I am learning that in the fall my travel schedule will be mainly domestic events. These travels consist of meeting with church leaders, other mission organizations, universities, and missionaries that are in the States for home ministry assignment (all that means is they are meeting up with supporters, churches, and family/friends).
Last week I was in Pittsburgh with an organization that we at UWM partner with called GoCorps. It was a week of training some of our new young missionaries and planning for future work together. GoCorps connects Christian young adults with ways they can use their degree overseas along side strategic long-term projects. We partner with GoCorps to mobilize Goers to those beyond the current reach of the gospel by recruiting young adults from all career interests to serve globally using their marketplace skills for two years among the least reached and those in extreme poverty.
Goers serve in the hardest places where culture, history and economics have converged to leave generations without access to a culturally relevant understanding of the gospel. Goers are often the first to tell those in the city that they are placed in, about the good news of life in Jesus Christ. They get the opportunity to work alongside long term seasoned missionaries to reach the most unreached in the world.
It is exciting to help recent college grads and young professionals serve the Lord among the nations with the skills and experience He has giving them!
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!
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.
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:
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.
rafting 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!
watching the sunrise over the African plain each morning!
taking a sunset cruise on the Zambezi leaves you breathless!
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!
Have you ever meet someone who you are consistently amazed by? I have someone like that in mind. Mark. He is my immediate director at United World Mission, but he is much more than just a boss. Mark is a super hero! He has travelled to and helped set up ministry in over 80 countries, recruited 100’s of people to go to the nations as missionaries, started schools, seminaries, and training facilities on multiple continents, raised 1000’s of dollars for ministry purposes that he has simply given away. And did I mention he played a huge role in saving UWM around 20 years ago from completely going under and being nonexistent. This is the guy that pursued me for this role I have at UWM and this guy along with the leading of the Spirit of the Lord is the reason I took this “job”/ministry position at UWM.
It was exactly 1 year ago today that I meet Mark. I had inquired online about some mission trips and opportunities through United World Mission a week before. Mark emailed me and asked if I wanted to get lunch sometime the next week. I was taking a day off of work to hang out with my oldest son, Mac, and if someone wanted to buy us lunch, I was all in. I knew Mac wouldn’t care because we were meeting at a favorite BBQ spot. – This is the same kid that told his doctor at age 3 that his favorite food was “MEAT!” – We ate, talked about life and missions, and got to know one another for a little over an hour. By the end of our conversation Mark asked me if I would come work for him. I was completely surprised and quickly shared that I enjoyed my current ministry. “Thank you but no thanks.” That wasn’t the end of the conversation as I would learn over the next 7 weeks. This guy saw something in me and the more we met the more this passion for missions would build inside of me.
Now after working with Mark for over 9 months I can honestly say, this guy cares about other people! Not like some of us say we care about people but he actually puts it into action. Mark is one of the most selfless guys I know. His motto for his life is, “I help others succeed”. And he means it. I know I can tend to care more about me getting recognized or getting what I deserve many days, and in the 9 months that I have worked closely with Mark I have never seen that in him. I have seen the opposite. He goes out of his way for others…daily!
I count it a blessing and privilege to serve under someone like this! I know that I have much to learn and this is the kind of person and leader I want to glean from! He is a huge blessing to me. If you could take a few minutes to pray for Mark and for his family I would appreciate it! They have been going through a very long battle with his daughter’s health after she was strangled by her boyfriend on Christmas morning. Please take a look at his blog and Facebook to learn more and to find ways to be praying for them.
Never did I ever think that I would be teaching and coaching others in support raising!!!
I remember just about 10 years ago when Lara and I went through our first training on how to raise financial support for ministry…we hated it! When we answered the call of God on our lives for missions and ministry we didn’t plan to be some of those weird radicals that ask other people for money to fund our ministry…just to be honest it is a little crazy! But lo and behold we found ourselves in a workshop called “Funding Your Ministry” and 10 years later we are still in the process of funding the work God has called us too through asking others to partner with us and financially give to our ministry.
