Category Archives: Uncategorized

Finally, On the Road

We have SO much to praise God for-prayers answered!  (THIS was a good day.)

You would never believe, in all your wildest imaginations, what it takes to purchase a vehicle in a foreign country.  Never mind that a used vehicle of certain brands are almost as much a new one in the states… It’s crazy.   It has taken 4 months to find one… The RIGHT ONE… And almost two weeks to complete the deal. I don’t know the total number of people involved or how many offices were visited (Jeff is doing that part with the help of our pastor here).

When they were wading through the paperwork, they kept trying to tell Jeff he didn’t have the proper documentation to prove he could be here. What?   (Our supervisor assured us we did--but being in a different location and dealing with different people than the ones Jeff was with–and they wouldn’t budge.)  It’s been one more tornado of an event getting this accomplished.  When we buy our next car or truck in the states – I’m bringing the salesman donuts… cookies… Or cake. Or all of it!  (*truck stats at the bottom)

Saturday, we took the opportunity (since we now had insurance – again, that was a huge ordeal), to drive and see some of the city by ourselves. It’s been since January that we have arrived and we have either depended on a friend to take us, walked, or paid an Uber or taxi. I never imagined it would take from January 26 to almost May 1st to get where we needed to be–with a little more independence.

If you’re privileged to have your own mode of transportation and can navigate with a certain amount of confidence anywhere you need to go, you are BLESSED…. So thank God for this wonderful opportunity.

While we were out, we saw some familiar sights, and some not as familiar (New fellow sleeping in the door frame of the Catholic Church.). And the traffic?  It’s still just as crazy as ever–the difference is, we are part of the crazy in a real way!

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Several times, while we were driving in the country (to a certain village), our road on the map we were following, just disappeared. Then at other times, it was hard to tell which way to go, and yet at other times, it would say “turn right or turn left” ….and low and behold, there would be a fence. Or there would be a field. How in the world do you navigate that??

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There was one way we could get to where we were going, once we got close enough–

by looking UP.

There’s a very tall radio tower that can be seen from almost anywhere in the village, so once we got close enough to see that, although it was yet a few miles away, we could keep our eyes locked on the tower and keep forging forward.

Sound familiar?  

This journey has done some amazing and some very painful things.  It has brought out the best and the worst.  The worst needs driving far from us, and the best needs to just hold on–He’s doing something unexpected.

More than you would believe, I have leaned on this word:

“Wait on the Lord:  be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart:  wait, I say on the Lord.”  Psalm 27:14

“My soul, wait though only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.”  Psalm 62:5

No one can do this for us; only us.  It was His voice who called,  our ears that heard, His hand that leveled mountains to get us here, and it is only by His grace and mercy we are kept.  I have found this to be the hardest thing ever, but I have found Him to be unimaginably faithful to His promises.

Friends, I have no idea what you are truly going through today.  Facebook and Instagram and all those great photo filters make it easy to keep the truth off the front page–but HE sees your front page every day–and He knows the last page.  Take stock today.  Dig into the Word and into your heart and let Him reveal what is needed in your life.

I will tell you straight up, there will be some hard days…but the times you will draw even closer to God than you ever imagined are sown in tight to those hard days.  For growth.

But they that WAIT upon the Lord shall RENEW their strength; they shall MOUNT UP with wings as eagles; they shall RUN, and not be weary; and they shall WALK, and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31 (emphasis mine).

Did you notice the order of things?  The mounting up is the exciting beginning. Then, the momentum is still there – so we are now on the run…running with the joy and excitement of this unbelievable journey…but let’s be honest here, it gets tiring after a bit.

Then there comes that time in this journey when we are too pooped to party and walking is about all we can do, and sometimes it feels like a “limping walk”.

We have a friend in Costa Rica who can “power walk” like nobody’s business.  He was amazing and I loved to watch him, because I couldn’t even trot and keep up with him.  The power walk–is not this walk.  This walk is like the “air is heavy and hard to breathe walk, the falling down and skinning our knees walk, and it is affecting our gait…but HE still remains steadfast and faithful.  NEVER leaving our side.

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us.  Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.  For the joy that lay before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2 HCSB

If I can encourage you today, stay in the race.  Wipe the sweat from your eyes (mixed with tears of frustration and pain) and let’s finish this!  You with us?  I hope so.  I don’t want to see anyone left behind.

