Author Archive

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August 2013

This past Sunday morning, Patrice and I sat on the back porch of our home in Egbe and discussed what we are thankful for. We both were very thankful for what the Egbe Hospital Revitalization Project provided for us when we arrived into Nigeria in 2013. Most missionaries have to raise one time support for cars, kitchen appliances, house furnishings, generators and more. All of these things were provided for us in Egbe and it made our transition to the field so easy and stress free.

Now that we are moving to JOS, we will have to leave all this behind. We will have to purchase everything for our new home. We realize that we are asking for God to perform a miracle. Most missionaries would go back to their home country and spend 3-4 months visiting supporters to raise this kind of support. It would cost our family almost $7,000 round trip to fly to the U.S. We just don’t feel like this is being a wise steward of the resources God has given us. We do plan to come back for home assignment, but not until summer of 2018, after Cason and Jolie complete their first year of school.

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-8-58-30-pmThis brings up another area that Patrice and I are very thankful. We are thankful to all of you who have supported us in so many ways over the last three plus years! You have supported us by prayer, by financial support, by sending us much needed items (excluding all the candy and pop tarts!), while others have helped heavily with C.A.R.E. Africa in sponsorship.

We need you and more partners to come alongside us in a huge way. Our “one-time” support seems large to us, but we know that God will provide. Please pray how you may be able to contribute to our work in Nigeria with an end of year one time contribution or joining us as a monthly supporter.

Maybe you can be creative before the end of the year and “sponsor” a room of our house or one of the kids school fees with your church group or family members this holiday season. Please remember that all giving is tax deductible. Click on Miles In Missions to donate.

Our One Time Support Needs are below;

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-6-22-51-pm           Two cars – $15,000 (Includes the over the boarder customs fees and taxes for purchase in Benin)

untitled                             Generator and Inverter Battery/Solar Power System – $3,000

img_6668                                 Cason and Jolie school fees – $10,000 total per year

Tents are not an option! Beds, dresser drawers, mattresses, and cabinetry repairs for closets are needed in all three bedrooms. $500 per bedroom.

img_6719Additional furniture for dining room, family room and office – $2,000

Repairs on the home we are moving in to – $2,000

Equipment for ministry – $6,000

Kitchen and Laundry Appliances – $2,500

donatemiles

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-7-56-32-amAbout four months ago we were posed with the question, “What do you think Cason should do for high school?”

We were shocked and then almost saddened to realize that our children are in fact growing up way too fast. We asked Cason, “Do you want to go to a real high school or continue in Egbe with homeschool curriculum?” He said, “I really want to go to a real school for high school.” Then we asked, “Do you want to go to college?” Once again he said, “Yes, and I want to study business!”

Living in this very rural setting, an education that will prepare our children for an American university is hard. We thank the children’s teacher, Katie, for all the amazing work and education she has provided for our children over the last three years. She felt undoubtedly that she could provide a high school education for Cason, but her resources in a one-bedroom house turned schoolhouse would be limited.

img_6668Since then, we have been in prayer and seeking guidance through SIM leadership for what should our next steps look like to accommodate a high schooler. We visited Jos, Nigeria recently and went to look at Hillcrest School. The school has a deep history for many missionaries in this region that we have grown to call family. We are glad to announce that our children will be attending school there starting August of 2017. Cason will enter as freshman for 9th grade and Jolie will enter middle school as a 6th grader. They are both very excited about this, but are of course sad about saying goodbye to their Egbe friends.

img_6713So what does this mean for the whole family? It means that we have a large transition ahead of us. We will be moving from Egbe to Jos where we will resettle at another SIM station. SIM Nigeria has recently appointed a new director and with him comes a grander vision to reach 75+ million least reached people in northern Nigeria. Our family feels God is calling us to move closer to the north and live in Jos to assist with this new vision.

