Now, more than ever…RIP King John

One of the early questions I asked God, in this process of relaunching Faces With Names was, “Do you really need me to care for orphans and widows in Uganda?” The very quick response I felt in my spirit was, No. I just need you to be obedient.

I am finding this journey I am on with God, and my role with FWNI, is truly about obedience, trust, surrender, faith, and the list goes on. 

As I have shared with you, in one of the lowest seasons of my life, God sent a king to remind me that the King of kings had not forgotten about me. 

I think the reason we had such an immediate connection was, our hearts shared the same burden for the care of orphans and widows. 

This unique relationship has lead us to laying the foundation to serve over 1500 orphans and 1200 widows in Uganda, and countless number of orphans and widows even beyond Uganda.

Now, more than ever, we are committed to carrying on the legacy King John showed throughout his life as a pastor, a bishop, and as a king.

Early Sunday morning, I received a very unwanted message from Queen Sarah, that King John, had passed away from complications from Covid-19.

Farewell, King John Chrysostom Wayabire

Although my heart is heavy, and I mourn the loss of someone who has become a good friend,I rejoice in the fact, he is with Jesus. And without question, heard the words, well done, my good and faithful servant.

Our Mission & Vision at Faces With Names International remains the same:

Our Mission: To help orphans and widows move beyond a life of survival, and thrive, to fulfill their God given purpose.

Our Vision: To allow you, the opportunity to care for orphans and widows in their distress.

Now, more than ever, it is vital we take up the banner King John has carried, to serve the orphans and widows under his care, in Uganda.

None of this comes as a surprise to God. I am thankful we are positioned to carry on this important calling we find in James 1:27, and invite you to join us.

I believe God has put in place for us to also care for King John’s wife and children, who now find themselves as orphans without a father, and a widow without a husband.

Now, more than ever, we need your help! We cannot fulfill this calling without people like you, who believe in what we are doing, and are willing to partner with us financially.

We continue our “Know My Name,” monthly donor campaign in honor and memory of King John. Will you join us, in helping to continue his legacy?

Click Here to Partner With Us

​Cheering You On In Christ,

Eric Mills

President

Faces With Names International

Know My Name…

A motorcycle ride, just before midnight, in Kathmandu, Nepal, changed the course of my life. 

As I climbed on the back of the motorcycle with one of our ministry partners, I wanted to see with my own eyes, the orphans on the streets of Kathmandu. My life would never be the same when I looked into their eyes and learned their names. 

We did not even make it a quarter of a mile before we encountered our first group of children. Each boy was sitting inside of a small box and the rest of the cardboard was being used to fuel the fire. 

One young boy answered the questions being asked of him. His name was Robin, and he was 12 years old. He told us he had been on the streets on his own, since the age of 2. I was still trying to process the fact that this 12 year old boy was out on the streets close to midnight, when I heard he had been on his own since the age of 2. 

Center, on the curb – Robin (12 years old)

This experience brought to life a quote I had heard from David Platte, which says:

“We learned orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” 

On this night, everything did change for me. I was confronted with the faces, the names, & the stories of orphans on the streets, and I was not alright with it all.

And this is how, Faces With Names, came into existence. 

My heart and desire has always been to make the orphan real to people, to you. Not just a statistic, not just someone else’s problem or responsibility. 

Last week, I tried to be as open, honest and vulnerable as I could with you as I shared about this renewed calling I heard from God while driving a forklift at Walmart.

As I write this email, I come with the same vulnerability and humility, asking you to join us on our journey in laying the foundation of serving orphans and widows in Uganda and beyond.

Our monthly partners will be the life blood of all we will be able to accomplish, with God’s help, through Faces With Names International.

We have put together a simple chart for you to consider where you might join us:

May I share a moment of brutal honesty? I hope you answered yes, because here it goes. There is an element of my pride and ego that hates having to rely on others to do what God has called me to do. 

