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The Secret Ingredient to Effective Ministry

Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Orphan Care | 1 comment

It wasn’t until God called me to pause my medical career and serve orphans full-time that by His Grace, I really learned the need for complete surrender and respect for spiritual authority. He was clear with me, “You cannot grow and serve me unless you surrender.” His requirement was for me to get myself with all honesty to the point where I was truly willing to quit Shaping Destiny(SD), the ministry I had founded and loved to go serve under someone else (in a small unknown ministry) for as long as he wanted. This was happening to me when I had given up my medical career and didn’t know when I would return. I was frustrated, angry, and confused. I had made the biggest sacrifice that I could ever make and it looked like God was asking more and more of me. I didn’t have a salary. I was basically living on charity and my wife’s income, something that I hated. God used that to teach me humility. It was only when I went through my anger, and frustration and finally surrendered to God and totally and honestly told him, “Lord, I surrender to you, I’m willing to do whatever you want, to serve wherever you want me to, to leave SD and hand it to someone else, to close it and go wherever you want me, even if no one ever notices me or the sacrifice I make.” Immediately I got to that point, I felt God tell me something similar to what he told Abraham when Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac. He said to Abraham, “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:12. SD and the kids there was the only thing I had left to hold on to after I had resigned from my medical career. It was my Isaac. It had become my idol. When I finally said “I give it up” to do whatever God told me and God knew I meant it from my heart, he told me clearly that he didn’t want me to give up SD. In fact, he said he will bless SD and let me be a part of it till the end. Then He later followed by showing me a huge vision of what he was going to do for orphans all over the world–not only through SD but through other organizations as well. Since that time, I have learned that we must surrender it all. We cannot serve God when we haven’t surrendered it all. We cannot grow and serve God unless we surrender (via @AustinBibleInst) Click To Tweet Dr. R. A. Torrey said something about the importance of surrendering one’s will to God that is important to bring up here. He was referring to hearing God by reading the Bible but it also applies to serving God in general. He said, “A surrendered will gives that clearness of spiritual vision necessary to understand God’s Word. Many of the difficulties and obscurities of the Bible rise simply because the will of the student is not surrendered to the will of the author of the Book. It is remarkable how clear, simple, and beautiful passages that once puzzled us become when we are brought to...

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How to Start a Nonprofit

Posted by on January 8, 2018 in Orphan Care | 0 comments

This is a video from a course that I teach on starting an orphanage. The course teaches students how to start a nonprofit anywhere in the world. In this video, I give my students a checklist for starting a nonprofit. I hope you find this helpful. If you need to learn more on how to start a nonprofit, you may want to consider taking my...

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Why You Can’t Do it Alone

Posted by on January 1, 2018 in Orphan Care | 2 comments

Do you think taking care of orphans is a one person job? Do you find yourself feeling like you can’t depend on anyone else and it’s all up to you? Well you know what they say: if you want something done right, do it yourself!” That couldn’t be farther from the truth! As Christians, we need each other and we need Godly counsel. When caring for orphans, it is especially important for you to have a strong team that you can bounce ideas off of and gain insight from. In this post by Dr. Ed Roller, an instructor at Austin Bible Institute, you’ll see just what the Bible says about wise vs. foolish counsel and what a difference it can make. “Have you ever made plans to do something without letting anyone else in on the plans? Sometimes a quick word of advice from a friend or a counselor can make such a huge difference in the outcome. I think of myself as a “big-picture” person and others says that is true of me as well. When you are a “big-picture” person, sometimes the finish line or the mountain top is the only thing that you can focus on. ” Read...

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7 Traits of Great Leaders

Posted by on December 25, 2017 in Leadership | 0 comments

If you dream of caring for orphans, then you are preparing yourself to step in the shoes of a great leader. All people look to leaders for guidance, wisdom, direction, and encouragement…orphans and vulnerable child do all the more. In this blog post, learn from Dr. Kenneth Acha as he shares what he thinks are the top 7 traits of leaders. Why should you and I be interested in knowing the 7 personality traits of great leaders? First, because regardless of what we do in life, we are leaders. Second, these traits can be learned. Because they can be learned, we can improve our leadership ability. Read...

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Overcoming Adversity with Grace

Posted by on December 18, 2017 in Orphan Care | 0 comments

When it comes to being strong during difficult times or teaching the children you work with how to depend on God when all seems lost, knowing who you are in Jesus is key. In this post, Dr. Kenneth Acha teaches us how God’s grace has made us one with Him. We encounter varying kinds of trials and tribulations on a daily basis. From overwhelming health issues, like a diagnosis with a terminal cancer, to financial difficulties, job loss, loss of a loved one, or the ordinary stresses of life. Read more...