For many years this has been a tough path. There has been times of tent making (cutting grass, selling insurance, bartending weddings, whatever I could do) and times of not enough. It feels like we have been through some “valleys of the shadow of death” and barely floating in the deep in of the pool. But on the flip side the RouseHouse has seen God move in radical ways, heard His voice clearer than ever, and experienced His faithfulness in some really crazy ways during these years…those of you (co-laborers/partners) that have walked with us through these years know some of those stories as well as we do. Mountain tops and supernatural moments that God could only do! Many highs and many lows. Many blessings and many scary moments. In these times the Word of God reads richer than ever, the Spirit of God is more present than ever, and My Father God is nearer than ever…don’t rush through or take advantage of the rough patches in life, it is God drawing you into His embrace.
Now to today…Never did I ever think that I would be teaching and coaching others in support raising!!! One aspect of my role at UWM is training and coaching new missionaries in how to raise support to fund the ministry. As I sit in my first training I am thinking to myself that if these people knew just how unqualified I am to be doing this I would either be fired or no one would be listening to me. To be honest I am not qualified but on the other hand God has been using my journey over the past 10 years to prepare me for this. Am I an expert? Have I figured this all out? HECK NO! But I have tons of experiences and stories of how to, what not to do, and just how awesome GOD is. This is why I decided I was going to share a part of my journey and somethings God had recently taught me when I was asked to lead the devotion before we began this weeks training.
When I was praying about coming on staff with UWM I knew that I was going to have to raise even more support than I currently was doing…it scared me tremendously! Fear took over but thankfully God got my attention. I had 3 questions come to mind and as I answered them through prayer and scripture I gained the confidence and assurance that I needed to keep moving forward. I believe that if ANYONE would answer these same questions for whatever journey or struggle you may face, you will find the truth that can break open doors of fear, anxiety, and timidness! We can then walk in confidence and peace!
Is God able? Yes, He is exceedingly abundantly able! Ephesians 3:20
Is God good enough? His promises of “good” are littered through out my life everyday(just take a minute to look around). Psalms 31:19
Do I trust him? This is the REAL question when raising support…and for everything else in life! It was the divine hand of God that the first bible verses my mom taught me as a child are Proverbs 3:5-6
It is worth it! Support raising is worth it. When I look back over the years we are able to see that our God has done amazing things in our lives. Even though some days are tough we know that this life style forces us to live by faith which by the way is the only life Jesus says is worth living, and it allows the RouseHouse to be partnered up with some really amazing families, friends, churches, and people to equip Christian leaders, establish healthy churches, and engage in holistic ministry among the nations (and here in Charlotte)! We are extremely grateful for every single person that partners with us, the RouseHouse, through giving financially, praying for us, and encouraging us to keep going! You guys are the real heroes of faith!
If you would like to know how you could partner with the RouseHouse or what kind of mission opportunities we have available please let us know! We have attached giving info below and to know ways you can be praying for us or serving alongside us please visit us at Will you…
This will be my first time writing a blog about a co-worker but I feel that this person deserves it! Karen Judson at UWM is our Donor Relations representative and she loves it! One of Karen’s main roles is to communicate with the donors of missionaries and the US staff on a regular basis. Daily she is on the phone encouraging those who are supporting the work of UWM and she is so good at it! Karen finds joy in hearing what God is doing in these donors lives (sometimes it is not good stuff like financial hardships but she finds ways to be uplifting) and looks for ways to bless these individuals in each conversation. If you ever call into the office she will make sure to pray for you before you hang up! If I was you I would call to say hello and meet Karen!
Karen is one of the most joyful people that I have ever meet! Karen has a big personality and I would say she has been given the spiritual gift of JOY for sure. Everyone loves Karen because her joy and because it is so contagious. When I come into the office she makes a point to come around the corner to say, “Hey Spanky!” or “What’s up man!”. Makes me smile every time.
The other day Karen came in to the office with extra bounce in her step. During prayer time she shared how she woke up thinking about how it is such a blessing to come to work…that is not normal BTW. There are actually people that love waking up and going to work! Karen shared that as she drove in she was reminded by God that she isn’t just going to work but going to her ministry. Have you ever seen someone doing a job and think, “God created them for that specific role”? That is how we all feel about Karen in her role here at UWM and we are so thankful for all that she does to make this an amazing place to serve!
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.
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 youbut 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.
