Kickin’ It Like Jesus

In my last post, I promised to share with you other ministries and people who roll like the King of Kings.

So, here we go:

Thrive Africa lives out the idea that it is possible to impact the people of southern Africa with discipleship and service. The ministry teaches children, loves on orphans and trains up leaders from southern Africa to build the local church. Thrive Africa also provides a place for those considering engaging in cross-cultural service a chance to explore.

Here is what Thrive Africa says about the work that they do:

Our mission is to equip and mobilize indigenous leaders to become strategic, Godly influences in their cultural communities. Our model of ministry is based on II Timothy 2:2: “…Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others.”

We train pastors, teach discipleship classes, promote AIDS prevention through abstinence, and inspire young people through our youth camps.

Launchpad Discipleship Classmates

Sarah and I first learned about Thrive because Sarah’s cousin, Katie went to serve there as an intern for one year.  Many things must have happened in her heart as she served with Thrive.  At the end of the year, Katie committed to return full-time to serve.  Additionally, God seems to have rewarded Katie’s willingness to serve by providing her a husband, Marc who also serves with Thrive.  Isn’t that cool?

Over the last year, we have come to realize that Thrive Africa is living out the Great Commission in unique and creative ways.  They truly believe in this commandment to make disciples and that it’s possible to actually do something to impact South Africa.

We hope that you don’t just read this.  We hope your heart is tweaked.  But, ideally, we hope you feel compelled to action.  As the fourth chapter of James indicates, if you know to do good and don’t do it….yikes!  Likewise, if you hear the word of God and do nothing, your are like the one who looks in the mirror but then forgets what he looks like….uh, who wants to be that person? So, what do you say?  Now you know of an organization that is doing the Lord’s work and needs your help.  How about we step up and support Thrive Africa?

Here are some ways that you can find out more, get involved and give to Thrive Africa:

You have all been a great encouragement and support to us.  Will you do the same for Thrive Africa?

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Don’t Talk About That!!!

Deuteronomy 26:12
When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.

Tithing. We don’t like to talk about it.  It reminds us of the Law.  It requires sacrifice. It requires obedience.  It requires giving up something that you’ve worked hard for. Entitled. That’s how we often feel.

If we look at the passage above, beyond the numbers and to the heart of the matter, it is to set aside a portion of everything that you harvest and give it to those who don’t have enough.  The Levite, religious servants, received nothing and depended on this – God’s provision.  Ok, I think we can handle giving to people like this.  Now what about the alien, the fatherless the widow (Deut. 27:19), how do we feel about giving to them?  It doesn’t seem to matter what we to think about that, right?   God says, we do. Pretty simple.

But, now, what about today’s world?  How much do we harvest?  My family pulled a few bad tasting tomatoes from the garden, a bit of mint leaves and one or two broccoli.  Ok, we know that we are no longer agrarian for the most part.  What then do we “set aside”?  Money.  Yes, that’s part of it.  But, I wonder if there is more to it.  I think that perhaps the intent wasn’t just that we were to give to others.  I think it has a lot to do with the time and effort that people sacrificed in order to give to others.  It required a value for others that had less. I value them, therefore, I’m willing to work, spend time on and give to them. I think that is the intent.  And, in that, relationships are built, a community strengthened.

How to apply this to our life? Well, for my family, as people supported by other’s generosity, we aren’t off the hook – for money or for time/effort sacrifice.  Here’s how we will add to our monthly “setting aside”.  We will begin highlighting other ministries and people who act like Jesus.  What!?  Aren’t people in our position supposed to raise as much awareness and support for their families and ministries only?  I mean, how many people serving on the field have a completely funded budget?  Right, not many.  If we look at the passage above, it indicates that in our setting aside we will have to trust that God will provide.

So, we will begin “tithing” (10% or 11.32% for those who avoid anything to do with the law, well some percentage, anyway) of our words to the network of people who support, pray for and encourage us to others who need the same.  God is using many people in amazing ways. I think it is worth sharing these as we become aware of them.  We should want to see God’s servants fully funded, prayed for and encouraged.  I don’t think we should treat our personal ministries as the only thing to talk about.  We should trust that if we share about others’ needs, our own needs will still be met.  Faith.  Trust.  Belief.

Starting very soon (no timelines, we have kids y’all), you will start to see posts about other servants of the Most High God.  It’s what I feel/know we are supposed to do.  I think I’ll call it, “Acting Like Jesus.”
So, will you, our friends, supporters and encouragers, extend yourselves to these others?  I hope so.  We have been blessed by you as well as by getting to know the other ministries/people we will be highlighting.  Let’s see what God will do with this.  More importantly, I hope this brings glory to His holy name.

Quick Update: This Is Our Life Right Now

Sometimes this life gives you as much as you can take.  I’m not sure we’re all that close to that level of stress, but it certainly isn’t dull around here.  We definitely are requesting prayer for strength, wisdom, endurance, finances, ministry……….just about everything.

I want to specifically ask you to pray for Sarah.  Her grandfather has been unwell.  He has recently made a decision that brings up end-of-life issues.  While Sarah is supportive of this, it certainly isn’t easy to deal with.  It is especially complex as we are so far away.  Please pray for wisdom about travel, peace for Sarah and her family (Grandpa included) and for comfort for him.

Lately, we have been experiencing what we are considering late-reaction, culture shock.  We are finding ourselves missing our families, our life back in the States, our dog and many other things.  Logically, we should be well past these things.  And, it’s almost strange the things that bring up longing in our hearts.  This was clear when I recently visited Jordan.  Almost instantly, I felt a sense of comfort when I realized that they drive on the right side of the road.  I realized that I missed even that.

