Planning and Flexing, pt. 2

Last time I posted about the importance of being flexible and open to the Lord’s adjustment of our plans. I wrote that post two months ago and kept it as a draft, not knowing why that theme had been impressed upon me in my devotions. Little did I know that it was because God had a very specific lesson to teach me through Barnabas X and the Rwanda trip–to make the words in the post an example of His power and truth.

Our trip to Rwanda was scheduled for July. We had already contacted our travel agent to begin the process of purchasing our airfare and fundraisers were underway. Support letters had been sent out by team members, some of whom had already requested the time off from their jobs.  Due to a miscommunication between Barnabas X, RCRI Rwanda, and RCRI USA offices, our trip was inadvertently scheduled at the same time as another group. Unfortunately for our plans, the other group had already coordinated with RCRI USA and purchased their airfare so the time slot belonged to them rather than us.

What a disaster, right? We have team members who couldn’t go if the trip wasn’t at that time, and there was no option but to reschedule. The burden is too great for multiple teams to converge in Kigali at one time. Yes, what a disaster–and what a blessing.

God never closes doors for His people unless He has something better in store for them. What may look to us like Him shutting us down is only our Father preparing the way for greater things. Our God, the all-powerful Creator, has everything under control: human mistakes like this may be unexpected for us, but in fact are all a part of His plan. We should be honored that God takes our mess and makes it into a message, that He makes our tests become testimonies, that He turns our trials into triumphs, and that He makes victims into victors. There is nothing we can screw up so badly that He can’t transform it into something that brings Him glory.

God may have closed the doors on Rwanda in July, but He promptly opened them for September. Rwanda 2014 will be from September 8-20, albeit with a somewhat smaller group. There is a reason that He wanted us to be there in September. There is a reason He wanted the other group to be there in July. In the midst of all our planning, He shows us how to be flexible.

Lord, give us faith to trust You when our plans seems to fail, and to know that our flexibility allows us to see Your plan and to receive Your grace.

 

Planning and Flexing, pt. 1

My wife is a planner. She has plans in her iPhone, plans on Excel spreadsheets, plans on Post-It notes, plans in her meticulously organized planner, and plans in her head. She knows what is happening, when it’s happening, and who it’s happening to at all times, and never forgets a single thing.

And God bless her for it, because I am the opposite. I like to just fly by the seat of my pants, go with the flow, feel things out, and see where it takes me, justifying every bit of it by saying “God’s got it, don’t worry about it”. If it were up to me to be the secretary and administrator of our house, we would live in a van down by the river.

It’s because of this difference that we make a great team–we give each other the balance that we need to be successful. God does the same thing for us as Christians: we make plans and work towards them, and He controls their progress, success, and failure as He sees fit for the greater glory of His Kingdom.

It’s always difficult to plan trips like this summer’s trip to Rwanda–we can always lay out these great plans we want to do and things we want to build. However, if God’s not invited to the planning sessions, it’s all for nothing:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money”; Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow…Instead you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that James 4:13-15 NIV

The Lord has a purpose, a plan. Even when it seems that we have failed, or that He has confounded our plans, we can take comfort in knowing that He is in control and that all will work out for His glory.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

We need to make solid plans for what we’re going to do–God’s people are to be efficient, organized, and focused–but it is of the utmost importance that we are flexible and responsive to the leadership that He provides. There will be times that our best-laid plans just won’t work out for whatever reason, and flexibility is crucial.

After all, we are there to do His work, not the other way around.

Barnabas X-Tra: 1st Quarter 2014

The Barnabas X-Tra quarterly newsletter is hot off the presses for first quarter 2014! See what’s coming up in 2014, a look back at 2013, and a sendoff of the Solid Grounds Coffee Shop. Just click here or on the sidebar to get your copy. Also, sign up for our email list on the sidebar to receive these newsletters directly!

