Social Media, Political Rants, Impacting the World for Christ

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I love social media. I love Jesus. I love the USA. And, I'm a pastor.

Without a doubt, there have been numerous changes in ministry over the past 23 years. Social media has created a wonderfully dangerous avenue for people to openly share wisdom, craziness, love, and hate.

As a pastor, I believe we have to be extremely wise in the words we speak and the things we post.

Here's an excellent post by Ed Stetzer dealing with Social Media, Political Rants, and our call to impact the world for Christ.

Let me know what you think about his post.

Return from Africa - An Interview with Karlee Wilson

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Our daughter, Karlee Wilson, spent six weeks this summer serving in Ethiopia with Two Hearts for Hope founder Stacy Segebarth. She's only been home a few days and had to fly out for a friends wedding. So, I sat down and asked her some key questions about her trip and the impact it's had on her life.

You can read more about Karlee's journey on her blog.

Catalyst West Coast Financial Peace Mac Suite Winning Video

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

So, a few months ago our church staff attended its first Catalyst Conference. This was my fifth time to hit a Catalyst event but my first time on the West Coast. Needless to say we all loved it and hope to go back again next year if it fits our schedule and budget. 

One of the great things about Catalyst is the way they love on and care for leaders. It's an incredible place to be inspired, trained, and challenged. I especially love the creativity they put into every detail. 

While at this West Coast event our Kirby Staff took advantage of a contest sponsored by Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University. They had a huge tent set up for pastors - it was a great place to relax get some free refreshments and meet other people in the ministry. Oh yeah - and enter the contest to win a Mac Suite worth over $4,000!

The challenge was to create a 30 min video (they video you while in the tent) expressing why your church deserved to win the Mac computers - complete with an iMac, MacBook, four iPad Mini's and a software package. 

The WINNING video below is what we came up with. Yes, that's right - we won the contest. We still can't believe it either. 

I want to take a moment to thank Catalyst, Dave Ramsey and the folks at FPU. We love the Macs and will are already putting them to good use - but we also love the way you guys invest in leaders and churches around the world! Hope to see you at West Coast 2014.

Confessions of a Missionary by Ruth Wilson

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I'm sitting in Africa and noticed a blog posted by one of my friends. It was a blog post by Ruth Wilson. I don't know Ruth, I don't know Africa like she does, I haven't experienced missionary life like she has. But, I have seen first hand much of what she is writing about. And, I can attest to the fact that it takes a very special person to live the life of one called to serve overseas. That's why those who follow Jesus into these hard to reach places have been and always will be heroes to me. Yes, I know they don't like being called that. But that's how I see them - heroes. 
Thank you Ruth for an incredible post and thank you for living your faith out loud! 

Some days I hate my life.
Africa life is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Sometimes I don’t want to hop out of bed and embrace the day.
The language barrier is freaking hard.
Being hit on by grown men just because I’m white gets obnoxious.
Bucket showers get old.
Walking miles and miles to get to a house that doesn’t even want to hear the name of Jesus is exhausting.
You can read the rest of her blog at: 

Jinja, Uganda July 8th

Monday, July 8, 2013

Here's a short video from our time at Canaan Children's Home in Jinja, Uganda. I'm so thankful we were able to visit this incredible home and meet Pastor Isaac and his wife. Isaac has a true passion for helping children and God is using him to make a huge difference in so many kids.

America World is sending another team to Uganda this fall. Please check out this link for more information.

Friday, July 5th - Kenya

Friday, July 5, 2013

Guest post by Team Member Sophia Luwis

It has been a long day of sitting in the car, experiencing strange/smelly bathrooms, and poor Kenyan conditions, but also a great day to see God work through it all. We woke up at the Floral bright and early for breakfast. Some of us got some coffee and then we hit the road! On our way to Mogogosiek, we stopped at The Rift Valley viewpoint. It was AMAZING! God truly made this world beautiful. There was also a small shop there, so we were able to do a little shopping J.

Also along our journey, we stopped at a children’s home that our guide used to work at. This home was not too different then some of the other homes we have visited. Conditions are not the best especially when compared to our American standards. And yet, the kids are happy and the staff does their best to love them. These children are also VERY disciplined. All public school teachers in Kenya were currently on strike, but yet these kids continued classes by teaching themselves - now that is dedication!

At one point in our continued journey we all bought some roasted maize from a roadside stand. It probably was not the best idea Joe has ever had, so if we get sick, we will blame him. Even though the maize tasted like burnt popcorn it was perfect for feeding the baboons we found farther down the road.

As you drive into the high lands of Kenya, everything gets really green and tropical. Everybody we have met describes it as a Garden of Eden and in this garden is The Mogogosiek Baby Home. It is incredible here! The children are beautiful. They had a great staff watching over them and a wonderful environment around them. God has really blessed these kids with good people and a good, but temporary, home.

