The Family

The Family
Justice, Logan, Jacy Klaire, Joy, Josie Kate, Luke, Megan, Judah, Kerry, Jaxon

Monday, August 25, 2014

Too Many Racist Slaves

There are way too many Racist Slaves in the church.

I don’t care if you are Democrat or Republican.  Conservative or Liberal.  Rich or poor.  Baptist or Catholic.  The term “Racist Christians” should be an oxymoron.  How could a Christian that bases their entire belief system on receiving unconditional love from a forgiving Savior be a bigot towards someone else for ANY reason? 

I know some of my “white friends” will be embarrassed by me taking such a stance and calling out bigotry and preferential treatment.  Don’t get me wrong, those of you that know me, know I don’t give a hoot about “political correctness” and “social sensitivity”.  I do care about truth and freedom.  And too many of us are not living in freedom in this area of our lives.

Let me start by saying that I believe that race relations in our county have worsened more in the last six years than in any other 6 year period.  We had been on an overall improving state for a couple of decades with only occasional backslidings.  Under Holder and Obama, race has been more of an issue of division than it has been in 30 years.  Now I have all my black friends mad too.  But it’s not about politics.  It’s about reality.  Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and the New Black Panthers make their living and feed their power hungry appetites by creating racist tensions.  The problem is, their actions cause us Christian white folks to justify our own bigoted and racist attitudes without having to view it the way God does.  Black Christians feel they are justified in being bigoted towards whites because a “pastor” says it is okay.  Even in our churches we are not forced to confront our sinful attitudes because we are surrounded by people that feel the same way.  We use the sin of others- racism towards us- as a justification for our sin- so we keep ourselves in chains of bondage.  We become the slaves! 

Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. “ John 8:34

I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHETHER BLACKS OR HISPANICS OR OTHERS ARE RACISTS TOWARDS ME.  I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR EVEN A LITTLE BIT OF PREJUDICE TOWARDS OTHERS IN MY HEART.

As Christians we are commanded by Jesus himself to “love others”.  If He had said “love others like yourself” then there would not be a problem.  But He didn’t.  He said we are to love all people unconditionally.  We SAY we do that- but we don’t DO that.

We see that 72% of black homes have no father.  Instead of that breaking our heart and driving us to change that in our community, we allow it to justify our position that “they” bring it on themselves.  “They” are just using the system.  The family is broken in America and minority families are the most affected.  IT DOES NOT MATTER WHY! The very fact that we say “they” instead of “us” signifies there is a problem! 
 I hear people all the time complaining that “black fathers are not taking responsibility.  Black pastors not preaching against sexual sin.  The government is awarding broken families.  The government system is designed to do that so the Democratic party stays in power.  Republicans don’t support minorities…”  Forget all of that!  Do we love them?  Do we love those kids?  Do we love those single moms?  Do we love those men caught up in sexual sin?  Do we love the ones living in poverty due to poor choices, or poor systems, or poor government, or poor CHURCHES? 

If we TRULY love them, we would be there making a difference instead of building up walls of prejudice and bigotry.  We don’t need to help them so we feel better about ourselves.  We don’t need to help them so we look good to our country club neighbors.  We need to help them because we are going to stand before a RACELESS God one day and He’s gonna ask us why we didn’t take care of His children.  You gonna tell God it was the government’s fault?  “I didn’t want to be an enabler, God.”

Good luck with that. 

I say all of this because I had my heart ripped apart.  I was raised in the deep south.  I had good parents but unfortunately, white or black, in south Georgia we were raised to be bigots.  Some lived above that, but not many. It was and still is a way of life for many.

 Then I held my baby girl one day.  I looked into those deep brown eyes.  I stroked the black skin of her soft cheek as she smiled up at me and God broke my heart.  He brought to mind the words I used to say.  He pierced my conscience with the way I talked about people her color in years gone by.  The jokes I laughed at.   The criticisms I agreed with.  Filth.  Hatred.  Bigotry.  Godlessness. 

It broke my heart to think my daughter from Haiti would have to live surrounded by people like me.  She would be judged by her color even before a word was spoken.  She would suffer pain at some point in her life by hearing words of hatred from people like me.  I didn’t want her to be around white people who were bigots or black people that are racists.  I want her surrounded by Christians.  People who just love her because she is a child of the King.  I want her to hear she is beautiful from white, black, brown, or red people.  It’s not about the world we live in.  It’s about the church of Jesus Christ standing for what’s right and loving for the sake of Love.  How can I demand that for my daughter but not care about all the communities where I have friends that lead churches that don’t reach out to their underprivileged communities.

