On March 26, four others and myself from my
church will be joining Dr. Kennedy O'Keere,
founder of Horizon International Medical
Missions (HIMM.ORG), on a 16-hour flight to his
hometown in Nigeria, Africa.
For the past eight years, Dr. O'Keere has been
taking teams into the rural areas near Lagos,
Nigeria, bringing affordable primary health care
to these areas. Some of the villagers travel by
foot many days for the yearly chance
to see a doctor.
God has called each and every one of us on
this team to meet with Him in Nigeria, to
minister to the people both
physically and spiritually.
Please visit this page regularly for updates on
the progress of the trip, as well as information
on how you can partner with us.
The entire team (and their families) needs your
prayers and financial support as God leads.
(This is where I get to keep you updated on what's going on with me both spiritually and logistically while preparing for the trip)
March 26, 2009 7:34 a.m.
This is it. (as the old Bugs Bunny song said) "No more rehearsing and nursing of parts..." Today is "go" time!
I think I have everything packed. My bag weighs about 45 lbs. I bought wasabi peas and almonds for my in-flight snack. Everything's
packed and ready to go. I even dreamed about landing in Africa and my allergies DID go away just like Kennedy said they would!
Lynne's doing her morning devotion and I'm going to the Y to get a workout in before the day starts. I'm ready for whatever God has for me
over the next few days. He's in control...I'm not.
To call and check on Lynne and the girls, the number is (912) 355-3846. email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, if you feel an urge to pray about me, my family or the trip in general...please do. It may very well be the prompting of the Holy
Lord, please be with Lynne and the girls. Protect them from evil. Father, I pray for your Holy Spirit to hang thick over our house. May the girls not miss their
father too much because their heavenly Father is with them. Thank you for the prayers of your people directed towards this trip and my family. I ask blessings
on those that have been commiting to pray for this mission. May they feel your presence and be filled with your grace and mercy.
Thank you for all you do. Thank you for being God...Lord of my life.
I pray these things in Jesus' name,
March 23, 2009 8:09 p.m.
Pollen. Allergies. Sinus infection. Talk about bad timing! It started Saturday morning around 2 a.m.
I woke up with a very sore throat and by 6:30 sounded a lot like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. Hope went with me to
Statesboro for the youth conference at St Matthew's Church. We were there all day. The band (Fisheyed Fools) played 4 or 5
times throughout the day including the Mass at 5:00. I started sounding okay and feeling better as the day went on. Sunday
morning, Eeyore was back, with a touch of Barry White thrown in for good measure. I finally called Kennedy late Sunday
afternoon and he had me come over so he could "aggressively" treat my condition with antibiotics and a nose spray. This
morning at 5 I called Ken (my boss) to let him know I wouldn't make it in today. I felt AWFUL! And sounded even worse
(Eeyore + Barry White + Sylvester Stallone). By noonish I felt well enough to go to my Aunt Ruby's funeral in Statesboro.
She was a real sweet lady. I used to spend lots of time at her house when I was a kid. I guess she's visiting with my dad and
The Lord right now! Way cool.
I feel like the worst of this allergy stuff is behind me. I should be fine to go to work tomorrow (yippee?).
I'm going to go work on a few more flutes now and then try to sit down and spend some time hanging out with Lynne.
...just a few more days....wow...wow!
Thanks for stopping by. I'll post again soon!
March 20, 2009 7:46 p.m.
Hope and I just got back from going to Statesboro to set up the PA for tomorrow's youth conference gig at St Matthew's.
Honestly, right now I'm thinking how nice it would have been to not have a gig tomorrow. We start at 9:30 and don't get done
until 6 p.m.
I know we'll be both a blessing and be blessed! I haven't had the time to make all the flutes I wanted to take on the trip to
leave in Nigeria. Maybe late Saturday or Sunday night I'll be able to squeeze in a few hours. Next Thursday's getting closer
and closer and I feel like I still have so much to do to get prepared. It'll all be fine I know. God is in control not me!
I'll update again real soon. Right now I need to just sit and rest for a minute or two. I still need to practice guitar for a while
March 14, 2009 3:23 p.m.
Fingers sore. Typing slower than usual. "Ouch!"
I played guitar for worship at the monthly Aglow meeting today. No keyboard at all. In fact, I left it at the house so I wouldn't
even be tempted. And again I say, "Ouch!" Maia played bass with me as well. She did an awesome job with an instrument
than weighs almost as much as her. She has been gifted with a unique ear for music and I pray she continues to use it for
I got the Travel guitar this week and it sounds really nice. There's actually not a whole lot of difference in tone between it and
the full sized guitar at the house. Of course, when the girls (all of them, even Lynne) first saw it they said, "Oh, it's sooo cute."