*truck stats:  a 4 door 4×4, 2011 Ford Ranger, 98,000 miles and priced at $15,000 (thank you to all who gave offerings and who continue to support us!!). We had a budget of $10k but our director graciously requested on our behalf an increase so that we could get this more dependable vehicle.  We are so grateful!

Blessed to serve with you!

Jeff and Angie


www.tinyurl.com/sendjeffandangie is the link if you wish to sign up to become a prayer partner or a financial partner (in any amount).  Our prayer partners are crucial to this mission continuing.


From Ordinary to Extraordinary

Yesterday I woke at my ordinary time, did my normal, everyday, ordinary first morning things, got my coffee, put on a load of laundry because, well, take advantage of the sunshine. It was predicted to be a hot day and it would help dry the clothes while I did the other ordinary things. But this day, was to be anything But ordinary.

Our expected guest arrived about 9:30ish and I had already had my devotions that morning and prepared. We were to have communion.

It’s customary here in the church we attend to have communion on the first Sunday of every month. Jeff had been sick Sunday- with allergies and headaches almost since coming here like he hasn’t had in a long – long time. But Sunday was worse. So we decided to stay in, he would sleep, since he didn’t sleep hardly at all the night before and I would have my own service by myself with an online message and worship.

When he said he didn’t sleep any- I wanted to say, “welcome to my world” but thought better of it when I saw his face. He really was a sick fella.

When our pastor arrived we talked a little before we prayed and he shared and we all three partook of communion together.

It was such a sweet and holy moment. It reminded me when our girls were young and we had a time where we were teaching them about communion and we shared communion once a month for a while. It was important for them to know and understand about the cross, the resurrection and the sacrifice that Christ gave so that we might have eternal life.

As we closed the special time together, our pastor asked if he could take us anywhere. He had a couple of hours to spare and we are still looking for a dependable and affordable vehicle. We needed to get the big containers of water and while we were out, we asked it it were possible to go visit a special young girl. This young girl is special to our team members from the 2013 construction team we brought to build a church near her house.

“Of course we can go!” he said without a single hesitation.

We set off for the area she lived, about 30 minutes or so from our apartment. Still in the same city, just rough roads and traffic makes it a bit tedious to get there. Just ask any of the team members from 2013. But it was worth every second we traveled from the hotel to the church everyday to see what God did for that village in just 4 days time.

When we got to Ruth’s house, she opened the gate timidly at first, but when she saw our faces, hers lit up like the sunshine. I really wish I could have taken her picture in that moment. But not to embarrass her, I did not.

We were the visitors that broke up her ordinary day. And when she hugged me tight, I wanted to cry. Her sister as well. She did tear up, just as she did 2 years ago when we visited and brought her a new walker. What was so incredible, her sister remembered the very day we visited them.

As we sat on their porch and talked (our pastor did most of the talking- I didn’t really want to blunder my way through a conversation) , I took in the surroundings, my heart broke at the condition of things. It wasn’t the poverty as much as it was the lack of care. I’ve seen very poor people try hard to keep things neat, because they had hope in their heart and life. This was clearly a sad family who had not seen hope in a long, long time.

Even without a camera in hand, I will never forget what my eyes captured that day.

We talked about school, church, and our pastor talked to them about forgiveness. I could tell by watching their faces that the words were falling on thirsty ground. They hungered. They lived within reach of the church yet something kept them back. The young girl and her little cousin attended, but the big need is for the mother and daughter. They need to hunger for God, to find the hope that is only found in Jesus Christ. The two young ones need the example of the mother and older sister. Not to be sent to church, but to go as a family.

He’s not going to come in and pour money into their lives, but He will cleanse (them) us from our sins and give (them) us a hope that will forever change (their) our lives.

That hope will change the ordinary life into an extraordinary one. He can open our eyes to things we never saw before and I believe He alone can help us see beyond our circumstances into what life in Christ will bring.

We know this family has had a rough time- we’ve ministered as best we could, our team bought the first new walker little Ruth had when she was about 10 years old, and have continued to buy her one every other year. They don’t last long in that terrain. But they need more than that. They need Jesus. Please help us Pray.

Next week, we will be going back to take her a new walker, and some school supplies and teaching tools for home schooling. It’s a long story and I won’t go into it here.

Before we left, we gathered around them and prayed for the family, there were tears coursing down Ruth’s mothers face when I hugged her tight and told her we loved them and would be praying. Please help us Pray.

A note to our team, this family was impacted in 2013 when we helped build the church, they are still impacted today by your memory and the love you shown them.

