Greetings All,

The 2016 OSIF team arrived to their destination after a red eye flight, layover in London, then onto another plane to do it all again.  They have settled in for the night, but wanted everyone to know they arrived safely.  They will be in touch later once they have access to Wi-Fi.  In the meantime, please keep them covered in prayer as they still have a lot of traveling ahead.  Pray for good weather…,  (No rain!)  as the roads can become flooded and impassable quickly during heavy downpours.  Keep them lifted up, as they need to rest and replenish after all the preparation and organizing leading up to yesterday's departure.  They arrived at the airport yesterday around 5:30 pm,  to get checked in, thru security and passport checks, etc.  The airport and flight alone are exhausting, so pray they rest soundly tonight, waking up refreshed and energetic in the morning.  I can't wait to hear their testimonies of how God leads them in touching the lives of others.  They are faithful servants to our Father, may others see that and desire to learn of the light that shines in their souls.  God bless you and keep you safe during your travels.  I pray this will be OSIF's most incredible journey thus far.  May it overflow with divine intervention and exceed all expectations.


Amanda R. Grosso
Secretary of the Board
One Step In Faith
P.O. Box 2593
Dallas, GA. 30132-0044
Cell:  770-655-1959
Fax:  770-975-1533


Well, it has been too long since I've posted.  We have gotten our totes checked in, our first round of security and it is starting to sink in...we are on our  way to GHANA! Love you all, thank you for your prayers and warm thoughts!!!

He is Faithful

Hey everyone! 

I hope you all are having a very blessed week so far. We leave for Ghana in about 7 1/2 weeks. My heart longs for Ghana and the people, and I can hardly contain my excitement. This week I wanted to share with you something that I have been reading recently, and I think most people will be able to relate as well. I have been reading a book called, Rooted by Banning Liebscher. So far, the book is walking you through how to become more "rooted" in your walk with Christ by giving examples from the life of David in the Bible. 

The particular part of the book that I wanted to share is about being "hidden". I think many times as Christians we get this image of what our walks with the Lord will look like, and if you are like me, I daydream with God and think about the future often. How often are we present with God though? How often are we saying Your will be done, not my own? How often do we try to push plans along, instead of remaining hidden in Christ? Maybe you are called to do mission work, pastor a church, or even own a successful business (whatever ministry He is calling you to). Do the desires of your heart align with the Father's? My point in asking these questions is not to condemn you, but to instead open up a dialogue between you and God. 

Personally, Holy Spirit has told me that I will be a full time missionary one day, and I have no idea what that will look like. Right now I am a nurse, and the Lord is partnering with me right where I am at. I have tried in the past to push plans along, and to put my own agenda before God's perfect plans. I have compared my outward impact in the Kingdom to others. It was never intentional, but when Holy Spirit revealed this to me I realized that I was placing trust in myself and not my Father, who's thoughts and ways are higher and better than mine. Trusting fully in Jesus, and being obedient in all He asks is the most rewarding thing you can ever do. You may wake up each day and not understand why He has you where you are at, but when you look back it will all make sense. He is always faithful to His promises. I can say from personal experience wait and trust in God, and you will bear much fruit, and He will bless you abundantly for your faithfulness. Big changes are happening in my life, and my Father is answering my prayers and dreams. I won't go into too much detail right now, but there are prayers and dreams that I have had for years, finally being answered. I can't say I was perfect in the waiting, but I did learn so much, and I learned the most important lesson of my life. I learned that growing in deeper intimacy with my Father, my Friend, my Healer, and my Protector, has brought me to a place of complete dependence on Him. He has broken off so much fear in my life that was instilled in me at such a young age. Often times He has us in these "hidden" seasons so that we may grow in character and in different skill sets, to prepare us for the ultimate destiny He has placed on each of us. So ask Holy Spirit for patience and peace for right where you are at, and you will not regret it! 

I pray that you all will trust deeper in the Lord, and that you realize you do not have to understand everything right now. Father, I pray that You would reveal in Your perfect timing and plans why things have happened the way they have happened in each of their lives. I pray for them to bear fruit one thousand fold! Holy Spirit mold and shape them into the sons and daughters that they were created to be. God, You are always good, and You are always faithful! Pour out Your abundant grace, mercy and favor on everyone who reads this blog. Amen!

With all my love,

Family and Redemption

In This week’s blog I wanted to talk about how God works in our lives, through family.