It’s time for the church to stand up to racism of every flavor and say it’s enough!  It’s time we decided “that as for me and MY house” we are going to love.  We are going to raise raceless children to serve a raceless God as we build His Kingdom.  He is worth it.  Let’s not be slaves to prejudice, racism, bigotry, hatred, preference, profiling any longer.  Let’s repent and ask God to change US so we can love according to who we are in Him.  We are ONE race as Christians, picked, chosen, adopted by God to be HIS OWN POSSESSION!  Let’s live that way!


“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

Friday, August 22, 2014

Christians Need to Quit Hating

In a country as liberated from the shackles of dark aged religious rhetoric and senseless prohibitions, we Christians need to reconsider our stance and be more inclusive.  Isn't that basically the message to the church today from our society.  All we have to do is to accept the modern version of marriage, a woman's right to choose, and quit being so exclusive of people just because they don't believe the same thing about God as we do and then we will be not be haters.  Those shifts in our positions would allow us to come along side the leaders in our communities and implement "change" and continue the peaceful advancement of moral and cultural unity.

So...let's see what steps we as churches and church leaders could take to reach such noble goals.

The problem we have with "a woman's right to choose" is the whole Ten Commandments "thou shalt not Kill" thing.  We definitely have to get rid of the Ten Commandments all together.  They are far to restrictive and absolute.  Who is God to tell us we can't murder, steal, cheat, lie, and blaspheme?  Step One- Throw out all restrictions of God and especially any references to the Ten Commandments.

The main obstacle to redefining marriage is the Bible.  We are going to have to change how we view the Bible.  Either we can just toss it out all together or we can just agree that it is basically a book of fables with moral recommendations but not absolutes.  We could even work together with those that are wanting to make a more inclusive religious book by taking pieces of all "historical religious writings" and make a book that does not teach right from wrong.  Then we could all be right.  Okay, step two- Throw out our Bible.

To include all people as just as right as us about God, Heaven, Eternity, the after life, and how we should live our lives here, we are going to have to stop talking so much about Jesus.  Jesus after all is the one that taught these things.  We as Christians can't keep teaching what Jesus taught if we are going to live at peace with all other beliefs.  Jesus himself did make the extremely radical and exclusive statement that HE alone was the ONLY way to God the Father and Heaven.  How could we possibly be all inclusive if the very foundation of our belief system is based on the teachings of someone so fanatically exclusive.  So it's settled, necessary step number three- Eliminate all references and teachings referring to Jesus.

Now... let's recap.  All we have to do in order to not be seen as haters and non-inclusive is follow these three simple steps:
  1. Get Rid of the Ten Commandments
  2. Get Rid of the Bible
  3. Get Rid of all teachings of Jesus
One other thing.  In order to not be seen as haters, we have to quit loving so much.  Loving someone so much that you want to see them find their destiny for which they were created and bring glory to God with their life instead of ruining it with sin and self indulgence is gonna have to stop.  We can't love people so much that we are willing to look foolish in order to tell them about salvation and the way to God the Father and Heaven.  That kind of love is standing in the way of unity.  That kind of love is too radical and sets a bad example for the future generation of atheistic secularists.  I know it will be hard, but if we just stop loving God, then we can stop loving his creation.  If we stop serving God, then we can stop serving others.  

So if we totally disregard EVERYTHING we believe, then and only then can we be embraced by society. So let's get to it.  We have lots of unloving to do so we won't be seen as hating.  And since Christian is a reference to Christ which reminds people of Jesus, we need to get us a new name too.  Any ideas?

***note- anyone not familiar with sarcasm and allegory may miss the point here today!



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Bi-vocational Southern Baptist Preacher/Optometrist/Missionary's Thoughts on Church

LONG BLOG POST AHEAD

A few months ago someone asked my opinion on church and the church in America.  BAD idea!  I had plenty of time to think and pray on this issue while in Haiti and this is my boiled down, able to post without being to offensive version of my answer.  As an eye doctor, I must advise frequent breaks for blinking to avoid low blink rate computer reading induced dry eye syndrome.  So grab a cup of coffee and bottle of Systane Balance over the counter tear drops and lets do this!

