Wednesday, February 8, 2012

God is Doing Something New!

Well, after 13 amazing years of leading worship, I am transitioning into something new! While I will remain here at First Baptist Church, I will take on a new position called Community Pastor. In this position I will have the pleasure of seeking ways our people can reach out into the community and serve. I will have opportunity to participate with our Missions Committee planning and leading mission trips and I will also be growing Mosaic, our adoption and foster care ministry. This is such a very exciting time for me as I have felt God's call on my life to engage in the world wide orphan crisis for several years. This change will also give me the chance to grow a new ministry to protect the orphan. More on that part as it grows, but for now I am excited to get to work in our community! I covet your prayers, as I mourn over what I leave behind. I mean, I love leading worship! But God said so - who am I to argue!
FirstCommunity already have several things planned; check it out here!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Never a Dull Moment!

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Here is a video that gives an idea of what it's like to watch tv at my house these days. Everyone plays long and hard and they are all learning how this whole thing is going to work. Everyone is having fun, that is for sure.

Wendy worked on Marie Ange's hair for a long time a couple of days ago, thinking how hard it was going to be
to keep up with that. Then, this morning, Marie Ange brushed it all out and braided it ALL herself! I guess that's a load off. Now Hannah is trying to get MA to braid her hair. No success yet...




Jameson got his firs
t haircut yesterday and we got him the "Michael Jordan" - one can hope! Anyway, things are going well, and everyone is adjusting well. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

From my wife Wendy's Blog:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Shoes? Who needs them anyway.

So we are still trying to work out all the kinks of having a household of 7. I have been organizing and reorganizing trying to make things more efficient. It can take some time just trying to get everyone out the door. This morning was H's morning to go to TAFA for her drama and choir classes. For some reason I thought it started at 10 but in actuality it started at 1o:30. We were rushing around and I asked H to start getting the kids loaded in the car. It is pouring down rain so that was going to slow us down a bit. We finally get on the road and are about 2 miles from the house when C announces that he doesn't have shoes. Seriously? How could he get from the house to the car with no shoes? Apparently H carried him but forgot to tell me I needed to grab him shoes. I am just glad we figured it out before we got to the school:)

This must be the day for shoe stories because the funniest thing happened at Wal-Mart this afternoon. I had the 4 younger kids with me to do some grocery shopping (that is another story in itself). We had finished up the shopping and headed to the check-out. I noticed while we were unloading the cart that C had taken off his socks and shoes. He managed to put his socks on but was struggling to get the shoes put back on. I looked at MA and in the broken Kreyol- fragmented English- hand gesturing thing that we have been doing I asked her if she would help C put his shoes on . Guess I still need to work on it because the next thing I know I turn back around and MA is taking off her shoes and telling J to do the same thing. They are both standing at the check-out in sock feet bewildered as to why I would ask them to do such a thing. I am sure they are thinking that about A LOT of things that we do!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

5 Kids on the Boat!

Marie Ange and Jameson are finally home! We are getting the hang of things and learning how to live together, all is very good. These are great kids and they are eager to please - they just don't always quite know how! We have had an amazing first week together, including a huge 50's birthday party for Hannah's 10th birthday. MA and J will think all Friday nights will hold such frivolity! They will so disappointed next Friday! Today, I took the kids out to ride bikes. I had no idea what to expect, but MA hopped on her bike and she was gone - no training wheels or anything! Jameson was having a tough time, even with training wheels. He kept running into the walls, curbs, etc at one of the schools here in town. Finally, he came whining to me, pointing at the training wheels. I thought, "fine, I'll take them off, but you'll regret it!" I did take them off, but he did not regret it. He hopped on and was then HE was gone, too! I couldn't believe it! I have no idea oif they had access to bikes at the orphanage or what, but I was duly impressed. Today they also enjoyed Lasagna, grilled cheese sandwiches and s'mores for the first time. They're almost Americans already!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Injustice Towards Children Has Broken My Heart!


While my plan was to go to the Enter Conference at New Life Church in Colorado Springs for training, challenge, and refreshing for my service as Worship Pastor, God had other plans in mind. One organization represented at the conference was iEmpathize. This group has a very powerful and shocking gallery of images and artifacts that speak very clearly the horrors of sex and slave trafficking world wide. As I made my way through the exhibit, God worked me over pretty hard. I was struck by the lack of respect for human life and the decency that should be afforded every child. I was sickened by the realization that our world has largely turned its back on the most innocent and helpless of victims.

The statistics are, of course, sobering.
  • It is believed that over 27 million poeple are enslaved aroound the world today.
  • UNICEF estimates that over 1.2 million children enter into the sex trade every year
  • Approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood to sexual exploitation over the past 30 years.
  • Up to 300,000 prostituted children live on the streets of the U.S.!
One display of the iEmpathize exhibit rocked me to the core. There was a small pair of shoes (pictured) that was found at a Brothel overseas. I was so broken by the small size of the shoes that I cannot get it out of my head. These shoes were smaller than Abigail's shoes (my 5 year old daughter). This experience has changed me - when I went to learn more about worship, God taught me more about the need of innocent victims in our world and He is calling me to be a voice; to do something about it. I don't know what yet, but God is all over me about this. My life must count for orphaned and exploited children in the world - it just must.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Just Learned About...




