught. It was especially nice to see some of the younger guys connected to the ministry attending and soaking up the material. Makes me feel very positive about the future of the Seminary here.
What a blessing to be able to use the facilities in the new Central Church. It is so much better for this Seminar-type setting. It is quieter, the seats are more comfortable for the students, and they are able to have tables to write and take notes. This building is going to be such an important part of the future of the education of Church leaders in Santiago and beyond!
I want to remind you that for this important on-going training to take place, we need your support. Click here to find out how to give, or email Brian or Josanne if you’d like to find out more information about our needs and how you can help! God bless you!
Posted by Brian on Aug 17 2010 | 1 Comment »
Today is my last day of spending a month in the Dominican Republic. It’s been an important trip for at least three reasons. First, while I’ve traveled to Santiago, DR several times, this is the longest I’ve stayed in any one stretch. Second, this is the first time when I’ve come down not doing a training. A lot of this trip was to become more familiar with how we do things at G.O. Ministries. I’ve also been able to work on my Spanish, and particular learn the areas I need to work on more. I’ve also been able to spend time with some great short-term teams while I was here, including two from our home church, Eastview Christian Church. Third, Bethany was able to visit the DR for the first time. She is the first of our children to come down and see the work we do here.
I’m looking forward to being with my family again for a while. I’ll be back in the States for three weeks, and then I’ll be coming back for another month where I’ll do two trainings sessions with the church leaders here.
Thanks to all of you who are on this journey with us, and thanks to all of the great G.O. Ministries staff. I love to work with you guys!
- Please pray for supporters to partner with us. We still have to raise over 60% of our monthly budget.
- Please pray for our children as they start another school year–especially Bethany who’ll be moving to Lexington, KY to attend the University of Kentucky.
- Please pray for Josanne’s and my marriage to be strong as we are spending a lot of time very busy and apart for long periods of time.
Thanks so much!
Posted by Brian on May 25 2010 | Comment now »
Had a profound moment today. Jeff Rogers was talking to me about a project he wanted me to work on, and even while he was talking, I started thinking (please don’t tell him I think about other stuff when he’s talking), how am I going to fit this into everything else I have to do. . . and then it hit me! THIS IS what I do now! So I don’t have to fit it around other stuff. This IS the stuff. It was a cool moment for me.
Thanks to all of you who’ve been on this transition journey with me. Just to update: the Bell’s Palsy keeps hanging on. I think I’m able to independently twitch my cheek for the first time today! Please keep praying for swift and complete healing. On support raising, we still are at only 34% (actually 33.4% but I’m trying to be optimistic) of our monthly pledges, but it continues to grow. If you’d like to give, find out here how. There isn’t too small of an amount you can pledge, by the way! Josanne still does not have a job, so pray for God’s faithful provision. Send me an email and let me know how I can pray for you too!
Posted by Brian on May 19 2010 | Comment now »
It’s hard to believe it, but the time for my transition from working at Lincoln Christian University to working full-time with G.O. Ministries is here! It seems like only a few days ago that Josanne and I were feeling the tugging of God’s call to make this change, and now the time is here. As this transition takes place, I wanted to update you on a few items:
- Support Raising. We have been humbled by how God’s people (many of YOU) have responded to our appeals, and we are currently (as of May 19, 2010) at just under 33% of our monthly budget which has been pledged! We’d like to be further along that this personally, but God is faithful and he has brought some great supporters to us thus far. We are trusting him through the rest of this journey as well!
- Summer Plans. Brian will be going to Santiago in July for about a month. Josanne and Bethany are planning to come down to join him for a week. If you would like to contribute to Brian’s trip click here to find out How to Give.
- Prayer Concerns. It seems like the closer things get, the more there are obstacles to overcome. Brian has had a couple of bouts with health problems–including he is currently battling Bell’s Palsy. We are in need of as many solid prayer partners as we can get! We believe in the power of prayer, and there is too much going on for us not to bathe it all in prayer. If you’d like to join our prayer list, please send an email to Brian at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Brian on Jan 24 2010 | Comment now »
Thanks so much for all of those in the Bloomington/Normal area, and all those all across the country who are gathering supplies to send to Haiti. I wanted to share just one example of how they are being gathered and used.
Josanne drove from Bloomington/Normal on Monday afternoon. We had people who donated baby formula, bandages, medicines, medical supplies, etc. that Josanne loaded in the van and drove to Louisville. There G.O. Ministries has been donated warehouse space where the supplies were unloaded.
From there they were boxed together with other supplies. Each box has to be measured, weighed, labeled, numbered, and a manifest of what each box contains needs to be made. Eric Leach is doing a phenomenal job of organizing this process.
And then the boxes are gathered with other supplies and bundled onto a pallet to prepare to be taken and loaded on the cargo planes.
Thanks so much for all you are doing, and the difference that it is making today in people’s lives!
Posted by Brian on Jan 21 2010 | Comment now »
God continues to open doors for G.O. Ministries, and in one of our executive teams words, “We are getting better at this relief thing.” We really desire prayers as we are responding–on the move–to needs as they arrive.
Here is a video of Brook Brotzman flying into Haiti with supplies and in order to meet with those in some of the orphanages that we’ve been privileged to help out in this time of need.
The best way to keep up with what is going on is: http://www.gohelphaiti.org/ Please continue to pray. Please continue to give as you are able, and please help us continue to get the word out!