The bus bumped up and down over the roads from New York home to Philadelphia. The journey was long, but well worth it. She would get her visa and be able to travel with us to Guatemala. My mind was racing of all that still needs to be done in preparation for the trip when I felt a tap on my arm. I meet her mothers eye as she leans over and in very broken English stutters, “we need you teach us Jesus. So much. So important. Please teach us Jesus. We need it.” It was all I could do to hold back the flutter in my heart and the tears that sprung to my eyes. I smiled, nodded, and respond, “absolutely. Come over for dinner and we will talk about Jesus.”

That is what it is all about. The desperation in people is why we have chosen a life of serving the Almighty for the sake of the one. Lately, I have been asked more and more what exactly Vanessa’s Village is, what we do, and where donations go to help. I tried for a while to write this post, to explain in a meaningful way our heart, to share the passion and call He has placed on our lives, but I couldn’t quite explain it until Yan leaned over on that bus and asked me with such a desperation in her voice to teach them Jesus.

Our call and now mission statement is as follows. “It takes a village to raise a child, and we are a village that is raising up children of God to KNOW their Papa, KNOW their identity, and KNOW their call.” We seek to serve the Lord, imitate Jesus in all we do, and pursue the one. We strive to worship our Papa, follow His call, and teach the love of Jesus to all we come in contact with. He gave His life to love the one, and so will we.

Vanessa is the inspiration behind The Village. She is our adoptive daughter who came to us with many difficulties. It was so easy to think about other options for her, but the Lord has called us to pursue her above all else; to show her the love of Jesus, teach and disciple her, and ignite her to speak of His goodness. Through taking her in, we have realized a deeper level of how important the one is. Since I keep saying this, I had best explain what I mean by the one. We feel that God meets each and every person exactly where they are at; He pursues them and will never give up on them, and He calls us as believers to do the same. His heart is for the individual. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you! It’s mind blowing, and we are called to reveal that fact to all who have ears to hear. We are a village of people who seek to give ourselves to others through Bible studies, writing and teaching, discipleship, leading mission trips, running a prayer house, organizing worship nights, praying for people we encounter while out and about, and living our lives in a way that reflects God’s love. The more people I encounter and speak with the more I am convinced that the world is desperately hungry to know Love, desperately hungry to be taught about Jesus, and desperately needs healing and encounter with the God of the universe who is in an epic pursuit of their hearts. This is what The Village is designed for. We are designed as a place and people that bring others into a knowledge of the pursuit of God over their lives.

That is where your donations go. They go towards writing and speaking engagements, this blog/ website, and Lord willing, a future book or two. They go to help all the youth that come to Bible studies and paintball nights.  They go to our Kingdom Builders events: a time for community to see Jesus in action outside the walls of a church. Your donations go to impact the prayer room and international mission trips. (Current trips run each January to Guatemala with a team of local youth). Donations go to help the one, the individuals that walk through our doors, no matter what that looks like. Sometimes it’s buying a family groceries who cannot afford them; sometimes it is allowing us to spend a few hours a week one on one with individuals we disciple. We are so thankful for the ability to work and for our jobs, especially the fact that we both work for Christian bosses. We are so grateful for all of you who give to partner with us in reaching the lives of those in this community.

We are also looking for people who would like to partner with The Village. We need people willing to disciple, worship leaders for the prayer house, people who want to help mentor Vanessa and others like her, and people willing to use their gifts for the Kingdom. We are also looking for local Churches and youth groups to speak at and share the Love of God through our story. We thank you for all you do. We couldn’t do what we do without you, honestly. Sometimes it’s the simple sitting down with us and hearing our story, listening to us, praying for us, and keeping in contact that makes a world of a difference. It takes a village to raise a child, and we are a village that is raising up children of God to KNOW their Papa, KNOW their identity, and KNOW their call.

Thank you for being a part of the Village.