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Tag Archives | Kenya

Success Is Obeying

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The picture on the left here is a message I got from a friend of the church I used to work at (sorry it’s so small. If you click on it it will blow it up for you). I went to Kenya and met this woman named Carmilla on the flight there. She was wondering why we were going to Kenya and we just started talking about Jesus. She said she was not into church, never really went to church and never really thought about going. I gave her my card and said if she were ever in LA she should come check it out. That was 3 summers ago and then I get this message. I just planted a seed. I didn’t know what was going to happen, let alone 3 summers later. How cool is that?! It got me thinking about how we teach evangelism to our students and it’s a great reminder to us as ministers.

We have to let our students, and if we are honest, us sometimes, understand this:

Planting a seed is a win. Success is not bringing someone to Christ, success is how well we go and obey His command to go out and share His story.

A lot of the time both students and pastors will go out, be the hands and feet of Jesus to people. Serve them. Love them. Share about Him. Then what happens? Most of the time nothing. There is no immaculate turn around where the person says right then and there they are dropping everything and turning to Jesus. It can be really discouraging if we are not seeing what we would call “results”.

That can be very discouraging because we tend to not be focused on the right goal.

It is not up to us if a person is ready to accept Jesus. God has to be working on that person’s heart already. God is the only one who can soften someone’s heart. We cannot. We can only obey and share about who Jesus is and pray that their heart is ready to receive Him. We need to tell others about Him, plant that seed, and then wait and let God make it grow so we can see the harvest.

We just need to obey. Success is obeying.

Matthew 28:16-20

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

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DYM’s 1st $100 Resource Sponsorship!

kenya_dym_scholarship

One of the things I’m really excited about the new Download Youth Ministry is the Scholarships tab up at the top of every page. The idea is to give folks an opportunity to help other youth workers in financial need. Right now, the only donation amount is $100 (more options coming soon) and I’m happy to let you know that we’ve had some great interest so far in the program!

In fact, today I want to show you one of the ministries you were able to help. Because of you, we’ve provided sacks of youth ministry resources for the folks over at Good News Community Center in Kisumu, Kenya. You can read more about their mission at Journey to More.

Know someone who would donate to this great cause? Know someone who can’t afford resources and could use a gift? Hit up the scholarship page today!

JG

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5 Rules for living in community…what are yours?


What are your “rules” for living with friends?

The street kids in Kitale, Kenya often frequent a drop-in center and have created some self-governing rules for their community. I took a photo of their work:



I found this to be fascinating! Orphans, who live on the streets, sniff glue to keep warm and numb their hunger, come together in a make-shift shack and form a community. These rules weren’t created by the organizers of the drop-in center, they were created by the kids themselves.

If the community that you most closely associate were to create “community rules”…what would they be? I think it would be both fun and interesting to read a bunch of lists.

What 5 community rules would you suggest to those you do life with? If several people participate, I’ll compile the lists and make a PDF that you can download. I think it could become a helpful tool when teaching about living in community.

What are yours? What guidelines would best enhance your closest relationships? Share them here.

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My Family in Africa [7 photos]


Today a friend asked me why I didn’t blog while I was in Africa. Two reasons: (1) I had great guest posts lined up for while I was gone, and (2) I rarely had access to internet.

Three-fifths of our family arrived home last night after being in Kitale, Kenya. Cathy and my daughter Cassie (16 yrs old) arrived there a week before me (I was delayed because of our Student Leadership Conference). My oldest, Torie, graduated college in May and immediately left to oversee a group of 20 college-aged students who are in Kenya for the summer. And, as I’ve mentioned in other posts (like this one….and, this one), my son Cody (19) has been in Kitale since January. Being all together for the first time since January was an incredible family-affair. There are no people in the world that I’d rather be with than the 5 of us.

Here’s a little sampling of some Fields’ family photos (with a slight emphasis on Cody since he’s been there for almost 7 months):

Cody’s heart breaks for the orphans who live on the street, sniff glue, and have no family. While there are 1000′s, this is one of Cody’s favorite boys:

These kids have no home. They beg for food, sniff glue to stay warm and numb their hunger, and occasionally hang-out at a drop-in center where they receive some teaching and love.


One of my highlights of the trip was to see the influence my son has had in such a short period of time. Not only does he now speak (almost fluent) Swahili, but everywhere we went there were kids shouting his name and running up to him for a hug. All week I was referred to as, “Cody’s Babba” (Cody’s dad–which I’m proud to be).

The kids in this photo are at an orphanage where they are either “infected” or “affected” (meaning they’ve lost their parents) by HIV/AIDS. On this day, they got new mattresses for their beds (although 20 kids still sleep on the cold concrete).

Torie is the one who led the way for our family to fall in love with Kitale, Kenya. She first went to Kenya 6 years ago when she was a junior in high school (and has been back 5 times). She has an amazing heart, and as the leader of the group this summer, her leadership-learning-curve is very high. She’s doing a great job!

One of the highlights of my trip was delivering blankets to street kids at midnight. They typically cover themselves in plastic bags and try to find any shelter they can. It can be very scary, but here’s a shot of my brave daughter (Cassie) giving-out a blanket with the prayer that he’ll wake up and realize that someone in this crazy-world loves him.

Saying “hello” was a lot sweeter than saying “goodbye”…here at the airport our family gathers for one last photograph as Cathy, Cassie & I return home and leave Torie & Cody to continue their mission. We’ll reunite with them later in August.