 “Church”

The church is the Bride of Christ for which He will gloriously return to redeem and carry across the threshold of eternity.  The church was established by Christ with specific intentions.  The church through the centuries has been the most powerful, most abused, and most misunderstood entity in history.  The true church is not a denomination, congregation, hierarchy, or structure.  The true church is composed of those souls who have forsaken themselves and their pursuits in order to follow Christ as forgiven and redeemed.  The purpose of the church is much debated.  The means to achieve the purpose of the church is even more debated.  I will lay out what I believe is a crude and simplified purpose and calling of the church.

The church’s purpose is the same as our individual purpose; to glorify God.  The end-all is God’s glory.  The church gives glory to God only when she is following the calling of God for the church.  The calling of the church can be extracted from scriptures in great depth but a simply breakdown includes three essential characteristics.

1-      Engaging-  The church is to engage the world around them in love.  There is a move today that calls for the church to “engage the culture”.  That movement pushes for the church to be more like the culture in order to engage the culture.  I disagree.  The church does not need to engage the culture, it needs to engage the individuals in the culture.  The church has to be purposefully reaching out in love to meet the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of the world.  The engagement follows the great commission model to include the society in which we live but also all cultures throughout the world as God gives specific opportunities. The main focus of the church is not the members of the church but the members of society that can be impacted by the church.  We are to intentionally and diligently live in such a way personally and corporately that is a clear and accurate portrayal of Christ’s heart towards the world. 
2-      Evangelizing-  The church is to evangelize the culture through GENUINE relationships that are established by engaging our society and the people in our circle of influence.  We don’t evangelize with programs, and we don’t engage in order to evangelize.  We engage because we love and Christ called us to engage and love.  We don’t feed the hungry to make them a Christian, we feed them because they are hungry and WE ARE Christians.  If we learn to engage and love all of God’s children, we will have a longing to meet their needs.  We do not have to drum up false compassion or serve out of guilt.  It becomes our identity and what fulfills us.  As we meet needs, we share Jesus in a deliberate way out of love for the individual and a desire for them to fulfill their destiny of bringing God glory with their lives. 
3-      Assimilating-  After we have relationships and people accept Christ and begin attending church, we have to effectively assimilate them into the church body.  The traditional weekly services are established for this purpose.  The goal of assimilation should be three fold:
                                                              i.      Real Worship: Leading the people to understand that they are made to worship God.  Worship through exalting God with singing is one part, but also teaching worship through giving, worship through serving, and worship through surrendering.
                                                            ii.      Real Prayer:  The church does not pray today.  We have to help people to see the power and necessity of personal and corporate prayer.  That is not most effectively done by having a meeting where everyone shares what is wrong with them and then we make superficial requests to God for our needs.  Genuine prayer is entering into a broken state before God where He has total control to lead the time and speak to us as we learn to submit to Him.  A Christian that does not pray is useless to the Kingdom and will never discover the freedom that comes from intimacy with God.
                                                          iii.      Real Fellowship-  People need relationships.  Christian’s need Christian relationships that are genuine and transparent.  The church’s job is to create an atmosphere where the development of genuinely caring relationships are easily fostered and maintained.  Our lives are designed to flourish in community.  The goal of the church is to bring together individuals that can “do” life together and effectively engage, evangelize, and assimilate others.

The church today is so focused on “Programs” that they have lost the focus of the church.  There are countless ways to accomplish the above goals but the goals have to be clear to everyone and committed to by leadership if the church is going to break the mould of the typical American church of the last 75 years. 

I believe the church today has gone astray from the original intent of Christ and the model set forth by the New Testament church and 2000 years of church history.  In my evaluation, there are three main issues plaguing the modern church.  Of course there are a myriad of problems that are visible in individual congregations or denominations, but on a broader picture I believe there are three root issues that have led the church as a whole in Western society towards ineffectiveness.  They are listed in no relevant order.

1-  An insatiable desire to be entertained- In our society, entertainment is the premier idol.  We are entertained all day and seek it in every area of our lives.  From the ubiquity of television- you can get showers with built in TV’s, to the portability of phones and tablets, we are constantly able to entertain ourselves.  We watch TV while we eat at restaurants, we play video games on our cell phone while we wait in line, we have every sport on the planet we can watch, we worship country music stars and Hollywood celebrities.  As a culture we are overly addicted to being entertained. 

