It has been a joy working with my son Vaughn and the Overcomers Mission School (OMS) team. On the upper right is Katana Baya director of the Ukunda Missions School. On the bottom right is Ken Ngoje, director of the Tanga Missions School. On the bottom left is Cynthia Gomez, director of Alma Missions School. On the center right is Eloise Gwinn founder of the Alma Missions School. On the center left is Angel Shiku, faculty member at Ukunda Missions School. On the left in the top left picture is Joe Spence, Director of development for OMS.

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Army of Overcomers

Kenya is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Unfortunately the severity of corruption in the country at all levels brings great devastation.

Ukunda Missions School (UMS) desires to raise up an army of overcomers who take the Gospel of the Kingdom to unreached people groups and also to corrupted areas of society.

Faculty and missionaries of Ukunda Mission School (UMS) spent this week together reviewing the curriculum. Each faculty person presented an overview of their respective course and a sample of their teaching.

Much of the curriculum is now in written form in preparation for an accreditation process in the States which will allow students, who desire, to use the training in getting an associates degree.

I found it invaluable to experience the power of each part of the curriculum and to experience how the different parts of the curriculum fit together. It was also a joy to learn to know the very gifted faculty who come from all over the world and who are highly motivated and grateful to be a part of this missionary training school.

It was gratifying to learn how faculty and others with missionary training experience outside of Kenya perceive the Ukunda Missions School (UMS). They perceive UMS to be one of the best missionary training schools in the world. We are humbly grateful for such assessments for we are training missionaries to go into some of the most dangerous places with a clear message that will change lives and ‘turn the world upside down’ but that could also result in their deaths. And we want to know that our missionaries are well prepared for such a calling.

The biblical Stephen is held up as a model to the students. Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, did all that he did with excellence. As a deacon he stabilized a chaotic situation in the Church. He then moved among the people as a powerful evangelist doing signs and wonders and miracles.

He was so effective at advancing Christ’s kingdom that the devil decided to take him out. Stephen was brought before the Jewish nation on false charges. He confronted the nation and was stoned to death. As he was dying he cried out, “I see the heavens open and Jesus standing. ..”

And Jesus was standing to celebrate the victory of this overcomer. Through the open heaven brought about by the testimony of Stephen, thousands upon thousands came to Christ, including Paul, the apostle.

The devil overplayed his hand in the death of Stephen and suffered much damage to his kingdom. The devil much prefers to corrupt the messenger and the message before he takes out the Christians so that their deaths do not bring about an open heaven and great damage to his kingdom.

We pray that we will be found among those who “overcome by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony and by not esteeming their lives unto death” (Revelation 12:11) and who see open heavens with a great advance of the Kingdom.

Ukunda Missions School’s 5th Graduation

Sixteen students graduated from Ukunda Mission Ukunda, Ukunda, Kenya on Friday, April 20, 2018. This was the fifth graduation class.

The Ukunda Mission School training program is unique in its culture and focus. It is not a typical Bible School. Rather, this eight month training program, though Biblically based, is focused on learning to hear the voice of God and knowing God through hours of daily worship and prayer beginning at 4:30 am each day. Classes, focused on preparing the student for mission outreach to unreached people groups, are held from 9 am till 4 pm each day. Mission outreaches to the community occur in the evenings and weekends and during special outreach weeks. Every student is expected to become a missionary.

Pastor Gerhard Barnard father of Lukas, one of the graduates, gave the graduation address. Pastor Bernard is a leader in a world/ wide missions movement based in South Africa. His own church of approximately 300 has sent out over 80 missionaries.

Pastor Barnard stated that being a part of the Jesus Movement is simple but not easy. We need to hear what Jesus says to do; we need to do what He says; we need to apply it to our lives and we need to share the message with others.

He added that each student needs to know their own story and be able to tell it and they need to know God’s story and be able to tell it.

He said that as we weep about the brokenness in our society, God will speak to us.

Vaughn Martin, Director and Founder of Ukunda Missions School commissioned the graduates to continue to maintain an altar of prayer and worship at the center of their lives. He assured them that God would meet them with the fire of His presence on the altar and this fire would burn away their fears and empower them with His world-changing love.