Men very rarely are trying for "cute". But I guess they're right. It is cute.
The Lord's still having money come in for the trip. Remember, even after my travel expenses are met, anything else goes
towards the team in general. It will all be used.
It looks like I'll even have some spending money while I'm there.
I can't tell everyone how much the support I've been shown for this trip means to me. Yes, even I can get speechless at times
(though not very often).
I have one more gig planned before I go. The band and I are playing for an all day youth event next Saturday the 21st in
My friend Catherine Neal is coming to videotape so we'll have some footage to start piecing together some music
I always love playing for these youth events.
It's so good to see young people gathered together with the common denominator being Jesus.
Thanks for stopping by and checking in.
I'll be posting again in a day or so.
Thank you for being there not only for me, but for the people The Lord would have me touch in Nigeria.
Blessings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
March 8, 2009 8:36 p.m.
Wow. I mean, Wow! We had another meeting tonight about the trip. Dusty was right. I don't see a whole lot of time built in for
Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little, but our days are going to be really full and busy.
I'll post a complete schedule with Eastern Standard times later so folks can be praying for specific things at specific times.
Now, some of the answers to my most recent questions concerning the trip...
* I found out I'll be speaking (preaching?) at Kennedy's home church, First Baptist of Ihiagwa, the first Sunday we're there.
Dusty and James will each be at different churches.
* Also, I definately need to get the travel sized guitar from Rodys music this week. Kennedy said the baggage handlers are
very rough and he wouldn't trust a musical instrument in their hands. 'nuff said.
* Dr O'Keere wrote us each prescriptions for our malaria tablets today. We take one a week before we leave, one while
we're gone, then two more a week apart when we get back.
From looking at the schedule, ten days is going to fly by. I hope to be able to send an email every so often (maybe even a
picture or two) for Lynne to put on this page to keep everyone up to date.
It's now 8:48. I get up at 5:30 tomorrow morning for work. We really haven't been home as a family much at all today...in
other words..."Nighty Night!"
Have a Blessed week!
March 7, 2009 10:08 p.m.
God is So Good! At last report, There was a little over the $2500.00 needed for my basic expenses for the trip! When The
Lord told me, this past Summer, I would be going to Africa, He told me two other things as well. One; "Don't tell Lynne, your wife,
until I say so." And Two; "Don't send out letters asking for money. You can talk to people and let them know everything about the trip and how they
can help, but I'll provide. I'll give you one or two people to specifically ask to pray about giving. Don't worry...I'll take care of it." Not only has He
taken care of it, money is still coming in! Okay, so it's not like hundreds of thousands of dollars are pouring in. But $50 here
and there means other people's expenses as well as the medical mission itself is getting a much needed "shot in the arm"
(medical pun intended!).
Now, some of the other "stuff":
I'll have a better idea after the meeting tomorrow if I will need to carry a full sized guitar (checked baggage) or if a travel size
(carry-on) will be okay. I'll ask Kennedy about his experience with checked baggage on previous Nigeria trips.
Oh, last week we were informed we would be leading a two day revival meeting at Kennedy's home church! That answers the
question of how much music I will be playing while I'm there.
We're still on the lookout for cheap khaki, or similar, lightweight cargo pants. We'll be leaving most of our clothes for the
people over there so we want decent quality, but at $12.00 to $30.00 a pair...suffice to say, we're still looking for a better
bargain. Lynne found a few "Nigeria" shirts for me the other day for just a few dollars each. They're perfect. Short sleeve,
lightweight and nice enough I'd just as soon keep them for myself.
I hope to start making some of my flutes to take next week. I'd like to have 10 or 12 to take and give away while we're there.
I should probably go ahead and post this to the web page. It's gotten late and I'm still picking music for church tomorrow.
God Bless you for taking the time to come here and read about what's going on.
It means a lot to check the traffic on this page and see that some days one or two
people have visited and then other days 19 or 40+!
Keep praying for me and this trip and I promise I will keep praying for you.
February 27, 2009 5:54 a.m.
Last night at Life Group, while we were praying, I saw something really cool. I had a vision of a sword. It was Gold and white and seemed
to be on fire. I mentioned it to the group after the prayers and someone immediately said "The sword of the Spirit." and, "The Word of God."
It made me remember the sound one of my flutes makes when I pull it up and out of its case right before I begin to play during worship. As it
slides against the other flutes and whistles it makes a metallic "shiing!" that sounds like a sword being unsheathed for battle. God reminds
me our worship is a powerful weapon. When we go about our day singing/ humming praise to The Lord, it does more than we think. In the
spiritual realm it stands to constantly remind the enemy who we belong to. While at the same time, cutting him down and keeping him back.
