The Missionary Mandate Newsletter

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Occupy Wall Street? Let’s Occupy Congress: Reformation Now!

We the people can now declare what has been obvious for years with the birth of our elitist "do nothing Congress," that on January 20, 2009, this democratic nation awoke from a slumbering sleep to realize that we are no longer a nation divided purely by race and culture, especially among the modern-minded free people of today. But, someone forgot to inform the "old guard" in Congress that America is changing and the faces that once occupied the White House, just got a little darker, smarter and wiser. Unfortunately, it took the election and ultimate disdain of our first African American president to bring this truth to the surface. Today, all of the world can stand-up and take notice of the following fact; "the relevant power...does not reside in the political system, but in the private corporations that finance and manipulate the politicians." 
 Here's the proof! In December of this year, thousands of war veterans are coming home, and after the Ticker Tape parades, great speeches, they will join the many unemployed Firefighters, Police Officers and Teachers, being terminated across this country. It doesn't matter the uniform, or the service rendered to this nation, the prosperity of the working class now depends upon the "good fortune and light taxes" of corporate billionaires. They say: it's Obama's policies, but this has proven not to be true, especially with the introduction of the "Americans Job Act." 
This jobs plan provides $50 billion worth of direct investment to transportation and other infrastructure projects, with most of the money spent ($50 to $27 billion) on dedicated highway restoration and repair. According to a draft of the legislation this plan can be paid for with a small 0.7 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year.  Most economists agree that the American Jobs Act will provide immediate jobs for so many of the unemployed in this country, as well as, add to the much needed business growth of our economy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the number of mass layoff events in September was 1,189, not seasonally adjusted, resulting in 117,232 initial claims for unemployment insurance. What is Congress planning to do with the returning soldiers? Will they be added to the already growing claims for unemployment? What impact will this added burden of expenditures have on the States dwindling budgets?
 What the American taxpayer wants more than anything is fairness of the income tax system; that means more and not less progressive. What is a fair tax system? It is one in which individuals with the greatest earned income pay the most. In other words, as income progressively rises, it is taxed at higher marginal rates. However, no fairness of taxation, job opportunities, or business growth, will ever be possible without a restructuring of the present congressional body.

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.
Here’s more of what Mr. Buffett suggested: *Congressional Reform Act of 2011*                       
1. No Tenure / No Pension.     A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office. 
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately.  All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.  
 3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.  
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%. 
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. 
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.  
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 1/1/12.
Why Buffett only pays 17.4% of his income in federal taxes: "Last year my federal tax bill ... was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income -- and that's actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent." "People who make money with money are getting taxed at a far lower rate than people who make money by their own labor," Buffett told CNNMoney.
It is without a doubt that for the majority of Americans, the security of employment, fair wages, decent healthcare benefits, and a retirement plan for their many years of service is over, under the leadership of this congress. This failure of congressional leadership will have a devastating effect on this nation for years to come, in terms of joblessness, homelessness, and for the very poor even hunger.  Of course, not because of policy, but only because of a Congressional body that places politics and profits, over the basic economic needs of its own citizenry.
 Just think about how much could be accomplished in this nation, if we had a working Congress? What we need is a congress of the people and by the people, who are willing to serve the people and not PAC committees and special  lobbyist.
Pass it on! Let’s Occupy Congress: Reformation Now!

References: Crippen, Alex, Warren Buffett's 5-Minute Plan to Fix the Deficit, CNBC Interview - Published: Thursday, 7 Jul 2011
US Department of Labor Statistics Retrieved: October 25, 2011       

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Growing Strong in the Broken Places


"But he [God] said to me [Paul], 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).

Do you sometimes feel that God can't use you because you aren't perfectly qualified? If so, you're in good company with great men and women of God. In fact, there were a great number of men and women in the Bible who were used of God who was sufferers of their own personal struggles or challenges of one kind or another. Moses and Mary weren't the only ones who didn't feel qualified for the work God was calling them to do!