      Now, most people that are living on this earth think family involves some kind of genetic material such as blood.  Am I right? Well, the last couple of weeks God has broadened my simple mind, lol!

Let’s start with a letter I received from a family member I cherish, and don’t get to spend as much time as I should - because of schedules, their side and mine and life in general. I won’t mention names because it’s not prevalent to God’s message that I’m telling.  It actually started when I received a text from my relative saying they had something to send in the mail and wanted to make sure we would be home to receive it. I of course replied, as you all know, I like surprises! Call me a child at heart!  Time passed, and we recently just returned from a trip to Florida this past weekend to participate in another God moment...stick around a little longer and I'll share about that later in this blog.

So, we made this trip and arrived home on Sunday afternoon.  As you typically do, I went through our mail from while we were gone and there it was, a letter from my relative I've been telling you about. Now, before I start, I should share...I've been struggling for the last couple years.  Our family has been through a lot, causing me to question so much of God's calling in my life.  My wife keep us moving forward, encouraging me to move one step at a time, even when I can't see why or don't feel like it.  This year, however, I have been feeling closer to God, a renewal and healing that has allowed me to feel joy again about returning to Ghana and the work God asked me to join him with since 2008.  Anyway, this letter is where my story about how God works in our lives comes to play.

They wrote me a letter saying how proud they were of me throughout my years, following God’s plan laid out for me. This letter walked through my whole life, expanding through my childhood, my adult life, and the journey in between. To be honest with you, there was stuff in there I had totally forgotten (it’s an after forty thing I’ve been told or, maybe I just blocked them out.)

Now, to the point...out of the blue, God used my relative to encourage me to keep pushing forward. He will encourage you through family, when you least expect it. This letter alone, and the encouragements spoken over me were enough to bring me back on track and once again see God's plan for me.  Well, sort of.  That was part of the problem to begin with.  You see, I thought I knew exactly where God was going to use me, how God was going to use me, and as it turned out I believed God's plan for me was something different than what has become reality and it has been difficult to accept.  But, this letter reminded me of who I am in Him.  It reminded me He is really there and beside me, and He is the plan worked out.  I am just going to keep moving forward one step at a time as Casie keeps reminding me to do.

Another point to this is, family isn’t always immediate family - not always the family right in front of you every day, or even sharing your same DNA components.  It's people, key people, He puts in your life right when you feel lost or distracted by the enemy.

Okay, as to not disappoint, I did mention I would share about another God sent story, our trip to Florida.  Again no names, just the message God wants shared.

This is going to be difficult so, bear with me on the back ground story, a little bit.  I think they call it the plot.  I’m only teaching up to eight grade Lit, in my homeschool teaching career. This story also involves family, again, non-blood related (to me). This person did something, not-so-nice when they were younger.  Instead of putting the blame on someone or something else, they took responsibility for their wrong doing, admitted the fault, and asked for forgiveness.  I should mention, this isn't a conversation between two people in an arguement.  This was before the Clemency Executive Board of the State of Florida.  (Governor, CFO, State Attorney, Commissioner of Agriculture) You get my drift...major deal!

This extremely smart, giving, kind-hearted person was on a track going VERY downhill, REALLY fast.  God doesn't waste.  So, God stepped in with a life changing plan. Not one neither this person, or anyone really plans when thinking about their future.  But, again, like I said, God doesn't waste and over 20 years ago He stepped in with this life-changing plan, which ended with this person going on a vacation to "serve time due".

From the start, while on this forced state-funded vacation, this person dropped to their knees and sought God for answers.  They weren't sure they'd receive a reply, but it was rock bottom and what did they have to lose.  Of course, God showed up.  He had been there all along, waiting.  This person turned their life around, gave themself to God - accepting Jesus as their savior.  In those less than a handful of years on vacation, this person touched many lives around them on this vacation spot.  God's work through them allowed others to experience Jesus up close.  Besides their walk and talk, they worked hard and earned unprecedented amount of respect, as shared by the guards.  Actually, this person was even granted, while on his vacation, to live and work off-site, helping to organize and run the volunteer fire department.

God doesn’t always put us or paint us in the perfect picture. Matter a fact, in my own experiences - the situation is always, always messy and a challenge. Hey - isn't Jonah a case in point?  Now, back to the story and onto the redemption part.

