Don’t Serve an Empty Jesus

IMGP8135“How long do the soles on these shoes last?” I asked the sales girl nervously. I stepped from one foot to the next, rocking side to side as if the room were moving and I wanted to steady it.

“Well, I don’t know,” she answered. “I imagine they last quite awhile. These are good shoes.”

“Oh…” I paused awkwardly, trying to remember the things I’d been taught about sharing my faith with strangers. I needed a unique way to start the conversation, but this suddenly felt like it was going a very strange direction. Taking a deep breath I decided to plunge forward with the plan.

“Did-you-know-we-have-souls-that-will-never-die-and-that-Jesus-died-on-the-cross-for-us-so-we-could-live-eternally-with-Him?!” I sort of blurted the sentence out,  a verbal vomit that left the poor sales girl looking entirely confused. Were we talking about shoes or were we talking about Jesus?


This story is not one of my finer moments in life, though I will say the sales girl in Payless was extremely kind. She put her arm around my shoulder, thanked me for being bold enough to share my faith and asked me if I really needed any shoes. I didn’t so on I moved.

This was part of a mission weekend with my church youth group. The premise behind the weekend was a good one – let’s teach young people how to be bold in sharing their faith. I have no problem with this message and I am grateful that it was taught to me.

But the practice of sharing our faith is so much more effective when it’s actually lived out in front of people, isn’t it? Canvasing malls and neighborhoods and beach boardwalks yields little effect for so many reasons. One, it’s just plain awkward. There’s nowhere to go with a conversation that messily tries to equate the soles of shoes to the souls of man and then throws Jesus inside that blender for a healthy little punch.

Although you absolutely can feel free to pat me on the back for my clever little play on words there, thankyouverymuch.


There’s a lot of negativity surrounding the idea of short term mission trips that floats around the internet. I get where it’s coming from, I really do. Much of it is written by people who grew up a lot like I did, in a day when short term missions was often defined as dropping a group of youth students on the side of the road in matching t-shirts, hands stuffed with the Four-Spiritual Laws, hell bent on saving people’s soles souls.

There was little sacrifice to be made in such endeavors. In fact, two hours of “sharing your faith” on  a sandy beach often yielded a full day of play time and boy did you feel good about yourself because you shared Jesus that morning, yo!

IMGP8330A short term mission trip should serve only to bolster the local church or a local body of believers that can continue the work that was supported by a mission’s team. It does no one any good for a group of people to descend upon them for two weeks like a spiritual tornado if there is no one left behind to help explain what all the pieces of this faith mean. Throwing Jesus at someone who’s stomach is empty, who’s house is made of nothing but sticks and corregated metal, will more often than not be an empty Jesus.

Short term mission trips must meet the physical needs of those they’ve come to serve, and not at the detriment of the local economy. Don’t take away work from the locals. Don’t try to serve Jesus verbally to children who are starving, to mothers whose hands are raw from digging and working and scraping the ground in order to put something in their children’s stomachs.


Show them Jesus by meeting their needs. Serve, backs bent over, next to the day laborers. Relieve their burden, feed their stomachs, hug the children who ache for physical touch. Be Jesus. Be His Hands as you serve them, His Feet as you walk next to those in such desperate need. And when you leave, make sure the local church is empowered so that they can tell the people who Jesus is and give evidence of His Love for them.

There are so many organizations that are doing this well – so many people who are coming alongside local churches and communities and orphanages all over the world and bolstering them in the areas of physical need so that they can more readily meet the spiritual needs of their own communities. If you’re looking for an organization to support and perhaps even take a short term mission trip with, start by looking at one of these organizations. While there are many doing this very thing, I can personally endorse two of them if you are looking for an organization to join on a short term mission trip.


Servant’s Heart Ministry is based out of Nashville and they work primarily in Dominican Republic right now. They are doing just what I laid out – they work closely with local pastors in the villages they serve to make sure that the children are getting what they need from a physical standpoint (food, proper nutrition, health care and dental care) and they are telling the children that they aren’t forgotten by God.

IsleGo Ministries is working to connect the Church as one body all over the globe. They work closely with churches all over the world, but most specifically in the Caribbean. IsleGo takes hundreds of families, pastors, youth and college students every year to their numerous established locations where they work to meet the needs of the local people, to connect hearts with one another and to strengthen the Church as a whole.