So then we go to church.  What do we expect when we get there?  We want to be entertained.  We want pretty songs by the choir and soloists.  We want eloquent messages by the pastor that in some way entertain us.  Even in churches where the pastor preaches “hell fire and brimstone” it is the same thing.  The people want to hear that and are entertained by the enthusiasm of the preacher. It is just a more traditional form of entertainment. 

So what is the real problem?  Empty lives.  We all have voids in our lives that hurt when we are forced to face them.  Entertainment allows us to escape those encounters with the voidThe void can be a relationship, a past hurt that was not dealt with, a longing, unrealistic expectations, or many other problems.  The issue is the pain that comes from facing the problem.  In a culture where pain and hardship are avoided at all cost, entertainment finds a welcome home.  We can watch Zombies eat each other’s brains and juiced up super jocks outrun each other, and by so doing, our void is filled.  The bigger issue is that Christ wants to fill that void.  Christ is there to meet those needs, provide the healing, and fulfill the longings.  But as a church we have allowed the desire for entertainment to become the substitute for the real joy that comes from Christ filling the void.  I truly believe that Leonard Ravenhill was right when he said the entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy.

It is argued that due to the overwhelming desire and need to be entertained, that churches must change and conform to meet the culture and provide that or we become irrelevant.  Hence, most churches have concerts to start and polished orator to follow with multimedia and donuts thrown in for good measure.  I totally disagree.  I don’t believe that the joy that comes from an encounter with Christ is surpassed by superb entertainment.  I believe the soul’s desire for Christ’s joy can be appeased and temporarily cajoled by an enjoyable “religious” entertainment.   It’s not that the world is so accustomed to extreme encounters that they are bored by encounters with God.  It is that the extreme encounters we are accustomed to get us close enough to the real thing that we settle instead of pressing on to the real pinnacle of joy which is a true encounter with God that fills the void.  That can only be found in a church that is seeking God and His presence above all else.  The greetings, the music, the preaching, the ministries and the programs all have to be focused to this end.

2- Us against Them-  Through the cultural forces behind ideas such as “separation of church and state” as we know it today, liberalism vs. conservatism, and “politically correct” agenda, the church has allowed the culture to dictate our relationship to our society instead of it being based on the Bible.  The church as a whole isolated itself and formed a barrier of identity that is contrary to the foundations of our heritage.  We have become insecure in our true identity as the offensive force of history.  We have settled into a defensive stance of defending ourselves against them.  Our churches have not remained the equipping stations they were for centuries and have become fortified retreats that we occasionally sneak out of to do an outreach so that we can claim a little victory. 

The church was established to be a refuge for THEM.  A place where lost souls can find rest.  A place where the hungry are fed and the naked are clothed.  A place where believers find an easy place to use their gifts to minister to people in need. 

Through this shift, we have allowed ourselves to turn inward in a defensive posture and only focus on caring for our own.  It is definitely true that we need to care for our church members, but if we are creating a place of ministry, the ones with the gifts of service and hospitality, and giving, and teaching will be serving with joy and the needs of our own will be met as a divine by-product but not as the prime product.  We have to turn away from focusing all of our resources on keeping ourselves safe and comfortable and be willing to see those outside as our calling not our enemy.

3-  Acceptance of Debt-  A controversial issue in today’s church but I don’t just argue debt is wrong because the Bible says so.  I believe there are good arguments in that vein but there are other issues as well.  Debt puts dependence on man that should only be on God.

When a church has debt it inevitably becomes a source of contention in nearly every situation.  In churches where they are growing and expanding and running out of room, the congregation and leadership are eager to commit to pledges and commitments to pay off the debt in order to get that expansion done NOW.  After all, we want everything now.  The problem comes once the expansion is done and the excitement of that new building wears off and yet the debt and interest is still there to be paid every month.  The staff and the ministry leaders constantly see that debt as money taking away from the ministries that really need to be done if they are going to meet the demands of the growing congregation that now has room in the new facility.  Much attention is placed on getting the money necessary to pay the bills.  You have to cater to the individuals that are giving so the bills can be paid.  The ones giving feel they have a certain amount of leverage because they are paying for the debt.  It creates a carnal and worldly atmosphere that is tainted by an unholy attention to money and finances.  Instead of relying on God to provide money through giving for ministry and paying of those serving the church full time, we have to rely on givers and man to meet our hard costs or face foreclosure.  It is a weight that hinders church freedom and growth.  It hinders the pastor’s ability to truly help people who aren’t givers to be set free from greed because they only see the sermons on giving as pleas to meet the debt obligations.  Therefore, many in the congregations stay in bondage to debt and greed and selfishness because they have an easy psychological wall they can build up to fend off any conviction.  We cloak the need in spiritual terms of depending on God, and stepping out in Faith but the truth is the whole thing has a secular financial foundation and not one based on Biblical truth and sound spiritual wisdom.