Life for us has become busy, like I’m sure it is for many of you.  At SAT-7, I am part of the team preparing for the annual conference in November.  We have a very small team and more than enough to do.  So, my days at the office are quite full.  At home, having a baby, two home-schoolers, bills, cross-continental communication with friends and extended family, a broken motorcycle all seem to make the time at home seem it’s all too much.  Most of this is just normal life but somehow it seems a little excessive right now.

I have a friend that says when life is seeming difficult, “well, I must be doing something right.”  You see, he knows that the enemy tries to discourage those who are productive for the Lord.  I hope, in our case, that the difficult days are the result of good kingdom work.  I do feel that the work that I’m doing at SAT-7 is valuable and that SAT-7 is diligently sharing the Gospel to many people who would otherwise not hear.  And, our kids seem to be growing closer to the Lord as we raise them.  For this, I am grateful.

We are in one of those times of life where it is important to press on.  But, please allow us to ask for your support through prayer and encouragement.  We’ve gotten here because of your diligence in these things, perhaps we will persevere the same way.  The Lord has provided us with you.  He tends to know what He is doing.

Traveling Mercies

History LessonWe are about to head home after our journey out east.  We’ve made some new friends and reconnected with a few.  In total, we’ve been gone from home for thirteen days.  The kids have held up very well with several longer than preferred van rides.  While we have one more to go, this has been better than expected and even with a melt-down or two will be considered successful.

Our first stop: Gettysburg, PA.  We had a wonderful time visiting with First Baptist Church and the Gallimores.  We also took the kids to explore the battlefields of Gettysburg.  They loved climbing on the rocks but probably missed the historical significance of what they saw.  Since they are only 4 and 7, we’ll let that slide.

Second stop: Easton, MD.  I was able to spend two days in the SAT-7 USA office.  We worked through the communication strategy for the year.  It was great to meet the staff and see another aspect of this ministry that is bringing hope to the Middle East and north Africa.  The staff in Easton is so committed and kind.  We developed a good working relationship and I look forward to working with them more.

Third stop: Richmond, VA.  We were able to stay with my Dad and visit with Kentwood Heights Baptist Church again.  Kentwood was the second church we shared our ministry with in the Fall of 07.  This congregation has been so very warm to us.  The second time around, we found them to be equally kind.  During our stay here in Richmond, we also had a chance to take some walks in the woods, the kids visited two museums and spend some quality catch up time.  I also met with Corinth Baptist Church and the Dover Association of Baptist Churches.

We are now heading home.  We have worked hard, played a little and prayed a lot.  Our journey continues.  Not every step is known, yet we know who we follow.  We know where our provision comes from.  We are thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness.  He chose us and will deliver us.

Note: I was asked what the timeframe is for a new SAT-7 program to go from idea to broadcast.  After inquiring further, it is clear that there are several paths that a program can take.  Some types of programs are more quickly produced while others can take significant time.  The length of time it takes to get the show on the air depends on how complicated the program is.  A drama (requiring auditions for actors, multiple locations, lots of script work) can easily take a year to produce.  A talk show, depending on the type, can be made much quicker.  Some of these projects are larger and take a year, or even more.  There is a research phase, then building a team, then production, then post production (editing/effects/music) then broadcast.  There isn’t an easy answer but I hope this gives you an idea of the process.

Latest Edition

Just a quick post to let you know that we’ve just mailed the latest edition of our newsletter.  If you want a sneak peek or aren’t on our mailing list, download the electronic version.

If you want to be on the mailing list, just send me a quick email at danreeves@cten.org.

I should be adding captions to the Flickr photos (the gallery on the right) soon.  That way you will know what you are looking at.

Thanks for all of you who encourage and support us!

Up, Up and Away

It’s Thursday of my first week of full-time ministry.  It’s a been week of transition and learning for sure.  The kids now have a new understanding of what a closed door means.  I’ve been working from a makeshift office in our bedroom.  Having Dad home seems to be a novelty at this point.  I kinda feel like how a ferris wheel must feel.  Give it another week and I will be the thing that you go to as a last resort – just like the ferris wheel.

I’ve received my first assignments from SAT-7.  It feels good to connect with the ministry and provide a benefit.  We’ve been at this for a year and a half or so.  I’m sure there have been moments on both sides where there was a wondering if we would ever materialize into a benefit for the ministry.

We are excitedly preparing for our first trip to Cyprus! On Nov. 2nd at 1:30pm, Sarah and I begin our journey from Dayton, OH to Philadelphia to London to Cyprus, arriving at 3pm on the 3rd.  On Nov. 10th we reverse that with a 15-hour layover in London.  We will have an opportunity to attend the annual SAT-7 conference in Larnaca, Cyprus.  We will also stay a few days in Nicosia, where we will eventually live.  Our kids will not be joining us.  Instead they will be staying with our friends, the Childers, in Dayton.  Pray for the Childers.  Seriously, that’s a long time to watch our kids. We weren’t sure that we would be able to visit Cyprus before moving there.  This is a major blessing!

We have a major praise report! We have received all the funds needed to relocate.  Thank you and praise God for His continued provision.  This is unbelievable – we can actually get there.  We are still in need of additional monthly support which is the amount that will keep us serving.  We begin to live fully dependent on monthly support beginning in November.  We do this knowing that the Lord has provided time and time again.  Will times be tough sometimes?  Surely.  Will we doubt?  Surely.  Will He provide?  No doubt.

One other note about finances.  We watch the strength of the U.S. dollar in comparison to the Euro very closely.  During the summer, it looked like we would have to rethink our monthly support needs.  The dollar was about $1.60/Euro.  Lately, the dollar has gained – or, rather the Euro has weekened faster than the dollar.  The dollar is about $1.28/Euro today.  We will continue to monitor this and keep you informed.  We know the economy is going through trying times.  We also know that God is on the throne.