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One of Lenny’s Masterpieces

Recently our field determined the strategic importance of having a Communication Specialist to help tell SIM Nigeria’s story, someone who can communicate stories through video, blogs, presentations and the web. Lenny realized how he can use his skills and interests to help get the word out about the vast needs that exist throughout Nigeria to spread the gospel among the least reached and to disciple the believers to a deeper level. Lenny will work and travel throughout Nigeria to create materials to broadcast the needs and opportunities to serve. We are praying that through this supportive role, more missionaries will come and the gospel will spread throughout the least reached people of Nigeria.

img_4318Patrice will continue to manage the C.A.R.E. Africa and Spring of Life HIV/AIDS Project in Egbe. She will travel back and forth between Egbe and Jos many times a years utilizing the resources of a number of other ministries in Jos to grow these two ministries in Egbe. She is very excited to now be able to dedicate her full time to these two ministries, helping to grow them and make them more sustainable in the future.

We are planning our move for the middle of the year 2017. At that time we will have served for almost four years in Egbe. We feel like God has used us mightily and his kingdom has grown through the revitalization of the hospital, C.A.R.E. Africa, Spring of Life HIV/AIDS clinic and through our relationships with the many Nigerians we now call family.

img_6719This move will be costly, but we trust God will provide for all our needs.  We were blessed to be able to borrow furniture, cars, generators and appliances loaned to us in Egbe from the hospital project itself. However, in Jos we will be required to buy all of these items. Plus we will now be responsible for full school tuitions for Cason and Jolie.

Please be in prayer on how you might be able to help our family continue to serve in Nigeria to grow HIS kingdom.

With love,

The Miles family

See below for pictures of our new home and Cason and Jolie’s new school.

img_5125Might sound like a great book idea, huh? However, there really is no book that can entirely prepare you for missions… However, you can do missions if you are a dummy!

The proof recently arrived at Egbe Hospital. Remember the man that helped do the discipleship trainings in our most recent blog? Well, he and his wife also brought 24 dummies with them. No, I’m not talking about a team of missionaries that came and acted like fools that we had to send packing because they messed everything up. No, I’m talking about actual dummies! Training dummies for CPR at the hospital.

img_3861The wife, a great nurse in real life, knew from conversations with the medical team on the ground that she would be a great fit to teach the nursing staff on many subjects. She thought, “What if I could teach CPR? Do you have any training dummies?” We told her no and she went on a “mission” to find dummies all on her own. On the surface finding dummies around you might seem like an easy task, but for her dummies were suddenly in short supply. Asking and searching for months, she had no luck. Finally, the miracle dummies appeared. Just a few days before her trip to Egbe, the Louisville Fire Department called her and said, “Come and pick up these 24 dummies. Our training people just brought us 24 brand new ones and we have to get rid of the old ones.”

She was blown away. “What a huge answer to prayer”, she said. Then in the same instant she realized she had to get eight adult, eight child, and eight infant dummies from Louisville, KY all the way to Egbe. She couldn’t fathom how that would work and certainly didn’t want to spend $200 extra for each piece of luggage coming here.

So, dummy miracle #2 happened. They decided to go to the airport the day before to talk to a manager of their airline and see if there was any way to get some of the dummies in their luggage. They tried and talked to the desk agent for about 20 minutes. The answer was always, “No, you will have to pay for the extra baggage.”

Soon a long silence set in and the woman at the counter asked, “Do you go to Southeast Christian Church?”
They replied, “Yeah we do actually.”
She said, “Well your pastor always flies our carrier and I check him in all the time. Even when someone else checks him in, he always greats me by my name. I can’t believe he always remembers my name.”
Another awkward silence filled the air and then she said, “How about five pieces of luggage?”
The husband asked, “Total?”
She replied, “Each. 5 checked bags each.”
He went further, “For free?”
She said, “Yes.”
He went even further, “Ten bags total for free?”
She replied, “Yes”.

img_3855The husband and wife couldn’t believe their ears. They felt like shouting in celebration and grabbing the woman to hug her! But they thought it might cause a huge scene in the airport.

They now had enough baggage to stuff all of the dummies into, bring their own belongings, and even bring a few treats for our family. What a blessing! I can’t imagine what the airport screeners thought when they x-rayed these bags. Seeing little shapes of babies, children heads, and adult heads! That had to be a laugh!

img_5754The wife has completed CPR training with many of the nurses in the hospital and the trainees have gotten certificates proving their education. She even had time to train a few nurses to be trainers themselves. Leaving the dummies, literature, and dvd programming for them to use in the future. The hospital will now always have dummies around. How wonderful!

