Tag Archives: school supplies

Why Are YOU Here? (by Jeff)

“Why are you here?”  I preached this sermon on a Sunday morning at our home church just a bit ago and when I arrived in Bolivia this past weekend, I was honored to be able to preach in two services and I referred to this question in both of them.  

Today, the LORD asked me“Why are YOU here?”

I arrived in Santa Cruz on Saturday night and haven’t slowed down since I’ve been here.

My dear friend, Pastor Joel and I have been fast paced, trying to get everything accomplished that needed doing for this year.  All the preparations for what our teams will do when we arrive in the coming months.

Today began like all the rest, wide open, and hot, hot temps.  We arrived at one of the schools that Focus Forward Ministries have in the past years, helped with several projects—and some of you have been a vital part of that, through your giving to help us build bathrooms and purchase playground equipment to ministering to the kids in crusades in so many times.  

The principal, who has become a good friend to our team, had prepared us a good breakfast when we arrived. After enjoying the breakfast, I began questioning the principal to catch up on what’s been going on.  School begins here next Monday, February 3rd, and I asked her what the school, the teachers or students might need.  One big thing I really wanted to know was, “How are the kids on school supplies”.  “What can we do to help the kids get started off right this school year?”

She replied to me that there would be 33 kids show up on Monday with no supplies.  Nothing in their hands, no uniforms, no books, not even a pencil.  That’s when the tears began flowing from my eyes.  

Thinking of all these kids who didn’t have anything.  As she was talking about the needs of these 33 kids, something came over me and I just had to assure her that these 33 kids would have what they needed before school began on Monday. 

 I don’t normally make any decision without first talking it over with Angie, Chase, Shelly, Floyd and Sandi, our Focus Forward Team.  But once she began telling me about this situation, those words came rushing back to my mind, “Why are YOU here?”  

As those four words made themselves at home in my mind, I knew I had to decide right then.  I asked her to meet us at the school supply store first thing in the morning.  Our friend, Geraldo, owns this store and always gives us a good discount.  (That’s why we asked for donation of money this year—it’s so less expensive to buy supplies here.)   

As we began to talk more, I asked if there was anything else that was needed.  She began to share with me the needs of two of the kids in this particular school.   There are sensitive details I am not at liberty to share on social media, but I will share it when I get home with our prayer partners.  But to get to the bottom line of these two children, we need to help them get back in school.  They had to drop out this past year.  The principal had been searching everywhere for answers on how to get these kids back in school.  As soon as she said that she couldn’t find a way, those four words came to me again, “Why are YOU here?”

This IS why we are here.  This is why we came.  

The LORD has blessed us insurmountably- to be able to bless these. Maybe we don’t always have cash on hand, but we always have prayer partners who will pray, and we serve a GOD who always supplies. 

Again, twice in one day, I made a decision without consulting with our Focus Forward Ministry Team. On faith, I committed us to support these two children, age 10 and 12, in school for this year.  Angie and I have had plenty of experience as God’s children, that when we ask believing, He supplies.  He does not withhold any good thing from His own.

  • Here’s what I know God will supply:  
  • the finances to keep these two in school;
  • funds for uniforms;
  • books; and
  • necessary supplies.

Even if I have to give up a few meals a week, or some of the conveniences that I have; even if I have to sell some of my prized possessions, whatever I need to do, the educational needs of these two will be met.  

I talked to a pastor yesterday, he shared that his wife became sick and had to be hospitalized and he didn’t have the money to pay the hospital.  He had to sell his car to pay the hospital bill and now he walks everywhere he goes.  So you see, when it comes to someone we love, we will do whatever it takes—and the LORD has put such a love in our hearts for these kids in Bolivia—and we will do whatever it takes, for we know, without doubt, our God will provide a way.

Some of our local church members may remember when I preached a message a few Wednesday nights back, I made the statement  “the people who work in the prisons really had my admiration”—and then I said, “that was one thing I didn’t want to ever do”—and then, “Lord I don’t want to do it, but if you say, if you open the door, then I will.”  Well, you guessed it.  The LORD opened the door today.

In our meeting today with the principal at Freedom School, he asked the question, “when your team comes back, would you like to go into the prison and minister to the kids there?”  He said the door had been opened to him to go in and minister to about 50 kids ranging in age from three to five who cannot come out to attend school, and he wanted to know if we would want to go with him.  And again, those four words rang in my mind again, “Why are YOU here”?

I think the best answer I have to that is “because I prayed: Lord here am I, send me”.

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And to top the day off, meet Dana (pronounced, Donna), age 12, her goal is to be a missionary—and hey, get this; to the USA.  You know I already feel a burden for Angie and myself to help make this happen.  After all the heartbreaking news of the morning, to hear this statement brought the tears once again, but this time, they were tears of joy.

We are incredibly grateful for each one of our supporters–those who have chosen to sponsor the school supply projects in Bolivia or to help keep a child in school. Your impact in these lives will be a ripple effect in the lives beyond the borders of all our lives. Thank you.


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)