1 family + years of serving = 1000’s of disciples

turkanamummaI have the privilege of working with some amazing hero’s of the mission world…as I am sure you have heard me say many times by now. When I am with them or hear their stories  I am constantly blown away by the impact they have by simply answering the call to “go”. Being present with people, loving the unloveable, caring for the needy, and living a life that reflects Jesus is all it takes to make a great impact among the nations.

One of these couples that are making this kind of impact are Mark and Annemarie Dye. They have lived in Africa for much of their lives and currently reside in Kenya. They know how to love people, teach the bible, and disciple new followers…they do this with a remarkable joy as well! I usually describe them to others as the people I want to be like when I grow up, and I mean that wholeheartedly. They embody so much of what I believe it takes to be hero’s of the faith, servant leaders, and lovers of people – world changers!

They lived with their 3 boys for many years in the northern area of Kenya with the Turkana tribal people before moving to Nairobi where they now live. While being there they simply began sharing the Gospel and discipling new believers. Today there are over 15o0 believers and the church is still growing. You can watch this powerful, short video of Mark telling the story of what God is doing among this people group today by clicking the link below.

The Turkana Story

When I watch this video I am reminded of how blessed I am to serve alongside missionaries like this. Thank you to all of you who financially partner with the RouseHouse and pray for us regularly. God is doing a great work around His world and He has chosen to allow us (all of us) to play a part!

Mac’s trip to South Africa

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I will travel with this kid anywhere because he knows how to eat! Sushi!


As many know, last week I was able to take Mac with me to Stellenbosch, South Africa. It was so fun to have this cool guy travel with me, especially on such a long trip. When he was 5 he had the chance to go with Lara and I to Panama but honestly he doesn’t remember much other than the ice cold showers we had out in the jungle first thing in the mornings. He even asked me if we would be able to take hot showers this time a few days before we left. haha!  This trip was kind of special and it was his first time to Africa which was pretty special for me. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t praying that he would fall in love with this place and the people much like Lara and I did 10 years ago.


It was a long journey just to get there. 32 hours to be exact. He was a champ the whole way there and back. He slept, talked, ate, talked, read, talked, did home work, talked, watched movies, talked, played games, and then talked a little more. Let’s just say I was more tired by the time we got there than he was. It was fun though!

This week in the Cape Town area was good for he and I. I was busy many of the days in a conference/leaders summit with some remarkable leaders from multiple African countries, Thailand, India, Mexico, multiple European countries, and the US. We dream, talked and planned for how God can take this way of life, living and serving in intentional community, and transform lives around the globe. Let’s just say He is up to big things…and by His grace I have a chance to be a part of it!Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 6.10.40 PM

Mac had a full week too. When I was in meetings he would hang out with some of the families that live in Stellenbosch and are a part of the East Mountain community. I think he really liked being with them more than me but I can’t blame him for that! The other half of the time he would come along with me to visit ministries, head into town, or go have a meal by the water. Lunch by the ocean with your son and friends is pretty cool if you are 11 or 33 years old! Mac also just hung around with us at the East Mountain house and busted out some homework. Yes, he had to do homework per his teachers but just being in Africa was pretty educational.

“Dad, I need a coffee and I have my own money.”

I asked Mac a bunch of questions on our way home so that he would be ready for when people asked him, “how was your trip?”. I know how this kid works and I didn’t want him to just say, “good” in his non-excited tone. Once we talked through the trip he really had some great answers so, I thought I would share just a few of them.

What was the craziest/best thing you ate? Ostrich steak and kudu sausage…This kid loves some meat!

Braai – South African for cookout or BBQ. We had 7 or 8 different meats!

What kind of money do they use? The use the Rand which is around 15 ZAR to $1USD. I love math so I liked figuring the price of things out when we went to buy something.

Did you see any cool animals? penguins and seals

Was it what you expected? No, I thought it would be a bunch of huts and animals but it was really normal.

What was the funnest thing you did or visit while you were there? The day we visited the township and saw just how poor some of the people were. I couldn’t believe that people in the world actually lived that way. They were also cooking goat heads on the side of the road which looked weird, but smelled so good.

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Over looking Khayelitsha

What language do most people speak? I think it is called Afrikanns but they also have some tribal languages but I can’t say them.

What’s one cool fact that you learned about South Africa? There are 2.4 million people live in the Khayelitsha township which is only about 15 sq miles.


The top of Table Mountain. Usually you can see for miles.

What was the weather? Well, they say that it is really nice but it rained while we were there, especially the day we went on top of Table Mountain. It’s not too cold though.