An unknown author has pointed out that "Moses stuttered. John Mark was rejected by Paul. Timothy had ulcers. Hosea's wife was a prostitute. Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning. Jacob lied. David had an affair. Solomon had too many wives and concubines. Jesus was too poor and wasn't schooled in the right religious institutions. Abraham and Sarah were too old. David was too young. Peter was impulsive. John had a temper. Naomi was a widow. Paul was a murderer, as was Moses. Jonah ran from God. Gideon and Thomas both doubted. Jeremiah was depressed. Elijah was burned out. Martha worried too much. Matthew was a despised tax-gatherer. Noah had a drinking problem."

It was Ernest Hemingway who first used the phrase, "Growing strong in the broken places." The idea behind these words is that where a bone is broken and heals, it becomes the strongest part of the bone. The same is true of our broken places--where we have been hurt, have fallen, or failed. When we bring these dreadful hurts and shameful brokenness to Christ for healing, his strength is then made perfect in and through our weaknesses. This is certainly true in ministering to other people. Our friends are not helped so much by our brilliant logic or persuasive speech as they are through honest sharing of our own struggles and how, with God's help, we have overcome. Sharing our faith in Christ is just a case of one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread!

As we grow in God our friends and associations will transform from those who cannot travel with us anymore, to those who will join us on our journey, regardless of the circumstances.  But, we must remember true friends will never choke your hopes and dreams, nor belittle your trials or convey unwarranted judgments over your misfortunes. Therefore, never share your dreams or trials of life with selfish people; or those who are powerless of contributing to a solution. God has divine connections waiting to befriend you, and always willing through the help of the Holy Spirit to bring out in you—the regenerate self, “the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

God, of course, doesn't want us to stay stuck in our sins and problems. While He uses us as we are, he also loves us too much to leave us as we are. But never think that you have too little talent or too many hurts or problems for God to use you. The key issue is to be available. Everyone that God has ever called-on has had their weaknesses, obvious sins, and certain failings. But they were available for the Lord and Kingdom work, and they have been remembered for what God did through their lives, not so much their failures. God will do the same for you and me, as we make ourselves available for Him to use us every day.
"Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God's plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost and useless. God comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out his wonderful plan of love" Eric Liddell.
 Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I'm available. Please make me usable and use to today to be as Jesus in some way to every life I touch. And please use me in whatever way to be a part of your plans and what you are doing in the world today. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen." 

To God be the glory and in all things give Him thanks!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Harvest: Fighting Hunger with Hope in Tuscaloosa

At last! These are the words that filled our mind as we approach the devastated Holt community to deliver the much needed emergency supplies.  On Friday, June 10th, the drive was long and slow with the weight of the U-Haul trailer being tugged by our little V-6 Chey engine.  We were delighted to arrive only to learn that many of the Tornado families were being evicted from the shelters. It was both a happy time and a sad time for us after all of the investment made to help those families suffering from this unforeseen disaster.

The Holt center was well managed by volunteers from cities all across the United States, including youth from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corp., adults Sonny and Connie who members of “By the Grace of God Ministry.” Janille a local resident who has been volunteering since the Tornado hit the area, served as the manager of this site. Janille was very attentive to every detail, making sure that supplies were being distributed to those in need, verifying FEMA ID’s and assuring that families who need help got support.

Janille, Mia, with AmeriCorp Volunteer Bree'Anna

For the many families that received help from agencies such as FEMA, United Way or the Red Cross, would only last a few weeks and there was no long-term plan, leaving many to wonder how they  would survive until recovery is complete.  Even with the cash support there were very few places open within walking distance to buy products. And since most of the poor lost whatever transportation they owned, getting to areas where shopping is available, is almost impossible.

Janille and others unloading supplies
However, we also learned that once the news media lose interest and the cameras are no longer in the area, so goes much of the support from government agencies. Some of the hard hit poor areas are still without any strategic plan for recovery.  The Holt Relief Center, we were told was the only place attempting to remain involved in assisting the victims for the long term.  The rumors were flying, as usual that the disaster needs has been met for the poor in Tuscaloosa. But, in speaking with those in the Holt community and the volunteers working at the emergency relief site, this is certainly not the case.

Dustin: AmeriCorp volunteer unloads supplies
Our contribution hardly made a dent in the enormous amount of help that is needed in this area of town. But, we were so proud to see the smiles in the volunteers and families who were blessed by our delivery of emergency supplies. Even with the help, I was told that the center would be empty by the end of the day, but in spite of the challenges they promised to be there for the long term.  If it is the Lord’s Will, so will we.