But as God has chiseled away my pride and ego in preparation for what we are doing, I believe wholeheartedly, I have the privilege to invite you to join us in raising up a new generation of leaders, who once held the stigma of being called orphans and widows, to now fulfilling their God given purpose.

Our vision statement comes straight from the verse, James 1:27, which is the Biblical mandate to care for orphans and widows. 

Our vision: To give you the opportunity to care for orphans and widows in their distress.

I truly believe that everyone who partners with us in prayer and giving is truly living out the Biblical mandate to care for orphans and widows in their distress.

Will you be 1 of the 176 monthly partners who allow us to fulfill our mission and vision through Faces With Names International?

Our goal this first week is to see 25 new monthly donors, at any level, join our team and partner with us. 

 If you have considered partnering with us, or been on the fence, would you jump into the deep end with us as we rely on God to provide all we need.

I don’t take for granted what it means for you to give of your resources. I give my full fledge promise, we will be good stewards of every dollar entrusted to us!

To join our monthly partner team, click the link below:
 I want to become a monthly partner with FWNI

Cheering You On In Christ,

Eric Mills

President

Faces With Names International

What I learned working at Walmart…

My ego was shot, and my confidence crushed. I distinctly remember the words I told my wife and kids after being hired at Walmart. 

“Do not tell anyone I am working at Walmart!” 

After experiencing one of the most difficult years of my life in 2019, 2020 seemed like it was off to a great start. I had been contacted by an organization who works with orphans in Uganda, to consider a position as their Child Sponsorship Director. 

My natural thought was, I had just recently met a king from Uganda and had the privilege of having him stay with our family, and this is how God must be leading me to work in Uganda.

When I wasn’t selected for the position, it felt like what was a good start to 2020, was now an unwanted continuation of 2019. 

A couple months later, the Executive Director of the Uganda ministry I had interviewed with, gave my name to another organization looking for an Executive Director for their work with orphans in another African country.

And then came Covid! 

My meeting with this organization took place just a couple weeks before the lockdown started for Covid. I was at the end stages of the house renovation I was on and out of money to pay myself.

And thats when I saw Walmart was hiring on the spot at our nearby distribution center. Do you remember the empty shelves at Walmart?

Halfway through the second day on my new job, just after lunch, I was standing with my coworkers to clock back in, when one of the ladies asked, is it true that you’re a pastor?To this day, I still dont know how they became aware I was a pastor.

But it became very evident to me, very quickly why God had me in my new role, driving a forklift.

As I was still struggling with my ego, I came across a video about a guy who was dying from Covid in a hospital in Ireland. As this guy shares his story about the “Cleaner” coming into his room, what we would call a “Janitor,” I was crushed and in tears. 

The “Cleaner” was the only other person besides the doctors and nurses allowed into the Covid rooms. This “Cleaner” had returned to Ireland from serving as a missionary in Nigeria for fourteen years. As the “Cleaner” asked and was given permission to pray for this guy, he started getting better that night. 

I couldnt help but think and put myself in the “Cleaner’s” shoes and wonder if he was asking the same thing I was asking God. For all these years God, I have faithfully served You, and now the only job I can get is as a “Cleaner,” or working at Walmart? 

Here is the link to the actual video I watched, if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=Pp98cK4YIoM

After I was done feeling sorry for myself and set my ego aside, I realized God had me right where He wanted me and around the people He wanted me to know. And so I went from, don’t tell anyone I work at Walmart, to God has given me this amazing opportunity to work at Walmart.

The first lesson I learned was: God never wastes an opportunity to put me right where I need to be and use me as He wants, when my perspective is right. 

Once I had asked God to forgive me for my pride and ego and simply surrendered and stated, God use me however you want to use me, wherever you want to use me, everything changed.

A couple months later, as I was driving the forklift on one of our many fourteen hour days, I felt the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart about partnering with a king to serve over 1500 orphans and 1200 widows in Uganda.

As crazy as the idea felt to me, I was wondering how I was going to convince my wife, this is what I was hearing from God. 