This person served his vacation time, moved on, started and built a new life. They have an amazing life for themselves, considering they started completely from scratch - starting over - in their 30s.  I have to tell you, this person will give you the shirt off their back, wisdom they've learned throughout their life (even if it isn't solicited). God gave this person such a gift, a gift only a Father could give a son. Redemption!

Standing before the Clemency Executive Board of the State of Florida, humbled, honest, and repentful of his past mistakes, this person told it like it was.  No sugar coating, no lies, no excuses, no blame...just - I did it.  I knew it was wrong.  I deserved to be punished.  I didn't deserve any of the benefits and blessings I received, but God was good.  Unlike the others heard that day, this person shared about the mistake made all those years ago.  They shared their regret, how God changed everything, and how they lived from the very moment they stood up off their knees.

The two daughters spoke on this person's behalf.  One is the step-daughter and the other is the biological daughter.  You know, this person never said - not once - when introducing or sharing, this was the step-daughter.  Remember...it's all about family.  To this person, they were both daughters, and that was that.  For this blog, I will differentiate, but know this person didn't.  The step-daughter shared without this person's love and direction in her life all these years, she would not be the person and mother she is proud to be today.  She shared about the unfailing love received, and no matter how imperfect, she felt blessed by this person's unconditional love and support.  The biological daughter shared how she never felt unloved and since the arrest all those years ago, she had witnessed a person of consistent integrity.  She shared how even as a young girl, she noticed how even the guards noticed something different in this person.  The respect given during her visits by guards and other vacationers left a lifetime impression.  She learned, this person didn't hide their mistake, they used it as a message about bad choices.  This contributed to the person she had become today and the work God had called her and her family into.  They both shared, even if the Clemency Board's answer was no, this person was loved and had a full life.  God had already given this person the gift of a second chance.

It was still days after the Orlando shooting.  A time in our current affairs where offenders should be punished and not forgiven.  A meeting held quarterly at the State Capitol to allow current offenders to request early release if they are still on vacation, previous offenders to request restoration of rights and/or a full pardon (full forgiveness, as if it never happened - requires a minimum of 10 years since released). A day where the list was nearly 100 people petitioning for their gift of forgiveness.  A day where I witnessed "deny full pardon", over and over.  There were some pardons granted, but the offenses were much less severe than this special person to me.

When they finished talking, before the daughters even started...I could see it.  Unlike any other case, the board had no questions about his past mistakes.  They had peace in their eyes.  They asked the daughters if they wanted to speak, they asked them for them.  This special person, was granted a FULL pardon from his mistakes and bad judgments. A better word in this person’s case would be Forgiveness! Like our only Daddy in Heaven can give! A hug, love…..Grace...and A FULL PARDON!  The room, still filled with people heard and waiting to be heard, was filled with clapping - filled with inspiration.  I will tell you, there were only two others granted at that time, and there was clapping then too.  But, this time it was different.  You could feel it.  So, here again, God save us at our lowest. He brought this person out of the dust and into His arms.  (Do you like that...very Casie wasn't it...)  And, the reward was redemption - over 20 years in the making.

I am not a perfect man, and I've certainly fallen off the track a few times through this journey.  And, in the last two years, I have encountered some hurdles, struggled with forgiveness and struggled where I fit in the big picture.  But, this year has been different.  I've been different.  I have been facing the hurdles, some of the hurdles anyway.  I am forgiving more and more every day, and starting to see myself in the big picture again.  Our trip to Florida was profound.  I am grateful to have been included and to have experienced such a God moment.

As we head to Ghana in 2016, I reflect on family here and there, my daddy Eddie, Dave and Ellen, Ben and Rachel, all who don’t even share a drop of my physical genetics but, we all share God’s genetics! And we are all on the same or slightly different path God has given and put us on, we all ended up in the same place doing the same work for the kingdom of our Daddy. And, we all can agree a reminder of why we are called and the blessing of redemption encourages us to take one step at a time, and stay focused on God's plans for us.