Both of these organizations are doing short term mission not just right, but extremely well. And for those of you with young children, both of these organizations offer short term mission trips for families with children as young as 5, and what a blessing it is to serve alongside your young children.

I know this post was long so thanks for sticking with me. What are your thoughts on short term mission trips? How have you seen lives impacted by a short term mission?

Wordless Wednesday: Out of the Mouths of Babes

No words from me today. I’ll let the kids do the talking. I’d love for you to come back tomorrow when I talk about why I think Short Term Mission trips are a GOOD idea. Short term missions have gotten a lot of flak lately, but there are good things happening all over the world as a result of short term mission groups.

But first…today. The kids have shared their thoughts on what they learned and what stood out to them on our trip last week. Prepare yourselves for a little bit of heart melting.

Photos of a blessed week



The boys handing out bags to the kids coming to the fun day we had planned for them. From crafts to snacks to music and dentistry, these kids had the opportunity to receive trinkets that will likely become treasured possessions.


Kids lined up to receive their food. They are fed a hot, solid meal three times a week inside this dirt floored church – the Body in action meeting needs.



We lost count at how many teeth were pulled this day. A combination of poor nutrition, lack of hygiene and zero flouride means most of these children had a mouth full of painful, rotting teeth. Education and prevention are some of the things Servant’s Heart is working to provide for these precious kids.



My son talked the pastor of the local church into taking him on a motorcycle ride. Huge highlight of the trip for this boy.


Kyna – our rock star dentist.


Gorgeous countryside.

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Who found Dominican Nutella? THIS GIRL!!!


My 5-year-old painting flouride on teeth. Who says good things can't come in small packages?

My 5-year-old painting flouride on teeth. Who says good things can’t come in small packages?

We are exhausted and my head is a jumbled mess as I try to process everything we saw and experienced this past week. There were so many beautiful things that happened and so many difficult things to see. The impact of this week will settle on all of us in different ways.

Today however, instead of trying to articulate some of the scrambled pictures in my head, I just wanted to share some of the real pictures. I have thoughts to mull over and ideas to share, but today I want to say thanks for the emails and the tweets and the Facebook messages that so many of you sent. It is good to know you’re covered in prayer and it’s a wonderful feeling to know you’re loved so much. You guys are the best.

Happy Monday!

Because He Loves Us









IMGP8211 IMGP8167


We drove through gorgeous countryside today. Looming mountains painted against vibrant blue sky, palm trees swaying in the breeze as rows and rows of banana trees buzzed by our windows. The landscape was marred only by the absolute poverty that dotted each hillside.

Tin houses stand testament to the fact that Dominican Republic, though beautiful, is very much in need.

We did what little we could today to help meet the most basic of needs. We fed children a hot meal. We sang songs and played games and taught them the very basic importance of taking care of their teeth. We showed them how to brush and floss and through an interpreter explained the reasons why we need to take care of our teeth.

Then the dentist in our midst calmly looked in each child’s mouth and, with the permission of their parents, pulled teeth that were so rotten they caused intense pain.

There is nothing magical about what we’re doing, nor is it really all that inspirational. We’re just meeting a need – an easy need. Food, hygiene, love, laughter and at the end we told them why.

We love them only because Jesus first loved us and He loves them because He’s God.

If you know of anyone who needs to see love today, don’t hesitate to act. Don’t wait or think about it or even “pray” about it. Just do it. Look for the needs, the ones near and the ones far, and do something. I’m saying this to you, but I’m also saying it to myself.

And when you do it, take your kids. They’ll surprise the heck out of you.


To read more about the people at Servant’s Heart Ministry who are leading this trip, and who are meeting the basic needs of hundreds of children in Dominican Republic, click here.

Dominican Republic with Servant’s Heart

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Tomorrow morning we will board a plane with our children and hop over the blue waters to the Dominican Republic. It’s not a vacation, though Lee and I have vacationed there in the past. It almost makes my stomach churn to think of the exorbitant amounts of food we ate in one short week when just outside the walls of our resort children were starving.

We are heading to Dominican with Servant’s Heart Ministry purely out of obedience. I told you earlier that I initially didn’t want to go on this trip. It’s not that I didn’t want to serve, but I felt an enormous amount of anxiety at the thought of spending the money to go to Dominican when my heart still longs and hopes to adopt.

