Throwback: Rwanda- and purpose-bound

This is part of a series called “Throwback” – where I revive journal entries and blog posts written/posted on this very day, years ago.

Written on May 23rd, 2013 (four years ago), after I had asked my CEO Dan Rowe for a temporary leave to prepare for and serve on a missionary trip in the country of Rwanda – where a team of us spent time with the poor and helped them build sustainable preschools that hopefully gave them life-changing power.  

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I had a hope that reset blog would be done just in time for my mission trip to Africa; and thanks to making time and an amazing web site designer, it met the deadline.

I am very entrepreneurial and hard-working by nature; and I used to subscribe to the philosophies of: “I work 80 hours a week so that I can avoid working 40 hours;” “I can sleep all I want when I’m dead;” “Work now so that you can enjoy life later;” and a host of other Kool-Aid flavors I was drinking and getting unhealthy sugar-highs from.

There are a series of events that happened in my life that caused me to change all that – and I’ll save that for future blog posts – but learning the hard way, finding my way back to God, being introduced to Tim Ferriss and the 4-Hour Workweek philosophy, Zen Habits, and other signs and nudges…compelled me to make some major, major changes.

For the focus of this blog post, I’ll mention the major one: I changed employers.

Whereas I used to work for Fransmart full-time as their Senior Director – I am now working full-time for God and serving people. Fransmart gives me work I enjoy, and I do quite successfully at it – but my main purpose is to do eternity-based work that I was created to do, and money does not last.

What lasts are God, His Word, and people. That’s a compensation that no firm on earth can match; a retirement that lasts forever; work that is recession proof; and work that is truly meaningful.

It was scary and I am taking a huge risk and leap of faith…but I have confidence that God will provide. And so far, because of the move to leave my career, Fransmart generously offered to keep me on payroll as an advisor. I’ve learned that I don’t need too much money to be happy (in fact, it may be a hindrance, actually); I am no longer stressed by and make any money-based decisions (and those type of decisions are always poorly-played out); and I am thoroughly enjoying my new lifestyle.

One of my biggest life decisions was to go on a mission trip to Rwanda to build preschools for the materially poor children there. It’s an initiative under The PEACE Plan via Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California – one of the biggest churches in America. The idea that I could be used by God to bring people closer to Him; lift the materially poor out of poverty and its horrible effects (sex/labor trafficking, drugs, violence, gangs, etc.); help people become self-sustainable; and in the meantime work on my own brokenness, because I have issues, too…I couldn’t think of a better use of my time, than time spent with and for Him.

 

It’s crazy – I don’t know anything about construction, school planning, caring for children, teaching, etc. but I love children and knew that God would fill in the gaps and details.

And fill in, He did – God has blessed this initiative above and beyond, and I haven’t even touched down in Kigali, yet:

  1. For me, He used my love and knowledge of social media, business, and marketing to build awareness and shared excitement for this and future trips. I believe He’s been working on me in preparation for this – and spiritual maturity takes time.
  2. Financially, the initiative has gotten so much monetary support – that not only are the intended project needs met, there are enough funds to build 1 more school than initially planned (I am out there to follow-up on 3 schools already up and running, and identify sites for 3 more). I am so humbled by God’s people and their like-heartedness, and the power of prayer.
  3. And for my team – teachers, child psychologists, and people who have been to Rwanda have joined my team and will be working alongside me.

Whoa. Talk about getting hooked up.

I am currently typing this blog post from my plane flight from New York City to Brussels, before making the final connection from there to Kigali, Rwanda. I’m not sure how the Internet access will be there; nor will I know if I’ll even have time to write – as I might be out all day working – but I am honored to be doing this mission and sharing it with you.

You can keep your job; but reset your answer when asked who you are truly working for.

Throwback: The power of prayer

This is part of a series called “Throwback” – where I revive journal entries and blog posts written/posted on this very day, years ago.

Written on May 23rd, 2013 (four years ago), after I had asked my CEO Dan Rowe for a temporary leave to prepare for and serve on a missionary trip in the country of Rwanda – where a team of us spent time with the poor and helped them build sustainable preschools that hopefully gave them life-changing power.  

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I don’t want to underestimate the power of prayer anymore.

People usually only pray when they are in the deep trenches of trouble – I am guilty of that crime as well. But if God always answers prayers, shouldn’t we:

1. Pray more often to increase our chances of success?
2. Pray first, before worrying about or doing anything? And
3. Turn down the world’s volume, so that you can hear what He’s telling you?

I’m currently reading a book called “Be Determined: Standing Firm In The Face Of Opposition” by Warren W. Wiersbe. It’s a dissection of the Bible’s story of Nehemiah, and it’s also a devotional for my PEACE Preschools Rwanda team while we are there serving.

It’s such an encouraging book, and I urge you to read it. But for the sake of this post…

It talks about how Nehemiah was so in love with Christ that he prayed before he took any actions, before he freaked out about obstacles in the way, and simply prayed just to give thanks. And he was heavily blessed in the process.

If God encompasses everything and makes all things possible, why aren’t we leaning on him more?

Let’s reset the idea of what prayer is all about – it’s not a ritual where you’re just citing some memorized, unpersonal verse; it’s a conversation with Him, it’s a request of Him, and it’s a worshipping of Him.

There’s no wrong way to praise Him – He’s willing to listen…if you’re willing to speak with Him.

In fact, you can even yell and be pissed off at Him – it’s in these angry moments that you become closer to and have a real relationship with Him.

Prayer has allowed me to: (1) leave my job temporarily in confidence and serve Him; (2) receive more donations than I needed for my mission trip to Rwanda; (3) love people more; (4) endure the most difficult times of my life; and (5) take away so much stress and unnecessary roadblocks in my way.

As a side benefit, prayer has forced me to be more patient and wait for God. I’m the type who likes to move fast, get things done and moving, and see results. By praying and waiting on the Lord, I am learning to not go faster than He wants me to go…and in the process, I make less mistakes; receive more blessings on the way that I might’ve overlooked; and I know for a fact that I’m not doing it alone.

“He that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isa. 28:16)

“Stand Still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” (Ex. 14:13)

“Sit still…until you know how the matter will turn out.” (Ruth 3:18 NKJV)

This is one of the easier RESETS with infinite ROI. You can pray about anything you’d like, right away.