What did you do most days? When I was with you (dad) we hung out at the East Mountain house which is really cool and when I wasn’t with you I played with my friends Asher, Madeline, Caleb, Dylan, and Isaiah. They were pretty cool!

How do think God could use you in a place like Africa one day?  I would love to work in the poor townships teaching people about Jesus, playing with kids, and helping with whatever they might need.

Mac visiting a church sponsored school in the township. 

Well, I think we have another lover of Africa and future missionary in the RouseHouse! He did great and loved every minute of his time in South Africa. It was a really blessing to be able to spend so much one on one time with this kid and see him love being a world traveler! He was made for this.

17 Hour flight with NO TV! What else can you do but sleep.


Is There Value to Short-Term Missions?

I was asked last month to do a write up for the UWM blog regarding my thoughts and views of short term mission work. As many of you know Lara and I cut our teeth in missions serving churches through short term mission trips. We had great experiences, learned a lot, and gained a new heart for the world through these years. Unfortunately, not everyones experience with short term mission teams is as good as ours was. Short term missions can too often be disruptive, inconsistent, and harmful…unless they are done with a few long term goals and thoughts in mind. Here is our my story…


For many of us we we hear someone say “short-term” missions or a missions trip, and we associate a negative feeling or thought with those phrases. We stereotype what they look like and the impact they could have on the “real” work of missions. We ask questions like: How helpful could this really be? What could short-term trips really accomplish in just a small period of time?  Are they going to be helping or will they just hurt the work we are doing?  If we are really honest with ourselves, we don’t see a great deal of value or need for short-term missions.

What if this way of thinking may not be all there is to short-term missions? What value can we find in short-term work, if any? I have one thought about the benefit of short-term missions.

spanky st trip
My first hike into the jungles of Chiriqui, Panama, 2004

I could share with you many stories, and some of them would be your story, that long-term missionaries have told me about how God led them into missions.  For many missionaries it started with them first participating in a short-term trip.  Many of us have committed to give our life to missions because of a short-term mission trip.  Many of us realized the call of God on our lives when we stepped out of our comfort zones and went on a trip to serve in another country for two weeks.  Many of us experienced how God could use us and wanted to use us.  Many of us received a passion for a specific place, people group, or type of ministry because we said yes to going on a short-term mission trip.


For me personally, I look back and remember many of the short-term mission trips that I took as a teenager and younger adult.  They were highly instrumental in shaping who I am today as a man, minister, and follower of Christ.  I often think back to a specific short-term mission trip that I took 12 years ago when I clearly heard the call of God on my life to pursue Him and to live intentionally/missionally.  I was sitting in a tent in the middle of the Panamanian jungle when I believe I heard the voice of God call to me.  I was out of my comfort zone, working with local pastors, experiencing a different culture and language when I was awakened to the possibility that God not only could use me but wanted to use me to reach the nations with His Good News.

spanky panama
Because of that trip my family and I committed our lives to a missional way of living, whether it was in our neighborhood, our school, our church, and/or around the world.


I understand that short-term missions – if not done correctly or are not closely tied to the long-term goals – can do more harm than good. But, I also believe that they can be a tool that helps fuel the fire of missions around the world!  I have seen and experienced how God can use short- term missions as an on-ramp to a life of leading others in a growing relationship with Jesus while loving and serving them well.

Who is God calling today who will only encounter His purpose for their life through the experience of going on a short-term missions trip?  Many, many more Kingdom workers, I believe!

By: Spanky Rouse, Mobilizer & Coach – Africa & Asia

Visiting the Community, South Africa part 2


The second half of my trip to South Africa was pretty amazing! My beautiful bride was able to fly down and join me for the second week which very cool for us. It was the first time in 5 years that we have been able to travel to Africa together. When we are together in that special place it is always some kind of wonderful.

The reason for this part of the trip was to visit one of the biggest projects/ministries and groups of missionaries that I support and have the blessing to serve alongside here at UWM. My biggest priority for this part of my trip was to gain a better understanding of who we are and what we do in South Africa. My favorite part of the trip was having the privilege to spend time with the people that are living and serving in South Africa. What better way to get a feel for the ministry than to get to know the people.


