September 8, 2009


con.sol.i.da.tion; strengthening: consolidation of principles and beliefs. the union of two or more claims or actions.

Sorry to get so technical but we are trying to "consolidate" our cyber lives. We are trying to make all AR blogs, ministry blog, personal blog and staff blogs fall under one site. And so this URL will no longer be our AR update/newsletetter/blog site. Instead you can visit us at and read up on our past and current affairs. Check out our personal blogs aswell as our staff's blog. Hope you like the changes. See you on the "consolidated" side.

March 5, 2009

A Bed for Nicodemus

by allan

"We can do no great things, just small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

The picture above was taken a few months ago when we first met Nicodemus. He is a 38 yr old man who has been severally handicapped his whole life. When he was born the doctors told his parents to give him up for institutional care. His parents told us they’ve always known that he is their special gift from God, and that they always want him with them. For 38 years this (now elderly) couple has bathed, fed and cared for their son with the very limited resources they have. Nicodemus can’t communicate verbally, but understands much of what is going on around him. He cannot move, not even in a wheel chair. He spends his days lying flat on his back on an old mattress in the garage, set on top of a homemade wooden bed frame, listening to the radio or the neighborhood kids playing around him. To look around the room he strains his neck around. As soon as we met him I knew that he needed a real bed, a mobile hospital bed with wheels. The kind that makes that cool air-brake sound when it lets you sit up or lay down.

A few days after we met Nicodemus I was trying to help lay tiles in the new computer lab (check it out here) and I pulled something in my back. I couldn’t move at all, but only lay on my back in pain. During those uncomfortable hours of seeing the doctor, x-rays and a shot in the butt, I really contemplated what life must be like for Nicodemus.

Life got busy… yet every “to do list” I wrote began with “find a bed.” I can’t afford a hospital bed, yet God was instructing and I needed to pay attention. Speaking with the Doc who helped with my back pains, he put us in touch with a guy he knew in charge of maintenance at a hospital in Pretoria. He had us come down to the hospital. In a few minutes we had the perfect hospital bed and mattress loaded up on our truck. It was pretty surreal how God seemed to have orchestrated all this. Words cannot tell what followed. The pictures in the slide show above show the delivery and celebration that ensued. The joy on Nicodemus’ face was beautiful as he sat propped up in his new bed. His father led with a powerful prayer of deep gratitude to answered prayer.

Stopping and paying attention to God's voice made a world of difference to our friend Nicodemus. God could have used someone else to answer those prayers, or because of my disobedience, not at all. We have the incredible opportunity to impact people’s lives in major ways. It speaks loudly of the Father's love. Our grassroots projects list is our way of facilitating that experience for you. So do something, give a scholarship, buy a drum set or give a warm meal. You may not be here in Africa to see the smiles, but you can still share in the joy of joining God in his work. CLICK HERE to see our Projects

Last Words

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matt 10:42

February 12, 2009

Living on the Devil's Doorstep

by allan

“Some want to live within the sound of church and chapel bell-
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” – C.T. Studd

I just finished reading “Living on the Devil’s Doorstep” and was greatly challenged by Floyd McClung’s story. He vividly retells what a life of obedience looked like for him and his family as they lived in, initiated and led a unique work in Kabul, Afghanistan and then the Red Light District in Amsterdam. They poured themselves out to make Jesus and His Love known to drug addicts and dropouts seeking truth along the Trail. They loved on pimps and prostitutes; broken individuals deeply loved by the Father. They trained hundreds of young people for a life of missions throughout the world. Their compassion and faithfulness to the hard places is an indictment on my own life. I wish for that kind of compassion, that steadfastness, that deep vision to actually live out the heart of the Gospel despite myself, despite what’s going on around me and to do it joyfully.

Last week our AR team got to meet Floyd McClung down in Cape Town where he now lives and serves, training African pastors with his wife Sally. Our team sat with him talking about God’s work in his life, what he is currently doing and a little about his friendship with Keith Green. He is a gentle giant and his deep love for Jesus and people bubbles through all the strategy talk of ministry and story telling.
He personally challenged our team with a kind fatherly tone on disciple making, doing life with non-believers and horizontal Biblical leadership. We all left feeling refreshed and envisioned.

I don’t mean to “celebratize” Floyd and Sally, and I know they wouldn’t want me to (see quote below) but why are there so few people like them? I confess I feel frustrated as I think how many have run like Jonah, settling for a comfy self-life with a little bit of God on the side. Why do so many Christians drop the ball with obedience, passion, and character the longer they walk with Christ? Where are God’s people who are willing to put it all on the line because they have counted the cost and have found the pearl of great price? In a fractured world in need of God’s love we think loving our neighbor is just a suggestion and we consider the great commission to be a good idea on paper… for other folks. We are not broken bread or poured out wine like we are called to be. We cannot say with Paul, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” Acts 20:24
We need more Floyds and Sallys; people ready to fumble around after Jesus at any cost. We need people determined to go to the hard places because they want God to be known to the ends of the earth.

Last Words
“There are no verses in the Bible that say, “Well done good and FAMOUS servant!” We are simply ordinary children of an extraordinary God who are learning, trusting, growing and serving together.” - Floyd McClung, Living on the Devil’s Doorstep

Below are a few pics of our trip down to Cape Town along the Garden Route. Enjoy!

January 8, 2009

You can't steer a parked car

by allan

Swaziland was incredible! The abandoned 10,000 person mine town of Bulembu is a picture of God’s redemption like few places I know. Let me attempt to explain, which might be hard as it took us days to digest what this place is. In a nut shell; Bulembu is an old mine town in the mountains of Swaziland. It was abandoned years ago and went up for auction. It was purchased by some Christian business men with the vision of revitalizing it with innovative businesses for the purpose of raising up the next generation of orphans whom will be the future leaders of Swaziland (see a previous post about this). Now that sounds like a noble goal on paper, but it’s quite another to actually see it happening and meet the folks whom are quietly and obediently making it happen.

Lee-Ann McFarlane, an old South African Moody friend of mine lives in Bulembu and runs the community center there. She invited us to come and see, with the idea of possibly sending a team of interns there next year to help out. They need people power! They are under funded, under staffed and sacrificially serving daily. Lee-Ann and Fred, her adopted son, were fantastic hosts. Their obedience and relentless commitment to “just doing it” were challenging. And this is what “the big take home” for me was. This town that died and now is coming back to life is succeeding not because God magically called the A-Team to come and perform a miracle. No, this is all happening because some of God’s people decided to get their hands dirty and are faithfully fumbling around. Too often we want a shaft of light or the writing on the wall or some bizarre act of God to “call” us to the mission field or to the right task. Well, as a missionary I can tell you, there are seldom such things. I’m inclined to believe that God has told us what to do in His Word and that should be enough. The truth is, if you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat. Get going and get your hands dirty. Yes it’s messy; yes it’s a great struggle and yes at times it’s stressful but for goodness sake, DO SOMETHING!

Last Words
"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. - Jesus
"We have to understand that the world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation." - Jacob Bronowski

P.S. for an amazing audio visual piece on Abandoned Babies for Christ (one of the ministries in Bulembu, Swaziland) one of our team members put this piece together.
Click on the image below to get to Nathan and Rebecca Clendenin’s Blog.