Which is more critical in world evangelism, the message, the messenger, or the means of delivery? That is like asking a child what is more important on his bicycle, the rim, the spokes, or the tire? One without the others is useless. So, we too need “chariots” to do His bidding effectively.
We have a situation that has never occurred before. It is a severe and sincere need that is neither glamourous nor a tear-jerker. But this need has unseen importance that you will understand in the next two minutes as you read.
Our feeding ministry has grown so vast that we are now experiencing trouble delivering the food. And in addition, the vehicles that we use to evangelize and carry preachers and Timothies to far and remote areas are experiencing difficulties, hindering our expansion of the Gospel. Let me give some examples:
In Kenya, we have well over 500 national church platers supported, in addition, to probably 3,000 Timothies. Many now have bicycles or motorcycles, but most still rely on bus transportation or walking. We sometimes need a vehicle to transport teams to remote areas using PowerPacks to show the Jesus Film, resulting in a new church plant. Additionally, we have two feeding centers that require the weekly delivery of bulk foods. (Last week, some of you gave around $4,700 to pay the annual food budget for these two Touch a Life centers located in local churches.)
We could easily open 500 more centers if we had the funding. However, it takes money to deliver the food as well. Currently, we must use taxis, rent trucks, or hire Uber-type drivers, which is very expensive. We need to purchase a delivery truck for this purpose, and this week, a dear family in Florida gave us $30,000 for that cause. However, we feel that to get a reliable, second-hand Kia2700 delivery truck (the same model we use in Honduras), we need an additional $3745. This amount will cover the tax, title, delivery, etc., and a full tank of fuel. We had estimated a cost of $30,000, but since they are second-hand vehicles, we knew that our pick might have to be adjusted, affecting the possibility of exceeding the target amount. However, a delivery truck is barely half the price of a used pickup truck. It will easily carry food for multiple centers and 15-20 preachers who can be delivered and retrieved after a full day of evangelizing.
We are now only $3,745 from making the purchase. Can you help?
While on a Visionary Trip, many of you have ridden in our Ford van. However, we don’t use it whenever possible because it has an old engine that sucks up gasoline like me with a strawberry milkshake. To be frank, (I always wanted to be Frank) during our last Visionary Trips in 2019, using it was cost prohibitive as it gets less than 10 miles to a gallon. With the price of gasoline nearly doubling worldwide, using it is no longer an option. We have tried to sell it and use the funds to purchase a used diesel vehicle, but there have been no “takers”; in fact, there have been no “lookers” either. But this week, my son Daniel came up with a great idea … why not replace the old gasoline engine with a new diesel engine? (He got his looks from me but his brains from his mom.)
We investigated and found that we could do so for around $9,000. Diesel engines are preferred in Honduras, and you often must pay extra for a gasoline engine. (Generally, they are unwanted due to expensive gasoline and the shorter engine-life expectancy.) And though the price of diesel fuel has risen too, in Central America, it is much cheaper than gasoline (just the opposite of here in the USA), diesel engines give better mileage, and the engine will literally last longer than the body of the vehicle!
We also have some needed repairs for the Mitsubishi truck. We have taken good care of it, but it is fifteen years old now, and if you have been with me, you know the kind of roads we drive on and rivers we drive through. Ours is not typically a city ministry; it is a “highway and hedges” ministry. Those repair needs come to about $2,200.
If these were my vehicles, I would bear the cost and never mention it to you, but they don’t belong to me; they belong to Touch a Life. We have kept our sponsorships low so as not to burden the donors. Sponsorships in 2005 were $35 a month. Sponsorships in 2022 are still $35 a month. We have cut corners wherever possible, leaving nothing for vehicle purchases, repairs, or construction. And to be honest, in our 35+ years of ministry, I don’t recall a time when we have ever asked you to finance or repair any of our ministry vehicles. We have bought hundreds of cars, trucks, and motorcycles globally for the needs of others but not for our own. As a rule, we ask for others but not for ourselves. This is a first for us, and to be honest, I am a bit embarrassed to ask now, but the need requires me to swallow hard and do it.
So, I come to you with hat in hand, leaving me no covering for my bald head, and ask you to help us raise this combined total for a delivery truck in Kenya and an engine replacement, and needed repairs in Honduras -- all for $14,945.
We currently have two Touch A Life feeding centers up and running over in Kenya, feeding over 100 children. Our Daily Bread program has supported these, and the results are amazing so far. Both are run out of local churches. The first one is out of Illula Baptist Church. The benefit of the program being run by the local church is that the children receive both physical nutrition as well as spiritual nutrition, hearing the Word with their meals. As a result, family members of the children who are coming to be fed show up to the church services and learn about the Lord. Illula Baptist Church has grown from an average attendance of 60 members to 80 members since the feeding program began there, a 33% increase.