As I prayed and grappled with this idea myself, the question I asked God was, “Do you really need me to care for orphans and widows in Uganda?” The very quick response I felt in my spirit was, No. I just need you to be obedient. 

And so it took me driving a forklift at a job I was originally, completely embarrassed to have, to speak to me about caring for orphans and widows in Uganda and beyond.

The second lesson I learned was: Sometimes God has to allow me to reach my lowest point, before speaking to me about my greatest possibilities. 

The third lesson I learned was:I have a whole new perspective and appreciation for the hardworking people and supply chain processes which allow all of us to go by food whenever we want. It really is amazing!

This was a long but important story for me to chronicle on our journey of relaunching Faces With Names, now Faces With Names International.

As we continue to lay the foundation of serving over 1500 orphans and 1200 widows in Uganda, I want to personally invite you on this journey of obedience with us. 

I humbly ask you to join us as we strive to fulfill our mission & vision: 

To help orphans and widows move beyond a life of survival, and thrive, to fulfill their God given purpose.

To allow you, the opportunity to care for orphans and widows in their distress.

Next week, we will begin a monthly donor campaign which will allow you to join us in making our mission and vision a reality. There is no monthly donation that is too small or too large. We will be providing more information on how you can get involved.

If you are ready to join with us now as a monthly partner, click the button below.

Click here to become a monthly partner with Faces With Names Intl.

Thank you in advance for joining us on our journey and making a difference in the lives of orphans and widows!

Cheering You On In Christ,

Eric Mills

President

Faces With Names International


The top 5 things I learned from my 98 year old grandma…

One week ago today, I had the privilige to lead the celebration of life service for my grandma. It was definitley a bittersweet experience. As we celebrated the birth of Jesus yesterday, I couldnt help but reflect on my grandma’s amazing life. 

As I wrote down some thoughts I will be implmenting into my own life, I thought I would honor my grandma and share the wisdom 98 years of life brings. 

Counting down the top 5 things I learned from my 98 year old grandma:

5. Good hair is important 

Most people don’t have pictures of the person who cuts their hair in their memorial video, but my grandma did. My grandma always looked so classy and most people couldn’t believe she was 98. There is something about self care that keeps you young, and no hair out of place that keeps you looking good. 

4. Don’t be left out, when there is fun happening 

It was common to hear my grandma say, “If you are doing anything fun, come and get me, or don’t leave me out of the fun.” What I learned from her was, fun is presence. It wasn’t that she could always do everything we were doing, although that was very rare, but she enjoyed being around her family and friends who were living life to the fullest. And the reality is, her presence made things more fun. 

3. Die young, as late as possible 

My grandma and her good friend Lowell were still dancing 2 or 3 times a week before Covid. Along with dancing, they were still going to the races on Friday nights and Wii Bowling was a regular part of their schedule. The only thing that sounded old to me was them playing cribbage, ha ha. Being young for my grandma was a state of mind, and I think she is the youngest 98 year old I have ever known. 

Not many grandsons can say, I was at the races with my 98 year old Grandma

2. Choose Joy: Tomorrow will be better than today

​Despite the amazing life my grandma lived, it was not without pain and sorrow. She buried a son who was 25, a granddaughter who was 18, the wife of her grandson in her 20’s, her daughter and son in law amongst many other siblings and family members. Despite all the loss and troubled times, she always chose joy. As my Aunt Raine shared with me, regardless of how bad any given day was, my grandma would always say, tomorrow is going to be better. If anyone could have thrown in the towel, my grandma certainly had enough to warrant it, but instead, she chose joy. ​

1. No one ever cared for me like Jesus

​​I always knew my grandma had faith in Jesus, but I didn’t know the depth of her faith until I read over her instructions and choices of songs and scriptures for her memorial service, which she had already planned. There was a clear common denominator in what kept her young, choosing joy and loving people the way she did, it was Jesus. In all the good and bad, it was clear her faith and the assurance that no one cared for her like Jesus, was the driving force. And she made it clear, she wanted everyone to know the love, grace and forgiveness found in Jesus.