Please, pray for us for favor against attacks from the enemy, and for travel safety’s and funds of course.   We are close, still need $2,500 for trip expenses.  And, we are still raising funds for Hep B clinic.  $25 for each child.  http://www.onestepinfaith.org/fundraising/partner-with-us

God-Bless T Haight

Ghana 2016

Time is drawing closer to our mission trip. Only two and a half months away now. Still a lot of prepping, preparing mentally, and fundraising/donations needed, but I know God will look after all of us & we will come through. We held a car wash this last Saturday 6/11 at the Chik Fil A at Barrett Parkway & Dallas Hwy to raise more funds for the trip. This was my 1st year participating in the car wash. It turned out to be a beautiful 95 degree hot & sunny day. In the years past, I was told it always seemed to rain on that chosen day. I was so very thankful we ended up with such a beautiful day. Although we found out shortly after we got set up that we had some "competition" a block away at the Burger King, the cars started rolling in. It seemed we didn't have a lot of down time from start to finish and by the end of the day we ended up raising almost $700! Although we had a good day, we still are short of our goal, so please keep the prayers and donations coming. I am so very thankful for being a part of One Step In Faith, love everyone on the board & team & look forward to what comes ahead.


John Grosso

Take me as I am...

Hey ya’ll – I hope you have had a very blessed Tuesday.  As I sit, pausing to share a little something on our blog, I am compelled to share something meaningful that happened to me today. 

Listen ya’ll - I’m gonna share something super personal.  Those who know me VERY, VERY, VERY well…are familiar with my work habits - so a portion of this may not come too much as a surprise.

As most of you know, my day job - I work for CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).  I’m an analyst for the Project Management org, doing…analyst work.  Ha! Ha!  That means I’m a step above a bean counter, I don’t count beans – I analyze and build reports to tell what’s going on with the beans.  J  When I have a lot of data to review or reports to build or reports to update (and so on…), I typically need to remain laser focused!  The expression around here is - heads down  - analyzing and building reports.  During this time, I have my music blaring through my earphones…

Okay, seriously – this is super personal – DO NOT LAUGH… my music of choice is...RAP.  
Yes, you read that correctly – I listen to Rap while I’m laser focused.  Troy says I’m “plugging in”.  But, it seems to be the genre to keep the mind focused, cranking out the results!  Now, the Rap I listen to is actually Christian Rap.  Just in case you were curious…

So, I was working away today, rapping it out with my friends Lacrae and Andy Mineo…don’t laugh.  As I was saying, here I was working away…and like most days…while I’m working away I’m almost always praying during this time as well.  Yes, I can pray and work heads down laser focused.  Go figure! 

I’m praying for our dear friends whose son has been at Egleston for the last week after a terrible bicycle accident.  I’m praying for his medical staff, his condition, his weary and faithful parents, his siblings who miss both him and their parents. 

I’m praying for our son’s upcoming initial Endocrine doctor appointment and our daughter's appointment to begin setup with a CGM.  

I’m praying about One Step In Faith and our dear Eddie who recently had surgery and has been recuperating these past couple weeks. 

I’m praying in preparation for our upcoming trip and all the preparation and fundraising coming up, as well as for Dave and Ellen as they are preparing for us to arrive. 

And, I’m praying for all the families and individuals we will meet for first time or continue to build relationships with on this trip.  Praying for God to prepare our hearts, to prepare the hearts of those who we will encounter, to steady our hearts and minds, ensuring we do not rush right past where He needs us to be present.  

Right at this time, my friend Lacrae was rapping out – Take Me As I Am
It was right when I was praying, help us to know how to share "Christ is everything" and "Christ is all there is – He is the answer. " And, "there is NOTHING we can do to be ready – He accepts us AS we are, RIGHT where we are."  And, finally - "We have the choice, but it is Christ that works through and in us." 

Take Me As I Am...Lyrics excerpt
Christ through faith
I talked to a cat the other day
And he was like;
"Man I really wanna come to Christ
But I gotta clean my life up first, get my sins together"
I told em, I used to think that way too
I thought I had to change myself before I could come to Christ
But Christ changed me
Let me tell you my story, it starts like this

Will you take me as I am
I know the way I'm living is wrong
But I can't change on my own, trying to make it alone
I wonder, how could you love me when my life so ugly
But you came down and died for me

Yeah, we're saved by grace through faith
It's not works
Ain't nuthin you can do, ain't nuthin I can do
That could get us this grace salavation that we got man
It's only Christ
So if you feel like you gotta clean yourself up
Before you can come to Him
Forget it
Just come to Him
He'll take you as you are, and he'll change YOU
From the inside, out

I love when these little goose bump moments arrive.  Have you ever encountered these moments?