The worship of our Lord is more than just singing pretty songs on Sunday morning. It's a matter of the heart. It's devotion to the Living God
Jehovah. It's falling in love over and over again. I want to encourage you to sing. Sing songs directly from your heart to God. As the old
hymn says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus..."
I pray you find a place of true, loving adoration and worship of the King of Kings.
Well, it's time to go to the gym and then to work. I now have less than a month to go before we leave. I still have a lot to do to get ready;
clothes to get, musical instruments to figure out, flutes to make, finding a good camera to take. The 26th will be here before we know it. I
can't wait to see what He's going to do between now and then!
Father God, I pray for more of a heart of worship. Thank you for the desire you've put in my heart to want to be closer to you. Help me to not get too
caught up in the logistics of this upcoming trip, but remind me why I'm going and who I'm going for. Thank you for the protection of my family while I'm
Thank you for being you.
February 23, 2009 10:11 p.m.
God is so awesome! I found out during our meeting last Wednesday I'd need to do the application for my visa online. No problem. But wait,
there's more. I also found out I'd have to pay for the $122.00 application fee online as well. Remembering God's promise to take care of the
finances, I told Lynne we didn't need to worry that we didn't have the money in the bank, God would provide. (you probably already know
where this is going...) Thursday I got a birthday card with a check for $50 for my birthday and an additional $100 specifically for my trip.
Visa application paid!
It's something to know that the God of all creation knew my February 19th birth date 46 years ago would net a check exactly when I needed
it in 2009. Some people kind of snicker when they hear me say things like that. But I know He's that much in control of everything, my life
included. I look forward to what The Lord has planned for me, for the whole team, in Ihiagwa. He goes before us.
Lord, thank you for equipping me for this journey. I ask you to give me every thing I need for this mission. Give me the words to speak. Give me the
grace, mercy and love I need to do your will. Father, break me where I need brokenness. Fill me to overflowing with your Spirit.
February 19, 2009 2:27 p.m.
We had our meeting last night. In attendance; Myself, Kennedy, James and Dusty. We went over a LOT of logistics.
Here are the main things concerning the trip...
We will be going to Imo State in Nigeria. The town we're going to is called Ihiagwa (population 50-100 thousand), which is part of a larger
city called Owerri. (You can find out a bit about Ihiagwa by going to www.ihiagwa.org .) I found out there are three more people, each of
them medical professionals, who will be going with us as well. So, the team now totals nine. We discussed everything from what we'll be
eating to how much batteries will cost in Ihiagwa. While there we'll get to meet the local king (yes, I said "king") in his palace (...yes, I said
"palace"!). His name is Eze, which means king, James Muruako. Cool! I still don't know the particulars of what I'll be doing every day. I
know we'll be working with the local churches and talking to them about church planting. Oh, and it looks as though when we go to the
different villages every day we'll be going solo. We'll have a guide/interpretter with us. But it's not like it'll be me, James, Dusty and a
missionary "entourage" going into these villages. That's why I like to leave these things up to God. He knows what He's doing. Because as
of right now...I'm pretty clueless! (No comments from the peanut gallery, please.)
Continue to pray. I look forward to continuing this journey with you.
Heavenly Father, I ask your protection over the families of all those going on this trip.
Lord I also ask for your provision and blessings for those who have joined with us both spiritually and financially.
May the sacrifices being made be as a sweet aroma of praise to you Lord.
Thank you for your faithfulness and help us to be more faithful with all you've entrusted to us.
I pray these things in the precious name of Jesus.
Let it be.
February 17, 2009 9:25 p.m.
We have a team meeting scheduled for tomorrow evening at the church office. I hope to get a lot of questions answered. Probably the
biggest is wondering what I'll be doing over there. I know the original plan was three groups of people. A medical group to help with the
clinic, a "spiritual" group to minister to the people through prayer and counseling, and an evangelistic group. Now that we've pared down to
six, counting Kennedy, I don't know what I'll be doing. I pray I have a servant's heart and will do whatever is asked of me. That's why I'm
going in the first place...right?
Pray for the meeting tomorrow.
I'll let you know what happens.
February 16, 2009 10:17 p.m.
"So," you're asking, "how's the guitar playing going?" Good enough that I'm going to play it a bit at a solo gig tomorrow evening. I'll still be
relying heavily on the piano and trumpet, but I'll be strummin' the ole six string on a few songs at least!
I'm still waiting to find out more details concerning what I'll be doing for ten days in Nigeria. Dusty (my Pastor) should have more details by
the end of the week after he speaks to Kennedy and Clement (who lives in Nigeria). The Lord's been faithful with bringing in the finances
for the trip. A lady I've never met who lives in Virginia sent in a check a week ago!