I have wrote about East Mountain, the ministry there outside of Cape Town, a couple times and many of you have heard me talk about them because they are just that awesome. **Actually the very first missionary couple and the first intern that I had the opportunity to work with when I came on board here at UWM, both went to serve here with East Mountain South Africa. I just wrote a blog post on East Mountain not long ago and you can read more about who they are and what they do here EAST MOUNTAIN or you can check out their website for more info here eastmountain.tv

DISCLAIMER – This may sound like no work and all play but…I enjoy my work so much and most of my co-workers live in beautiful places around the world so…most of my work does feel like it is all play. Great things were accomplished for the Kingdom while we enjoyed every sight, sound, and taste of South Africa! If you got to have a job it might as well be one you enjoy, right!


When I travel I usually get the question, “how was your trip” from many of you and my response is often, “amazing!”. This time I would say exactly the same thing, “amazing!” So, I thought I would share with you some of the experiences, pictures, and stories that Lara and I had from being there and being with the East Mountain Community that made it “amazing!”. It was a full week but really fun! Fun, not just because we were in one of the most breath taking places on earth but because of the people we were with…the giant mountains, gorgeous beaches, perfect weather, wine country, and delicious food didn’t hurt either!

Sunday: Lara had just arrived the night before so we took it easy and hung out with the Halbert family. They allowed us to crash with them for the week and it was great. These guys are great host and friends to spend time with. Sunday lunch was at a local winery where they have what they call, “market”every week. It was like a small, relaxed festival with local food and crafts. Then we headed to the famous Table Mountain to hike and see the sunset. The views were unbelievable! Pictures can not do it justice. Unfortunately, we did not see the sun set because the winds were so bad they evacuated the mountain. Still an awesome day!


Monday: We did the “Loop” as they call it. Basically, you start going down the eastern coast of Cape, down to Cape Point, then back up to Cape Town. This was a long day but a really fun way to see much of the area and cool sites like, penguins, Cape Point, and the beach! We finished the day off having dinner with all of the interns from the US and Africa that live at the East Mountain house. Awesome day!



Tuesday: We were invited to the staff meeting where we had the chance to hear about some of the things happening and coming up in the next few weeks. It was good for me to see all of the Community together and working together. Later that afternoon Lara and I went out with Gabe Smith, friend and founder of East Mountain, to the oldest winery in Stellenbosch. We had a good time catching up on life and ministry while doing a wine and chocolate paring. So yum! Later that evening we sat around with the more friends catching up, laughing, dreaming about the future, and talking about how God is doing a great thing with this work here in South Africa. Awesome day!


Wednesday: The morning was freed up so that Lara and I were able to spend a little bit of time together in the city. We walked around exploring this quaint city, checking out little coffee shops, talking just to two of us, and we enjoyed all of the fun shops that line the streets of Stellenbosch. For lunch and dinner we went out with two different couples that serve at East Mountain and got their view of life, ministry, and experiences as they have just recently finished up their first year being in South Africa. These times are valuable and very helpful for me as I work with others interested in serving overseas in the future. Another awesome day!


Thursday: This day got off on a good start! We had an early meeting to talk about future work and plans for East Mountain and how I could help resource them with the right people. The kicker is, our breakfast meeting was at the beach starring at the cliffs running off into the ocean. In the words of a wise person I know (wink wink you know who you are), this did not suck! We were then able to visit with another leader at East Mountain who serves one of our partner churches and school in a local township to see transformation…real life changing, long lasting transformation. Today this poor, lower class community is better than it was last year and in the next 5-20 years it will radically different! This isn’t the nicest, safest, or most welcoming township but there is a bit of light that is springing up out of the local church. They are educating, feeding, loving on people, tutoring, creating fun spaces to learn the bible and how to worship, meeting needs, interacting with the least of these, and making it a better place today and for the future. We have the opportunity to come alongside them as a resource, friend, and support to help them do even more of the things God has called them to do. This was one of the most impactful times of our trip for Lara and I. We were able to participate in some of the ministry while sitting with people in their homes and walking the streets. We ended the day by having dinner in the home of another “fresh to the field” missionary family that seem to be rocking it! It was truly an awesome day!


Friday: We headed back home but before we did Lara and I took advantage of this great weather and wonderful little city. We went walking, site seeing, got some coffee, ate at our favorite breakfast spot, and said our goodbyes to some of our new friends! It was an awesome day other than the fact that we had to leave!IMG_5886.JPG

East Mountain is a community of people who love Jesus, the local church, and each other. We are blessed to have spent some time with each one of them. For all of you who partner with the RouseHouse through prayer, financial support, and encouragement we want to say a BIG THANK YOU for making this time possible! It meant a lot to us as well as to the men, woman, and families we were able to sit with and encourage during this week. Thank you and God Bless!IMG_5854.JPG

J-Life Leaders Summit, South Africa part 1

Leo (my friend from UWM living in South Africa), Palgrave (from Ghana), and me
Two weeks ago I arrived in another country for the first time. South Africa! I have heard a lot about this place but really had no idea what it was like. All I knew about this country was Nelson Mandela and the rugby movie with Matt Damon. South Africa is an extremely beautiful and wonderful place! It definitely has a different feel than anywhere else in Africa that I have been to but still has a little sense of Africa underneath the initial impressions.