This was the first morning of our conference in Thailand with our missionaries from all over Asia. We started the morning with worship and prayer. Worship and prayer time with a room full of missionaries that are living in some of the toughest spots in the world is quit incredible! You would think they have a direct line with the Father.
One of the songs we sung was “Lord I need you”. After sitting at dinner the night before and breakfast that morning with different couples listening to their hearts I couldn’t help but to have a heavy heart for them. They are facing situations of loneliness, feeling like there is no fruit from their years are hard ministry, and deal with the struggles of raising families in foreign cultures. Life is hard! Way tougher than anything I can find to complain about back home.
During this song I couldn’t help but cry and think that this is so much more than a song to them. It is a literal cry from the deepest place in their heart to God. These amazing men and woman know what it is like to depend on God fully. They declare their dependence every day they wake up in the country they are serving.
“Lord I need you, Oh I need you. Every hour I need you. My one defense, my righteousness, Oh how I need you. ”
Father, forgive me for not declaring my dependence on you but rather living as though I can do it with out you. Oh God how I need you today and in every single moment of this life. Thank you for being the one and only one that is dependable. May my life be in your hands, or may I not forget that my life is completely in your capable and loving hands.
During this time of the year most of us are celebrating the birth of the Savior of the world, enjoying some down time, and looking toward to the new year.
This year during December I have been reflecting more than ever with a new sense of clarity, eyes wide open one may say. This year has been a bit taxing on the mental, emotional, and spiritual side of life for the Rouse House. Life has been good but on the inside it has been a little more than we would wish to have carried. Let’s just say transitions are tough, even good changes can be hard. On the bright side, I know that we have grown in our relationship with Christ and discernment for His will for our life and ministry. I would not be honest if I didn’t at least say God has blessed us more this year than any other year, for real! Our children are incredible, we are healthy, life is exciting, and ministry is ramping up. God is up to good things in the Rouse House!
With the thought of the new year, I am growing with excitement with the sense of what God is building with in the hearts and dreams of the Rouse House. So much good; good probably isn’t the best word to use because I have come to learn that His plans are not merely good but UNBELIEVABLE. Lara and I have began talking through some of these crazy God size dreams. Dreams and ideas that revolve around missional living. Don’t get me wrong, with dreams come plenty of fears. My thought is, we shouldn’t continue in the ordinary just to have a life of comfortableness, but to take a step into the extraordinary to experience the fullness of this life, is the true meaning of life! The life He is offering to us who dare follow (John 10:10). What does it look like for us to be living “missionally”? We don’t really know the specifics but we do know that it is taking the opportunities we have and living in away that people, families, and communities are changed. Living life in a way that is pleasing to God through our faith and loving others in a way they may know Him more. I am sure we will be able to share more in the days to come so stay tuned.
This new year I am so excited to jump deeper into my role at UWM (United World Mission). I have been loving it so far! I have had the privilege to start the connection with people that have a passion for what God is doing in the nations, help build and create local partnerships, and seek new opportunities to for UWM to serve. I can not believe the amazing world changers I have been able to meet and get to know thus far. People from the poorest areas of Charlotte to the largest cities in China. The stories they have one could write a book about!!! I am honored to call this a job!
January 1 I will be heading to Thailand for 2 weeks (what a way to start the new year!). I get to be a part of our Asia Conference with UWM and get to meet missionaries from all over that region. I can not wait to tell the stories from that trip! I will try to post regularly during then too. The majority of my time will be working but I do have a wish list of things I hope t to do while I am in Thailand. Just a few of them are visiting the lying Buddha in Bangkok, take a river taxi, visit the floating market, and take a ride on an elephant (believe me I will post a few pics of this one).
In February we will be tackling some big projects at our local ministry at Piney Grove Elementary. The school has received a new grant to improve certain areas of the school and asked if we could provide the workers. I am so glad we will be able to be apart of rebuilding a food pantry and clothing pantry for those who may need it! We would love to have you come volunteer with us if you are local. More details to come.
We have much more on the horizon for 2015 so please stay tuned by following us. We would also love your prayers for our family as we keep pursuing God’s desire for who He has created us to be and what He has called us to do.
Love the Rouse House, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!