Hey, now, stop laughing - [I know you are still stuck on the mental image of me and my bobbling head, while I'm working]...seriously...this was a God moment for me today, through Rap.  :)

In reading a posting from our dear friend (mom of son in the hospital mentioned above), sharing she’s received countless statements from people wishing they had a church family like theirs…she replied YOU CAN – you can share hers if you don’t have one.  Reading this flashed across my heart - not everyone understands HE WILL TAKE YOU WHERE YOU ARE!  

So, I don’t want to miss an opportunity to share what can be easily taken for granted – 
You DO NOT have to have your sins in order to come to Christ.  
You DO NOT have to have your life (sins) in order to join the body of Christ.  
We are all the body…we are all here to support together!

If you are struggling with this, we'd LOVE to share and pray with you.  Reach out to us...

Okay - onto Ghana biz...

Well, I can't believe it - WE LEAVE IN 12 WEEKS!!!

We have a full itinerary ahead of us, but of course, we are ALWAYS ready for God to turn our ideas upside down!  We're ready for all you have for us Lord!!!

OUR plans are currently to spend time with Eddie/Regina and family, Baby GN and his caretakers (Charles & Juliana), Dora (Ama), Isaac, Mama Laadi, Baby GN's family, Baby Y/Brother A, Lil' S, Lil' B, Baby J, and many, many more.  As we get closer, I'll send our official itinerary plan.  Right now, details are still in flux.

If you would join us in praying for our trip preparation, funding, the families & individuals we will meet along the way - and for our families we will leave here at home.  And, please join us praying for God to use us as His tools.  We are not the author, He is.  We are not looking to be recognized or take credit.  We are looking to be the hands and feet – we are looking to be His servants to His people in Ghana. We are looking to fill the cups of those we encounter with His love!

Well - I better get back to the family.  

Oh...If you felt called to donate and haven’t gotten to it yet, there is still plenty of time! 
We still need to raise $3,600 before we depart.  This will cover our remaining expenses for visas, in-country transportation, and meals/water.  No donation is too small. Click the link to go to our website, where you can get more information on how to donate.  (Paypal, PopMoney, mail a check - we are super flexible - many options!  No donation turned away!!!)

One Step In Faith is an approved IRS 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. We will send annual donation statements, providing receipt details of your gift.

Have a great evening and hugs to you all!

Digging Deeper With Jesus- Ghana 2016

We are basically 4 months away from going to Ghana! It's getting really real, and so I'm choosing to dig deeper with Jesus! I wanted to share with you all, what He put on my heart today.

"I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of. Add to this a certain degree of commendable idealism and a fair amount of compassion for the underprivileged and you have the true drive behind much Christian activity today. Again, God needs no defenders. He is the eternal Undefended."
-A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of The Holy

A.W. Tozer is basically saying that God is self-sufficient, and that we don't have to defend Him to the world.

We should glorify Him by being extensions of Him. The drive behind mission work, or really anything we do should always be to love God first, and then to love all people. That brings honor and glory to His name. 

As a young person myself, I never want to be led by any other desire than to love. So for any young people out their going on missions, including myself, or if you already are a missionary, let this be our prayer:

Father, You are whole. You are complete without us, yet You still chose to create us. You love all people even when they don't love You back, because love is who You are. Use us and move through us Holy Spirit that we may share Your love and light to all the dark corners of the world. We need You Jesus so that we can be whole and complete, and may that be our message to the lost and broken. You are a God who brings eternal satisfaction and life to our souls. In Jesus's Holy and Precious name I pray, Amen!

Please keep our team in your prayers:) 