Praying Faithfully

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 ESV

Just as a nation must have a monetary unit of currency to obtain goods and services, faith is the currency of Heaven, by which we acquire the blessings and peace that God wishes to bless us with. Faith is the currency and prayer is the transaction, the point of sale. The Lord wants us to have peace in our salvation, peace in our lives, and peace when we ask Him for things—faithful prayer is the means by which we appropriate these blessings.

 “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” Matthew 21:22 ESV

However, we as Christians have a tendency to pray for things while simultaneously fearing the answer. We can actually “pray ourselves out of faith” if we’re not careful. Instead of fearing that He will not answer or will not grant our request, we should pray with such faith, trust, and belief that we can thank God before He even answers–we know that by faith we can have peace because even if we aren’t granted our request, everything will work out for our good and for His glory.

Pridefully, we feel the need to impress the urgency of our requests on an omniscient God, or to earn the blessing we are asking for. Instead, we should bring our needs before Him and then walk away with peace knowing that we can rely on Him to keep His promises. Remember, He wants to give us gifts, wants us to have peace in Him, and wants us to ask Him for things. This doesn’t mean that we can just ask for a million dollars or that God wants us to have a shiny new car—He promises us spiritual gifts. When we receive material gifts it’s just icing on the cake! We have only to ask for these gifts in prayer, having faith that He will keep his promises, and they will be ours to use for His glory.

There was a man who went to Heaven and talked with Jesus. Jesus led the man around Heaven, showing him around. Coming to a huge pile of wrapped gifts, the man asked Jesus what the gifts were for. Jesus told him, “Those are gifts that I wanted to give you that you never asked for.”

Intro to Rwanda III, part 2: Rwanda 2014

r14introgirl

Last time, I ended by promising an intro into what we’d like to do, if the Lord wills, when we return this summer.

home visit kicukiro

Home visits are an important part of the trips there. We visit the homes of children that RCRI support and pray with the families, encourage them, show them the love of Christ through our love, and assess their needs. The families are always overwhelmed that strangers from across the world would care enough about them to stand in their living room, hold their hands, cry with them, and pray with them. It’s an incredible experience that we are so blessed the Lord has called us to take part in.

new clothes

Part of the home visits is the clothing drive. Last year we took five suitcases full of clothes to give out that Fair Play Presbyterian Church blessed us with. It was awesome to see the gratitude that the people received the clothes with and it’s something that I pray that the Lord provides for us to do again this year.

kicukirohome

Last year spent a day in Kicukiro, a small potters’ village just outside Kigali. The poverty in Kicukiro is severe, as the people there having nothing more to support them than the sales of their pottery or handmade clay bricks, neither of which generate much income. The homes are all rented and the landlords aren’t very helpful when it comes to maintenance or safety of the homes. This year we want to return to work on some sustainability projects that can help them generate income as well as produce some of their own goods so they don’t have to purchase as much.

nyabihu progress 1

Finally, we will return to Nyabihu to continue working on the school, church, and grounds, as well as spend time in song and prayer with the children. Since we left, the roof has been built on the school, sanitary restrooms have been constructed for the children, and the cow shelter that we began planning on our trip has been completed–GOD IS GOOD! We continue to thank the Lord that He allows us to be part of these projects, and part of these children’s futures.

Click here to contact us for more information or to find out how to help. We can use all the help we can get as we start raising funds to make this trip happen. And as always, please pray for Barnabas X, pray for RCRI, and pray for the people of Rwanda. Our God is a God of answered prayers.

GoFundMe!

gfm cta button

Click here to give!

 

As we begin raising money for the upcoming trips , we thought it’d be a cool idea to start a GoFundMe account for online donations. If you’re unfamiliar with GoFundMe, it’s a fundraising and donation site very similar to Kickstarter, but with GoFundMe we keep any money that’s raised towards our goal (minus a small percentage) rather than Kickstarter’s “all-or-nothing” approach. The minimum donation is $5 and it can all be done securely online. Check it out by clicking the green button above and help us reach our goal!

