I’m Headed to Africa!

Today I board a plane to Africa with an amazing group of story tellers. Going to Africa has been on my bucket list, so this is a dream come true for me. Not to mention, getting to serve the amazing people of Uganda with Sole Hope! Wednesday night Ernie came up to me at church, handing me an envelope full of pictures from a Shoe Cutting Party that his BFG (Bible Fellowship Group) hosted! He wanted to make sure that I delivered the pictures to Dru and Asher, so that they could feel love and support from South Carolina. In return, I promised to bring some pictures back of the children that are now wearing shoes from the soles that they possibly helped to cut out.

This is one of the main reasons I LOVE Sole Hope! Yes they are on the ground in Uganda. Yes teams go to Africa to remove jiggers and serve Ugandans. BUT there are multiple onramps for people in the states, like Ernie’s BFG, to get involved.

I am honored to have the opportunity over the next week to tell stories of love, compassion and hope, while serving the men, women and children of Uganda, 2 feet at a time! Stop by this week to see pictures and read #solestories!

Until then, take a moment to get familiar with the story of Sole Hope.

Conversation turned Reality

I sat on the plastic patio chair outside of the Catholic guest house in Central India, sipping strong coffee and eaves dropping on a conversation from a British humanitarian team.  My mission was teaching ministry students and caring for orphans, theirs was preventable disease. As they discussed washing feet, brushing teeth and using soap, I dreamed of sustaining life.

I had my Bible opened and pretended to journal my insights, yet I was really just penning their mumbled words. Feeding the hungry, healing the sick and releasing the oppressed was a huge part of the ministry of Jesus.  It was the vulnerable that moved Jesus with compassion and it was their conversation that moved me. I now realize that my eaves dropping was nothing more than hearing the voice of God.

Now 4 years later, I am getting the opportunity to wash, remove jiggers and put shoes on beautiful feet, all while capturing the stories as they unfold.

Blue-Badge-1500x500-1024x341

This time next month I will be blogging of my time in Uganda with Sole Hope. I am honored to partner with some amazing story tellers on this trip:

You can follow the stories from my trip to Uganda here on my blog or by using the hashtag #solestories.

Living with Open Eyes

“Will you embrace justice?” That was the question that the Lord asked me one winter morning in 2010. Over night, my daily news feeds started to blow up with natural disasters, war, and poverty…so it seemed. I started to notice the “quartet of the vulnerable” in the scriptures: orphans, widows, immigrants and the poor.

The more I contemplated the question, the more I started to see.

A few days later, JoAnna and I were checking out at Wal-Mart when I noticed the name on my cashier’s badge.   Before I even knew it, we were talking about her family in Indonesia and the devastating effects of the 2004 Tsunami. We fought back the tears as we smiled and walked away to our car. As I opened the door I was drawn to the Newspaper that had blown up against my tire. It was an underground newspaper from MS (where my wife and I are from) with a picture that was too graphic to discuss here. The headline read, “We Must Have Justice.” We drove home in silence like we had been hijacked by something larger than a coincidence.

A few weeks later, I boarded my first plane to Haiti, responding to the 2010 earthquake. I love to meet strangers, so I was quick to strike up a conversation with the lady next to me. She asked me why I was going to Haiti and before I could even filter my words, I explained my newborn passion for justice. I told her that I was a pastor and that I was exploring what it means to “embrace justice.” She smiled as she handed me her business card, which was stamped, “US Department of Justice.” You can’t make this stuff up!

I am learning that when the Lord asks you a question, it’s not that he doesn’t know the answer. He is just inviting us into the recesses of His heart. I’m not trying to figure it all out these days, I am just learning to listen to His questions and live with my eyes open.

Here We Go

The last time I blogged was October 2009. I really just intended to take a short break, but a week turned into 5 years.  Since that time life has sped up BIG TIME! We have moved homes, churches and had 3 more kids…oh and added a dog! So I was driving home from church one night when my friend Logan called and pitched a really cool opportunity for me to go to Uganda with Sole Hope. First of all, I LOVE the nations! I have traveled to Haiti (3x), Israel, India (2x), and Taiwan since my last blog post in 2009. I didn’t have to pray much about whether I was supposed to go.

I quickly realized that this trip to Uganda was a Story Teller’s trip. If I am going to capture stories of what God is doing in the beautiful people of Uganda and in me, I better have a space to release the stories! So this is my space. It’s sparse right now, but soon it will be filled with words, pictures and moments that have served to shape my heart.

Our church and family have been involved in “shoe cutting” parties through Sole Hope over the last few years, so I am  grateful for the opportunity to see the story unfold before my eyes…and capture it through pictures and words!