Conclusions:
If the American Church is going to fulfill its destiny and be all that God has planned for her, we must recognize our condition and be willing to make changes.  If not, God’s plan to evangelize the world will take place, but He will use someone else. “Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.” 2 Samuel 11:1

Are we going to be like David and allow someone else to go secure the victory that was designed for us?  We all know what happened next to David.  Do we not see the church in America falling into the same type of sin?  Let’s suit up for battle as pastors and lead our churches out to war instead of hanging out on the palace rooftop tempted by what is not ours to possess!

www.Byne.org - Byne Memorial Baptist Church- Albany Ga

Friday, July 11, 2014

Faith Sometimes Equals Incomprehensible


When I first met Joy's grandmother, Mimi, she was in her mid 90's.  We sat and talked and she told me her life verse was Proverbs 3:5-6.  Many of you know that passage.  The part that gets me is "lean not on your own understanding".  In 95 years, Mimi had learned the meaning of that.  She understood that not understanding is understandingly difficult to understand- but, it is a necessary and integral part of faith.

All too often we want to understand where, why, and how about our situation when we should just settle for what.  God will show us what to do in most situations but the other things require faith.

Going to Haiti as full time missionaries was easier than us coming home.  God graciously made it clear what we were supposed to do.
What = Stay in the U.S. to handle family needs. Not what we wanted but at least we knew it was God's plan.
Where = "I'll show you".
Why = "I'll show you".
How = "I'll show you".

Come on God.  Can't I get just a little more than that?  Why make it so difficult?

We ended up having to live in south Florida... no family... no friends... no ministry partners... no optometry license... no church...no job... no network... no connections...

"God, why not let us move back to NC?  I can do optometry there.  Our home church is there.  All of our family and friends are there.  The people that helped us go to Haiti are there.  Our kids have friends there. God, can't I just "lean on my own understanding" this one time?"

I tried to get a job in a church as missions pastor or something...dead end - Why?
We sent our kids to what we thought was the right choice for Christian school...had to move them - Why?
We had some retirement savings we took out to live on...it ran out- Why?
Joy had no friends there, no support network, no one to talk to about our feelings about leaving Haiti...depression- Why?

How...Do we pay our bills?
          Do we get the kids the help they needed?
          Minister since we are no longer in Haiti?
          Deal with depression?

Where do we go to church, to school, to work, to fellowship, to minister, to heal, to cry, to grow?

God I just don't UNDERSTAND!...
"Good...now I can do what I had planned all along..."- God

Jacy and I spent hours together getting her caught up on school she had missed by being in Haiti- our relationship grew in ways I know will be impacting to her for her entire life...

I eventually took a job as a tech in a doctors office since I could not practice optometry- It humbled me and helped me see things about myself that I had overlooked- I will always be a better doctor now...

All of our kids spent time with just us as a family getting to know America and the cool things it offers without outside influence- we share a special bond because of it...

I learned more about being for Joy what she needs when no one else is there.- I did a pretty crumby job most of the time but it drew us closer together...

I was offered a job in GA that I never would have been offered if we were in NC- It led us to a church with a pastor that let me preach a few times and then when he moved they called me to be the interim- God is moving in the church and we are getting to be a part of it...

Joy is ministering to a community of believers in a way that she never has before.- She is going to Haiti next week to visit with a healed heart...

There are still lots of things about our circumstances that I don't understand...How long will we be in GA?....How long will we be in the US?... What does our ministry future hold?...How will our kids continue to progress?...Will I ever figure out how to be what Joy needs?...

But I have learned that the first of that verse in Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in the Lord" and that is becoming a sweeter and sweeter ride as I learn to do it!  Help me "lean not on my own understanding"!