Worship Week at UMS

This is Worship Week for the students, faculty and missionaries of Ukunda Missions School. Some 40 to 50 people are gathered for prayer and fasting for four days from Monday through Thursday, knowing that they will hear the clear voice of the Holy Spirit.

The cry of their hearts is,
“How I need you, Lord.
How I need to hear your voice.
I do not want to go, if you do not go with me. I need you Lord.”

This is a week of laying everything on the altar, all plans and desires and preferences. It is a week of hearing from God in worship about God’s assignments. It is a week of strong expectation that His voice will change the course of life. Some will be promoted to new assignments. Others will sense God is calling them for more preparation for more difficult assignments later. And for all, there is the commitment to take on God’s assignment whatever the cost.

As I participate in the prayer and fasting, I am drawn into the awesomeness and joy of His presence. And for a moment, I feel as though I am in the large upper room with the 120 saints in Acts 1 & 2, waiting to receive the promise of the Father, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

What joy!

What Holds us Back?

I am sitting here on the shores of the Indian Ocean reflecting on my past week with the students of the Ukunda Mission School. And today, Sunday, is a day we, Vaughn, Joe Spence and I have set aside to pray for America.

As I observe this boat bobbing on the waters, I realize that although it gave the initial impression of movement, it is not going anywhere because it is held down with an anchor.

Many of us have the impression we are moving somewhere and we give that impression to others, but on further observation it becomes clear we’ve not moved very far from the things that have held us down.

Chronic patterns hold us back: patterns like fear of failure, the need to impress people, unrealistic expectations of how we need to control others’ behavior, fear that traumas of the past will be repeated in the future and even a secret offense with God that He has not done things the way we had expected him to do them.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”

My experience of the past week teaches me that those who mourn that they’ve not been able to move further in their lives, will be comforted by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will reveal to them what it is that holds them back and will give them a word that sets them free from the lies they have come to believe.

But for those who do not grieve but who say, “I do not have a problem; I’m content with life as it is; I’m satisfied with the sensation of movement”, the Holy Spirit will not be able to give His comfort.

So I will grieve; I will mourn for the things that hold me back, that hold us back as a Church, that hold us back as a nation, confident that God will bring his comfort.

How great will be his comfort. We will run and not be weary; we will walk and not faint; we will mount up with wings as eagles.

Blessed be the God of all comfort.

Our Five Loaves and Two Fish

I am teaching at Ukunda Mission School this week on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The students are great; very perceptive and receptive.

I’ve been teaching and demonstrating interviewing skills and also how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the course of an interview. It’s been great demonstrating what I can do and then seeing the Holy Spirit show up and take it to a whole other level, a level which brings significant release and transformation into the person’s life.
On further reflection, this is what life is about. We give all we have- our five loaves and two fish. He, Jesus, adds His blessing and suddenly we stand amazed in the presence of a miracle.

Prayer and Discernment

“The one thing I ask of the Lord- the thing I seek most- is to live in the presence of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in His beauty. ”

Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path. I am confident I will see your goodness.” (Psalm 27).

There are many decisions to be made in the development and growing of a missionary training school. Making the wrong choice can be very costly in terms of time, resources and even lives. The right choices may be costly in the same ways yet yield amazing fruit in the advance of the Kingdom.

We are experiencing the absolute necessity of Joshua’s direction to the children of Israel. “Stay close to the Ark of God’s Presence because we have not been this way before.” (Joshua 3:3-4)

So this week we are spending hours in worship, prayer and discernment. Discernment, discernment, discernment.
What is God saying about strategy, about personnel, about curriculum, about resources, about new initiatives?

At the end of our time of discernment we only ask that we may hear Him clearly and that we may have the grace to follow Him faithfully no matter where He leads.

So we wait patiently and confidently for the voice of the Lord.

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Tree Planting Tradition

The birth of a life affirming ritual. The first class at Ukunda Mission School planted a tree upon graduation. Now each class continues the practice.

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Ukunda Missions School’s 4th Graduation

Today I felt I was standing on holy ground as I participated in the 4th graduation of the Ukunda Missions School, Ukunda, Kenya. Twenty students from four different countries knelt before God to proclaim their willingnesss to work in ‘God’s harvest field wherever He would lead them’.