I’m thankful that every mission team we’ve ever led, was never a blow in and blow out kind of trip. It’s always been about building a relationship with the people. It’s still about that.

That’s why we are here. And with the help of the LORD and your faithful prayers, we will see many more ordinary days turn extraordinary.

Thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for praying, giving, and when possible for yourself, for going. You are making a difference.

We are grateful…. Extraordinarily so.


Proving His Faithfulness

We are here. The Lord has been full of mercy- and has been gracious to my weary heart when I felt I would faint from all the newness surrounding me.

Overwhelmed. That has pretty much summed up my feelings the last several days. I’m surprised He hasn’t obliged my behind with a swift kick. But again… He’s full of mercy and it’s new every morning.

We went apartment looking yesterday and today – yesterday one out of three was a keeper – except for that little thing called a budget.

To find something in a safe area And affordable I was beginning up thinking was nigh impossible. But God looked down and set us up.

“When things look impossible will you still trust Me? “

I trusted Him without a second thought during my cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy and radiation…. What was the problem trusting and believing Him to find us an apartment? I was bone weary and emotionally spent. Every single ounce of my flesh screamed “stop and take a breath!”

We had several – what I will call “prayer crisis”. When we got to the Miami Airport to leave, we discovered that my tourist visa had expired. And to get one at the airport requires certain documents. Well, you would have thought we knew that it expired – but since Jeff’s was a 10 year tourist visa we never thought to check mine… We assumed. Yeah yeah. I know.

So there was a huge emotional deal going down in my head when we got to the airport checking in our bags. I asked a few prayer warriors to pray. Well…. They let me on the plane.

Of course you must know it was not a peaceful flight like I had “planned”. Instead my heart was filled with anxious thoughts. When we finally got here and deboarded the plane it was another ordeal and phone calls and anguish and tears – finally I was spent…. I was ready to go home and say “forgetaboutit“. I sat there in tears (while Jeff was – I’m not sure where, trying to get me in) and told the Lord “I’m done”. I said it twice for good measure. I was, as they say–being real with God.

That very instant when I admitted to having NO abilities on my own, and our merits could get us nothing, the guy walked over who had told me my papers were no good and not enough–and he asked for them again and he made it happen. More than an hour after we landed, we walked out into the freedom of a tourist.

There’s a LOT of spiritual lessons here once I unpack it all, but know this, God proves Himself daily. Every single minute of every day.

We are grateful to a lot of people-both here and at home. Our prayer partners are relentless. And so is our God.

My friend, Paola wanted to get Jeff to try something – her words were “have you proved this”?? He had not tried it… That’s us. Try HIM. Prove Him. He is trustworthy. It may not look like we thought…. I may not understand the whole process but His ways are eventually visible.

One last note – we don’t have wifi yet, but we have phones. If you see our family – love them for us. Hug them. This is the Hardest thing for me because I love my family more than anything.

I’m reading a book called “A Tale of 3 Kings”, by Gene Edwards. I want to leave you with a quote:

“… God did not have -but wanted very much to have – men and women who would live in pain. God wanted a broken vessel.”

I think that can often sum up the life of followers of God. To die to the desires of our own hearts and take up His. We are no different than you. Just a different assignment today.

(special thanks to Stevie Elam for this amazing gift!)


An 8 Year Old Missionary

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God”.  

Matthew 5:8

2015-A MISSIONARY 03-19 2015-03-19 002 003I had the wonderful opportunity a few weeks ago to interview the youngest purpose-filled missionary I have ever met.  She just turned 9 and her name is Kaylee.

Kaylee took it upon herself to do something pretty extraordinary.

She wanted to make “Salvation Bracelets” for the kids in Bolivia where we would be ministering.  They ordered colorful beads and enough leather to make 500 bracelets.

This past Saturday, Kaylee did something almost unheard of in this day and age of children and all the gimmicks of our “stuff driven” society.  She planned her birthday party–around others.

When her mom asked her what kind of theme she wanted for her party–without hesitation, Kaylee responded, A Mission Party!

Kaylee wanted everyone who came to buy school supplies or give donations for the kids we are visiting in Bolivia.  Kaylee wanted nothing for herself.

Everything this young lady comes up with knocks me to my knees.  I am so proud of Kaylee and her heart for God.

Let me tell you (if I haven’t already) of the first time I met her.  Jeff and I had the privilege of being with my sister and her husband, Pastor Juno Douglas for our very FIRST mission service with our brand new baby ministry, Focus Forward Ministries, Inc.