This past month has gone nothing like I imagined. Having to postpone my trip to Uganda, Covid going through our family, the loss of my grandma and a beloved great uncle on the same day, and then the loss of another one of my aunt’s was certainly not what I expected or wanted. 

So I am immediatley getting to implement what I have learned from my grandma, choosing joy in the midst of loss and setback. With the attitude of joy we look forward to what God has called us to do. In loving memory of my Grandma, Kathleen Boland.

Donate to our Year End Giving

Cheering You On In Christ,

Eric Mills

President 

Faces With Names International

I Hate #GivingTuesday…

Come on. You know you have thought it. Or did I just not wait long enough for your inbox and social media to fill up with requests? 

I know our mothers told us not to use the word hate, but have you seen all these requests?

So how did a day set aside for giving to so many worthwhile charities become so annoying and overwhelming? 

Well, too look on the positive side, there are so many amazing organizations doing so much good in the world, and we all need the help of others to do what we are called to accomplish.

On this #GivingTuesday, I was scheduled to be in Uganda, hoping to be sending you pictures and videos about our new partnership there. As you know, because of the political unrest in Uganda, we had to make the difficult decision to postpone the trip. 

Since making this decision less than a week ago, my mom has tested positive for Covid, my grandma and a beloved great uncle passed away on the same day, and we are having issues with our giving page on our websIte during the most important giving time of the year. Not at all what I had hoped or expected. 

But just like this entire journey of relaunching Faces With Names, my trust and hope are on the goodness and faithfulness of God. I heard a quote last night that was encouraging to me. It said, “God can make it rain where there are no clouds.” 

In this process leading up to today, this age old question came to my mind: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound. So I ask, if an orphan cries in Uganda, and no one is there to hear them, can you still hear their cry? 

So this #GivingTuesday, no pictures, no videos, just our imagination of the sound of their cry for help. 

So if you are annoyed by #GivingTuesday, or even borderline hate it, we invite you to give on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday instead. And if you are a rebel, we dare you to give today, on #GivingTuesday.

Will you join with Faces With Names International to care for these precious orphans in Uganda? Here is our temporary link to give: 

https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=B8RHECDT25VFY

Cheering You On In Christ,

Eric Mills

We’re getting the band back together…Faces With Names is Back!

Image

I have never actually been been in a band, but I have always wanted to say that line. And this seems like the most appropriate time as we are officially relaunching, Faces With Names. To say the last year and a half has been one of the craziest and most humbling times of my life, would be an understatement. I will share more details about my journey in the future. It all changed with an unexpected call from a king as I was out mowing my yard. Here is what I wrote about after the king came to visit our family:

During this past year, I have asked on more than one occasion, God have you forgotten about me. There have been times during this year where doors were opening in very specific ways, and then in a moment, they were slammed shut. At the beginning of last week, I received an unexpected phone call that lead to a week I will never forget. A king from Uganda, who I met earlier this year, called me and asked if he could come and visit. First lesson, when the King calls, don’t turn him away. As my family and I had the opportunity to receive the king, I was privileged to spend a week with one of the most amazing men I have ever met. He first and foremost has a pastor’s heart and serves as the Bishop of over 300 churches in Uganda and surrounding countries. But he is also a king and rules over 105 clans and 4 million people in his kingdom. His testimony could come straight out of the Bible of how God called, saved, healed, ordained and appointed a young orphan boy to become a pastor and king. In his care are 1586 orphans and 1200 widows in his kingdom. But he also shares the Gospel with kings, prime ministers and presidents. With all these enormous responsibilities, I don’t think I have ever met a more humble man. He was gracious enough to go and talk to my wife’s 1st grade class, at my son’s school, eat with our family and also with some dear friends who were visiting, hold my 1 year old nephew, amongst many other meetings. Nobody was unimportant to him. I share all of this with you not to take notice of me for spending time with a king, but to give all glory, honor and praise to God. God sent a king to a lonely, uncertain servant to remind him that the King of Kings has not forgotten about him. Second lesson and encouragement. If you are going through a season where you are asking like I have, “God have you forgotten about me?” Don’t give up! God has not forgotten you. My song of ascent, I will praise you on the mountain and in the valleys all the same.