These 20 students came from all different walks of life: a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, pastors, businessmen, house servants; some with prior addictions; some with prison time for their faith and some for their crimes. But all now kneeling on level ground before the Lord of the Harvest.

I had spent the last week teaching and listening to these beautiful students. As a result I felt I had some awareness of the heart cry of each one of these newly trained missionaries to the unreached peoples of the world.

All testified that the 7 months at the Ukunda Mission School (UMS) were more transformative than any educational experience they had ever had.

One student, already possessing a college degree said, “This training took me to a new level.” Another said, “I knew about God, but this training took my understanding from my head to my heart.” Still another said, I will never be the same again; and I never want to go back to the way I was.”

It is sobering to participate in the shaping of others’ lives, knowing that they are being shaped to lay down their lives to take the Gospel into some of the most dangerous places in the world.

Will some of them or will I pay the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom for His name? As I stand on this holy ground with these new graduates, I know that God’s grace is amazing and that He gives grace to live and also the grace to die. Blessed be His name.

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Paraguay (Part 3)


As most of you know, who follow my posts, the Ukunda Missionary Training School in Kenya, founded by my son Vaughn and his team has now entered its fourth year of classes. God’s blessing has been on this school in great measure. Pastors in other countries have now asked Vaughn to consider starting a similar school in their countries. Plans are presently being made by Vaughn and team to start schools in the Congo and in Tanzania within the next two years.

In the midst of this planning we learned of a facility in Paraguay which was developed to house a missionary training school. However the brother, who constructed the buildings, died before he was able to fully implement his training program. We at first, upon learning of the potential availability of this facility, had no interest in pursuing this situation in light of our other commitments .

However in prayer, God revealed to Vaughn and his team that He wanted them to start a missionary training program, considering the possibly of using this site, and utilizing the model they had developed in Kenya. He further instructed them to work with churches in Paraguay in developing a missions movement that would work with the missionaries trained in this program. The vision is to train missionaries from all over the region, Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia in cross cultural missions and to send them out into the region and then into the uttermost parts of the world.

One might ask, “Does it make sense for you to start a missionary training school in Paraguay at this time?” When God speaks, you do not say, “Well, if makes sense and I can find a way, I will do it.” Rather you say, “God, if you say so, I will do it with my whole heart confident that you are ‘pro’ the vision and will ‘pro’vide what is needed to fulfill the vision.” In other words, by faith I must allow the word received in prayer to shape the reality of what I do, rather than allowing my sense of reality to define, limit, and shape what God said to me in prayer.

So with the prayerful confidence that God would go before us and prepare people who would respond to the vision, Don and I set off for this week in Paraguay. We were simply seeking to connect with people who would be open to hearing about the vision and who would consider sending students to the school. I knew no one in Paraguay except Eloise Gwinn the widow of Richard Gwinn the founder of the training school in Escobar, Paraguay. We had been given the names of several church leaders whom we were to meet in the Filadelfia area of the Chaco. Apart from that we were totally dependent on God-ordained encounters.

And God has ordained “heart connections’. Within minutes we have seen total strangers become friends who are open to the vision. Sometimes our approach would be as simple as saying to a stranger at a store or at our motel, “Do you speak English?” In the ensuing conversation, following an affirmative response, we would discover that they shared our Christian faith. In several cases they would then invite us to their homes for extended conversations. Finally after hours of sharing, sometimes with tears, we would exchange contact information promising to stay in touch.

Today we had a two hour conversation with a pastor in Asuncion who a number of years ago started a ministry to provide sex education lectures for public schools throughout Paraguay and other countries. They and their team have spoken from a Christian perspective to hundreds of thousands of students. This pastor and his wife are open to us sending teams to share the vision with them and other Christin leaders. They also had suggestions of persons whom they thought would be ready and even eager for training such as we are offering.

As Don and I now prepare to fly out of Asuncion at 2 am Wednesday to arrive at Dulles at 2:30 pm, our hearts are filled with joy and thankfulness to God for the God-ordained connections throughout the trip. We consider each connection a gift to be treasured. This trip further convinces us that God is in this work and will unfold each step before us as we take steps of faith to obey Him.

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