This week I was invited to come to a leaders summit for a new ministry that we are looking at partnering with called J-Life. J-Life focus is raising up indigenous leaders who will passionately pursue the mission of making disciple makers. I don’t know that I have seen any other organization so laser focused on making disciples like these guys. Their vision is clear and their methods are simple and highly effective! They believe that if they can especially disciple the youth of this continent they can reach the entire continent of Africa. They are currently serving in 30+/- countries and doing pretty well. I am excited for the future of United World Mission and J-Life’s partnership. J-Life
J-Life country leaders working on strategies together
While being here in South Africa I have come up with 10 things that I have seen, heard, or experienced that stood out to me this week. When I get the opportunity to travel to a new place I love seeing the differences as well as similarities of other places so making a list of 10 things really helps me with this.
So here they are…
  1. Africa is the most beautiful place in the world to me and I find myself falling in love every time I come back.
  2. No matter what country, region, or tribe you are from, all of us need some close relationships to make life better.
  3. Africans wake up ridiculously early and when they do they are not quiet they immediately get LOUD! Usually with singing.
  4. Africans will willingly give you the shirt off their back if you asked for it or not.
  5. Everybody loves free stuff! No matter what continent you lI’ve on, you love free stuff but Africans appreciate the free stuff more than most.
  6. Africans love you and make you a part of the family within a couple minutes meeting them. They have never meet a stranger.
  7. God is always present no matter where you go in this world. The problem is, the enemy is also.
  8. Africans don’t always do simple things in simple ways. They do it the way their families have always done it.
  9. Africans love to sing and dance no matter what country, culture, or language.
  10. This place and these people are like good medicine for my soul! You should try it sometime too.

    A late afternoon way out away from the city enjoying a long walk

Super Heros or Missionaries

(None of these pictures are UWM personnel or ministry sites) 

  I LOVE missionaries! Since the age of 14 I have had a draw to those who are living out there faith in big ways among another culture…why I ask. 

I am standing here in a time of worship with a group of missionaries and I begin to wonder what is it that is so remarkable about them. They truly are amazing people and families, so what is it about them? 

  This is a personal reflection that I have listed out that I thought I would share with you. I share it because I believe that they aren’t some super Christians or more anointed children of the King than anyone of us have the right to, but when you are with them you realize there is something more about them. So, here is what I have noticed…

  • They pursue God all out with their life! 
  • Worship is sweeter to them
  • Prayer is more powerful to them
  • That care deeply for others
  • Their love is not just a theory but an action
  • They are normal people that believe God can use them
  • They have the idea that life is short so enjoy it…they know how to have fun! 
  • They care less about themselves and more about others
  • They see people as those loved by God 
  • They are adventurous
  • They are a bit crazy (in a good way)which leads them in faith not rationalizm 
  • Their joy is attractive 
  • They are steadfast and strong

Missionaries are encouraging, inspiring, and in my mind, resemble Jesus. The hero’s of faith that I look up to and use as guides to who God wants me to be actually have faces and names that the majority of this world will never know…I thank God that I have the previledge of knowing many of them that are true world changers! 



That isn’t smoke, it is midst rising from the falls. You can see it from miles away.

Every couple of years we gather all of our missionaries from around the African continent for what we call conference. This is a time of renewal, rest, realignment. This was my first time attending the UWM African Conference and it was held in Vic Falls, Zimbabwe…It’s actually called the Afro Conference but I just can’t bring myself to call it that :)… This was my first chance to meet many of these missionaries. I have talked on the phone, Skype, and emailed most of them but there is nothing like face to face time! I spend almost every minute of this week meeting with people to hear their stories, getting to know them, finding out ways I can better serve them, and praying for them. They are long days and I am always exhausted by the time I get back on my plane to head home but I wouldn’t want it any other way! I love what I do!

The Baobab is also called the upside-down tree because when bare of leaves, the spreading branches of the Baobab look like roots sticking up into the air, as if it had been planted upside-down. – This isn’t even the largest of their kind!