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How to Prepare Yourself for Effective Orphan Care

Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Orphan Care | 2 comments

At Austin Bible Institute, everything we do is motivated by our belief that orphans and poor people deserve the highest standards of care possible. We are driven by the dream that one day orphans will be perceived with the same dignity and value that we perceive our own children. When our perception of orphans changes our treatment of them will follow. [Tweet “When our perception of orphans changes our treatment of them will follow. “]We are also motivated by our belief that together as a global community, we can raise the standards of care for every child on the planet because every soul matters. We are the first institution in the world to offer college-level training in orphan care. Come learn from our group of experts instructors and multi-disciplinary curriculum and get trained in the best practices and principles of effective poverty alleviation, orphan care, and disciple-making. View Degree & Certificate Programs View Online Brochure Apply Online Today! “For many years I have known God was calling me to serve the orphans and the less privileged in my community but I couldn’t figure out how to go about. God brought light and orientation to this calling through ABI. I had to repent for causing more harm than help to the needy I tried to assist before taking this course because I realized I really did harm them instead of helping.” – Olivia “This class has been an amazing experience. Not only have I learned so many things, I’ve grown more in these last eight weeks in my relationship with God than I have in a really long time. This class has rocked my prayer life!” – Margeaux “Learning through Austin Bible Institute was one of the most eye-opening and practically applicable things I have ever experienced. I would definitely recommend this school to anyone who desires to broaden their understanding of scripture, theology, different cultures, and relationships with practical biblical teaching and solid curriculum.”  – Sunny...

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Family Based Orphan Care & Orphanage Based Orphan Care

Posted by on December 4, 2017 in Orphan Care | 0 comments

This is a great video from CAFO’s youtube channel.

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Whose Dream am I Trying to Fulfill?

Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Orphan Care | 4 comments

Before you or I start an orphanage, it’s important to ask and answer this question: Whose dream am I trying to fulfill? Is it my dream or the orphans dream? That is,  is it my dream to start an orphanage or is it the orphans dream that an orphanage be started? Do I have a dream to start an orphanage or do the orphans have a dream to live in an orphanage? Whose dream am I working to fulfill? Is it my dream or their dream. This question is important to answer. What is the dream of orphans? Think with me. Use your imagination. Is it possible that there are any suffering orphans out there that are dreaming of an orphanage to live in? Perhaps there may be some. If there are, it’s probably because they’ve seen an orphanage before and what they love about it is perhaps not the orphanage itself but the friends that they could find there–other human beings (children) who understood and shared their pain. Research has shown (and my experience corroborates) that orphans dream of living in a home with a mother and father. They dream to have back what they’ve lost. That’s expected. Take for example, an Indian orphan. Before, he used to have his Indian mom and dad. Guess what his dream is? He wants them back or he wants other Indian parents to take him in and love him as his parents did. They don’t dream of living in a foreign home. [NB: I favor international adoption and our organization does them for free when it is the right thing to do in a particular case]. The idea of international adoption or someone from abroad coming to take care of them has never crossed the minds of most orphans. What is on their minds is the desire for a home in their village to live in and parents in their village or country to love them. They want someone like their mother and father. Is their desire a prayer to God? I think so. Orphans don’t hate their villages or towns or cities or countries. In fact, almost ALL of them have someone they know and often care about. They simply dream or desire better circumstances, not a change of venue. My dad was fatherless and motherless at birth and was named “orphan or abandoned.” We were fatherless and poor when I was nine. I’ve served orphans full-time for the last 10 years. Yet, I’ve never seen or heard of an orphan who dreamed of living in an orphanage for the sake of the orphanage. I’ve never seen an orphan who would prefer an orphanage over loving caring local parents. Some are happy in an orphanage because that’s the best they have. They don’t have a loving family that would treat them as one of their own children and provide their basic needs as well as inspire hope for a better future. Whose dream am I trying to fulfill? Whose dream are you trying to fulfill? Another similar question is, “What is God’s dream for the orphan?” I will write about this in a different post. My prayer is that we would seek the dream of the orphan and fulfill it. My article titled “Why start an orphanage?” is a good...