But this trip is about obedience. It’s about realizing that while the door to adoption is temporarily closed, there are needs to be met and we have the ability and resources to meet them. This trip isn’t about me and what I want – it’s about following through with an opportunity that was placed before us.

It’s about saying “Yes,” and in my yes, God has been good to ignite and excitement for the trip. I am really excited to leave tomorrow.

Servant’s Heart Ministry began in 2008 when a group of men in Nashville joined with a passion to change as many lives as possible through Jesus. Their mission statement reads:

To impact and change the lives of children around the world through missions for Christ by providing life sustaining necessities, sending, supporting and maintaining mission teams, construction and the sponsoring of children in order to lead them to Christ and break the cycle of poverty.


This week we are headed south to serve the least of these. It’s a chance for our children to see that life is very different outside of their own little sphere. This will be a stretch for them – it will be a stretch for all of us.

caliThis will be a different sort of family trip. Judging from the amount of complaining that’s gone on the last twenty-four hours (I’m tired of walking! My legs hurt! I don’t wanna eat this food! It’s hot out here! Me! Mine! Now!) I think there will be plenty of opportunity for life lessons. It won’t make them perfect children.

It won’t make Lee a perfect dad.

It won’t make me a perfect mom. (I mean, I’m practically perfect already, you know? How do you improve on that?)

(I am kidding!)

(Seriously…that’s a joke. Don’t send me nasty emails.)

What this week will do is offer vivid pictures to be committed to memory, a moving reel that can be tapped into when the monotony of life just seems to be so much. And maybe this will be the week that the Lord speaks to Lee and I as we continue to seek Him for what the next step should be.

I will be blogging this week during the trip. I want you to see what is coming of this vision cast several years ago by men who also wanted to obey – men that chose to say “Yes.” What an impact we can have in this world when we choose to step into the things that make us uncomfortable and we say “Yes” to serving others.

If you’re interested in learning more about Servant’s Heart Ministry and the work that they are doing in the Dominican, visit their website and stop on by this week! I’m excited about the opportunity to keep you all posted (Haha! Get it? Posted? Hehehe…Aaaahhhh, blogging humor. It is the best.)

Have a blessed week, everyone! 


Disclaimer: Lee and I chose to take this trip with our kids. I am blogging about it because I want to, not because I’ve been asked to. I will post my opinions based upon what I see and learn. 


Haiti Relief: How You Can Help

The pictures and projected death toll numbers coming out of Haiti are staggering.  As many as 50,000 feared dead and more than 3 million stranded or injured on an island that was known for poverty before the earthquake hit.  But relief and aid is on the way and for that I am grateful.


You’ve no doubt heard or seen of the numerous trustworthy and reliable organizations that you can donate to and know without doubt that your funds will be used well and fair.


Organizations like the Red Cross have already sent in teams to help with medical needs and to distribute much needed water and supplies to the survivors.


You can also give to Compassion International and World Vision, both of whom already have teams set up in Haiti and are quickly assessing the needs and distributing care and funds where needed.  Both of these organizations are stellar, are prepared and will effectively use the funds they raise for the relief of the island of Haiti.


There is one other organization I’d like to make you aware of if you’re still undecided.  I’ve written about IsleGo Missions before as they are an organization founded and run by my aunt and uncle out of Orlando, Florida.  For a detailed description of who they are and what they do, read my previous post or visit their website.  My aunt and I communicated tonight about what IsleGo is doing to respond to the tragedy and rather than try to reexplain what she told me, I’ll just paste her email here:


 “As to Haiti, yes IsleGO is taking donations, people are already sending them. Dusty has a huge network base and we also have a partner in Haiti, a hospital that is about 30 miles outside of Port au Prince. This afternoon we sent 40,000 baggies of rice. Each bag has enough to feed one person, in the bag there is rice, spices and nutrients and all they have to do is boil water for have food. We are working on another 100,000 bags to get ready for delivery within the next few days. Dusty is already getting info on putting teams together by February. Anyway, to answer your question, yes we are taking donations. Thanks for asking. Checks can be made payable to IsleGO Missions.”


There is a link on the IsleGo site that leads you directly to PayPal if you would like to donate that way.  If you would rather send in a check, leave me a comment and let me know and I will get you the address, or you can contact Dusty and Corinne Cooper personally through the IsleGo site.