Over six months had passed since the king’s visit, and very unexpectedly the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart about working with the king. As I first shared this news with my wife Susan, she was open and supportive of moving forward to see what would happen. I then began to reach out to a list of people, God very specifically told me to talk with and the same support and encouragement continued. I then came across a ministry who was already supporting and working with the king, caring for the orphans and widows. My first thought was, well, somebody is already doing what I felt we were supposed to pursue, so that probably is the end of this story.

Nevertheless, I reached out to Chris Macklin with Revival Africa, who first met King John in 2006 and started Revival Africa in 2008 to help support the orphans and widows in King John’s care. When I shared the story with Chris of how God had been stirring my heart to possibly work with King John, it lead to a conversation that lasted 2 1/2 hours. You have to know, this is the first time Chris and I had ever met or spoken to each other. Two weeks later, our wives joined us to continue the conversation and get to hear each others stories. That video call lasted 4 hours. I don’t say this about many people I meet, but Chris very clearly was a kindred spirit and a great encouragement to me on so many levels. What you need to know about Chris is, he is a Residential Architect. After meeting King John in 2006, before he was a king, Chris and his wife Janice felt lead to start Revival Africa. Out of obedience, they have personally supported and given to the orphans and widows under King John’s care since 2006.

As our conversations continued, Chris and Janice were supportive of Faces With Names moving forward to help in the work of caring for these precious kids and widows. As we discussed the path forward, I began to work once again on obtaining our 501c3 for FWN. One of the hurdles we faced over a year and half ago and what in some ways lead to us having to stop our work with Faces With Names was an issue we had with the IRS, mistakenly classifying us as a 501c4. A 501c4 is designated as a political action group, and one in which donors do not receive a tax deduction. As I sought council on what to do with this situation, most told us to start over from the beginning to get our 501c3, because getting someone on the phone from the IRS is just next to impossible, and getting them to admit their mistake seemed definitely impossible. With the season of Covid, many were informing me it could be 12 – 18 months to get our 501c3.

All of these obstacles seemed a bit overwhelming, until Chris offered to allow Faces With Names to take over the 501c3 of Revival Africa, merging the heart of our ministries under the newly established name of, Faces With Names International. And as of Monday, September 14th, and in under three months, our attorney officially sent off the packet to the IRS to formalize this transition and allow us to continue to care for orphans and widows in Uganda and beyond. It all started from the obedience of Chris & Janice, and has been maintained by their faithfulness and generosity through Revival Africa, to now allow us to continue through Faces With Names International.

I look forward to sharing more details with you about how God has worked in my life and through amazing God ordained and directed relationships and circumstances to move forward. I also look forward to sharing opportunities of how you can partner with us and live out the call to care for orphans and widows in their distress.

If you would like to partner with us to build the foundation to serve over 1500 orphans and 1200 widows in Uganda, click the link below to give, or Text: Give, to 918-228-5200.

https://faceswithnames.reachapp.co

Cheering You On In Christ,
Eric Mills

What I’ve Learned from Our Dog Max

I have grown to have a fond appreciation, some might even equate it to Love, for our dog, Max.

Anyone who knows me well, knows how monumental this admission is for me to make. It’s not that I don’t like dogs, they’re just a pain sometimes.

Max as a Puppy

When we were on our adoption journey with Hope, our son Reagan and daughter Katelyn were begging for a dog. I was able to use the excuse that we don’t know if Hope likes dogs, so we need to wait until she comes home to live with us. It was a given when both kids prayed each night before bed, to hear, “Please God, help Hope like dogs.”

The first thing Reagan and Katelyn asked Hope when we arrived back at the airport from China was, “Hope, do you like dogs?” Of course she didn’t understand a word they were saying, but their faithful prayers would ultimately be answered.