T to the Roy's late post! Ghana 2016

    Well, You can't say I'm not consistent, meaning I am late at most everything I'm scheduled to do. I will start by saying the last three to four months  have been a bit trying and challenging in/at the Haight household. First, the bout with pneumonia with two of our children, Connor/Isabella and did I mention it's more critical for diabetics. Second, my personal medical issues, I will not elaborate on in this blog keeping it "G" rated. Third, Our central air has been on the frits and has finally seen the light, she was a good one, 21yrs and counting. That battle has been going on for the last couple of years, anyway. Finally, A fundraiser that didn't quite feel right for this year - after excitement and hopes - anyway it didn't work out. These my friends are things that start happening when committing to go on a mission trip and do God's work! The devil can't stand it and I love that in the end of all the distractions and heartache's and even the disappointments of fundraisers that just quite didn't work out, God prevails! Boom, take that satan,  <--- no need to capitalize to give credit, for all of you grammar people out there.
      Now, let's talk about why I do what I do. The calling that is. As you've known, God called me to work in Ghana about 8yrs ago. That's it, that's why.  Because HE called me to go to the ends of the earth.  It is never easy.  It is never comfortable.  It is never convenient.  It is never simple.  But, He has shown me that when I'm at my wits end - He is there.  Period.  He called me, He invited me - and I said yes.  That's it.  And, when  it is not easy, not comfortable, not convenient, not simple, and we are struggling - and we struggling financially - the funds are always enough.  When it pours down rain at a car wash (3 years running) - He provides and conquers all! Donations from people who love us, the love work God is doing through us...show up in the PO Box - SURPRISE!  People who we don't see often, don't talk to regularly, are prompted by the Lord and answer His prompting.  When the doubt starts to kick in, we turn to Him and at the precise time - God prevails!  We find plane tickets the cheapest we've ever seen them in 8 years, and God provides the funds so we can pay for them! Because God has a plan, and HE NEVER FAILS!  Can I get an AMEN!

This is one of the many blessings of saying YES to doing God's work! It's having faith, and then seeing miracles, unexplained provision from God.  Look, I'm just a man, I have lots of doubt - like next guy.  But, I do try, even when doubt kicks in, to follow what the Lord God my Father tells me to do! Because, He love me and He will never forsake me...and as long as I listen and follow his calling - He'll cover me and my doubts. Besides all that, there are no words to describe the honor.

Now granted, I am from the South, and I don't quite understand the interpretation like everyone else.  But, I still follow. I'm not a genius, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a computer programmer...I'm a fisherman...I'm a fisher-of-men.  That's all I need to understand. Ghana 2016 will be amazing!

God Bless, T to the Roy... Word!

P.S. if you feel called to donate - we are still $16,000 shy from meeting our goal of $21,000 before departure:  $10,000 Hep B Clinic + $6,000 remaining mission trip expenses.  http://www.onestepinfaith.org/fundraising/partner-with-us
Gotta love the plugs!!

We depart to Ghana Friday, September 2, 2016!  We ALWAYS desire prayers.


Ghana 2016

God is good. I have had the desire to give back in my heart for some time, but didn't know where Gods plan would lead me. Once Troy & Casie moved in next door, and not only got to know them as "Family", but the mission work they do with OSIF was where I knew God had intended. Amanda & I feel very blessed to be a part of the board and everything they do.

We all have a lot to accomplish until the day comes in September when we actually get on the plane to Ghana, but I fully trust in the Lord and know his hands are covering all of us to not only raise enough money for the trip, but preparing us all mentally for everything we are about to experience. I love you all, and am so glad and honored to be a part of this trip.


John Grosso

I will trust in you...

Short and sweet...[don't be shocked!]

Today marks 4 months and 2 weeks before we depart to Ghana, West Africa.  As we continue press deeper and deeper into Him, as we begin to kick off fundraising, finalize plans, and prepare our hearts and minds to go...now is the time when the enemy will seek to derail us.

Today, a song was playing as I was working...God's little voice whispering to me through song...reminding me...don't forget...

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see

I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face, You’re by my side

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So, in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less

You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand

Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go, You’ve not already stood

I will trust in YOU!
I will trust in YOU!
I will trust in YOU!

Thanks for the reminder - (great song by Lauren Daigle)...

Ghana 2016

Going to Ghana in September still feels unreal to me. God has opened up doors to Africa that I thought would never be reopened. He is good though, and He knows the best plans to prosper me and give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Really this trip isn't about me at all, it is about the Father's heart for His people. I do however, for my first blog post ever, want to share with you my story of how and why God is calling me to Ghana this year! So hear goes nothing:)

Something the Holy Spirit has been whispering to me about for weeks now is that there is a difference between wanting people to know how much I love Jesus, versus how much I want others to know His love for them! I never want to make my love for Jesus more than His love for you and I! His love is what heals and changes everything! I want to obey the call Jesus has placed in my heart, and live it out not just in word but deed too!