No matter what organization you choose to donate through, I urge you all to give something.  This is a massive devastation and it is within our power to help those who are suffering desperately.  So I implore you to click on any one of the above links and take a few minutes to give out of the abundance with which you have received!


May you all have a blessed weekend.

2009 – A “Wordy” Review

I got this idea from C-Jane’s blog. I’m not quite as spunky a writer as she is, but I liked looking through my 2009 posts and remembering the fun and crazy words that composed and marked the past year.  


The Inauguration: Thoughts From a Conservative: This was one of my few ventures into politics on my blog. I don’t do it often, but sometimes the urge to comment on the political temperature of our country gets the best of me.  Political posts always lead to interesting comments.  I also ended up on the news during this particular event. 

Boredom Leads to Strange Things: An Epic Battle: In which Sloan and I developed an entire story using his Star Wars figurines and a doll house.


Hoops and Tears: This was one of my more poignant and introspective posts of the year. I don’t often venture into the recesses of my heart on my blog, but this was a decisive moment in my year and it’s a prayer that my heart still whispers for my child.

The Master Cleanse: A Reflection: Perhaps one of the funnier moments of our year. This was the description of mine and Lee’s abismal attempt at the Master Cleanse diet. 


Minivans are HOT!: I got my new site up and running with this post.

Memo to My Husband: My kind (and fecicious) way of asking my husband not to screw the lids of the kids’ sippy cups on so tight.


Sick and Twisted or Just Plain Funny?: If my children ever end up needing professional counseling, this post may contain some explanation as to why.

Easter Blunder: My husband made a man blunder on Easter Sunday of all days. It made for a great memory…and gave me a reason to laugh at him – good naturedly of course.


Can I Just Go Back To Bed?: The Infamous haircut heard ’round the world. It was Sloan’s lone foray into hair maintenance – he was fired, effective immediately and lasting for all of eternity.

The Art of Taking Tea: A friend and I threw a kick-butt tea party.


The Lotus in a Field of Mud: I love yoga – I just don’t understand it…

Why I’m in Turks and Caicos: I got to take the trip of a lifetime with my mom as we travelled to her childhood home in South Caicos. It was amazing.

July: This was a big posting month for me…

Six Years: My baby turned six. *sob*

Then and Now: I took these comparitive shots of Landon on our favorite stretch of beach.

Heavy and Light: In which I go all introspective again.

I’m sorry but it’s all I’ve got today…: My pitiful, yet painfully honest, admition that I would gladly allow Zac Efron to make a Cougar out of me (though since I’ve written this post I’ve been informed that a woman in her thirties is actually referred to as a Puma).


On Immunizations: I ventured into another hot topic and posted our decision to alter and withhold some immunizations for our children.

Missions Week: I hosted my first Missions Week in which I featured missions organizations and missionaries that are near and dear to my heart.  You can read all of the posts by clicking on the link at the top of my page.


The President’s Address to Our Children: I got political again and in doing so stepped in a big pile of *&%!  This particular post ended in me getting an email from Fox and Friends to be interviewed on their morning program.  Unfortunately I was out of town when they needed me and was unable to do the interview.

A Party in the Heavenlies: My son asked Jesus to be his Savior. A momentous day for sure.


Don’t let the door hit you in the –: The one where I admit that sometimes my mothering skills are reduced to clapping my hands.

Pumpkins and Funnel Cakes – A Lovely Combo: I worked on taking and posting better photographs with this post.


I Blame it all on Them: This post found me lamenting my dying brain cells – a phenomena I blame entirely on the children.

Mature Woman my BLEEP: My dermatologist had a severe case of verbal diarrhea. 


The Three Wise Men, The Construction Worker and the Lady Down the Street: This one is pretty self-explanatory. 

The One Where My Mom Claws Come Out: I almost had to take a girl out at the mall. Don’t make mama bear angry!

Whew – It’s been a fun ride, this blogging thing.  I’m so glad I have these stories documented and I’m so grateful to have you guys journey with us.  I know I’m not the most talented writer out there and I don’t always spin the most fascinating stories, but this blog has been a fun release for me and I enjoy your company!

I’m hoping to improve my writing skills in this coming year, while also providing a fun and witty journal for my children to look back at one day.  This is the literary road map of their childhoods.  I just pray that I do them justice.

