Happy New Year from the Smiling Coast of Africa :)
2023: A Year of Adventure through America, Israel, Cyprus and The Gambia!
TLDR: This year was filled with amazing adventures through the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. If you are in need of mustard seed faith to believe God for His promises in the year ahead, skip to the end and watch the video.
Want to know what I was up to in 2023? Here’s the cliff notes:
Started the year working with Dr. Gayle to launch her ministry: Simka Foundation
Sold my car for scrap and used the funds to travel to Israel
Spent two weeks in Israel on a 10-day tour with Simka Foundation exploring the Wonders of Israel
Bought a $17 flight to Cyprus, crossed the UN border, and ventured from the southern Greek side of the island to the northern Turkish side (an unrecognized territory where one cannot even receive mail)
Lived on the couch of a missionary couple for one month as we built a raised bed garden, started a poultry business and prepared their home to receive earthquake victims from Turkey
Returned to Israel (waiting on the Potter) for two weeks before collecting handcrafted first-century replicas of a cup and bowl to be delivered in Simka’s first Festival in a Box
Roamed the streets of Jerusalem for two weeks walking with the Lord and following His voice
Returned to Austin, Texas in April and moved into the loving home of a 90 year old great grandmother
Celebrated Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Day of Firstfruits and Shavuot (which I would teach about in Africa during the last days of 2023)
Began serving weekly (again) with Luke 4:18 Ministries taking people through healing and deliverance
Read the book “Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You” and realized I had no righteous men in my life thanks to Trauma A (absence of good things, such as growing up without a healthy father figure)
Asked seven men to be mentors in my life and began meeting regularly
Addressed lingering sexual sin hidden behind closed doors
Learned to ask and receive (first time in my life I’ve lived in Texas without a car of my own)
Received two dreams about Burning Man just weeks before 80,000 humans gathered in an inhospitable desert and joined our ministry team for two weeks of wild and wonderful worship
Got stuck in the mud of Black Rock Desert when the rains came and floods arrived
Returned to Texas to celebrate Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur
Heard the Lord tell me when to go to The Gambia just hours before unexpectedly being gifted a one-way first-class ticket to Africa
Hosted an epic 20-year high school class reunion in Burnet, Texas
Returned to Austin to house sit for a couple who went to Israel to celebrate Sukkot and found themselves in the midst of war
Purchased a six-meter portable planetarium from the Ukraine to help teach about The Truth in the Stars during the upcoming eclipse on April 8, 2024
Joined friends on a road trip to Corpus Christi to witness the annular solar eclipse from the final place it could be seen in America
Flew to Dallas to celebrate an event honoring international leaders focused on Jewish & Christian relations
Helped Dr. Gayle and the Simka Team make impact at the International Christian Counseling Institute (hosted by June Hunt whose brother paid for me to attend university at SMU)
Baptized Ron in the Lake Travis mud pit and then, two weeks later, baptized Brett in Barb’s bathtub
Trekked through Big Bend National Park with my brother and the men’s group from Austin Christian Fellowship (ACF)
Flew to the other side of the world without a plan and landed in a country with a 98% muslim population, simply because God said so
Arrived in the smallest country in Africa to the news that the Organization of the Islamic Confederation (OIC) would be coming just months later
Joined forces with an incredible team of worshipers at a quaint church on dusty side street nearest to the OIC and began meeting each morning at 8am for 40 days of prayer and fasting
Moved into a month-stay at a “beachside resort” on the smiling coast of Africa where a local man broke into my room while I was sleeping and stole about 40% of my belongings including my hard drive, day pack, cash and all of my clothes except for one shirt a pair of pants and five changes of underwear! Praise God.
Invested in an organic, all natural Fruit Bar on the same beach (currently under construction)
Met a Member of Parliament as he was assisting a blind man cross the street and traveled with his entourage in a National Assembly SUV to the interior of the country to give away 750 bags of cement, attend the finale of a community football (soccer) tournament and participate in the community cleanup day
Received divine strategy to reach this entire nation and share the Gospel in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for The Gambia!
Taught local youth at a year end camp about some of the treasures I’ve gleaned from Simka Foundation and Luke 4:18 Ministries
Closed out the year with a four hour worship set! Nevermind the bars packed with people and the epic beachside fireworks show just blocks away. Instead we gathered inside a colorful church and prayed for the nation with the boom of each firework as a reminder that we are a peculiar people set apart. The message as we crossed over: have mustard seed faith for God’s promises in the year ahead despite how things may appear.
Happy New Year!
[VIDEO OF CROSSOVER SERVICE COMING SOON]