Intro to Rwanda III, part 1: Rwanda 2013

r14introgirl

I noticed there was never a recap posted of Rwanda 2013 so I thought it would be good to let you guys see what God allowed us to be a part of as a way of introducing what’s coming up this year.

r13group

Last summer, we took a group of five (from left: Cory, Traverse, Janie, Justin, and Nick) for a two-week trip to assist Benjamin Mushuhukye with Reach the Children of Rwanda International. RCRI is a ministry with offices in Kigali, Rwanda and Abbeville, SC that serves nearly 430 disadvantaged children, many of whom are orphans or from single-parent homes. RCRI provides basic healthcare, school fees, clothing, and whatever other basic needs the child is missing. In addition, RCRI provides spiritual guidance and a program every Saturday in which the children speak, lead a worship service, and build a sense of fellowship and community. Two hours away, in a little village called Nyabihu, RCRI is supporting the construction of a school. Construction is slow, with progress only being made when funds and labor are available, so the school currently uses the church in the village as their school building. In return for the use of the building, RCRI provides financial support and labor for the unfinished construction of the church.

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New Beginnings

Welcome to the new BarnabasX.org! With a new year and a new trip on the horizon, it was time for a new look and new features. Our God is a God of renewal, and He isn’t finished with Barnabas X yet.

The last post on this blog was a eulogy of sorts as we changed to a volunteer-only ministry, said goodbye to the Solid Grounds Coffee Shop, and entered a new part of the journey with Barnabas X as a “shell” organization.  Our God is a God of renewal, and He isn’t finished with Barnabas X yet.

This summer there will be another Barnabas X trip to Rwanda to assist Benjamin Mushuhukye with RCRI, working with the poverty-stricken neighborhoods around Kigali to develop sustainability and quality of life and with the construction of the school and church in Nyabihu. After that, as the Lord leads, there will be more trips to wherever He takes us. There will be work done domestically and locally as well as internationally–the mission field does not have borders, and missionaries are all around us. We ask for your continued prayer, support, and involvement as we follow Jesus wherever He takes us; as we take over the world for Jesus.

Be on the lookout for upcoming fundraisers–we will need volunteers and your financial support to make these trips a reality. Also keep your eyes open for the Barnabas X-Tra Newsletter, which should be out by the end of January. If you’d like to stay up-to-date on what’s going on and how you can help, check back here often and join the email list, which you can sign up for on the sidebar. To stay even more in touch with us, like us on Facebook and check out the new Barnabas X Twitter and Instagram accounts by clicking the buttons at the top right of the page!

Thank you so much for the continued prayers and support you’ve given us over the past four years and for the prayers and support as we seek to follow God and serve Him and His workers all over the globe.

Christ is the hero, the world is the stage.

 

 

New Chapter

Dear Friends,


Allow me to begin by thanking you for your support of Barnabas X over the past 4 years. It is an organization that would not exist without the contributions, prayers and support of many people all over the world.

It is time, however, to celebrate a change in Barnabas X. The change will come in September of 2013 and will involve many aspects of the ministry. First of all, there will no longer be employees of the ministry. All work will be done on a volunteer basis. Secondly, Barnabas X will become a “shell” organization in that it will maintain its non-profit status for future, potential trips. Thirdly, and sadly, the coffee shop, Solid Grounds, will be closing. Solid Grounds has served its purpose of supporting the ministry and being a ministry in and of itself. It is time to close this chapter of Barnabas X.

As for our supporters, we ask that you keep us in your prayers. Any future contributions will, as always, go toward furthering the mission of Barnabas X which has been and will continue to be “to minister to missionaries and other ministries throughout the world.”

We hope that we have been able to fulfill this mission through the work and trips since Fall of 2009. Barnabas X has made many friends all over the world that we hope to continue relationships with in the future.

If you have any questions about the new direction of Barnabas X, please do not hesitate to contact me at nick@barnabasx.org. Again, on behalf of the Board of Directors, we want to express our appreciation of your generosity so far in this ministry.

Sincerely,
Nicholas Gambrell

Donations for the Homeless Project

Click the “DONATE” button to the right to donate for the “Homeless for Rwanda” fundraiser. Thanks!