Happy 2010.

Which, can you believe it’s 2010? I really thought we’d have flying cars by now…and Hoverboards. 

Blast those Hollywood movie makers…

The Jenkins Family

I’m delayed getting this up, but wanted to finish out Missions Week with this family.

JenkinsDan and Sue Jenkins, along with their three children, will head to Costa Rica in the next couple of months to serve as permanent missionaries.  Rather than try to sum up what they’re going to do, I’m going to let Sue tell you herself.

What will you and Dan be doing in Costa Rica?
Dan will establish a micro-enterprise development program for ReachGlobal in Costa Rica.  Micro-enterprise development is a way of assisting impoverished peoples through small business development; business counsel/consulting; new market development; product assessment; connections to training and micro-loans (very small loans of $50, $100, etc.) that will enhance business performance and increase productivity and income.  The idea is to provide people with a dignified and esteem-building path out of poverty–a means to better provide essentials (food, clothing, shelter, schooling) to one’s family.
What called you to Costa Rica in the first place?
When we applied to ReachGlobal, we were open to God’s leading, but felt a particular call to Latin America, broadly.  ReachGlobal selected Costa Rica, based on a number of factors:  ease of transition; centrally located to the countries in which ReachGlobal is serving in Latin America (Brazil, Honduras, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Venezuela); the regional director is serving in the same country (so Dan can work closely with him to develop the program); safety; etc.
What specific roles will you be playing, Sue?  What roles will Dan be playing (i.e. what are each of you focusing on primarily in your work down there?)
Dan, I explained above.  To add to it, however, he will be working alongside pastors and lay people in the congregations as a focus group to begin the program.  We hope in doing so to bolster the finances of the congregations and better equip them to reach out with the Gospel message.
I will wear a number of hats:  assisting with the public relations/communications of the region (by this I mean the Latin American countries in which ReachGlobal is serving); administrative duties relating to the micro-enterprise development program; donor relations & newsletter writing for our “ministry team” (i.e., Dan and I); and getting involved in a local church in children’s and/or women’s ministries.
What are specific prayer needs that you have at this moment?
Wisdom, strength & courage as we begin a brand new program for ReachGlobal.  Our initial year on the field will be spent researching and developing the micro-enterprise development program while we attend language school.
Grace & peace as we adjust to a new city, home and culture.
Funding.  We are encouraged, despite the economy, that people have been generous with their giving.  God has blessed us with a significant portion of our needed funding; however, we have to raise the remainder of our budgets prior to our departure.  (Our departure date is contingent upon this happening.)
What ways can people be involved in your work in Costa Rica?
1.  Joining our support team (prayer, financial and “care” teams)
2.  Telling others about our organization and what we hope to accomplish
3.  Making us aware of interest (individual or church group) in short-term mission trips (we can help people get connected in this way)

When do you hope to move to Costa Rica permenantly?

We hope to move to Costa Rica by late September, but anticipate possibly needing more time than that to complete our fundraising.  Fall 2009 is a good, generic answer.

If you are interested in learning of more ways that you can participate with Dan and Sue as they begin this journey, please visit their blog for more information and to contact them personally.  You can also read more about them here.

It has been so much fun focusing on the ways that God’s people are reaching out to the world this week.  I have enjoyed this process very much.  I will be adding a new page up top with links to all of these posts so that you, and others, can be reminded of the need to pray and support those who are living in the trenches of the mission field.

There are so many others who I want to dicuss and feature – I will likely being hosting another Missions Week early next year and will try to make this a frequent occurance.

May you all have a blessed weekend.

IsleGo Missions


This next organization is near and dear to my heart because it is founded and run by my aunt and uncle, Dusty and Corinne Cooper.

I’ve already told you about the amazing heritage of my family.  Starting with my grandparents, my family has a long and rich history in the Caribbean.  I am proud of this history.

IsleGo Missions is a unique, team-led organization with a deep love for the people with whom they work and serve.  It began as a means to better connect short term mission teams relationally to those they were serving.

So often, teams of students and adults head on missions trips where they work hard at building homes, churches, hospitals and more.  But many times, a key component is missing: that of building relationships.  

IsleGo Missions’ purpose and reason for existence is to connect the Church of the USA with the Church everywhere else. 