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Loving Gnatville

Charleston, Savannah, Wilmington, possibly even Myrtle Beach or St. Simons Island.  That was our shortlist of places we would move to where I had a license to practice optometry and we could find what God had in store for us as we transitioned out of Haiti and back to the U.S. for as long as God has planned.  Somewhere near the coast with schools to meet our special needs and optometry jobs enough to provide for our family as we found where we could serve ministry wise.

Southwest GA- aka Gnatville- was not on our list of choices.  If you are unfamiliar with gnats, they are the third plague God sent on Egypt and their descendants found their way to SW Georgia.  You know if God used them as a plague AFTER turning a river to blood and a frog infestation, they can't be enjoyable.  They are little bitty demonic flies that get in your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and anywhere else by the hundreds from June until God sends cold enough weather to mercifully murder them all in the fall.  When we received the call about a clinic wanting me to come and talk to them about a job in Albany, GA I told Joy there was NO WAY!

Sound familiar?
"Do you think they will let us adopt this little foster baby?"....No Way
"Can you take this child with issues and raise him as your own?"...No Way
"Can you become full time missionaries and get rid of your every possession to live in Haiti?" ...No Way
"Can you take a one day old baby addicted to cocaine right before you move to Haiti?"... No Way
"You have to raise them somewhere they can get the help they need or they will never be able to function in a normal classroom."  ...No Way

You would think I would learn my lesson and never say No Way.  But, not yet so here we are...in Gnatville.
It is great.  We have our kids in a great school system and they are doing better than we would have ever imagined.  Jacy is completely caught up and excelling.  Josie is doing great as is Judah, Jaxon, and little Justice.  Luke is still at Hillsong Austrailia school of Ministry and will probably finish there in December.  Logan and Megan are in NC and doing well.

For a long time I could not figure out why we had to move to here though.  I did not feel it was just for work. It turns out I was right.  God has opened a door for me to get to preach each Sunday in a church while they search for their new pastor.  It is a huge blessing for me and Joy as we get to minister to a congregation with our family.  If you get really bored you can listen to a sermon or if you just want to see me in a bowtie and boots click here: Byne Memorial Baptist, Albany, GA.

We have learned so much from circumstances in the months that have passed.  From the fear of an autism diagnosis.  From the frustration of a learning disorder.  From letting Luke go to pursue the ministry.  From the joy of an unexpected pregnancy to the pain of losing the baby.  From unemployment and disappointment in searching for a position, to the joy of getting to use our gifts in a church.  The thing we have been reminded of is the theme of one of our favorite songs to sing loudly around the house..."MY God's not dead, He's surely alive and He's living on the inside roaring like a lion"...Praise God for restoration!




Dago Visits America






It has taken years of applying but Dago finally got a visitation visa to come to the U.S. I picked him up at the airport in Atlanta on Saturday as he flew in by himself. It has been a bit overwhelming as you can imagine, but it is great. He preached at our church Sunday night and we have a few other opportunities for him to share. We are going to Birmingham, AL for a men's conference this weekend and then to Florida to meet with some of the young men he has discipled through the years that now are in FL.

Dago helped in clinics for me and Dr. Dennis for years but I did an exam on him yesterday and found he has an aggressive form of Glaucoma that was previously undetected.  Pray for him that we can get him the medicine that he will need to control it or a surgery in the future.  

Having Dago here has really helped Joy and I too.  Things have really changed in New Vision Ministries.  Dr. Dennis and Dr. Tom both came to New Vision with the plan to work with me and Joy and support us in what we were doing.  When we felt God was keeping us from going back it changed everything. Dennis and Tom were thrown into positions they had not prepared for.  I spent the year dealing with my own sense of failure and didn't know exactly how I was supposed to be a part of the ministry.  Going back on trips would have made it hard for the other missionaries to be seen as the ones making the decisions instead of me.

Now all that has changed.  Dr. Tom and Dr. Dennis have both moved on to other areas of ministry and New Vision does not have a full time missionary on the ground in Haiti.  We do still have work being done there though.  The kids from the orphanage have been taken in by Stephen and Autumn Byxbe at Agape House, http://togetherwecaninc.org/twc-haiti-the-agape-house/ .  They worked with us before we left and are taking care of the 15 kids from Celebration Children's Home.  Dago is the director of the orphanage.


We also continue to support pastor Cesar and the other pastors we have worked with in the past and their schools.  There is still much work to be done in that area of finishing pastor Lucien's church and helping pastor Remy rebuild on the top of the mountain.