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Purpose vs. Calling

Posted by on November 20, 2017 in Orphan Care | 59 comments

What is the difference between purpose and calling? We are products. God is our producer. We were created for a purpose. To accomplish that purpose, God gives us a means. The purpose is to Glorify God and the means is our calling. Purpose is more important than calling but you cannot achieve your purpose without your calling. Calling is the road you take to get to purpose. Purpose is the destination. In Christ, we all have the same destination but uniquely different roads to get to this destination. One team, one owner, one coach, one goal. That goal is to win the game and make their coach and owner proud and bring them glory. But different players with different roles or callings on the field. In soccer, one is a goalkeeper, others are defenders, some are midfielders, others are attackers, others are right and left wingers. Purpose = to win and bring glory to the coach, owner, and the nation. But the roles are different. We are all different pieces of a puzzle. We are shaped differently and fit in different places but we have the same purpose. When God puts us together and solves the puzzle, he is glorified. Take, for example, the Honda Motor Company. It may make motorcycles, cars (many different models and categories), aircraft or other flying vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, etc. The products have the same purpose which is to provide easy,  affordable, and fun transportation. And, of course, to make a profit doing so. But they are designed to achieve this goal differently. That is, they have different callings. Picture in your mind’s eye the following scenario with me. On judgment day, Mr. Honda, the creator of these products sits in judgment over them. First, he goes by category. He starts with the motorcycles. He designed different types of motorcycle models differently. He gave them different horse powers and capabilities. He asks each motorcycle, “Did you do your job as I designed you to do?” He doesn’t expect all motorcycle models to perform the same. Each one has unique features he included and so different performance expectations. A product is judged based on what it was designed to do. Each one comes with a product manual that details how it is supposed to function and what should be expected of it. If a particular product is not doing its  job well, it is often discontinued and a new product is made. There are different callings (roles), but the same purpose (reason for starting the company). Purpose is general (everyone has the same purpose), calling is specific (everyone’s calling is unique). A person’s  calling is as unique as their fingerprint. Each person is shaped or designed according to his or her calling. Reflecting on this amazing design that we each have, King David of Israel praised his God saying, “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.“ We each have unique gifts, passions, talents and abilities, personalities, and experiences that shape us and make us uniquely suited for our calling in life. Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback church codified these gifts into a useful and memorable acrostic called SHAPE stands for Spiritual gifts, Heart (Passions), Abilities(talents), Personality, and Experiences. A good sequence to view the events of...

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Where should you start your ministry?

Posted by on November 13, 2017 in Orphan Care | 6 comments

Start where you can win by paying a price that you can afford and are happy to pay. Start where the conditions are favorable, not where the needs are greatest. If God hasn’t given you a specific place where he wants you to start your ministry, then my advice is to start where the conditions are favorable (where you have the support that will help you thrive), not simply where the needs are the greatest. When a ministry starts, it’s like a seedling. If you put it in a climate where the weather is too harsh, the winds are too strong, there is too much drought, it will die. But if you put it in a place where the weather is favorable, it will grow, put its tap root into the ground and spread its leaves. Later, if the storm comes and the droughts come, it would not die so quickly because it has a tap root and a strong stem. Later, the seeds from this tree can then spread to other tougher places and have a higher chance of succeeding because that one seed has become hundreds, if not thousands of seeds. If a plant is exposed to harsh weather too abruptly, a strong wind could easily break the stem. But if it is subjected to gradually increasing degrees of the wind and harsh weather, the stem develops resistance to the extent that it can bend under the pressure of the wind and not break. The roots become stronger and stronger so that it’s hard for a strong wind to uproot the tree. In the past, many ship building companies used this wisdom to choose the wood to be used on the ship. The wanted wood that wouldn’t break when the waves of the sea pounded hard on it. So what they did was identify young trees on a windy mountainside — trees that are frequently exposed to strong wind. When the trees were mature, they would cut and use them for shipbuilding. Many times, when people are called to start organizations or ministries (orphan care, for example) and they don’t know where to start (God hasn’t called them to a specific place), I advise them to start working in a place where they are most likely to succeed: where you have the most support, not where the need is greatest. As soon as you take root where you have much support and gain strength, then go to the place where there are greater needs, but little support. When I first felt called to start taking care of orphans in 2005, I started in my own country, Cameroon. There were thousands and thousands of orphans there. There still are many orphans in that country that need help today. But is Cameroon the poorest country in the world? No. Do the orphans there suffer more than others in war-torn countries who are being forced into child labor or killed? No. I was only a student, with few connections. If I tried to start an organization that goes to the hardest places, I would have failed. I started where the need was present, AND the conditions were favorable for the ministry to succeed. Now, our organization has grown and has provided support for orphans in Haiti. We are now training...

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