Says Dusty, “National pastors and churches can reach their own better than someone from outside but they are usually lacking the training, resources, and encouragement they need to see their God-given vision become reality. Connection with the Church, the Body of Christ, outside their own boundaries meets those needs while simultaneously transforming the American church as well.”

So while the teams they lead to different countries are indeed involved in the construction of buildings, the IsleGo staff member that accompanies them works to ensure that relationships are built first.  These relationships are further nourished and grown through the constant communication and help received by the many mission teams that participate.

We tell our teams they could build a cathedral to rival Notre Dame but, if they fail to build relationships during that week, then they have failed,” Dusty explains.  “This is one of the reasons IsleGo, in every country we serve, works with the same established relationships that God is using to transform communities and nations. We are tied into their vision for their people that God has given them to do – We are truly partners with them.”

So where exactly does IsleGo go?  Well, to name just a few places, they travel to the Bahamas, Haiti, Trinidad, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Haiti, Cuba and Brazil. 

But the impact does not lie soley in the countries in which the serve.  The teams of students, from high school to college age, as well as medical missionaries and pastors, young and old, they all go home challenged and encouraged in their faith.

We emphasize that Christianity is a life of worship. Worship too often today is seen as music that moves emotions, when instead God shows worship to be a lifestyle of proclaiming His “worth-ship” in our lives. Our teams start each day with worship music and prayer as well as end the day that way. In between those events, however, we worship during the day with our work, our giving hope to others, our serving God by serving others. This also allows our team facilitators to build into the team members that what they do on this missionary journey can and should be replicated in their home church and city.” (emphasis mine)

In addition to being an amazing opportunity for growth, and the chance to visit some of the most beautiful areas in all of God’s creation, IsleGo mission trips are fun.  Every team is led by IsleGo staff, my aunt and uncle often acting themselves as team leaders. 

And they are crazy fun.  I’m not just saying that because I’m biased.  Dusty is crazy!  He loves the islands, he knows the islands and he’s not afraid to have fun in the islands.  I’ve even seen video of them swimming with pink dolphins.  Pink dolphins!  It’s just a fun organziation to travel with…and shouldn’t serving the Lord be fun?

IsleGo Missions does a great job of organizing and facilitating group trips from securing the planes tickets to housing to food and product management.  They know how to get a group of people mobilized and ready to serve. 

For more information on how you can be involved with IsleGo Missions, visit their website.  If anything, you should probably click over just to see the amazing pictures and read the stories of what they’re accomplishing in so many areas.

If you are interested in taking a team on an IsleGo Missions project, contact Dusty or Corinne for more information.

I leave you with this final, amazing quote from Dusty regarding the heart and philosophy around IsleGo Missions:

We see life as a journey with a “missions trip” just a missionary journey, but still only part of the life journey. The time spent overseas should be a continuation of the journey we all started when we accepted Christ, a journey that ends at the throne of God with every tongue and tribe and nation in praise of the Lamb.

It is not a “hiccup” or a parentheses in our lives but a vital part of God leading our lives from point A to point B. What He shows us on this missionary journey should become a part of who we are and our service to Him. If this happens, then missions happen wherever we are, home or abroad.”

So…will YOU Go?

Missions Week – Day One

Missions Week – Day Two

Missions Week – Day Three

Servant’s Heart Ministry


Missions Week – Day Three: Servant’s Heart Ministry

Sometimes, it seems that if you listen closely enough, you can hear the hollow strains of an orchestra in the forground.  If you stop, open your eyes and strain your ear intently, you’ll hear the soft beat of a well played harmony…

I can testify personally to the heart behind this amazing new ministry based out of Nashville, Tennessee.  One of the founders, Rob Dublin, is a dear friend and is someone who, along with his wife, Kyna, has a deep love for missions.

Servant’s Heart Ministry has a unique focus.  Primarily working in the Dominican Republic at this time, Servant’s Heart is working to empower and support the work of a local church, and in doing so, is impacting the lives of children and families.

Sshhh…listendo you hear the strings?

Born out of a love for orphans, the founders of Servant’s Heart Ministry all met while actually doing ministry together.  In 2006, Rob Dublin, Rex Sexton, Kenneth Hill and Jay Weinstein worked together in the country of Ukraine building homes for orphans.  Upon returning to the US, they continued to meet with one another regularly and encouraged each other in their shared passion of ministering to the orphans of the world.