I had an opportunity to speak to 3 different groups while I was there and give a brief presentation on how we were going to serve them and their ministries better. My number one goal was to connect with them personally and have them leave feeling like I was for them and their ministry. By the power of the Holy Spirit it went great! I was able to gain their trust, let them see my passion for Africa, and begin building a strong relationship with them. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Psalm 66:3Say to God, "How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You. 4"All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name."
Psalm 66:3Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You. 4″All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name.”




I was texting Lara one day to tell her how the day was going and she said, “You have the best job in the world!” I think it was because I mentioned to her that I was standing at the glorious Victoria Falls having a delicious cappuccino. My “job” is pretty awesome! I get to travel to amazing places, meet awesome people, help others achieve their dreams, passions, and calling, and I have the privilege of seeing/being a part of the Church taking action by equipping leaders, establishing new churches, and engaging in holistic ministries.

Some crazy, fun parts of my trip to Zimbabwe were:

Two of the great minds and missional hearts that I get to serve alongside! Kevin (expansion) and Tom (strategy)
Two of the great minds and missional hearts that I get to serve alongside! Kevin (expansion) and Tom (strategy)


visiting Victoria Falls – it is mind-blowing at how grand and beautiful it really is!!! NO WORDS!

eating some wild game like buffalo, crocodile (taste like tough chicken), warthog (the best meat I have ever tasted! So tender you need no knife), antelope, ox tail (fatty, I do not recommend it), ox liver (not bad), some other animals liver, and a couple other ones.

raIMG_4468fting sown the mighty Zambezi – No joking here, I thought at one moment I had taken my final breath of air while being tossed around a whirl pool in a class 5 rapid! It was an amazing experience after that! The hike in and out of the gorge was pretty awesome too!

watching elephants from the deck just before dinner come to the watering hole in large herds!IMG_4633








watching the sunrise over the African plain each morning!

Sunrise from my room
Sunrise from my room







One of my favorite pictures! This is the sunset on the Zambezi river.

taking a sunset cruise on the Zambezi leaves you breathless!







Shortly after snapping this picture this little guy attacked me! I was definitely more scared of him than he was of me!


Watching monkeys jump in your room to steal food or jump up on the table in the restaurant to grab the sugar packets never gets boring.










Africa always seems to surprise me with its beauty and awaken my soul to the voice of God. The sights, sounds, smells, taste, and people refresh me every time and leave me wondering when the Father is going to ask my family and I to move there. But until then I am choosing to enjoy this wonderful

journey that He so faithfully is leading me on! Jeremiah 1: 4Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, 5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”


To all of you who prayed for me and for my family during this time I want to say Thank You!

…do justice, and to love kindness…

One out of every six people on earth live in India, and by 2025 it is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation. India is growing as a world economic power and potentially as a great missionary sending nation. The church has grown rapidly in many parts of the country, especially in the south. At the same time, a high percentage of the world’s unreached peoples are in India.

At UWM (United World Mission) we have a team of families that live and serve in Patna India. This team is what I would call game changers. They are making a holistic impact on the people, economy, families, and spiritual aspects on this part of India. This team is also some of the most selfless and loving people I have been privileged to know let a long serve with. Where they live is known to be one of the poorest, dirtiest, and toughest places in the whole world! I have heard other missionaries that are serving in China, central Asia, and other places that say that they have no idea how this team does it. Just a small example of how poor this area is, they use dried cow poop to build fires to cook their food. That’s pretty extreme in my book!

I feel blessed to be apart in a small way of what they are doing in India and would love to share some info and stories of what they are actually doing. Our team has developed a micro-finance loan system to bring hope and change to economically depressed communities. Through partnership with Indian church planters, God is using this community development tool to pave the way for the gospel and to bring about eternal hope in the heart of India’s unreached communities.

MEDIC Projects-sewing center, water wells, micro-finance loans, and education
MEDIC Projects-sewing center, water wells, micro-finance loans, and education

Mercy Economic Development International Concern (MEDIC – Bihar) which is a faith-based charitable trust seeking to enrich the lives of the poor of Bihar through community transformation with micro-finance initiatives. The vision of MEDIC is to Build Sustainable Communities with Hope for the Future by providing economic, educational, medical and holistic opportunities to the poorest of the poor. They have projects in micro-finance (MEDIC), wells and hand pump projects, sewing centers for woman, education, and looking to start-up a program for youth.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

If you feel a draw to serve with or support this ministry I would love to have you contact me. Please be praying for this team and the new believers in this area of India.

Feel free to check MEDIC-Bihar out on Facebook or at their website here.