Tuscaloosa Fire  Department
Tornado victim looking for clothes

(r) Sonny with "By the Grace of God Ministry"

"MG" - AmeriCorps volunteer shares her experience at the Holt Relief Center

AmeriCorp volunteers sorting supplies

Dustin: taping storage boxes

Tornado path next to Holt Relief Center

Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the workers are few;  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Harvest World Hunger & Disaster Relief Project: Fighting Hunger with Hope

By: Charles & Mia Harris
Our mission is to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of partnering organizations, ministries, and volunteers engage in the fight to end hunger in America’s households by fighting hunger with hope.
Our Goals:
·         To educate those with an economic abundance on methods of supporting and sharing resources to help families suffering from financial and economic crises that pushed them into hunger.
·         To seek an understanding of the socio-political contexts of hunger in America and identify appropriate local community responses.
·         To fight hunger with hope by providing volunteers to work with local communities in developing sustainable economic development opportunities to help families recently impoverished by financial and economic crises or unforeseen disasters.
Here are the Facts:
In America there are more than 50 million people facing hunger, and with the unemployment rate still hovering near 9 percent the problem will get worst not better. A family not having enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle is a fact to one in six Americans, including children and seniors.
The lack of adequate nutrition affects both cognitive and behavioral development in children. There are over 17 million children who are living in food-insecure households. These children are more likely to experience irritability, fatigue and difficulty concentrating in school compared to other children. This makes academic performance more difficult.  More than 2 million in rural communities experience living in food-insecure households and unfortunately these are the areas with a disproportionately high rate of persistent poverty because of a lack of food banks and other food emergency assistance to support them.
My home state of Alabama is the 2nd hungriest state in the nation and Alabama is the sixth (6) poorest state in the nation. I am truly sadden by this news and can imagine the hardships face by so many families, especially those who are living well below the poverty level.

The Census Bureau also reports that 17.5 percent of Alabamians live in poverty.  Fourteen of the tornado-impacted counties have poverty rates greater than 20 percent, including Chambers (20.7 percent), Choctaw (22.8 percent), Clarke (29.1 percent), DeKalb (21.7 percent), Franklin (21.8 percent), Greene (28.4 percent), Hale (26.6 percent), Marengo (24.9 percent), Marion (21.2 percent), Monroe (23.4 percent), Perry (31 percent), Pickens (28 percent), Sumter (35.1 percent) and Winston Counties (24.9 percent). 
We visited the Tuscaloosa areas that were hit by the Tornado and found nothing but devastation in some of the poorest communities. One area in particular was the Roseboro Public Housing community, near Greenboro Avenue and 29th Street. There we met families whose homes were destroyed in a matter of seconds; already living in poverty from day to day and now face with a disaster with nothing left but the clothes on their backs and a few items they can recover from the rubbish of what use to be a home.
One gentleman we met home had been pierced by a 30 ft. dumpster top from a nearby business. The iron weighing hundreds of pounds pierced the roof of his house, came though the wall of a closet where they were hiding, barley missing their heads. But, they confessed to my wife and me, that it was the blessings and favor of God that protected them from sudden death. It was a miracle beyond anything we had ever witness and we certainly agreed with them and praised God for the victory. On Thursday, June 9th, we will be traveling back to this area to provide assistance to these families with non-perishable food items.
We ask for your continued prayers and support. Please consider how you can be a part in helping us to help others when they need it most!  We are committed to our mission to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of partnering organizations, ministries, and volunteers engage in the fight to end hunger in America’s households by fighting hunger with hope. This is not the end only the beginning of our ministry.
If you have questions please call: Charles or Mia Harris at (251)605-4491 or (251) 533-1630 – (Mia). New Harvest World Ministry (501 (c) 3 Organization) "A Ministry without Walls"
Blessings and love to all.

"The harvest truly is plentiful, but the workers are few; ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field." Matthew 9:37-38 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Disaster Relief Trip Planned for Tuscaloosa

International Gospel Outreach Disaster Relief Missionaries
501 c (3) Non-profit organization

We are currently planning AN OUTREACH DISASTER RELIEF trip into Tuscaloosa with a truck load filled with emergency relief supplies. We are going into the heart of the city of Tuscaloosa where the damage is the worst.

We will be gathering supplies through Wednesday, June 8th.