I haven't sat down and tallied everything yet, but
I believe another $1100-$1200 will cover everything. (I'm just glad somebody else handles all the money stuff.) I'll be going to Goodwill and
the like in a week or so to try to find clothes for the trip. I've been told the weather is a lot like the Southwest United States...hot and dry.
So I'm looking at getting Khaki cargo pants/ shorts and short sleeved shirts. I'll probably leave most of my travel clothes there.
I may even take a couple extra things to leave if I
can squeeze them into my bags.
I'm going to try to make a few new flutes and pennywhistles to take with the plan of leaving them with someone in Africa as well.
If you're checking in and reading this, thank you.
I ask for your prayers. And know that I will be, and have been, praying for you.
May God Bless You.
February 10, 2009 10:00 p.m.
Am I excited about the trip? Well, it tends to be the topic of most of my conversations lately.
More often than not I go to sleep praying/talking to God about it.
I'd call it "focused".
I've never been on a missions trip before. Sure, I've always wanted to go. But wanting to go and being told "YOU'RE
GOING!" are two totally different things.
As far as what I'll be doing in Nigeria...I'm not really sure. I know I'll get a chance to minister in music ( which is why I'm trying
to quickly turn myself into a guitar player...a piano won't quite fit in an overhead bin!). But I'm sure I'll be doing a lot of things
that have nothing to do with music as well.
I don't know yet if I'll have internet access to keep everyone updated. If I do, I'll try to give regular reports on what we're
doing, how God's working, etc.
Check back often.
I'm trying to get this
on the web tonight.
And please feel free to email or call me to talk about the trip.
912.631.0926 (cell) 912.355-3846 (home)
For monetary contributions please make checks
The Sycamore Church
2031 Grove Point Road
Savannah, GA 31419
You can either designate on the check an
individual you'd like to sponsor or just simply put
NIGERIA MISSION and the funds will go
wherever they are needed.
Each member needs between $2500 and $3000
to cover all expenses
Dr. O'Keere can give anyone specifics on monies
needed for medical supplies. He can be
contacted through the ministry website at
Those going on the trip from our church are:
James Barnes, Laura Armstrong, Lafeyette
Burks, Gary Strickland, Dusty Reynolds and
Dr. Kennedy O'Keere
|Me, Lynne and the girls
from a couple years ago
| WE'RE BACK!!!
We got in around 10:00 p.m. Monday night. I'll update this page
in a day or so when I've fully recovered from the trip back
(32 plus hours traveling to get home!)
For now, here's a link to the church's blog during our trip...
God bless, and thank you for all your prayers and support.
click below for
The Sycamore Church Blog
WHAT we're doing and WHEN we're doing it!
**Note – all times are local times – time in Owerri, Nigeria is 5 hours ahead of us
Thursday (3/26) – Depart Savannah at 4:49 pm
Arrive in Chicago at 6:19 pm
Depart Chicago at 7:48 pm
Friday (3/27) - Arrive in Frankfurt, Germany at 10:15 am
Depart Frankfurt at 11:25 am
Arrive in Lagos, Nigeria at 5:50 pm
Spend the night in Lagos
Saturday (3/28) - Depart Lagos at 11:00 am
Arrive in Owerri at 11:45 am
Rest, prepare, and meet some of the local people
Sunday (3/29) - We divide up and go to four different churches - speaking and ministering at Community
Baptist, FBC Imerienwe, FBC Ihiagwa and a village church nearby
Monday (3/30) – The medical mission begins in the morning and goes all day.
We begin Revival Services at a local church in the evening.
Tuesday (3/31) - Medical mission goes all day
Preaching and music at the Baptist High School, Umuohie Ngor.
After the devotion, the whole team will have interaction with students and staff.
Revival services at a local church
Wednesday (4/1) - Medical mission goes all day
Preaching and music at the Baptist College of Theology, Obinze .
After the service, the whole team will have interaction with students and staff.
Gary will meet with the music department.
Thursday (4/2) - Medical mission all day.
Visiting out in the villages looking for possible church plant opportunities.
Friday 4/3) - Meeting with Pastors and church leaders from several states –
preaching and music.
Afternoon service of celebration with many of the people.
Saturday (4/4) - Visit to the well project to see the well we helped with.
Afternoon audience with the King.
Sunday (4 /5) - Depart Owerii very early in the morning
Depart Lagos at 10:10 pm
Monday (4/6) - Arrive in Frankfurt at 5:20 am
Depart Frankfurt at 10:35 am
Arrive in Chicago at 12:30 pm
Depart Chicago at 7:01 pm
Arrive in Savannah at 10:05 pm