Sunday, February 24, 2008

On the Lookout - Masai Mara Style - "YMInsights" Series

As many of you know I’ve been pretty busy the last several months traveling all over the world training trainers in Youth Ministry. The month of December I had the opportunity to go to Kenya and do a ton of speaking, teaching and training, and what a great time I had!

At the end of the three weeks of ministry I got to go on a safari to the Masai Mara in Western Kenya. The Mara actually is part of the Northern Serengeti and on one of the game drives we trekked south into Tanzania as well.

I was amazed at God’s creation in many ways but one of the things that really struck me was how the lions looked out for each other, protected each other and shared their resources (wildebeest) with each other.

The picture above shows a glimpse of that as the female lion (actually there were 4 all together) stands on the lookout around the perimeter as the males (there were 2 of them) enjoy their share of a successful kill. On the outside of the perimeter are lower members of the food chain (hyenas & vultures) waiting their turn to get whatever scraps are left behind.

When the males were done they switched turns with the females until everyone in their pack was well fed, well rested and well protected.

I thought that was an incredible example of how we should act as the body of Christ. We need to look out for each other, protect each other and be willing to share resources with each other because the enemy (who really is a lower member of the food chain compared with our Savior) is always lurking outside the perimeter just waiting for his chance to pounce.

My prayer is that we as the body of Christ would learn some things from God’s creation, I know being face to face with His incredible creatures caused me to pause and process how I treat others.

How about you?

Amazed by Him,


Saturday, February 23, 2008

YMI Update

Hey Everyone,

I know it's been a little while since I've sent out an update. It's probably due to my lackadaisical schedule - ha ha.

It's hard to believe but in the last 3 months I've been all over the Northeast, New England, Kentucky, Nairobi, Kenya, Kiev, Ukraine and even a quick trip to Niagara falls Canada to stave off boredom.

All in all I've racked up over 26,000 frequent flier miles and have seen God do some pretty incredible things in the lives of the students and leaders I've had the privilege of working with, and this is just the tip of the iceberg!

God has really been working in and through our ministry and a huge part of that success is because we have such an amazing team of prayerful supporters backing us up.

I'd like to give some updates and some prayer needs so everyone can be praying specifically with us as we focus our attention on the next several months of ministry. So here we go...

1. Please continue to pray with us about our support level - We are currently at about 55% and over the next few months I have set aside some weekends to be available to preach in churches and present our ministry. If we haven't been to your church yet and you'd like to have us come and minister and present the ministry let me know some dates that will work and we'll get them scheduled (Rumor has it Bonnie might even be available to sing - that should really seal the deal!)

2. Our house has still not sold - keep praying for God's will regarding that

3. My computer is on the fritz! - It keeps crashing, and has been giving me all kinds of problems lately...As you know a laptop is a key tool in my ministry as it helps the YMI story be told as well as serves as a valuable presentation tool when I'm traveling and speaking...I talked with Randy today about getting a new one and he suggested sending out the need to my supporters to see if anyone would like to "chip in" towards the cost of a new one for the ministry. He told me that if anyone would like to give towards this tool that they could send their donation to YMI with a note that says "Brent' Laptop" and YMI would send them a tax deductible receipt and we could purchase the laptop tax free through the ministry since we are a non-profit. As I've been looking online at different options it looks like I would be able to get a good laptop and the software I'd need (MS Office) for around $1000...If you're interested in helping toward this need just let me know.

Here's the address to send any donation towards this need if God leads you...
Youth Ministry International 1300 Envoy Circle Suite 1306
Louisville, KY 40299

4. Pray for safety and effectiveness as I speak in churches, conferences and Seminaries over the next several months.

My updated travel schedule is as follows...

* 2/29 - Speaking at Rev-Hi Youth Event in Rochester, NY
* TBA - Various openings to speak in churches, camps, conferences etc.
* TBA - "Be The Change" Seminar Series - Creekside Ministries, Poughkeepsie NY
* 7/08 - Teach YM 101 Principles of Youth Ministry in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
* 7/08 - Speak at Youth Conference in Penang, Malaysia

As I pause and reflect on all that God has accomplished in the last several months, I'm overwhelmed with how awesome He is, and how amazing His plan is!

Thanks to all of you who are partnering with us in this strategic ministry of Training Trainers in Youth Ministry Worldwide!

God bless.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Youth Emphasis Week - Louisville

Hey everyone,
Just a quick note to let you know what I'm doing and where I am this week so you can be praying.

I arrived in Louisville on Sunday to take part in several things on the campus of Boyce College & Southern Seminary as they host the 1st annual International Youth Emphasis week (click on the title above for a web link) Here's what it's comprised of...