We are collecting the following:
Cleaning supplies
hygiene items
paper products
laundry supplies
baby diapers and wipes
nonperishable food items
first aid items
batteries of all sizes

We are also asking for funding donations to cover the cost of fuel and expenses in making the trip. (*** Our next trip will be a couple of weeks after this Alabama trip -- into Joplin, Missouri and the list of things being collected will be the same.)

Our drop off locations:
Associated Bookkeeping
2496 Government Blvd Ste. B
Mobile, AL 36693
4651 Springhill Ave
Mobile, AL 36608

Please consider how you can be a part in helping us to help others when they need it most!

If you have questions please call 
Charles or Mia Harris at (251) 605-4491 or       (251) 533-1630 – Mia

Blessings and love to all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Evangelization of The Bambara People: Our Initial Methods, Strategies and Prayers

By: Charles & Mia Harris

In our previous article; Declaring:  Our "Unreached People Group," we reflected on the cultural and religious background of this great tribal nation, our "frontier people group" (a term we prefer using in our research) as the "Bambara Tribe" primarily of Mali, West Africa, but also in Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal

In this commentary, we will answer some concluding questions that will allow us to formulate our approach and blueprint for evangelizing this indigenous tribe and bringing the Good News of the Gospel to their way of life. The questions are as follows:  Is there any current work among them? How would you plan to effectively bring the Gospel to them? We will reserve answering the first question mentioned for the end, and begin with a respond to the last question:  How would you plan to effectively bring the Gospel to them?

We have learned in our study of the training curriculum: "Pathways To Global Understanding" some very important facts about World Evangelism.  They include the following: (1)  Some "indigenous" people reject the gospel, not because they perceive it as false, but because they perceive it as foreign or alien; (2) other "frontier people groups" reject the Gospel because they perceive it as a threat to their own culture; (3) there is absolute authority in the infallible Word of God and Jesus the Christ is our New Testament model for influence and persuasion in reaching our "Unreached People Group." 

Therefore, our first approach would entail three initial strategies, first of all, sharing the true teachings of Christ; that He is no respecter of persons, no respecter of culture,  nor social, racial, or geographic boundaries. Secondly, Christ teachings, His promises, and His commandments are the absolute authority for deliverance and He is the model and healer, protector and reconciler of all people groups, nations, and tribes. Thirdly, helping them to understand that the Gospel and "the church of God is a multinational, missionary community."

Our first step is to learn the culture and language of the Bambara people and help them to know us not as foreign missionary from abroad, but as an extended spiritual family for above.  Our research has shown us that family and unity in the struggle for survival is paramount for every member of the Bambara household. We discovered that they have a strong sense of family, and work ethics and standards where men, women, and their children (between the ages of 12 and 14) share in the farming duties to assure survival in a very harsh property-driven living environment, hampered by famine and drought. But still, they value the marriage covenant which they view as an "investment," and although the social society is "patriarchy" in which the role of the male is the primary authority figure or where fathers hold authority and occupy the dominant role over women, children, and property, it was especially pleasing to know that the Bambara men honor their spouse believing that "a wife enlarges a man's status."  

Yet, despite the hardships and difficult struggles, the Bambara people have a rich and viable culture and honored family traditions that are demonstrations of a closeness with Biblical ideology, mandates and principles. Just like the Bambara people throughout history our loving God always honors the family and His desire is for all families in the earth to be blessed (Gen. 12:3). We believe this message alone will began to help them to know God's truth; that He is no respecter of persons, no respecter of culture,  nor social, racial, or geographic boundaries. They will come to know that the Holy Spirit flows readily through the bonds that exist between  family and friends. The Gospel promises will no longer be seen or perceive as foreign or alien, but a message spoken in their language and a true promise for their nation.  The Bambara people will come to know that what God has done to bless other nations, He can now do the same for them. 

Once the Bambara people have come to know us as representatives of God's family set apart for missions with a Godly purpose and goal and not foreigners' representing a alien gospel, designed to intimidate their culture, we will humbly share Christ teachings, His promises, and His commandments of agape' love as the absolute authority for both deliverance and salvation. They will learn that Christ (not man) is the model and healer, protector and reconciler of all people groups, nations, and tribes. In many families, the woman is de facto head of the house, because the man isn't, but this is certainly not true in their culture. And since the society is mainly "patriarchy" in which the role of the male is the primary authority figure or where fathers hold authority, we will began our witness first to the male heads of household, thereby, never giving an impression of being insensitive to community norms or that we are dishonoring their traditions of authority.  

