Meet Nik-more than rock and roll

Everyone has a story…and learning stories about great people is one of my favorite things. Here’s a bit about Nik. He started the band Undying Allegiance 5 years ago, but stepped away for this season to help the poor around the world as a Convoy of Hope intern. His story includes way more than the 1 1/2 minutes you’ll see here, but I wanted you to get a glimpse of this great man who has a great perspective on life.

Here’s the first single from his band’s latest project. It’s ironically called, “The Story of Our Lives.”

What is a time or situation in your life that helped you gain perspective?

Meeting the team: Andy

I get to meet some really, really good people. People like Andy. He and the rest of the Convoy of Hope Intern team members challenge me, encourage me, and help me keep life in perspective.

Here, he shares 2 minutes of his incredible life story. I’ll post about other team members in the future.

What gives you perspective?

Creative compassion part 2: Some ideas

I recently shared on the topic of “Creative Compassion” at a National Youth Worker’s conference in Dallas. During the talk we spoke of many different things such as:

Painting walls can be creative compassion...1. The Biblical reason for showing compassion.
2. Creative ways to show compassion.
3. Resources that either include creative ideas, or that have helped me in my understanding of the subject.
I asked for creative compassion ideas via the Twitter, Facebook, and at the conference. I said I would share them via this site. They follow:

  1. Elle from Jackson, MS, mentioned that in her city, Wired Espresso Cafe (connected with Crossings Church) will often take salad/tea/cookies/coffee/etc. to secretaries who are unable to leave work for lunch. No payment is required.
  2. Jose mentioned that his church, Northside A/G, learned that teachers in their town are required to purchase their own supplies. Their church members worked to gather supplies for every teacher/administrator in the middle school. They gathered enough supplies for over 60 school leaders to have a bag with $50-75 worth of needed supplies. It saved the teachers money, and showed that the church cared. This is a somewhat small congregation that delivered the supplies at a catered meal for these leaders.
  3. Paula’s son was shot, and her family struggled as part of the healing process. Instead of staying home sad, she led some students from her church (All Nations A/G) to help at a homeless shelter…serving food, playing with kids, and listening to stories. They even helped clean up at the end.
  4. Sean’s youth group is soon going to go to the home of elderly individuals with a 6-foot Christmas card. The card includes cut outs where students will show their faces and sing carols…They’ll do it at Christmas time 🙂
  5. Joey from Swifton A/G in AR worked with his group to rent a community center that they turned into a coffee shop. Free food/good music/snapping instead of clapping. Good times. I’m in a coffee shop as I write this, but I know that lots of towns don’t have such a place. Cool.
  6. Santana was part of pen pal club that would interact with people around the world.
  7. Madeline from Evangel Church International took a group of students to Haiti. I could share at length about the idea of going overseas to help show compassion…
  8. Jeremy is a part of The Tabernacle in Orchard, Park, NY. They’re working with churches, community leaders, and government officials to do a mini-extreme makeover in an inner city neighborhood.,
  9. Lauryn from the Lighthouse Tabernacle shared how their church would help single moms with a day for them to come to the church for pedicures, lunch a car wash, school supplies for the kids, and tools and support for them.
  10. One man is considering a car wash where his church pays the people who are getting their car washed.
  11. Kisha…adopt a neighborhood…cleaned yards. Lifepoint Church Prescott Valley
  12. Some youth groups have gotten permission from city leaders, and painted murals in rougher parts of town.
  13. Andrea’s youth group from Whitefish A/G in Montana, would purposefully do random acts of kindness..groceries/car wash/water/etc.
  14. The Dream Center in LA has a ton going on to help people in the community
  15. Shannon and Sara mentioned that Canyon Hills A/G in Bakersfield, CA, helped a person in the community by doing their version of an Extreme Makeover Home addition…cleaned blinds/etc.
  16. Mandy’s church, Bethel Temple A/G in Parma, OH, would supply Christmas gifts for kids in the community. This is much like Angel Tree, a great program through Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship, that supplies gifts for the children of prisoners…and the gifts is from the parent who is in prison, but being delivered by people from a local church.
  17. Sandy from New Horizons in Lowell, MA, mentioned that students from her church went to a local veterans nursing home and sang Christmas carols, providing residents with little packages with things like combs/etc.
  18. Shannon’s from Grand Prairie, TX, where her church would do many things on holidays for the community, such as Halloween Trunk or Treat for neighborhood kids, etc.
  19. Chelsea’s church, Valley Fellowship Yakima, WA, would deliver Thanksgiving meals when they knew families might not have one. Also, youth group in fall/winter they adopt a seniors mobile court–shovel snow, rake leaves.
  20. Chelsea’s group also would help people around the world through supplying funds through Kiva, to provide micro-loans to small businesses.
  21. Chelsea also mentioned “Make it, Take it” where her youth group would make fun gifts to give away. They find out what the family wants and take it to them.
  22. Tonya’s church in Chandler, AZ, would provide backpacks/school supplies/etc. for kids in group homes. They’d also help with birthday parties/etc.
  23. Some referenced churches that supply gift cards for the mom’s at Teen Challenge/etc.
  24. Royal Family Kids Camp is cool! Anytime the right students/adults can help at a Royal Family Kids Camp is a great thing.
  25. Karen’s college group would hand our soda/snacks to community college.
  26. Some churches had some incredible ideas for fundraisers to help those in need:
  27. The best place I’ve seen for ideas regarding fundraising for missions is through the Overflow Experience. On that site, students from around the USA and world share ideas they’ve used to raise money to help those in need. Here are a few ideas…
  28. Waylon Sears at Victory Worship Center led his students to raise funds by selling Hope For Haiti t-shirts. They sold a lot of shirts, and helped a lot of people through Convoy of Hope.
  29. Evan Courtney of The Fields Church in Mattoon, IL, wrote, “I tweeted and blogged about a specific organization each day, I was on a missions trip to Honduras. They gave me a shirt to wear for that day.” Love what Evan’s doing…
  30. Jessica’s church has shared their fine arts talents and raised funds at concerts/etc.
  31. Shawn Askinosie isn’t a youth leader, but he does make chocolate. He came up with a great idea called “Serve Someone” where you pick a family/individual that you’ll help until they don’t need the help anymore. He set up a website, to get ideas rolling, and to set up a system to help.
  32. Dawn and Jackie both mentioned how wonderful it is to have someone babysit the kids…especially special needs kids. When there’s not family around, the chance for parents to go on dates is a very nice thing.
  33. Bryce’s church has made sandwiches and more and taken them to areas where homeless people spend time. They’ll spend time with their new friend over lunch.
  34. Stephanie’s group in Georgia has taken 9 v batteries throughout neighborhoods where elderly people live around the time changes. They’ll give out batteries so people can change them in their fire alarm, and will offer to change them if it would help.
  35. Stephanie’s group will also go to neighborhoods and rake leaves, clean gutters and more.
  36. My sister’s church in Hammond, IN, adopts blocks in the area where they can help people near the church–cleaning up, etc. Other churches, such as Phoenix 1st AG have done this for years. Great idea.
  37. Our church in Republic, MO, has helped local schools with gardens, done free car washes and more.
  38. I walked through Convoy of Hope one day and saw dozens of students from Northpoint Church helping with opportunities in their own community. Great idea. Here’s their intro. video.
  39. Finally, I love being a part of Convoy of Hope and all we and partners around the world are doing to help those in need…can’t forget Convoy…