The second location is out of a church run by one of our National Church planters. It has also seen an increase in members since the feeding program started, going from an average of 100 to 150, a 50% increase!
As you can see, the benefits of our daily bread program in setting up feeding centers out of our local churches has a tremendous impact. They are able to feed those children in need in the community, physically and spiritually, and also reach the adults with the Word while doing so.
Some of the fruits of the Touch A Life program at the second location. Pastor John Thumbi Kigwa seen here with a family. The children came when the program started, and now their parents have joined the church!
Now, we need your help! As mentioned above, we currently have two feeding centers operating in Kenya, but we have the potential to be able to operate many more due to the size of our national church planter group in that country. The only thing we need to move from potential to action is your commitment to help. To free up the daily bread funds being used for these two active feeding centers, we need you to support them. The total cost to run them together for the next 12 months is $4,645. We would love it if you could partner with us with a monthly commitment, but if you are only able to help one time for now, that would be a tremendous blessing and will allow us to open up the next feeding centers. Make your donation below, or by mailing in a check and designating it to “Kenya Daily Bread”.
May God bless you!
For thirty-five years, I have been recruiting like-minded Believers to help me support national church planters. The blessings that God has showered on those donors and me are incredible as we have followed the light He shined on our paths.
These gallant servants of God, who serve where we cannot and probably would not, live humbly. I sometimes refer to their "houses" and wonder if you know what kind of structure they live in. To be sure, it is a house, but it may be less than 100 square feet (10' x 10') and be made of mud and sticks or bamboo. Yet, they are thankful for their "house" and feel incredibly blessed by God. And they are.
Sometimes they ask for help so they can perform their ministries more effectively. For example, they may need a bicycle ($125) or motorcycle ($1300). Others may request help for a necessary surgery or to help to pay a hospital bill. Others request travel funds to plant a church in a remote village or rescue them from imprisonment because of their faith. We even get requests to help bury a pastor, his wife, child, or a church member who has passed and had no provision for such. Once, we had to bury forty-eight young people who three men shot with machine guns as they were praying in their house church.
Their needs are as vital to them as our needs are to us. As Americans, the difference is that our needs are often our wants, whereas their needs are precisely that, -- they don't even dream of acquiring a want. Yet, through all these years and in every country (the 90+ where we have served them), there is one item they all ask for, and they ask continually. That need is for Bibles.
We expend a lot of time and effort to raise funds for Arabic and Farsi Bibles as we strive to cover North Africa and the Middle East with Bibles; in the last week, we took 25,000 Bibles into just one country in that region. Their response was, "When can we get more?" They are not trying to stack copy upon copy on their bookshelf. They are merely hoping to get enough so each family in their house churches can have one and to have a surplus to give to the new converts. Imagine turning from Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Animism, where you have been indoctrinated with the nuances of those faiths all your life. You have rejected them, and perhaps your family has rejected you. Yet, you have no Bible with which to learn about your new Lord and Savior. Therefore, we must provide these converts with a Bible.
In August, we decided to dedicate our efforts to raise funds to purchase Bibles, not for the Middle East but the rest of the world. So I wrote to some of our national directors scattered globally, asking them the prices and number of Bibles they need. The prices range from $3 to $10, and they ask for thousands of copies.
In this effort, we will be ignoring Latin America for the most part, as there are so many missionaries there who can get Bibles donated and shipped to them. So instead, we are going to concentrate on those regions where Bibles are available, but the people cannot afford one. $3 is not much, neither is $10, but when your average monthly income is only $4, you cannot afford to give a month's income to buy one. In addition, you may need six months' income to travel to the closest Bible bookstore.
So, as a Christmas present to our Lord, I ask you to help us raise at least $15,000. You can donate online on this page, or by mailing in a check and designating it to "Christmas Bibles".
We hoped to raise $25,000, but Tabernacle Baptist in Orlando already gave $10,000, so we have already purchased several thousand Bibles for Kenya, Pakistan, and India.
What will we do if you give more than the $15,000? -- We'll buy more Bibles. -- Personally, I hope you will give $50,000 for this project.
When Christ was born, the angels declared that His birth would be good news for all nations. So, let's join with them and do what we can to declare that good news to those who have neither heard it nor had the opportunity to read about it. Imagine the tens of thousands of Believers who will this Christmas, for the first time in their lives, be able to sit and read the story of our Lord's birth in Luke, chapter two. They will be as amazed as the shepherds! Thank you for making that possible for them, and Merry Christmas!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.