* The Center for Youth Ministry (CYM) directors from 5 of our 6 represented countries (Ukraine, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Cuba) are teaching classes in the Youth Ministries department at Boyce College this week.
* The CYM directors are also speaking in churches during the week
* I'll be teaching 3 classes while I'm here (2 tomorrow 9am & 4pm) then 9am on wednesday
* I'll be involved in the ICYM advisory board meeting on tuesday as well as the YMI banquet on tuesday night
* I may also be preaching in a church on wednesday night as well
* I'm also working out the details for when I'll be in Malaysia in a few months...Besides teaching in the seminaries in Penang & Kuala Lumpur there is youth conference that is being planned while I'm there that they want me to speak at, so we're figuring out those details as well.

So, it's a busy week with alot of potential exposure for the directors as well as the students into what YMI is all about and how huge the needs are in the world of Youth Ministry training worldwide.

I've already made several good contacts for potential trainers, and I'd really appreciate your prayers as I teach tomorrow and wednesday. My topics are...

* Am I called to Youth Missions?
* Teaching in a cross cultural classroom

Thanks everyone I appreciate your prayerful support!

Serving Him,

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lincoln - "MY Friend"

Please pray for Lincoln, one of our Youth Majors in Kenya, if you followed my blog when I was in Kenya in December you heard me talk about Lincoln. He is just one of the thousands of people who are being effected by the violence in Kenya...Here's an excerpt from my blog to give some context on Lincoln.

• Sylvester and I then went back to the church to tie up some loose ends, and when we pulled into the church, there were about 10 guys hanging out under the BTC tree…

These were guys I hadn’t seen before and they definitely had a rough look to them…Sylvester said that they were street kids who dropped out of school, had no place to go and just slept wherever they could and just ran the streets all the time…

2 of his youth leaders had begun a ministry reaching out to them, and there they were hanging out at the church waiting for their “Youth Pastors” to show up. Sylvester told me that Lincoln and Richie were the guys that minister to them and that they view them as their Pastors…Lincoln is maybe 19 and Richie is probably about the same age…2 of Sylvester’s guys that he’s trained to reach out and minister to the needs of the kids in his community!

Sylvester had to grab some stuff in his office so he said “you can just wait in my office if you want, but I wanted to meet them so I said, “is it ok if I hang out with them?” He said “ok just don’t carry anything valuable”! I walked up to them and said “hey guys what’s up?” and they looked at me like I was some sort of freak (which, of course I am!)…I soon realized that they didn’t know any English because they dropped out of school and have been running the streets…

So I thought to myself “I have to connect with these guys somehow”…then I remembered that Sylvester said that Lincoln and Richie were their “Pastors”, so I said with a questioning kind of tone “Lincoln…Richie?” as if to say do you know them?

Everyone of them stopped what they were doing and looked at me with looks on their faces as if to say “why…what did you do to them?” I then made a fist and placed it over my heart and tapped my chest three times and said “my friends’…well, they just broke into huge smiles and started doing that as well and saying “Lincoln & Richie…My friends”…

It was really cool how their attitude towards me changed in an instant when I “dropped the names” of 2 youth leaders who these guys respect…Sylvester came out of his office and we were playing basketball and having a good time, and he was smiling from ear to ear!

Check out a recent e-mail Lincoln sent me...

Hi brent!!

How are you doing buddy? it's my hope that you are doing fine, as for me am doing good despite what is happening to our beautiful Kenya.In school there's tension and we almost called off the session but people are still holding on.

Too bad Silvester was unable to come over there i learnt about it on Sunday coz i went back home for the church service.But i know that God will provide another chance for him.

Please don't feel sorry for me when i tell you this i don't like it when one pities me when i went back home it was on a Saturday the very same day Silvester was suppose to fly out i found my house was my house no more all my things were at my fathers house and somebody else had taken my house.You know where i live it's a companies house where by the works are given houses by the company so my dad got me one wooden house 10 by 10 feet and it's very old but it's mine no more i spent a night in a room that had 14 people inside and it was so small,thank God am in school coz i came back the following morning but i Will be going back after 2 weeks i don't know what will happen.The people who took my house work the company but they used to live in an area that is no longer safe for them since they are works of the company i had nothing to say.

But in all ways i still feel blessed.Am in school now it's around 9:30pm and am preparing my self to preach in the evening fellowship in our school i will talking about What God looks for in a so excited.

Pray for me bro i need God to provide a place for me in two weeks.

Brother in Christ


Below is a picture of the street kids that Lincoln ministers to.

I'm continually amazed at the faith of my Kenyan brothers and sisters!

Thanks for praying with me.