Kaylee was in that audience.  Not playing a video game or coloring, or anything else that kids sometimes do in church–this young lady was eyes-front, listening to every word.    When I shared, she listened.  When Jeff shared, she soaked it in and became excited about the possibility of going on a mission trip herself!

Afterward, Pastor Juno called me and Jeff to the front so that the body of believers could come forward and pray for us, for our ministry and for the furtherance of the Gospel Message.  Kaylee came and stood beside me.  My heart and eyes wept when I felt that little hand on my arm and heard the whispers of her voice.  She said to me after the prayer, “you’re gonna do real good”.

Kaylee, I hope so.  My desire is to do “real good in every place He puts our feet”.

This young lady, with the help of her mom and her little sister, have made over 300 bracelets.

Listen up people–we need to understand something:  God will use anyone–no matter your age, life history, or circumstance, to take the Gospel to the WORLD.  There is a dying world.  Children who have no hope without Christ.  Parents who are dying in sin–and to sin…and leading their children down the same path!

We leave for Bolivia in 25 days to work in 4 schools per day for a week.  We have an opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, His love for lost humanity and show them they MATTER and that they are LOVED.  Kaylee’s contribution of “birthday gifts”  and bracelets will help to spread the love.   We could use some more school supplies.  That’s a LOT of kids…

The Salvation bracelets we give out will remind them of what God gave–when He gave His Son.  And they will all get a Bible.  We have 500 in hand and 500 coming.  We have boxes of Mission Ball’s with the Gospel printed on all sides…. all paid for by those who wanted to play a part in this journey.

YOU still have a chance.  We gratefully accept contributions for this life changing trip.  THANK YOU for joining hands with us today.  Thank you for taking the GOSPEL to the WORLD!

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Focus Forward Ministries, Inc.

Post Office Box 5773

Marianna, FL  32447

(All monetary donations are tax deductible)

 


Lasting Impressions

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Have you ever wanted to do something that made a lasting impression?  A good one.  I’ve encountered my share of bad impressions, and they’ve lasted a while, but good impressions, I believe last longer.  Good impressions live in the hearts and minds of others and in times of heartache, a good impression is often retrieved for comfort.

Do you enjoy giving a long thought out gift for a dear friend or loved one?  They see you–and know you love them and care for their well being.  But, let me share with you something I discovered:

Often in giving, the best feeling is knowing they don’t have to know who you are.  The recording of your love and compassion is recorded for all eternity.

The greatest joy for me, is watching these teachers receive what YOU gave.  If you could see into the eyes and hearts of these teachers and the principal (standing beside Jeff), you would experience the joy of giving–as never before.  It was like Christmas to these.

Necessary items that our schoolers take for granted, these do not.  We are so accustomed to running to the dollar store or local wally-world that we forget there are those who have no such luxury.

Luxury?  A trip to the dollar store?

Indeed.

These teachers (and there are about 9 not pictured), have the joy of teaching and training the next generation–but they must do so with such limited income and in order to teach, most of them give more than just their time.  They give their income.

In order to have paper for the students, the teachers buy it.

To color, write or draw, more often than not, the tool comes from the teachers.  We discovered that in order to make copies, the teacher has to travel about 30 minutes to a neighboring town to make copies because the school had no copier or printer.  The Lord supplied that need through someone who sent with us a copier for the principal.  And several purchased print cartridges.

This past year, we took more supplies and more printers.  Three to be exact.  So that the teachers could all have access to things that are needed in the class room.  God burdened someone’s heart with that treasure for the school at Don Lorenzo.

This year, we are traveling back, but to 4 different schools.  We hope, through generous donations to be able to take supplies, and even a printer or two.  The school supplies are of utmost importance.  Through your gifts of crayons, pencils, sharpeners, rulers, glue, etc. we are able to bless them and help with the education process of these growing children.

100_1598This little girl (Ruth), who every team member came to love in 2013, needed a new walker.  We took up an offering among us and had enough to buy her a nice walker that will grow with her and help her navigate the dirt road where she lives–and we made a lasting impact on her life.

We really never know what needs we will encounter that we aren’t expecting.  But, rest assured, we always encounter needs.

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The needs are there.

The needs are often more than we can meet.

But with the help of friends back home, we can.  It takes us all working together to bear the burden for others.