For those of you who are still in the stage of life where your children are young, I encourage you to take them on your youth ministry mission trips (when you can). Our kids went with us every year on our spring break mission week to Mexico when they were toddlers. Unintentionally, we exposed them to a bigger picture of God’s family and planted the seed of serving others. I’m so grateful that our church (and my wife) allowed them to tag along. It’s an incredible blessing to have children who serve Jesus!


Thanks for indulging me as I share a little about my family (it really is just a little…I took over 500 photos)!

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Raising your own kids in ministry

Today my oldest (Torie, who just graduated from college) leaves to lead a group of college students in Kitale, Kenya. When she gets there she’ll be greeted by my 19 year old son, who has been living there since January (a gap year type experience). Obviously, I’m deeply proud of how they’ve chosen to follow Jesus and I thought I’d share something from Cody’s most recent blog:

“Here in Kitale there are hundreds of kids who are living on the streets, some as young as 3 years old, having no possessions other than what clothes they are wearing, and are rejected and looked down upon by the people of the town. These are the kids that my heart breaks for and I want so badly to see them off of the streets.”


“We went into town and placed blankets on about 50 children while they were sleeping on the hard cement floors. Some of these children were bundled up in potato sacks while others were sleeping with just the clothes they had on. We placed a blanket on them got back in the car and went to the next group we would come across. We didn’t wake the children but just placed a blanket and moved along.”



“I have gotten to interact and become friends with many of these street children… I hang out with these kids during the day but then when we go our separate ways I go back to the compound to a mattress and blankets and they go try and find a place to sleep where they can stay warm and wont be mugged or beaten when they awake. Pray for these children that they would find a way off the streets and that they could have a new life in Jesus Christ who loves and adores them more than we could ever imagine.”



To read the rest of Cody’s blog…go HERE.


As I think of the many ways I’ve been blessed, my family is at the top of the list. Honored to be in a healthy and growing marriage for 26 years and thrilled to the dad of 3 kids (22, 19, 16) who deeply love Jesus, want to follow him, have great relationships, are very fun, and love their parents. Really, I am so unworthy!

When my kids were younger, I always wondered, “I wonder how they’re going to turn out growing up as PK’s…always at youth ministry events…exposed to the words and values of teenagers at such an early age. Are we doing the right thing?” Well, the journey isn’t over, but if the future is an indicator of the past…I’m pretty confident.

To those of you in youth ministry with younger children…having our kids grow up in the youth ministry environment has been the best thing for our family. They saw the good and the bad and learned from both. Keep loving them, put them before your ministry, strengthen your marriage, model your “new life” in Christ and let them know you’re crazy about them.

Do the possible as you trust God for the impossible. That’s what I’m trying to do today as half my family serves Jesus on the other part of the world.

Question: What’s your biggest fear about raising your children in ministry? You can leave a comment here if you’d like.

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Miss these 2…big time!


Mom…first Mothers’ Day without you! Miss you deeply…I know that you’re enjoying being in the presence of Jesus. Happy eternal Mothers’ Day mom.



Cody…we are so happy that God is using you across the world! I know you’re loving Kenya and God is using you in great ways. 7 months is a long time and your mom & I and your sisters miss you a ton. Can’t wait to see you in a few months. Your mom always says, “He’s such a good boy!” You are loved my son! Wishing you were here to celebrate with your mom…she is so proud of you!



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MY SON LEAVES TO AFRICA TODAY… for 7 months… yikes

My heart is filled with joy and loss as my 19 year old son leaves today to spend 7 months in Kenya, Africa. After experiencing one incredible semester at Azusa Pacific University (and loving every day of it), he’s following the whisper of Jesus calling him to do something radical. As I write this, a dozen of his APU buddies drove down to pray-him-goodbye (APU has been incredible for him!).

Surrounded by a community of friends, Cody raised all the needed support to fund this life-changing mission. He’ll be working with hundreds of orphan children who live on the streets, sniff glue (to stay warm and alleviate the hunger), and wander the streets looking for hope. So many ministry opportunities!

This is his 4th trip to Africa and continues to be drawn to those in need of help. He’s not alone, so many of his buddies bleed compassion. I continue to be amazed by this generation of teenagers. As research continues to promote the sad news that the church and youth ministry is failing, I’m thrilled to see so many real-life examples of kids sincerely following Jesus.

1. If you think about Cody…pray for his ministry.

2. If you would like to go to Africa with me on an “exploratory trip” (with the intention of taking some of your teenagers on a future trip) send me an email (info@dougfields.com) and I’ll compile a list of interested people. I’m not sure when I’ll be going, but I want to expose youth workers to this unbelievable setting and opportunity for serving (we’ve been taking teenagers there for years).

3. Africa is a big-step, but if you want an easier first-step to develop the leadership and hearts of your students, consider joining us this summer at our student leadership conference at APU…it’s going to be awesome!

4. If you’re a parent and/or youth worker, don’t lose hope, the church may be struggling to retain young people… but the bride of Christ will prevail.

5. If you think about me…pray for my loss. I am going to miss my son/best-buddy/friend so much.

Since I’m new to blogging and have a lot to learn…I’m thinking this may be too personal and not that helpful. Oh well, it’s me, my family, and big on my heart right now…

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