I’m positive there are many, many other ideas people have used to show compassion creatively. What are some ways you’ve seen?

Thoughts from Haiti, day 1

(With no internet access in Haiti, I’ve returned to share a number of blog posts over the next few days…)

I’ve been a few really sad places in the world, Auschwitz, slave ports along the West African coast, various slums and other deprived areas. I expected I’d have the same dark and depressed feelings here in Haiti. While there’ve been plenty of somber moments, I don’t have those same feelings.


                      In the ride from the airport, I asked our driver about the mood of the country. He said, “People want to be hopeful.” Instead of looking to the past and pain, there seems to be a desire to move to what’s next. While there’s tension and apprehension as to how the process will look, people really want their country to heal. I’ve only seen one symbol (a cross on a hill) to memorialize the precious loss of life, but have seen hundreds of people working towards the next and better normal in Haiti.


Since the January 12 earthquake, Haitians have buried loved ones, many have moved into tent cities, they’ve begun digging through rubble, stores have opened, roads are being cleared, and schools have opened. The church is a key in leading the way. The next normal is coming.

 haiti1 (1)

                              I’m honored to be a part of the Convoy of Hope team. I’ve never been here and have had very little to do with our response in this country so far. However, my colleagues from the Convoy of Hope staff and our Haitian partners on the ground have mobilized well and effectively. Before the quake, over 11,000 school/orphanage children were fed each day through our feeding programs. Since the quake, over 8.6 million meals have been distributed. The school feeding program is back up and running and people are being helped every day.


The interns and I weren’t part of Convoy’s first wave of response, but we’re a part of the next (and the next and the next and the next?). A team of about 15 interns/staff and I will arrive on July 5 to begin helping in areas affected by the quake. I can’t wait. This current trip will help us get the best picture as to what the most effective work for them will be. We’ll respond, work hard, and live out the Kingdom of God in this great place.


I look forward to being even a small part of what I believe Haitians are hoping for…a rebuilding of a country that will someday be stronger and healthier than before the quake. A country where children are educated, where malnutrition is rarely if ever seen, and where hope and faith reign in areas that experienced the worst of the worst.


Today I’ll work with our disaster response team in strategizing what we’ll do. I look forward to sharing more later…