So there, wether you’re a dummy or not, you can do missions!

Thank you to this great and supportive couple for coming out to invest into the Egbe community, the hospital, and our family. Thanks also to the Louisville Fire Department and Delta Airlines for helping along the way!

Super Support

Posted: October 30, 2014 by Lenny in Egbe, Lenny Miles, Miles In Missions, Prayer, SIM

Super Support

back_patReach your hand up in the air, bend your elbow down so that your hand go towards your back, raise your hand up and give yourselves a great big pat on the back! We wanted to take the time to say thank you for all of the wonderful support for our first year in Egbe.

Thanks you to all of you that have joined us in one way or another, from financial partners, prayer partners to people gifted at sending care packages. We pray you are feeling the blessings of your sacrifices to God’s work here in Egbe. It certainly couldn’t be accomplished without you.

Let me just say that our family is blessed by having a firm foundation of support for our ministries here. We have only lost two monthly financial supporters during the first year in Egbe. God has been faithful and it seems each time he has an answer for the needed support that was lost. We are so very blessed to not have the added stress of looking for more donations while we serve from more than 5,000 miles away. This is an important thing to note because this happens too often to many missionaries in the field and takes away from their focus on their ministry.

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 1.07.13 PMMany of you have answered the call to sponsor several children’s school fees. You have no idea what this can mean to a child and their family here. If you could see the huge smile on their faces when we tell them that they get to go to school it would melt your hearts. Many times their family is so thankful that they periodically bring us fresh fruit or other items from their farms. It’s the one thing they can bring to us that says, “Thank you”. Just this morning, a man came to bring us several bunches of fresh picked bananas. It was more than our family could ever eat, so we had to give some away to other missionaries.

Prayer warriors! I wish I could know just how many times your prayers put a hedge of protection over us when evil was lurking in. I guess I will find out in Heaven. We certainly feel your prayers in everything from safety, to the progress of the work getting done, to emotional stability and also being able to see changed lives when God acts and they choose to follow him. It’s really amazing.

DSC_0242Some of you seem to go into stealth mode for our support, acting like spies trying to go under cover and figure out what we need or like so that you can send it to us. This is a great encouragement to us too! We know that you took time out of your day to shop for us or ship something to us and it really means a lot.

We’ve had several opportunities at receiving things directly from you and every time it’s like Christmas morning opening gifts. Some of you have sent boxes and things to the containers that come sporadically, while others have taken advantage of groups that have come to visit us. They bring extra luggage with them so that we can have some creature comforts that we cannot find in country here. The most recent example is when, “Grandma” came to visit us and we went through customs with 12 checked bags, five carry-ons and five backpacks. We certainly gained the customs agent’s attention and turned heads everywhere we went!

After all of this, the point is to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you. We look forward to continuing to share our lives with you from here in Egbe and pray for your continued support in every way.

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willSince returning back home to Nigeria from our three week break, a few things have changed. Most significantly for myself, I have been asked to take the role of Construction Manager. This has happened for several reasons;                    –The role just fits me better. With my past experiences in building new homes and other construction experiences, this is where God can use me most.                                                  –We had to say goodbye to our friend and Samaritans Purse Construction Manager, William King. William had served two and a half years in this role, but he is moving on to another part of Africa.                                                                       –New missionary Rick Bradford and his wife, Martha, arrived less than six weeks ago. Rick has become the new Maintenance Supervisor, filling my vacant role. He has extensive maintenance experience with a large steel company in Canada.

teamSo, along with change come new challenges. Work has gotten much more demanding for me. I feel the pressure coming from all around. Some of it is brought on by myself, but other things are external forces that seem to weigh me down. The pressure of running a multi-million dollar project, accounting, ordering, directing, and managing, all the while trying to make sure no one is stealing or cheating, is exhausting! The thoughts of, “I’ve got to do all of this myself!”, has really started to creep into my thinking.

In addition to the construction, our Family has been on the ground serving in Egbe for the longest, just 13 months. People many times look to us for answers to questions that we have no answers to. Our missionary community has grown leaps and bounds since we first arrived. In August of last year, there were only three other full time missionaries on ground, now there are 12 plus our family. This is great, but along with it comes its own challenges. We all live within a one and a half acre area, where we serve, live, work, and on most weekends eat together. Everyone has different demands, opinions, needs, and life experiences that can be challenging.

