“When I was in Prison, You Came To Me

It was never my goal in life to be a prison chaplain. Nobody grows up dreaming of spending their days wading through the darkness and oppression that looms over a prison filled with the outcasts of our society.

But the Lord had another plan.

Reaching the lost and hurting population of the penitentiary became my calling for twenty years. I loved every day of it and saw thousands come to faith in Christ. I grew to love “my guys.” Then God called me away to be a part of reaching the unreached and underserved of the world through With Open Eyes. Read more

Food Aid Delivered to Drought Devastated Countries in Africa

The Lord continues to amaze us at With Open Eyes as He opens doors for greater ministry outreach. Since 2011, we have equipped 301 Mobile Messengers in 14 countries across Africa and Asia. Our most recent ministry partnerships have taken us to Northern Nigeria, Ghana, Mali and Ivory Coast in Africa and Northern India and Nepal in Asia.

Every one of these locations presents new challenges and new opportunities to shine the light of the Gospel into some of the darkest places on earth. Read more

Shining a Gospel Light on India

In January, With Open Eyes announced 6 new countries where we will be raising up Mobile Messengers. While the vast majority of our Mobile Messenger presence remains in Africa, we are so pleased that the Lord has opened up avenues to reach the underserved and unreached of Nepal and India.

Opportunities in India are rich and varied. While we cannot wait to come alongside brothers and sisters in Christ in these countries, we are aware of the dangers growing for Christians in these countries. Which is why we wanted to profile them for you. We want to raise awareness, give you points to pray for and to see how great the need is for the gospel of Jesus to go reach these nations. Read more

Teaching The Maasai How to Play Baseball

baseball 2

 

We love it when the Lord provides unexpected moments in the midst of ministry. From the miraculous to the mundane, Jesus is always making way for us to build relationships when we travel to Africa. Our friend Brian Adams took his first trip with WOE, and his experience was unusual, to say the least! We hope you are encouraged by his story. – The WOE team. 

 

 

 

baseball 1My first WOE trip to Africa was truly an incredible experience!  Our team packed camping gear into one large duffel bag, as we prepared to “live” with the Maasai tribe for three days in the land called empukani which mean, “dry land,  located a rough two-hour drive from the city of Namanga, Kenya.After packing all our gear, I realized that we had almost 8 pounds to spare before we reached our size limit of 50 pounds.  Having a professional baseball background, I thought that perhaps it would be neat to try to teach the Maasai people how to play the game.  I squeezed four gloves, two bats, and eight baseballs into our gear bag and hoped that we’d have a chance to play some during our visit.

We had a half-day conference on Wednesday, teaching and encouraging the mobile messengers. Once we were finished, we made the announcement that our group would teach “America’s Game” to anyone that would like to participate.  Little did we know that every single person would attend!

baseball 3Sports is truly a universal language.  Over the next few hours, we laughed and cheered together as each person took a turn batting and running the bases.  The Maasai people picked up on the game fast and, as they did, I realized that they were hitting the ball harder and harder.  I gave up many home runs that afternoon.
 

 

Following our time with the Mobile Messengers, we took our baseball equipment over to an open field next to the village’s school.  Wow!! If the Mobile Messengers liked the game of baseball, the kids loved it!! Each child took their turn trying to hit and run the bases as well, and the enthusiasm was off the charts.

Having the opportunity to teach baseball to the Maasai people and getting to spend time with them brought our group so much joy.  I’m so glad that we had those 8 pounds to spare in the gear bag.  It far exceeded any expectation  I had.

 

“He is NOT a Normal Man!”

For many who profess the name of Jesus and live according to the Word, it is a deeply dangerous time to be alive. There are consistent new reports of difficulties, loss of homes, unlawful imprisonment, and even death.

Here are just a few statistics on the persecuted church:

  • 90,000 Christians were killed in 2016 (That is one Christian dying for their faith every six minutes)
  • 70% of Christians killed in 2016 were the result of tribal conflict in Africa
  • The top 10 countries for religious persecution are: North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Eritrea

Yet, as many organizations work to help the persecuted church, the dispositions of those who have seen horrific events happen to them remains consistent.

  • “God didn’t leave me or let me down. He stayed with me toward the end to show me His existence,” a Syrian pastor who was sentenced to death for not denying Jesus.
  • “Every day I ask Him that in all of this suffering that I am passing through that He will give me courage – that nothing will tempt me to turn back from Him,” a woman in Nigeria who was imprisoned and lost her baby during an attack on her village.
  • “Even though we are persecuted, it is for the advance of the Gospel. I desire to die a martyr’s death, because precious in the sight of God is the death of His saints,” a young man in Burma who is burdened to preach the Gospel in his country.

While persecution is devastating, churches and Christians everywhere continue to persevere. And they are seeing the fruit of their love for Jesus and their neighbors all around them! Not only do these Christians share the Gospel, but they also share their food, clothing, shelter, and aid they receive with their communities, which often include those who have persecuted them.

We wanted to share one particular story that touched our hearts. Pastor Morris Kartina is a pastor in the Nuba Mountain Region of Sudan. He lives and preaches in a dangerous area, constantly on alert with the ongoing war. He partners with With Open Eyes and receives support from Persecution Project Foundation, helping his community get the aid and resources they need without discrimination.

