Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel!
Every endeavor, every challenge, every epic tale has a beginning. Gather around the fire and reminisce with Richard & Julie about their 2020 and how it changed the world!
Remember when we were all locked down...
I can hardly believe it but the end of 2020 is upon us! What a long way we have come from the birth of REACH Ministries as a dream that God placed in our hearts. I remember hours in front of the white boards visualizing the tenets of God’s call, that would be realized in an organization designed to empower Gods people wherever they are found. The Covid 19 lockdown chronical for Richard & Julie were about God releasing His vision into our hearts. Where the Holy Spirit changed our traditional idea of missions and led us to create an organization that would empower people in the body of Christ to rise up and partner with other Christians all over the world to solve the problems this world faces. Launching a world wide missions sending organization seems tough enough on it’s own. Then add in that we were growing, sharing and selling this idea in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and it seems impossible. Finally throw in the fact that we are using the internet, crowd mechanics and disruptive technologies that have never been used for the kingdom before and it seems down right CRAZY. That is exactly what confirmed that this was God's idea! Because only God calls us to go into all the world in the middle of a pandemic. Only God ask us to sell all that we have, take up our cross and follow Him. Only God gives a middle age couple a dream to save the world that could never be accomplished with out HIM!!! We knew that the idea was so new and unfamiliar that we would have to be the guinea pigs, we would have to go do the proof of concept ourselves to show others this would work. We knew we would have to leverage every dollar, every asset, every family member and every relationship we had to kick this program off. With God as our support system and director we knew we could do this. We worked on all aspects of the Ministry while being sequestered at home during the shelter in place days and God was faithful. We never ran out of food or worse toilet paper. Although we did have to quit reapplying our natural hair color and let father time show through. Since we were headed for Kenya Africa we might as well go grey in the USA so we didn't change appearance on the folks we would be working with... It might be unsettling for them to watch us grow old before their eyes. When September came we felt the release to start our move and sold or gave away everything we owned except 8 suitcase's and a few family heirlooms which we stored with a relative. We still would not be able to fly to Kenya without quarantine for 2 weeks but we were trusting God that would change before we left. On the last day of September 2020 Julie and I became homeless for the first time in our lives. We started an epic farewell tour to say goodbye to friends and family across the states. California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas were all on our agenda. We had a month of fantastic visits and reunions along the way and help from everyone we knew. Finally the day of our departure arrived and on November 7th we boarded the plane for Nairobi. By the way, God worked out all the logistics of our travel, stays, visits, transportation, shots, testing, visa and the go live of our website launch! It was like an orchestra, needs would arise in a major lift and the answer in response would unfold before us as we stepped across an invisible bridge of faith with the solid stepping stone appearing right beneath our feet each step of the way. Would you believe that our website launched the same day we boarded the plane? God is Amazing! 21 hours later we landed in Nairobi and the whirlwind started. We have been busy with teaching and sharing the gospel every day, We have public speaking engagements weekly at multiple events. We have also been pushing like crazy to get started on peoples dreams. If this is your first encounter with our organization I want you to know that we partner with the dreams that God places in peoples heart to do good works. We help people reach the goals of their dream by creating a missions project that our online family can then get busy working on. We use the crowd mechanics made famous by companies like Amazon, AirBnB, Uber and Wikipedia to connect Christians all around the world to work on and solve any of the challenges to completing someones dreams. It is God's call on our lives as individuals and collectively as the body of Christ to rise up and serve the underserved all over the world. James reminds us that true religion is taking care of the widows and orphans. We understand there is a hurting, dying world out there and they need our direct attention and intervention. REACH Ministries has created a platform that empowers people in hopeless situations to dream. To reach out, to connect and find the partners they need to realize God's call in their lives. Julie and I are out telling people about these tools and creating life everywhere we go. I told you at the beginning I would share how we are changing the world. I want to encourage you to log on to our website and review the projects and the forums. We have gone on a discipleship search and found people in Africa that want to change their world and then created projects to help facilitate those dreams. In the one month we have been here we have created a dozen new projects. Real tangible efforts that are changing peoples lives right now! The projects are God inspired dreams so they are taking on lives of their own going in directions only God could have seen. We started with a Christmas care package to the widows and orphans and as I write this newsletter items are being procured and delivered by our partners throughout the lake Victoria region of Kenya to 212 Widows, Orphans and their caregivers. These people would not have had a Christmas at all this year and now they are being provided with the basic necessities and a few fun items as well. During our first speaking engagement at Agape Church we heard about a widows house the church was trying to build. Her existing house was in shambles and her and the kids would have a river flowing through the house when it rained (it rains a lot on the equator) as well as water leaking through the roof. We quickly took some pics, created a project with the church as our partner and raised the money, materials and the church provided the labor! Today Jessica and her family are in a new house and no longer fear the rain. This led us to the plight of the widows in Kenya. Discarded and marginalized by society the population of widows suffer great hardships in this developing nation. The numbers are overwhelming in a nation ravaged by AIDS the number of widows and orphans has surged. This need led to our partnership with Dr. Lucas Ayieko and his wife Benter (pronounced Benta) God put it in their hearts to create a Widows Social Empowerment program that would re-train these widows in multiple different business opportunities and then give them micro loans to finance their new businesses. The whole program is being built and led by volunteers, widows and other partners like community benefit organization (CBO) Eden Africa. Who offer the certifications and trainings for researched and marketable skills/businesses. You can read about the convention and follow up meetings on the website forums where you will also find pictures and video of the widows in their breakout sessions and report outs at the end of the day. Connections that change the world. God creates and orchestrates divine connections everywhere we go, like the Royal Melody Society a youth empowerment and mentorship program we are partnering with in Kisumu targeting and changing the lives of young people all over the region. Two more widows housing renovations are in the works with many more queued up for 2021. We have partnered with Agape orphanage providing home and school for approximately 300 orphans in western region that needs extreme repairs we are building two expandable dormitories, a multipurpose hall for eating and meeting space, drilling a well for fresh water and creating a basic needs project to feed, educate and provide a secure healthy environment for the kids to grow and learn this year. All these projects are being led by a local partner creating sustainability and community involvement. This is not a hand out scenario it is a hand up program that empowers people called by God to serve their community with the tools and finances they need to win! So 2020 is over and we have changed the lives of over 300 people, raised over 15 thousand dollars, delivered those dollars without overhead to the actual people in need. Built a new house for a widow and her family and have over a dozen new projects working to build houses, lives, careers, churches, schools and relationships! Believe me there are a lot of hardships but we are in good company, God has us focused on 2021 with a passion like never before and we are really just following this instruction from our Lord Jesus. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” With these words Jesus the Savior gave us instruction to introduce folks to God and to instruct them in living an overcoming life. That is what REACH Ministries is all about how can we help Christians everywhere to live out their call.... God bless you and yours and may you have a blessed Christmas and happy New Year! Richard & Julie