All of this is happening while we are trying to keep our families healthy and happy. We also hope that God is glorified through it all.

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 4.10.25 PMWait… wait just a minute! This doesn’t sound right. Aren’t we taught as Christians that we should glorify God first, take care of our family second, and thirdly take care of work? Why is it that everyday I have this order reversed? Even while writing this blog, I have done the list backwards. Work first, family second, and then God. What is wrong with this picture? What does it all mean?

I don’t say all of these things to complain or seek sympathy, but just to simply say that we are all human. Some people seem to put missionaries on a “spiritual pedestal”, but in reality we are just like everyone else. We can all let our circumstances drive us. In the process, we can easily leave God out of it and try to control it ourselves. This isn’t God’s plan for our lives. He wants us to seek him first and then all else will fall in place. Including our families and work.

I was challenged by our small group here in Egbe to make sure that I am seeking God first. Truly it’s made a difference in a few days already. Things that I’ve wanted to get off of my to-do list are getting done, emails rolling off my fingertips, and other administrative stuff getting plowed through. Sometimes, even with a little time left over for fun! How can you allow God into your life to take away the weight of your to do’s? Seek him, ask him, and watch what he can do in your life. He loves you enough to take it from you!

Please continue to pray for our family. Dry season is approaching and the heat and dust can be extremely uncomfortable. This can add stress and irritability, so continue to pray for us to put God first through it all

 

Blessing # 14

Posted: August 23, 2014 by Lenny in Egbe, Egbe Hosptial, Egbe Nigeria

DSC_0239One of the biggest blessings our compound gets to see is a container coming and being unloaded with much needed supplies for the reutilization of the hospital. Living and building “in the bush” of Africa has its challenges. Some of those challenges are being able to find quality construction materials, medical equipment, and other things that help make the missionaries lives more comfortable while serving here.

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    God has truly blessed this community, hospital, and its missionaries with an incredible support team in the US and Canada. They are dedicated to revitalization project just as much as every missionary living on the ground in Egbe. They are in constant communication with all the missionaries and ask, “What is needed?” Most of the time we answer this question and a few months later, whatever the request, it’s at our door step being offloaded from these containers. With every container comes hard work to unload it, but also comes the huge boost to morale. When each box, pallet, or shrink wrapped piece comes off, we say “Wow, look at that!” or “There that is!”

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 9.45.27 AMAlso, each empty container is dropped off of the truck to be kept on our compound for temporary storage and we are in the process of making future plans to make small buildings with these containers in the future. These may become low-cost workshops or possibly store fronts for the hospital vendors. The possibilities with containers are truly amazing when you start to research their potential. One website I had found shown people with really nice houses made out of a few of these containers. Really creative!

The most recent container #14 had shown up on Sunday, August 17 at around 9:30 a.m. I wanted to capture the hard work and the organized “chaos” each container brings when unloading one. I placed a time lapse camera on the roof nearest our unloading dock to capture the entire process. The video shows a total of five hours worth of unloading and then removing the container off of the trailer. The camera took one picture every five seconds for a total of 2,900 pictures. These are played back at 25 frames per second. The five hours of work has been condensed down to two minutes of video. Enjoy to the end were we try to “offload” the container from the trailer. We tried to keep it upright just like all of the offloads before it, but….

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The unexpected realities of working at a mission hospital…….

seyiWhen preparing for our new lives as missionaries over a year ago, I had never put much thought into the fact that we would be serving at a health care facility. Having never worked in a medical field before, I wasn’t really prepared for the sights, sounds, and smells of all that comes with it. This blog piece is about those new and interesting things that I’ve learned in the past year of living here.