Max Knows and Loves His Family

Our family travels a fair amount in our work with Faces With Names. Max starts to get noticeably nervous when he sees the suitcases coming out and being packed. He has stayed with a couple different dog sitters during our travels.

The first one Max stayed at was close to our house; he broke out and made his way back home, and was found sitting at our front door after a couple hours search.

The next dog sitter has worked out great. But after the first visit, Max came home with a few war wounds. He is a little snippy around other dogs. I think there was a Great Dane that ultimately was annoyed by our little ankle biter.

If Our Dog Feels this Level of Trauma, How Much More Do Kids?

I don’t pretend to know how dogs feel or think, but it is visibly noticeable how Max’s demeanor changes when he senses he is not going to be with his family.

What I’ve learned from our dog, Max, is the trauma orphan and vulnerable children must experience when they are separated or removed from their families must be unbearable.

Faces With Names exists so Orphans and Vulnerable Children Will Know the Love of a Family

All is well with Max when he knows he is loved, cared for and with his family. Will you help us make this a reality for orphans and vulnerable children, who right now, at this very moment are feeling the trauma of not knowing there is a family to love and care for them?

Your year-end gift helps us help orphans and vulnerable children know the love of a family. Your online giving must be completed by Midnight on December 31st to get a 2017 tax deductible receipt.

Click Here to Make a Year End Donation Now

Attention: No medical bills will be paid for heart attacks from me admitting I love our dog.

Wishing You a Happy & Blessed 2018,

Eric Mills

www.faceswithnames.org

Meet our New Board

I could not be more excited about our new Board of Directors, who will be leading Faces With Names into our new season of ministry.

About six months ago, I began working with a consultant to bring more clarity to the mission, vision and message of Faces With Names. In some of our early conversations, the topic of Faces With Names becoming it’s own 501c3, Non-Profit Organization was discussed.

We began to pray and discuss if this was the right next step for Faces With Names. During this same time period, at various times and occasions, I believe God put the names of people on my mind as possible board members. Each time, I wrote these individuals names in the note section of my phone, under prospective board members.

Faces With Names is blessed to have such talented and gifted leaders as members of our new Board of Directors.

Once we made the decision to pursue our own 501c3, I began to reach out to the people on my list. In many ways, I could see how God was putting the puzzle pieces together with each new board members gifts and talents. My prayer has been for the exact right people to say yes to becoming a board member for this season.

We have reached a defining moment for, Faces With Names.

I believe we have assembled a leadership team that can help take our ministry efforts to a new level. We not only have the experience and expertise of great business and ministry leaders, we have people who are passionate and have personal experience with Foster Care, Adoption and Global Orphan Care.

Will You Help Us, So Orphans and Vulnerable Children will Know the Love of a Family?

The reality for every organization trying to make a difference in this world is, the reliance on generous people to make their mission and vision possible.

As we have just experienced Christmas Day, where families go to great lengths to spend time together, will you help Faces With Names with our mission and vision, so more orphans and vulnerable children will get to experience the love of a family next Christmas?

Click Here Now to Make a Year End Donation

It is now my distinct honor and privilege to introduce you to our new Faces With Names, Board of Directors

Cheering You On In Christ,

Eric Mills

 

Meet Our New Board Of Directors

Rena Gainey – Manager: Leadership Development, Global Talent Development, Leadership Development Solutions for John Deere

Rena currently trains the top 100 leaders, including the CEO and his Executive Team at John Deere. She is a certified John Maxwell Coach and Trainer. Rena has traveled to over 30 countries through her job and on mission trips. Her heart has been captured by the country of Burma, where she and her husband adopted an orphanage just outside of Yangon and now are the proud US parents of 41 wonderful kids in Burma. She has made a life-long commitment to these children by pouring into them financially, emotionally and spiritually.