World Orphans is an incredible ministry with a great idea. I had always thought of adoption as THE answer for orphans in the world. I still believe that, where it is possible, it is the best answer for a child to be raised by a Christian mother and father and taught the ways of Jesus. The reality is that adoption cannot be the ONLY answer. There are simply too great a number of orphan children world wide to think they will all be adopted into a family. In fact, the vast majority of orphan kids are not even adoptable. The legal process breaks down when there are no parents to terminate parental rights, when there are no governmental agencies with information on the kids, when there are no orphanages to house them. So, every night, millions of kids go to sleep on sidewalks, under bridges, or in garbage piles, with no one to watch out for them.

Enter World Orphans. It is the goal of this ministry to have churches in the culture and community where the problem exists provide solutions for small groups of children. The idea is to have an indigenous church build a small orphan home on the church property. Children live in small, gender specific groups, of 10 - 20 children. The home is staffed by members of the church, often widows from the community, who raise the children in the knowledge of Christ. Check out more about how this works here. Paul Myhill, the President of World Orphans, has written an essay called The Mega Issue in which he seeks to solve a list of interlinking problem by rescuing orphans. The orphan problem is at the root of so many other issues. He writes:

Do you desire to assist the poor and crush poverty? – Rescue orphans.
Do you wish to combat HIV/AIDS and other heinous diseases? – Rescue orphans.
Do you hope to prevent pedophiles from abusing young children? – Rescue orphans.
Do you want to stamp out prostitution? – Rescue orphans.
Do you yearn for the end of drug dealing and addiction? – Rescue orphans.
Do you crave to uphold the worth and significance of women? – Rescue orphans.
Do you long to stop violent extremism and the placement of children into radical schools? – Rescue orphans.
Do you dream to crush illiteracy? – Rescue orphans.
Do you aspire to eliminate child labor? – Rescue orphans.
Do you seek to eradicate the recruitment of child soldiers and atrocities they are forced to commit? – Rescue orphans.

You see, the orphaned children in a particular society are the ones on whom predators prey. They are the week, the easily persuaded, the abused. They are also the ones who, as they grow, will perpetuate the problems listed for the next generation. But if the orphans are reescued, not only is the cycle broken, but those same children are raised in a christian home and sent back into their culture to make a difference. To let people know of the hope and love found in Christ; these will be trained up as an army of missionaries.

To accomplish these goals, World Orphans has a most admirable plan: To partner churches in the west with indigenous churches world wide. To give American churhces the chance to be a part of the solution, to invite them on mission through giving and going, to impact the eternity of the children for whom they provide and all of the people those children will touch in the future. What an incredible idea and a God given vision! Please follow the links to the World Orphans website and find out more about them; they have an incredible ministry.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mosaic to Kick off at First Baptist Church, Mansfield

First Baptist Church, Mansfield, kicked off the Mosaic Adoption and Foster care ministry at a very special service on Sunday, January 11th. We had a great day of worship and collected over $500 for our Mosaic adoption fund with Lifesong for Orphans. We had representatives from Buckner International, Covenant Kids, and information from Lifesong for Orphans for the enlightenment of our congregation. We heard a strong message from our pastor, Dr. Johnny Dickerson, about the likeness of God's children being adopted, with full sonship, into God's family, just as His people would adopt an orphaned child. It is the heart of Mosaic to see more orphaned children in Christian homes, where they will know love and protection, as well as receive a clear path to choose Christ. Mosaic will seek to touch the lives of orphans, minister to adoptive families, mentor children, lead mission trips to orphanages around the world, and help to fund adoptions for families wanting to change the lives of orphaned children. Please pray for Mosaic as we seek to do our part in impacting orphaned children in our world.

Lifesong for Orphans tackles Barriers to Adoption



Lifesong and the Mosaic Ministry or First Baptist Church of Mansfield are working together to create an Adoption Fund that would remove the financial barriers that prevent so many children from being adopted – through Adoption Matching Grants.

Here are the Top 3 Barriers to churches creating Adoption Funds...and Lifesong's Solutions to overcome the hurdles.

1. Barrier: Church staff “plate is already full” to administer fund

Solution: Lifesong will manage/facilitate the Fund & carry the administrative load on behalf of church, using mutually agreed upon criteria (reviewing applications, accounting, donor receipts, disbursing funds on behalf of adoption, etc.)

2. Barrier: Church feels uncomfortable/awkward approving/denying their own families (viewing financials, etc.)

Solution: Lifesong will provide all the screening, reviewing, approving/denying as a ‘partner’ on behalf of the church, using mutually agreed upon criteria for those decisions

3. Barrier: Adoption Fund is unfamiliar territory

Solution: Lifesong has passion, and expertise in adoption funding processes, maximize stewardship, use existing grant/loan procedures, IRS approved, ECFA approved (establishes financial integrity & avoids recreating the wheel)

And one of the best aspects….Lifesong manages & administers the Adoption Fund - at no cost to churches!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Worship Industry

This video is a great reminder of what is really important in worship. To be real with each other and with God; to open ourselves up to what He will do in worship is, indeed, more important than what we do or don't do in worship.




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IBESR!

In our long and tiring adoption process, we have already moved from "First Legal" into "IBESR". I don't really know what those titles mean, but I do know that it is progress, and that's what we're looking for! Stephanie, our adoption agent with A Love Beyond Borders, called me to let me know that we'd moved on to this step on FATHER'S DAY! Can you beat that? What a blessing that was.
Wendy and I are anxiously awaiting our next trip to Haiti to see our kids in August and it cannot come fast enough! In fact, we are just wishing that it was this trip we were bringing Marie Ange and Jameson home, but it will still be a while for that. So, we wait and pray that God will expedite everything as only He can.