Many of you have continued to take trips. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!  Some have already connected with the Byxbe's and others have continued to work with pastor Cesar.  That is awesome!  Thank you for picking up the slack and continuing the work during our down time.  Tracy Robinson, NVM board member from NC, is headed down next week to work with Pastor Cesar and just visit to see what can be done.


Now that there are no NVM missionaries there, I plan to resume taking trips as well.  I have a group from the church where I am preaching that wants to go in the fall to see what needs there are and how we can help.  I know others have trips planned as well.

Julie, Sandy, Pastor Jonathan, Dr. Thomas, Brad, Stan, Pastor Bill, and others are still integrally plugged in and working to reach the Haitian people.  Dago, Pastor Cesar, Simeon, Wesner, Carrenard, Roger, and others are still in Haiti ready to continue working as we support them.  Stephen and Autumn are diligently striving to provide for the kids in the orphanage on a daily basis.  

Current opportunities:  
Monthly help for Agape House expenses
Resume support for Pastor Cesar's Pastors and churches
Teacher support for the schools
Support for Dago and his family as he serves as a local missionary to his people
Donations to pay for Dago's travel expenses on this trip

There are so many ways for us to impact the people.  If you want to give just let me know or send a check to:
New Vision Ministries
PO Box 2009
Hickory, NC 28603
If you want to be on a team to go let me know and we will let you know what is planned.  

Thank you for your patience during these huge changes as God directs.  The board of New Vision has been working diligently with all the changes to try to know God's will even when I was sulking on the sidelines.  Thank you guys for never giving up.  

Thanks for your support,
Kerry and Joy Reeves

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Friday, July 26, 2013

New Vision Ministries is still making a difference in Haiti.  I spent the last hour on the phone with the kids at the orphanage and Madame Raymonde and Dago and the other workers there.  It is such a bitter sweet conversation to hear their voices and realize how much we miss them.  Jacy Klaire just cried as she talked to JP and Wilna and the other kids.  She misses being there but is also very happy to know she will be in school in a couple of weeks here in America.  Joy also cried as the kids begged her to come and visit.  We plan to make a quick trip down for a weekend in October to see everyone.  Dr. Dennis and Sara as well as the Hattens are working hard to make sure the kids are taken care of.  They are preparing to start the English school there at the mission for the kids in the orphanage as well as some of the other children associated with the ministry.  It has been a tough adjustment for them over the last year too but they are amazing and continue to help the ministry improve as we work towards long term sustainability.

After a full year of confusion and frustration, we have finally settled into what we believe is our family's lot for the foreseeable future.  We are living in Leesburg, GA and trying to get adjusted as the kids will start school in two weeks.  I am doing optometry and speaking in churches etc. whenever opportunities arise to continue to share the vision of making a difference in Haiti through New Vision.  I spoke at TCBC and my dad's church in NC this past weekend and it was a great blessing getting to see friends and family.  I hate we were only there a couple of days and did not get to do much visiting.  Joy has become a rep for a company that lets her give 10% of all sales to the mission.  We pray that becomes a way to help build the new orphanage we so badly need.  The kids all start school soon and we continue to search for resources to help us take care of their special needs and fulfill their potential.

It seems at times we are able to emotionally shut out Haiti and all that it entails as we become enthralled in all that life throws at us here.  It is a blessing from God that he continually draws us back into awareness of the world's needs through us praying for the missionaries and friends in Montrouis, or by an unexpected phone call or email, or just seeing something that sends a rush of memories of the people and friends we don't get to see everyday now.  I just pray we are able to continue to be used by God to impact His kingdom by ministering to the people of Haiti.  Please continue to pray and support the ministry as we serve together.

(You can see Joy's product lines by visiting www.stelladot.com/joyreeves )



Welcome

Welcome to our blog and to our family. We have been involved with working in Haiti since 2005. In 2009 we moved with our family to Haiti to serve as full time missionaries. Three years later we unexpectedly had to move back to the US. We are now doing our part to continue to impact the Haitian people from our home in Albany, GA. Our story is recorded on this blog as a reminder to us and hopefully an inspiration to others to take the leap and do whatever it is you feel God has for you to do. Leave the results up to God. It probably will not go as planned, but the ride is worth it when it is for His glory. Thanks for visiting and we hope to get to know you.