Inn Ministries: How $25 Changed Our Lives

inn ministries header
I’m writing this from the kitchen table inside one of The Inn’s guest homes here in San Cristobel, Guatemala. Tucked away in the mountains, a cool evening breeze is wafting through the windows, which are continually left open; a light rain is falling outside, accented by spats of lighting and rolling thunder; and the smell of fresh flowers and fried plantains is filling the house. All of these sensations are highlighting the extreme emotional tensions that surround this beautiful ministry compound, both a school and a church.

20130323-075421.jpg

The large majority of the children in this village live in poverty. They’ve also likely been sexually abused by members of their own families; adolescent boys are encouraged to engage with prostitues, while adolescent girls are abused by male relatives. The tragedy is enough to break even the most calloused heart. Looking at the beauty of these faces makes any warm-blooded human wonder how anyone could endorse such atrocities.

But there is hope for San Cristóbal.

20130323-075301.jpgIn the early 1990′s, God gave a man and his wife an amazing vision to bring life to a dark village, steeped in Mayan witchcraft and suffering from neglect. Michael & LaTonya Lewis have given their lives (and in a few cases, almost lost them entirely) to bring the love and light of Jesus to these beautiful people. Twenty years later, what used to be swamp-land is now a school, known as the most prestigious education in the region, with a reach into the public school system which is unprecedented. Likewise, their church is busy meeting the spiritual needs of their village. It’s truly a remarkable work.

20130323-075251.jpgOver the last two days, Jennifer and I have been able to meet all three of our sponsor children: Cristian, Katerine and Hugo. And as much as we’re told our lives have impacted theirs, the diametric opposite is true: our lives have been radically altered by them. To hug these children is to touch the heart of the Father. They are genuine, sincere, warm and full of life. And they love unconditionally. They have less than I’ve ever had, yet carry more joy than I think I ever will. They are three of my heros.

Our finances go directly to affording our Inn Kids the highest quality education in the region, hosted by an outstanding faculty of born again Christians (both indigenous and foreign) who are professionals in their own right. This means they not only get ahead intellectually, and therefore culturally, but also spiritually, as the Gospel is a part of their life-curriculum.

20130323-075333.jpgJennifer and I are asking you to sponsor at least one child. Your cost is $25.00 USD per month; your benefit is immeasurable. Because you’re literally changing a human life, and affecting an entire people group, as these children grow up to be leaders in their region, sharing the light, love and life of Christ with others.

Please prayerfully consider our request, and ask the Holy Spirit how many children he wants you to support, then contact Inn Ministries’ child sponsorship division today. They’ll help you select your child, and walk you through the process. When you’re finished, please leave a comment back here and let us know the first name of your child so we can be praying for them with you.

And if you ever want to come down to serve and meet your little guy or little girl, you’re always welcome. But just be prepared: that $25 dollars will change your life.

ch:

sponsor a child inn ministries

Guat.Hop

20130321-173231.jpg

Our hop over to Guatemala has been eye-opening, heart-breaking and awe-inspiring.

Beautiful people.

Breathtaking country.

Rich history.

Gut-wrenching abuse.

Life-long Christ-commitment.

Sacrificial love.

Today, Pastor Joseph Gilchrist and I had the unprecedented honor of sharing Biblical truths on sex with one-thousand public high school students. The Superintendant of Schools allowed 3 grades to fill a local church in San Cristobel 3 times.

Jennifer sang over them, and Joseph and I presented God’s life-altering perspectives on sexuality and purity. It was a rare privilege, when we get to do one more time tomorrow!

Here are some pics from today, as well as from our time in Antigua and Guatemala City.

Enjoy!

ch:

20130321-173236.jpg

20130321-173248.jpg

20130321-173309.jpg

20130321-173326.jpg

20130321-173338.jpg

20130321-173350.jpg

20130321-173358.jpg

20130321-173413.jpg

20130321-173421.jpg

20130321-173458.jpg

20130321-173508.jpg

20130321-173520.jpg

20130321-173528.jpg

20130321-173542.jpg

20130321-173619.jpg

20130321-173630.jpg

20130321-173645.jpg

20130321-173704.jpg

Guat.Hop

20130321-173231.jpg

Our hop over to Guatemala has been eye-opening, heart-breaking and awe-inspiring.

Beautiful people.

Breathtaking country.

Rich history.

Gut-wrenching abuse.

Life-long Christ-commitment.

Sacrificial love.

Today, Pastor Joseph Gilchrist and I had the unprecedented honor of sharing Biblical truths on sex with one-thousand public high school students. The Superintendant of Schools allowed 3 grades to fill a local church in San Cristobel 3 times.

Jennifer sang over them, and Joseph and I presented God’s life-altering perspectives on sexuality and purity. It was a rare privilege, when we get to do one more time tomorrow!

Here are some pics from today, as well as from our time in Antigua and Guatemala City.

Enjoy!

ch:

20130321-173236.jpg

20130321-173248.jpg

20130321-173309.jpg

20130321-173326.jpg

20130321-173338.jpg

20130321-173350.jpg

20130321-173358.jpg

20130321-173413.jpg

20130321-173421.jpg

20130321-173458.jpg

20130321-173508.jpg

20130321-173520.jpg

20130321-173528.jpg

20130321-173542.jpg

20130321-173619.jpg

20130321-173630.jpg

20130321-173645.jpg

20130321-173704.jpg

Sitting On Top of The World

20130306-063203.jpg

For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle. Without bringing either Apollos or me into it, you’re sitting on top of the world—at least God’s world—and we’re right there, sitting alongside you!