Add the bass…

After learning of the plight of children in the Dominican Republic, the idea of Servant’s Heart Ministry bubbled forth.  With a little bit of research and a lot of planning, the four men planned their first trip to the Dominican Republic where they witnessed firsthand the cruel fate of an impoverished people.

But how did they get to the Dominican Republic?  Well – that’s where the cello starts humming a harmonic continuum.  Can you hear the sounds?

In a small village, roughly 45 minutes from the booming town of Santiago, people are living in extreme poverty.  Children go to school where they spend roughly 4-5 hours a day learning, but receive only a small cup of milk and a piece of bread. 

Sometimes that’s all those children will eat all day long.

A local church, run entirely by Dominicans, recognized the rampant hunger of the children and established a program for the kids to come to the church after school and receive a solid meal as well as spiritual training.

It’s a simple concept.  Nourish the body and develop the heart.  Immediately the church noticed the impact they were able to have in their community.  But how would they sustain this program under such harsh conditions.

In rolls the timpany. A beautiful thunder of sound is beginning to resound.   

Servant’s Heart Ministry is now working in conjunction with this local church, partnering with them to establish a feeding program, as well as providing training materials for the children, school supplies, school uniforms and so much more.

They are also working to develop a clean water program, providing filtration systems for the church and local water catchments.  The money they raise will go toward power generators and food storage (refridgeration), building supplies and whatever other needs arise within the community.

Listen to the sounds.  The symphony is beginning!

For now, the focus of Servant’s Heart is concentrated in this one small town in the Dominican Republic.  But the vision is much grander.

In time, and as the orchestra gains momentum, there are plans to expand this model to other villages, towns and countries.  The goal is to support locals – to provide them with the materials they need to minister to the people in their own backyards.

The best part of this story is that you all can be a part of the grand symphony that God Himself is conducting through this amazing ministry.  There are so many ways to be involved:

  • Prayer.  Will you pray for Servant’s Heart Ministry as they work to bring about the vision that God has laid upon their hearts?  Your prayers are the whispers that drive the beat of the symphony.  They are the measures within which all the notes are contained.
  • Donations.  Of course monetary donations are always welcomed and appreciated.  Funding is important in helping provide these churches and children with the things they need, like water filtration, power generators, uniforms and, most importantly, food.  But Rob told me that there is also a need for supplies.  They need Spanish books, literature, scriptures, coloring books, supplies for water filtration, anything that you can offer that would allow the church to better serve the children.
  • Your time.  In 2010, Servant’s Heart will be taking a second trip to the Dominican Republic and they would like to take a team of people with them. Let’s face it – when you are living life, sometimes, going on a foreign mission trip is difficult. One of the benefits of serving on a mission trip with Servant’s Heart is that, while it is to a foreign country, it is relatively inexpensive and easy to get to.  The trips last only 4-5 days and the cost is much lower than many other overseas mission trips.  This makes a trip with Servant’s Heart much easier for many people.  Perhaps you are one of those people? 
  • Table Sponsorship.  For Nashville residents, Thursday, October 22 is the first official fundraiser for Servant’s Heart Ministry.  This would be a fabulous event to attend (it will be held at the spectacular Factory at Franklin).  I encourage you to attend so you can hear in person the heart of these dedicated men as they cast their vision for the Servant’s Heart Ministry.  Table sponsorship is available as an option to show your support (and you don’t even have to be a resident to do that.  Wink, wink…)
  • For more information, please visit the Servant’s Heart Ministry website (again, I have left you a bajillion links so there’s no excuse for not at least clicking over). 

    You can also check out the beautiful video they put together of their first visit on their very own YouTube channel.  Or, you can join their Facebook Fan Page.  Or follow them on twitter.  The possibilities are endless!

    To contact someone personally about how you can be involved with Servant’s Heart Ministry, or to get their address so you can send supplies, click here.

    God, the Almighty conductor, has lifted His Hand, tapped the music stand and begun waving His Arms, inciting a glorious melody.  And, through the involvement of others, that melody will swell and grow, making something beautiful out of the ugliness that is poverty.

    Will you consider joining Servant’s Heart Ministry as they change the world one child at a time?

    Missions Week – Day One

    Missions Week – Day Two