We will take new testaments for the children, and gifts for the teachers, through the very generous donations from a group of women in a local church, they have supplied us with handmade pot holders!  (We are beyond excited!)

So, maybe you have read all this and wonder, “what can I do to make a lasting impression”.  I’m glad you asked!

We are taking New Testaments, soccer balls with scripture on them, and school supplies.  You may simply make your check out to Focus Forward Ministries, Inc. and drop it in the mail to Post Office Box 5773, Marianna, Florida 32447, and mark it Mission to Bolivia.  We leave May 30 and hope to take boxes of generous love and donations to those we have grown to love and care about!

IF you are near us and would like to drop off a box to us to pack with our belongings, you know where we live!  We gratefully accept your support and prayers!

And, if you know us well, you know that God has been working in our hearts for a “new step of faith”…and we sure would appreciate all your prayers.  Really.

Time is short–and our desire is to do all we can–with every breath in our bodies, until He calls us home.  we want our impression to be Jesus.  And He is everlasting.

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© Angie Knight 2015.  All rights reserved.  Photos copyright protected.  All rights reserved.


Holding Emmanuel

100_3976EmmanuelSounds more like a Christmas post…and maybe it will be- but it’s been on my mind.  The feeling from holding him.

Emmanuel.

One of the guys from our ministry team is making Christmas ornaments to sell as a way to raise funds for upcoming projects and when I saw the ornaments, one ornament, emblazoned with His name, reminded me of the baby in Bolivia.  And the Baby in Bethlehem.

Every single one of us is drawn to the babies, and this was my one chance to hold him without one of the others trying to get at him.  I held my hands out, he leaned in and I took him.  Soft baby.  Freshly washed  baby fragrance, I inhaled deep.  Remembering my own babies.  And their babies.  I asked his name.  “Emmanuel”, she said.  No translation needed.  I felt my heart speed up with my writer’s mind whirling–I was “holding Emmanuel”.  The other team members had oooed and aahhed over him, a few had held him–without knowing his name.  But I asked–because names are important to me–I like to connect somehow with those that I talk with–even when through a translator.

He leaned his little head on my shoulder and I began to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for him, a prayer of protection, and for God to create in him a strong desire to serve and follow Emmanuel, God with us.  Jesus Christ.  Son of God.  Tears (which seemed to come often this trip) burned, mixed with the dust that was flying that morning,   I was so –so- so grateful to God for this moment.  For me to recognize a “God moment”.

To hold Emmanuel–we must recognize our need for Him.  Holding Emmanuel is a privilege.  We must seek Him.  Just as the wise men and shepherds, we will find Him when we do.

And, when we hold Him, it will change us.

The holding.  It’s a purposeful act–a deliberate decision to wrap our arms, minds and heart around Him.  Measure the feeling when you hold a baby.  Is it possible?  I don’t think it’s quite measurable.  The feeling itself encapsulates our being.  We are privileged to have experienced that opportunity.  But–God didn’t decide to come to earth as a baby –just for us…..He came for the world. (John 3:16)

So that we all might have the opportunity…and there are millions who don’t know.  Millions who have never been afforded the chance to hold Emmanuel.  Never had an introduction.  What are we doing about them?

Dare we look in their eyes and say, “I’m sorry…. we cannot give you the chance to know Jesus…you live too far away”….

“Your life is too different than mine”.

Those words won’t hold up in court.  The Court.  We will all stand for our own selves.  And what we did when we were given the opportunity to hold Emmanuel–will come to light.  Did we hold Him?  Did we share Him? Give– so that others might know Him?  Go so that others might See Him?  Live?  –so that others might want Him?  Do we pray so that they might find Him?

Holding Emmanuel changed me.  I wanted to stay there–and help his mother.  I wanted to be her friend.

But I knew –for now, I couldn’t stay.  I handed  him back with a prayer and a promise that I would indeed do my part to see that others like him, and his mother–and those other little ones running around playing would have the opportunity to hold Emmanuel.  And know Him.  And serve Him.

HoldingEmmanuelFather, I thank You for that trip.  For all the things You showed us–and all that we experienced.  I pray that we brought glory and honor to You and not shame in all that we did.  I ask that the fire we felt in our souls that week–burn even stronger as we make plans to return–and make plans to go beyond the comfort zone of our lives–as we embark on unknown places to reach the unreached.  Let our feet and hearts follow Yours.  May we bring You glory daily–until we’re Home.  In Your most holy name–Amen.

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