First the Good. Wow, praise God for the miracles that do happen! I have been around many patients with hopeless diagnoses and have gotten to see those ailments get cared for and healed. This is very up lifting and it shows the power of God working through his servants here on the ground. Hearing the surgeon come out of surgery and tell us all that the patient will make it when the case could have went one way or the other on the operating table, is very, very encouraging. Also, when a patient that had a particular “rough case” gets to go home and is smiling from ear to ear, it is very rewarding for us here serving in this capacity!

burnNext, the bad. Lets face it, death is not pretty. Sometimes it can be welcomed for the elderly family member that has been suffering for a long time. However, generally death is not welcomed and no-one really ever wants to say good-bye. One of the most sobering and impactful things for myself is seeing death up close and a little too personal.

Several cases come to mind as I write this, but I want to tell you particularly about a 20 (+/-) year old man that came in with major chest trauma. I remember there was yelling and commotion at our gate so I went to investigate. This is usually the case with most road accidents because someone is usually irate at the other party. The young man was just being wheeled out from our x-ray unit. I stood on the side of the walkway and could see the mans lifeless eyes as they wheeled him by. It hit me like a ton of bricks. An alive an energetic man just a few minutes before, was now dead and had died while they were taking x-rays of his chest. The story is that this man was a “tree cutter” and with this job, they load large logs onto the back of dump trucks. He happened to be standing between two trucks when one backed up and crushed him at chest level. So very sad. 

oubres and jospehLastly, the ugly. Well, lets just say that sanitation is not the utmost priority here. During times of maintaining equipment its very common to open up a panel and find dried blood and other unrecognizable things inside. Next, the morgue at the hospital is not a place that I frequent. I’ve been there a total of two times in a year just to maintain several air conditioners. The smell of death and decay is something I will never forget, although I would like to.

Also, the reality of amputations has hit home. The doctors might explain that a person has to have an extremity taken off due to gangrene or a severe injury and I wonder where that body part goes. Well, lets not go there at all!  There are no garbage trucks, no biomedical waste trucks, or anything else that comes to this hospital. These things simply do not exist here and all of our waste is contained within our 33 acre compound.

team photoOur revitalization team here is doing everything in our power to improve the conditions I described. Most comes from educating the staff, doctors and nurses. Other things such as improved morgue facilities to care for our dead and an incinerator to take care of the biomedical waste, comes from us the maintenance and construction crews. Please pray for God’s continued blessing on this project through financial partners, wise missionaries, and our Nigerian counterparts to bring this hospital up to its full potential.

mgirlsThrough all of this, God has shown me many things in my heart to love on people more and truly appreciate my family. As we all know, life if very fragile and it can be taken away at any moment. Love God, love your family, and love your neighbor as yourself. These things are the most important acts we get to chose to do everyday.

What’s Going on in Egbe?

Posted: July 1, 2014 by Lenny in Egbe, Egbe Hosptial, Egbe Nigeria

What’s going on in Egbe?

DSC_0222The new guard house at “Gate C” is under construction and about to get its roof. This will be the “first impression” of our hospital as people drive from the main town square of Egbe. It is the main access point for the nursing school, hospital staff, residents, and visitors.  This guard house will serve as the nearing end of our large scale project of over 1800 feet of concrete block that makes up the new hospital wall.

DSC_0207The new CSR (Central Supply Room) is getting a major makeover and expansion for much needed space and organization of hospital supplies and surgical instruments. This was where our old pharmacy was located and is directly under our OR (operating room). As the CSR is being renovated, things like plumbing and electrical upgrades for the OR are being conducted as well.

DSC_0213Maternity and Women’s wards are getting ready for a much needed makeover as well. The building is in need of large scale plumbing repairs, window/door repairs, bathroom upgrades, and a major painting facelift.

DSC_0216All of the lettering has been added to the buildings making for a professional and appealing look.

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Missionary housing upgrades include two houses currently under construction. Houses 8 & 9 are in various stages now and we are doing our best to have house 8 finalized before the arrival of Rick and Martha Bradford in August. House 9 needed an entire new roof structure because it was eaten by termites. We were able to salvage the old metal roofing and reuse it on the new wood framing.

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Resident Doctor’s housing upgrades include houses 15 & 17 almost complete. Another great transformation on these two houses. Both houses had to have new roof framing and metal installed, gutting of kitchens and baths, new cabinets, tile, and painting throughout. House 16 will also be upgraded in the very near future as well.

