Shaping & Sharpening
|Robert during a reflective moment|
Those who visit Fountain of Hope Ministries today have no idea the price Robert paid for the success of the work there. He started with literally one person ... his wife Sarah. He preached to her, and ONLY her, for 8 solid months. He faced rejection and persecution. His life was threatened and a bounty of $2,500 was on his head. Curses were purchased from witch doctors. Political and envy scuffles produced challenge after challenge. Now he oversees a congregation of more than 300, has planted other churches, started a primary and secondary school that enrolls 1,000 students, directs a bible school, cares for children not born to him and Sarah, and continues to pursue a vision that can seem impossible to most.
Last Sunday Robert remembered. He came to thank me. I was humbled by his gracious words of gratitude. He told me, "When I was no one, just a small boy with nothing more than my God-given vision, you were there. You prayed with me, went with me, and wept with me." I wipe the trickle descending down my right cheek. I remember with Robert and we swapped stories. We laugh. We reflect. And we marvel at the amazing things the Lord has done. What an awesome privilege it has been to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
Just over a week ago, Robert applied for a visa to the United States and was granted one of two years. He is now backed by a wonderful organization directed by John Kimsey of Spokane, Washington, called Grace Giving. He has short term mission teams to host and numerous contacts in the United States. He will travel to see many of his friends and report on the amazing things the Lord has done in Bukeeka.
Robert will always be a part of Next Generation Ministries. He no longer needs the level of support and encouragement he required 8 years ago. He is a mature man of God. While NGM is one among others who mentored Robert, he has already passed the point of release. Our current masthead motto is A River of Relationships Connecting Resources to Needs. But from the beginning our mission has been to encourage, equip, empower and release.
|Life father ... like son|
I told Robert that he has no obligation to visit us in Oregon this year, but that we would love to have him if his schedule allows him. I told him that I will always be there for him. But he is now a spiritual father himself. It is time for him to shape and sharpen those whom the Father entrusts to him. He can have as much of me as he desires, but he was never owned by Next Generation Ministries. It's nice to be remembered, but it is more significant and satisfying to witness reproduction.
The above photo is from the cover of the Second Edition of one of the most significant books my spiritual father has authored. Don Atkin has loved me, believed in me, encouraged me, equipped me, empowered me, and released me. If it wasn't for Don, I never would have had this visit from Robert.
NEXT GENERATION MINISTRIES
August 18, 2012
29940 South Dhooghe Road
Colton, Oregon 97017