Word of his generosity is spreading. As famine grows and the war rages on, Pastor Morris has made an impact on one particular Brigadier General for Al-Qaeda named Refaut Abdallah Ahmad. Ahmad is currently a POW in Pastor Morris’ community. Who he is and who he is associated with has not stopped Pastor Morris from showing him kindness.

The kind folks at Persecution Project Foundation followed Pastor Morris to interview the Brigadier General and this is what he had to say about Pastor Morris,” “That is not a normal man! Every three months he visits me, bringing items to help me and my men. Shoes, clothes, sugar, salt, blankets, etc. He is NOT a normal man.”

What a powerful testimony!

At With Open Eyes, we want to bring stories like these to light. There is mighty work being done in the name of Jesus in Africa through the endurance and dedication of men like Pastor Morris, and our Pastor Simon and thousands of others.

In times of division and distress here in America, it is important for Christians to keep a global perspective of the church. We cannot lose sight of the true cost of following Jesus for many of our brothers and sisters.

As we enter the Easter season and meditate on the great sacrifice of Jesus, we must also remember the body of Jesus around the world. May we bow our knees and intercede for those who are losing everything for their faith and pray that our witness might be faithful for Jesus, no matter the cost.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11

I’ve Got a New Name!

We’ve had the privilege of visiting many of our partners and Mobile Messengers in the past few weeks as we deployed teams to Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Kenya. It is always awe-inspiring to spend time with these powerful and anointed men and women of God who have such passion for the Lord and for their people. Thank you to all of you who hosted us, supported us and prayed for us as we traveled.

I was especially honored when I received an email a few days ago from Bishop Ananie addressing me as “Uncle Tom.” Apparently the 35 Mobile Messengers I spent a few days with in Rwanda have given me this name. Ananie went on to share this:
All Mobile Messengers named you “Uncle” due to that first of all you encouraged them as a Father who never cease caring for his children, again in the Rwanda culture, an uncle deserves a special respect. I discovered that name”uncle” when I was interacting with them, they said they all enjoyed your presence and the team you came with. So, on behalf of all Mobile Messengers, we appreciate you and also want to thank you for the Gift each one has received.
 
Wow! So humbling.
This got me to thinking about another new name we’re going to receive. Revelation 2:17 says:
“He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.
 
I don’t pretend to be an expert on the doctrines of eschatology, but isn’t it exciting to know the Lord has a new name He will give to each of us who persevere in this life and overcome until we see Him face-to-face? Parents tend to give much thought to naming their children. Typically, our names were given to us because they have some meaning or significance to our families. In the same way, God Himself will give each of us as people loved and valued by Him a new name which has meaning and significance to Him. Because you and I have meaning and significance and value to Jesus.That’s exciting to me. Praise the Lord!
 
I’m also excited to share briefly an update on the ministry results which Sheri is currently working to compile from the recent reports received from our partners. From January 2010 through December 31, 2106 – the total number of people indicating decisions for Jesus is now 201,262! Hallelujah! Heaven is rejoicing! Thanks to all for your faithfulness to the call of God and the work He has given us to do.

Do Not Be Afraid

I’m struck this week by the number of times in the gospel narrative of the birth of Jesus that I find the words, “Do not be afraid.”

– When the angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias in the Temple to announce the forerunner of the Christ, he said, Do not be afraid.”
When God sent the angel named Gabriel to visit Mary to reveal to her God’s plan to send His Son, he said, “Do not be afraid, Mary.”
When Joseph was struggling with Mary’s pregnancy and whether to follow through on his marriage commitment, an angel of the Lord spoke to him in a dream saying, “Do not be afraid.”
When an angel stood before shepherds in the darkness of the Bethlehem countryside to announce the birth of Jesus, he said to them, “Do not be afraid.”

Read more

2016: A Year in Review

This year has been a busy year for With Open Eyes. If you visit our Facebook page, you’ll see some of the amazing stats that we’ve shared. We hope that you will praise the Lord with us for all that He has done in the last few years. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude.

But today, I want to share one aspect of the ministry we don’t talk about all that often. Our humanitarian efforts. These efforts to help the underserved and unreached in our world came from the heart of our co-founder, James Harrison. He would constantly tell his dad, “We need to do something to help these people.” Humanitarian work and support was his heart. Read more

We Have So Much to Be Thankful For

As Thanksgiving looms, here at With Open Eyes we’ve been taking stock of all the amazing things the Lord has done in the past year. 2016 has been a difficult year for the world. From a contentious election to disasters worldwide, to hardships and persecutions for the church, it is easy to look at this year and feel exhausted and tired.

Yet, we are grateful that through challenges, difficulties, celebrations, and victories, Jesus has been with us. His name has been proclaimed throughout Africa as our brothers and sisters have planted churches and preached the gospel. We praise the name of the Lord for the mighty work He is doing in refugee camps through medicinal help, missionaries who visit, and the men and women who help their people through compassion, a listening ear, and ministry. Read more

Why The Election Doesn’t Change Who We Serve

Last Tuesday, we in the United States held an election to determine who will serve as our next president. As always, there were strong opinions and emotions on both sides leading up to the election and since. I heard many say prior to Tuesday that this election was the most important in our history. Others said this election will determine the future of our great nation.

Today there is much anxiety and uncertainty in our country. Read more

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