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Dr Carter and his wife Anne joined us two weeks ago. There history at Egbe goes back many years. Dr Carter is here for one month to complete as many surgeries as possible. Anne has been helping in the warehouse organizing medical supplies. She is also one of the best bakers around. Upcoming Blog to follow soon on their story.

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ECWA Hospital Egbe recently received its West African College of Physicians Accreditation

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We are preparing housing for Katie and Nick Riddle who will arrive in July along with Dana Iglesias. Katie will be the MK teacher at the compound while Nick helps at the hospital. Dana is our new family physician. All of these wonderful people will be coming to Egbe for two years.

Please continue to pray for the work going on here. It may seem silly sometimes to pray for construction projects, but truly it is for God’s glory. Which each new upgrade, it helps this hospital save more lives, which allows the doctors to share the good news of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ to many people.

ImageA few days ago there was a blog from us about the spiritual fruit in Egbe. There was one man that was mentioned that has given his life to Christ in 2014. He works in the workshop and his name is Samuel Ariyo. He is in his early 20’s, working in our general labor force (very hard work). Admittedly, when I first met Samuel I was a little stand-offish. He was rough, tough, and had an almost permanent scowl on his face. I remember saying to myself, “that boy is so angry that his face is always distorted”. So much so that it was in an evil fashion. I hated thinking these things of him, but it was the truth at the time. 

Well, I am extremely happy to say that is not the case anymore. This young man has been through such a great change. I can distinctly remember one Friday morning after devotions, our Project Manager took Samuel aside to talk with him more about Jesus. By the end of the conversation, Samuel had given his life to Christ. From that point forward, I have not seen that angry, nasty scowl again. It was quite an amazing change to see so quickly. It was evident that his heart had changed and that Jesus had released this young man from some kind of bondage that I might not ever understand. Thank God!

Upon trying to make sure that I had his name spelled correctly, I Googled a couple of different tries at his last name. Finally, with the winning combination, Google told me the meaning of his Yoruba name, Ariyo… “There is cause for me to rejoice”. Amen. Please rejoice with this young man!photo 3

I’ve attached a couple of pictures of Samuel for you to pray for him. I tried to get him to pose and let me take a picture of him with his “old scowl”. Remarkably however, he couldn’t do it! All he could do was smile and laugh at me. It was more evidence for him and I that his old self had truly been buried and another person rose as a new creation. 

 

Employee of The Month

Posted: December 14, 2013 by Lenny in Uncategorized

Employee of the monthA revitalization of a hospital consists of upgrading facilities, infrastructure, and new equipment. However, it wouldn’t be complete without transforming the hearts and minds of the doctors, nurses, and staff of the hospital. This also applies to the maintenance staff. We have started the “Employee of the Month” program  to help motivate the maintenance men to go above and beyond  a normal days work. 

The first recipient of this prestigious award was Samuel (pronounced “Samwell” here) for the month of November.

SamuelHe received this award for going above and beyond his normal duties during a time when there was no electric on the compound for two months. Samuel would do just about anything in his power to get the power company to repair our services. He spent countless hours going to their office waiting and troubleshooting their equipment problems. When they would finally show up to do something, he would spend many hours after work to ensure they were doing their job properly.

In this culture, awards and public recognition of a job well done goes a long way, but in reality its not enough. It appears that there is a real need for heart change within the management and staff. A complacent attitude of “lets show up and get our paycheck” is prevalent on the compound. In addition to the “Employee of the Month” program, God has led me to start finding scriptures that are work related for the maintenance staff.  Ones that would be applicable to all of us as a reflection towards our daily walk with God as we work. Two scriptures came to mind in recent months…

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”

Colossians 3:23&24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 1.59.27 PMUltimately, the things being implemented are not nearly enough for the ultimate change in hearts and minds that the “Revitalization Team” is looking for. We can come with bible knowledge, strategies to tug at the heartstrings of people, and all the good willed intentions, but really it is a change they have to want to make.

For me, it simply boils down to how well we can love. Whether in the USA, Canada, India, or Nigeria, people need to know they are loved and appreciated.  Through simple interactions, they can begin to get a glimpse of how much God really cares for each and everyone of them.

Would you please pray for me to show God’s love and appreciation in every situation. Please join me in praying for the hearts and minds of management and staff alike to be changed? A true heart change.