Kathy Hoeck – Owner – KLH Grant Services, LLC

Kathy’s KLH Grant Services team, offers strategies for developing and implementing a successful grants program. Her team is passionate about working with nonprofit organizations who are committed to meeting the spiritual, physical, and economic needs of those suffering around the world. Kathy’s team has helped clients raise millions of dollars–enhancing the mission and service they offer their constituents. Kathy is an adoptive mom and a grandmother to adopted grandchildren.

Randy Johnson – Realtor – Addison & Maxwell Real Estate Brokerage

Randy is also a Co-Founding Member of JFour Partners, LLC. A California-based, commercial development company. Specializing in acquisition, development, management and sale of commercial projects. JFour acts on behalf of land owners, developers and investors to manage all aspects of development.

Josh Keltner – Owner / President – Concrete Solutions Inc.

Concrete Solutions, Inc. is a full-service concrete company in all aspects of commercial concrete applications. Concrete Solutions has been serving clients in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas for over 14 years. Along with Josh’s leadership role at Concrete Solutions, he is also a real estate investor, home builder and a serial entrepreneur. He is passionate about helping others grow and build businesses.

Mark Kochner – Chief Operating Officer – Premier Consulting Partners

Mark has served in executive roles of growing mid-sized organizations as well as numerous roles in an organization ranked as the 5th largest privately held company according to Forbes magazine. Mark is passionate about equipping individuals and organizations with the necessary tools that will allow them to thrive in and through cycles of change. Mark is an adoptive dad.

Eric Mills – Co-Founder / President – Faces With Names

Eric is an ordained pastor and obtained his M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary. Through his role in ministry, Eric has traveled to over 30 countries working with strategic partners to spread the Gospel. Through Eric & his wife Susan’s own adoption journey, which brought their daughter home from China in 2012, a passion and calling for church orphan care ministry began. Through Eric’s work with orphans and vulnerable children around the world, Faces With Names was started.

Reneé Terrill – Global Impact Coordinator – Westside Family Church

Reneé manages the relational and communication components for global partnerships for One Life —an orphan care ministry of Westside Family Church, in Shawnee, KS. This ministry currently serves orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa, India, Laos and Thailand. Her role includes program evaluation and assessment at all their sites in SE Asia and South Africa. Reneé also coordinates global travel for team trips and serves as a liaison between US and global partners for their Adopt A Village program.

Scott Turner – Lead Pastor – City Church

Pastor Scott, along with his wife Mary, are the Lead Pastors of City Church in Bartlesville, OK. Scott has over 20 years of church planting and pastoring experience. Scott is passionate about reaching people with the message of the Gospel and equipping people to become fully devoted followers of Christ.

A Tribute to My Dad

Image

It is hard to believe it has been one year ago today we stood by my dad’s bedside and witnessed him peacefully breathe his last breathe. It still seems so surreal being present in a moment you never really want to experience. In the blink of an eye, you face a new reality that forever leaves a void in your life. As a Pastor, I have stood by grieving families in their time of loss. But even with the familiarity of grief, the compassion and sympathy I have given by the grace of God, nothing prepares you for the personal loss of one who has made such a monumental impact on your life.

World's Greatest Dad

World’s Greatest Dad


Through the outpouring of love and prayers for our family during my dad’s brief illness and passing, we were reminded of the impact he made on so many. My dad truly left a legacy of kindness. His infectious smile, famous bear hugs and sincere interest and concern for the individual made a lasting impression on so many. My dad never met a stranger and was drawn to those in greatest need. His unselfish lifestyle truly exemplified Jesus. He really did think of others first and on so many occasions put others needs before his own. Not that his time was mine to give, but I am glad to have shared my dad with so many others. There is a profound recognition of just how special my dad was in the unique stories of love, care and generosity he showered on people.