We will even share Bible stories with them before they are saved, so they can immediately pass it on to their family and friends. In this approach, the husbands being the leader of the family can continue to lead by example, and not in a demanding way, but in love and respect through the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will acknowledge that the Word (logos) is Jesus Christ and there is absolute authority in the infallible Word of God and Jesus the Christ is our New Testament model for influence, persuasion, the very image of what God wished to say to all mankind. He is the life and light of the world, the Creator and Maker of all things in detail and whatever life is, and all that life is, it is in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now that we have establish our family connections as "one body in Christ" and our Godly purpose and goals and has now built-up God's love for the Bambara people by first edifying relationships with the leaders of the households; our third step will include helping them to recognize that "the church of God is a multinational, missionary community." They too must come to know and affirm that the mandate to "Go ye therefore," is inclusive of every tribal nation. That God has called them into holy action to be change agents and no action is complete without the gathering of new disciples into a dynamic fellowship with Christ, reproducing after its own seed other disciples, other missionaries, and other churches in new cultures. Why? Because Christ envisioned something in the Great Commission beyond Himself, and beyond His day and time. Christ envisioned an extension of Himself, and He chose discipleship as that method. Therefore, He expects us (the living Church) to do likewise through relationships and  fellowships to extend our Lord's character to others by discipleship as the Scriptures teaches in Mt. 28:16-20:   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” (NIV).

This task will be accomplished by working as an engaged ministry and partnering with other established missions that are committed to create an environment for evangelism, discipleship and leadership training that will ignite a movement of church planting among our unreached and unengaged people group.

Is there any current work among them?  Four million Bambara people live throughout West Africa, and more than 99 percent of them are not Christians. Multiple churches from the United States has partnered with missions teams periodically to disciple new believers.
  • Since 2006, more than 200 Christians are meeting in three new churches where there were none before, as a result of some Baptist missions.
More than 300 people groups in West Africa are considered unreached and unengaged. Among these people, little or no evangelism and church planting activity is being done by any Christian organization. Many have populations of less than 100,000, and it is unlikely that full-time missionaries will ever live among them. 

Our Missions Prayer

With gratitude, WE turn to you, God, to receive spiritual guidance, communication, and direction as WE engage to do Your Will through missions with our "Unreached People Group." In the quietness of our Right-Mind, the place within us where our minds are joined as One, WE listen to your Voice of wisdom and truth and WE know what You has called us to do.

Your understanding and spiritual guidance fills our heart and mind completely. Your guiding Holy Spirit directs our every step. In all that WE do, we acknowledge your holy presence and give thanks for the wisdom, strength, and serenity you give us.

As WE feel and experience your constant Presence in our life, God, we joyfully receive your communication, insight, and inspiration, gently guiding us on my path and making our way sure.
We affirm that in Christ Jesus, We are anointed and a powerful person of God. WE are joint-heirs with Jesus and more than  conquerors. We are the head and not the tail. He has given us power to make wealth. God has commanded His promised blessings upon our ministry. He has opened His Good treasures and WE shall lend and not borrow.

The scriptures teaches in Colossians Chapter 3 verses 1-2: the life of a true believer should be one with an "Holy Ambition." Therefore, we affirm by your Word of truth that we are set apart for missions with a Godly purpose and passion, with a mind affectionately set upon the things that are above and not below; working to cast down all imaginations and every high thing that exalt itself against the knowledge of God. Set apart not only in our lives, but also in our service both to God and to our "frontier people group."

And because of Your loving Holy Spirit, dear Father, WE walk in the guiding light that illuminates our path. Your voice within us gives the understanding, the insight, and the spiritual guidance WE need to make wise and compassionate decisions for missions.

You, dear Father, are our Infinite Source of Peace , Love, and Wisdom. Your Holy Spirit guides and directs us through dangers seen and unseen. Your Love enfolds us, and Your Light illuminates us.
WE are eternally grateful for your spiritual guidance and Holy call to action, In Jesus Name.  Amen