-Paul to the church in Corinth, Greece
1 Corinthians 4:7-8 MSG

I suppose there are at least a few of you wondering what I might say post-China. And even if you aren’t, I am. Perhaps I’ve been reticent to write anything because I’m not exactly sure what to say or where to start. At least not on a profound level.

China is hard to articulate, simply because there’s so much of it. So much to see. So many people. Digesting it all takes a while. Spiritually. Politically. Emotionally.

But I think the one thing that stands out to me the most–and perhaps a good starting point for debriefing any journey–is simply recognizing how blessed I am.

(Is it so self-centered to describe another nation firstly based on what mine affords me?)

I have so much. Because it’s been given to me. I’m sitting on top of the world. And I have the whole world to give away.

I’m admiring cleanness, and the effort it takes to create it, in a new way. I’m appreciating space in a new way. And I’m savoring freedom in a new way.

Thankfulness for the insignificant grants us permission to offer the significant to others with humility.

I’m endeavoring to dedicate myself to be counted among the most grateful people I know. I think this is a noble and worthy pursuit. I have a long way to go, but I’m growing evermore convinced that it’s the only way to adequately suppress pride, and likewise activate the childlike wonder of loving life and loving God.

Post-China begins with taking account of everything I’ve been blessed with, and critically asking myself how I’m using all of my faculties to serve others for the sake of the Gospel.

ch:

China Bound

20130213-185406.jpg

Tomorrow morning at 3:30am, I begin the long voyage to China. I’m excited to see a new land, one which I’ve read so much about. But I’m sad to be leaving my family, and will miss deeply.

For the interests of security, my mission will remain simply that I’m going to encourage leaders dedicated to shaping China’s future.

I’ll be back on the 24th, eager to see my wife and kids, and to share all the exciting news from the trip with those nearest me.

“Souls or I die.”

–William Carey

Thanks for lifting me and my team up.

ch:

8th Annual Writers Bootcamp Getaway Weekend

20130202-135919.jpg

Eight years ago, my new-found friend, Wayne, and I decided to embark on a mutual dream of forming an Inklings group of our own. But distance was not our friend, he being in Maryland and I being in northern New York. So rather than a weekly gathering in some local pub, we decided upon meeting for a full weekend at a locale halfway between his home and mine.

The result has been a faithful convergence on a poetic (if not sleepy) Pennsylvanian town or city for the last eight years. And what a blessing it’s been for both of us. The mutual camaraderie is immeasurably valuable, as are the long talks concerning writing, plot and character development, theology, doctrines of the faith. Not to mention the verbose amount of gregarious guffawing we engage in.

And threading through it all are the continuous clicks of our laptop keys as we work on our next stories for the world to read. Wayne is working on a new supernatural thriller series called GHOST, while I’m very close to announcing the title and release date of my newest work, codenamed TSR.

Here’s to Inkblots everywhere who enjoy fellowship and the pursuit of the intellectual.

ch:

Starting Out Right

20130101-020259.jpg

This shot of “new believers cards” collected during tonight’s altar call at the BCY event in Syracuse, NY says it all for me.

All I desire for 2013 is more souls won to Jesus. Keeping that at the forefront helps put everything else in perspective.

I was honored for the opportunity and privilege of sharing the Gospel with some amazing teenagers who heard heaven’s call to wake up and walk into the light.

Happy New Year everyone. Let’s endeavor to esteem and promote Jesus this year more than ever before.

ch:

Back in Narnia

20120921-030552.jpg

I wish international travel was as easy as stepping through a wardrobe. But it’s 2012. So planes must suffice.

22 hours later and we’re home.

Thanks to our wonderful hosts on this week-long journey: Sylvain & Line Freymond, Bedig & Rebekah Nassanian, and Doug & Merrie Gresham. We cherish you all; you are valuable to the King and the Kingdom.

For now, Jennifer and I are back among our children, our patch of earth, ensconced in the Thousand Islands, and planted once again among our people.

ch:

Europe or Bust

20120913-153119.jpg

Jenny and I are off to Switzerland for the annual Discerning the Times Conference in Yverdon, about an hour outside of Geneva. We’re excited to see dear friends again, and honored by yet another opportunity to pour into the nations. I recently told a close friend, “As long as God keeps asking us, we’ll keep saying yes.” From there we head to Malta.

Please keep our children and our travels in your prayers. Stay tuned for pics and updates.

ch:

Europe In Pics

I just got in late last night from Europe.

Exhausted.

But as a Christ-follower, having one’s life spent on the welfare of others is one of the greatest blessings imaginable.

Speaking and leading worship at the Radikal For Jesus youth conference in northern France is always inspiring. I’ve rarely attended a more spiritually-free gathering anywhere in the world. Nations represented include Scotland, Mexico, Spain, Belgium, Congo and Switzerland.

I managed two quick stops in Madrid and Brussels on this trip too. Always great photo-ops.

Among my favorite moments were the messages, the 4-hour long worship sets, 1 planned baptism and 15 spontaneous ones, and celebrating my 10th year of working with Church Without Walls in Longwy, France.

Here’s my trip in pics.

ch:

20120725-152053.jpg

20120725-152146.jpg

20120725-152122.jpg

20120725-152626.jpg

20120725-152703.jpg

20120725-152731.jpg

20120725-152750.jpg

20120725-152803.jpg

20120725-152820.jpg

20120725-152834.jpg

20120725-153139.jpg

20120725-153146.jpg