Even though these babies are in a good place now, the stories of how they got there are hard to hear. There is one baby in particular whose story has, I believe, touched everyone on our team. This baby’s mother had given birth and probably only hours later dumped her newborn baby into a long drop
(squatty potty). The nurses said it was only by chance that someone saw the top of her head and pulled her out. Now, most African babies are beautiful, but this little baby girl is the most gorgeous baby I have ever seen in my life! I cannot pretend I know what her mother was thinking when she put her in the toilet, but I hope and pray that one day God will touch her life and that the same happens for this beautiful little baby.

The rest of the day consisted of us meeting two more chariot of home interns, eating freshly skinned cow and chapatti, having a devotional and prayer time and then going to bed. The devotional was based on Hebrews 10:39 “ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”

Kitui Baby Home

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Here's a video I put together from our time at the Kitui Baby Home.

Wednesday, July 3rd - Kenya

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Guest post by team member Heather Middleton

Today did not start off the greatest for our poor Savanna... She woke up very ill. She ended up staying behind in the comforts of the guest home where there was a nice toiletJ Luckily the baby home was close to the guest home and we were scheduled to go back to the guest home for lunch to check on her.

Once we arrived at the baby home to the cheers of the precious children. Running to the gate as soon as we pulled up. Pastor Joe’s little Sammy came running for him as soon as we all started stepping out of the van. He ran past many of us to get to his “Joe”.  

We started the morning out just spending time and loving on the sweet children. Many just wanted to be held by someone. Some one on one attention is exactly what they wanted. The environment at this baby home was a loving one.

We met two interns Amy and Maggie who will spend 6 weeks in Africa working in the orphanages of Chariots of Hope.  They were very sweet girls. The nursemaids in this facility are hard to keep due to the long hours and the hard work. Without the 2 interns, they only had maybe 8 nursemaids for over 40 small children.

In the afternoon we set up our stations in their classroom. The children sang songs to us and we sang songs with them. It was beautiful. The children ranged from 3-6 and they were the most behaved group of children that age I have ever seen!! I held a short devotion, we painted nails, painted faces, played with play dough, made bracelets and colored on blank paper. They had a BALL!!

Julie ended up taking Savanna to the local “hospital” to get checked out. It just happened to be next door to our guest home (God thing!). After numerous tests, they confirmed she had Malaria!!! We could not believe it!! She was given many different types of drugs and sent back to the guesthouse. I felt so bad for her as I know she waited for this trip for a long time. It was heartbreaking for her.  The housemaids at the guesthouse were so concerned and took very good care of her. They held her head up, provided comfort, brought soup, and kept checking on her. Amazing!

Saying goodbye to the children that evening was extremely difficult as many of us were really attached to some of the children. It was a lot more difficult than I expected. They clung tightly to us as we left. Not wanting us to leave. Tears were definitely shed by many as our bus pulled away for the final time.    

We invited Amy & Maggie to join us for dinner and a hot shower, they gladly accepted. It was nice to be able to encourage them in their journey as they have about 2 weeks left in Africa.


Tuesday, July 2nd Kenya

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

We started our day early with breakfast at 7:00am. It was cereal, fried eggs, and bread. After breakfast we met for devotions and prayer – without Gods call we wouldn’t have considered coming – without Gods provision we wouldn’t be here and without His help we wouldn’t make it in the days to come.

While at breakfast we met a man from Minnesota named Mark. He was very helpful with information about the country and even told us about a great coffee shop just around the corner from the Hostel. So, with a little time to spare we took a walk for some great African coffee at the Savanna. And, we weren’t disappointed! 

Our driver for our time in Kenya, Matthew, met us at the Floral at 9:00am. And, our guide for the majority of our time in Kenya, Paul, also joined us. He serves as in Kenya with Chariots of Hope and has an incredible passion for helping orphans and children. So, with our luggage loaded and our guide leading us, we started our four-hour drive to Kitui. This road trip included the expected rough roads, crazy traffic, and spectacular views – its not often you see a giraffe roaming freely while driving down the road!

Unfortunately, a couple of our team members suffer from carsickness. Needless to say the roads and driving style of this country was torturous for one if them– puke bag required!

I’m so impressed with this team and their passion to serve here in this country. They are fighting through fears, carsickness, homesickness, and much more to have the opportunity to love on and serve these precious children here in Africa.

And our first opportunity to serve came when we pulled onto the campus of the Kitui Baby Home sponsored by Chariots of Hope.  As soon as our van pulled up to the gate of the home – the children started singing and waving. My heart jumped at their excitement to see us.

As we stepped out of the van the children immediately came to us – arms stretched out – eager for someone to hold them. We spent the next couple of hours doing just that. This is a baby home so 40+ children ranged from birth to six years old. As we held the children we also met the nursemaids and did our best to encourage them. Their daily job is so incredibly difficult, sometimes lasting more than 15 hours. They do the best they can but honestly they are out numbered in most cases. So, our presence and help brings relief to these amazing caregivers. And the children soaked it up.

After spending time with the babies we were invited into the directors office. She talked with us for some time and offered us Kenyan tea and cookies. She was an amazing woman that has been with the home for 17 years.

We journeyed back to the guest home for supper, showers, and much needed rest.