Through the stories of others, we have certainly gained comfort. I can even say, I have sensed a feeling of personal pride to be able to call him my dad. But the stories we have heard from others come as no surprise to our family. What my dad did for others, was our norm. My earliest childhood memories are of my dad making my brother and I feel special through his time and actions. He and my mom provided such an eclectic set of life experiences for us that have truly shaped who we are today. Our life experiences are a reflection of the journey my parents made from Rapid City, South Dakota to Southern California and now Oklahoma. A mixture of life experiences, people and cultures I don’t believe I will be able to reproduce for my own children.

Some of my greatest memories of my dad growing up was around sports. I remember him pitching the baseball to me and chasing the ball one after another. Of him always being at my soccer and baseball games growing up. I can count on one hand the number of games my dad missed my entire childhood and high school years. I never went to a game without a perfectly polished pair of cleats prepared by my dad. My dad loved to to have fun. Trips to the beach, to Lake Arrowhead, the Rose Parade, Disneyland, Dodger and Angel games, season tickets to the California Surf and LA Aztecs of the old NASL professional soccer league were all part of our childhood experiences. When it came to riding big wheels down our long steep street we lived on, my dad was right in the mix with us and all our neighborhood friends.

Racing was also a big part of our lives. In our early years, before my dad started racing off-road, we never missed the Winternationals in Pomona. Since he was a school teacher, we always knew we were going to get sick with him about the first week in February every year to go to the drag races. I don’t know what I missed in school, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t as important as those amazing memories with my dad. Once we hit the off-road scene, we had some fun times out in the desert and especially the races in Las Vegas. We spent many hours at the shop getting the cars ready, well at least somebody did. I just learned how to sweep really good and make lunch runs to In-N-Out. We also enjoyed numerous Nascar races at Ontario, Riverside and Charlotte.

My brother and I learned an amazing work ethic from my dad. He taught us how to build, roof, work on cars and fix things. He was a Wood-shop Teacher, a roofing company owner and a referee for numerous sports. The banner that hung in his shop read, “Best is Better than Good.” He was always on the go. But he never left the house without kissing us and our mom goodbye and telling us he loved us. He worked hard during the school year for us to go on vacation most of the summer. Every year growing up, we would spend just over two months in South Dakota. Us California kids were exposed to a Midwestern life filled with fishing trips, time on the farm, Mount Rushmore, Friday nights at the local dirt track and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally when it really was crazy and out of control. Enjoying all these amazing experiences with our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

In my college years, my parents moved from California to Oklahoma. It added more memories of working together with my dad and the official launch of his bus driving career for Oklahoma Wesleyan University when I was a soccer player. One of the great joys of his life was driving the athletic teams to their games and getting to know the players and coaches. He especially loved when the teams won to ensure some victory laps around the circle drive in front of the LaQuinta Mansion upon arrival back on campus. One of the prouder moments of his driving career was bringing the 2009 Men’s Basketball Championship Team back to Bartlesville. He also loved his championship ring he wore proudly.

One of the things I miss the most about my dad being gone is our daily talks on the phone. I realize how fortunate I was to have such a special and close relationship with my dad. What is so great about this unique relationship with my dad is my brother can say the same thing. He was the source of great council, comfort, wisdom, encouragement and faith. He always believed in us, told us how proud he was of us and expressed his love for us. Even as adults, it was so reassuring to know this type of love from our father. I have said before, I have never questioned God’s love for me as my Heavenly Father because of the amazing example my dad lived out before us.

My dad truly lived a life sold out to Jesus Christ. He was a person of great faith. As I have had the opportunity to look through his Bible after his passing, it is a well marked and well worn Bible. His time with God was surely the source of the humble and servant minded person he was. There were many times my dad would share with me the opportunities he had to share Christ with people. Many of those stories included perfect strangers standing before my dad with tears running down their cheeks and accepting Christ. One of the great experiences of my life was witnessing my dad lead his dad to Christ. My grandpa was eighty years old at the time and accepted Christ less than a year before his passing.

Because of my dad’s great faith and service to Jesus, we attempt to carry on his legacy. Although our hearts are sad and we miss him every day, we remain steadfast in our faith and love for Jesus. We strongly believe in the words found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” We love you and miss you dad!