For a few years now, excuses have plagued my mind to keep me back from walking in my destiny or calling to international missions. To make this post more brief I won't go into all the details, but basically 2 years ago I was called for the first time to go to Ghana, West Africa. After a couple of months preparing with the missions team, the trip ended up not going through, so I went to Spain instead (everyone who knows me, knows I love the Spanish language and all Spanish speaking cultures!). Going to Spain was another crazy story of God opening up a lot of doors quickly, and I met so many beautiful and amazing people there; nonetheless, the desire placed in my heart to travel, talk with, and love on people from different cultures and countries was not fully satisfied. I knew deep down in my heart that the Lord was calling me to go deeper with Him, and that Spain was not the end, but the beginning to something incredible. 

After Spain, I decided and had peace about not going on any more mission trips until I finished what the Lord had already placed before me...nursing school and getting a job! So by God's grace alone I accomplished that. Once I accomplished what I set out to accomplish, Holy Spirit kept speaking to me about missions and going on another trip, but life has been so busy, so I kept pushing it off. Well, this past December I had the privilege to go to the OneThing conference in Kansas City, Mossouri. The Lord encountered me in some really awesome ways, and for the first time in years He told me I would be a missionary again. There was even a crazy experience I had where I went to purchase a book at the bookstore, and when I went to pay, there was one book left by the register, and my eye caught a glimpse of it. The book was titled "The Fully Funded Missionary" by Rob Parker. The cashier saw me looking at it, and then she proceeded to tell me that the author was doing a book signing that very day, so I got to talk to him about missions as well! 

When I look back at all that God did to open doors and grab my attention (the story above was just one thing the Lord did), I can't believe I was still not fully believing God was calling me to full time missionary work in the future. 

This January I then went to an informational meeting for Susan Norris's ministry about sex trafficking at RiverStone church. That night changed everything for me. I know this sounds like it doesn't relate to the rest of my story, but I promise I'm getting there! Okay, so that night, as the meeting was coming to an end, they asked us to pray about how we feel led to support their non-profit, and so we listened to worship music and prayed. My mind could only focus on missions, and I couldn't even get one thought or prayer in about sex trafficking. So I started to pray about missions, and what I was supposed to do next. That is when the Holy Spirit told me to just admit it fully to myself that I will be a full time missionary. I completely surrendered, and said "okay God! Yes I will be a full time missionary." Instantly so much peace washed over my body. It was amazing.

I thought for the longest time I would go to South or Central America, then it was India, then the Middle East or part of the 10/40 window, and who knows, maybe I will one day! But Jesus set my eyes back to Africa again! So I decided to get in touch with my "Aunt and Uncle" Troy and Casie Haight. They are the leaders of this trip to Ghana, and the founders of One Step In Faith! I had already missed a couple of meetings for this trip to Ghana in September, and normally you can't miss more than one meeting to go on the trip. I knew I was coming in late, that they already had a team and plan, but I kept being prompted by the Holy Spirit to ask them if I could go to Ghana with them. Sure enough they excitedly said yes! Little did I know at the time that they had been praying for a 4th team member to go, and it ended up being me! I also, was able to get all the time off approved at work!

So I'm going to Ghana, West Africa in September with the non-profit One Step in Faith (OSIF). As a team we will get the opportunity to love on the children deemed "spirit children", who were rescued by OSIF, and the families taking care of these beautiful kids! It is such a blessing to know that these people are going to invite us into their homes, to eat, share stories, and just do everyday life with them. Like Casie mentioned in the first blog post, we aren't going to be heroes, we are going to share the Father's heart and Kingdom with them, and the foundation for that is love!

I don't know when or where I will be a full time missionary, because the Lord has me working as a full time nurse at Kennestone Hospital (and that is ministry work in itself) right now. So some specific prayer requests I have is to find clarity, peace, and direction while in Ghana to whether or not Ghana is the place I will be a full time missionary in, or Africa in general, or if God is leading me elsewhere. Also, what kind of full time missionary will I be? Will I live in the states, and go back and forth? Or will I live in another country? And does God want me to be more involved with OSIF on a more permanent basis? These are all questions through prayer and walking in faith while in Ghana, that I'm hoping to get revelation about. 

Please also be praying for our team and the people of Ghana to encounter the Lord in new ways, and that His love would abound in all we do! May God be glorified in our preparation, while in Ghana, and when we return! Jesus deserves all of our praise. He is a good good Father!! God bless you all!

With all my love,
Alicia Bowles:)

We're heading back!!!

Good afternoon, and welcome back to the blog.  What a year!  I won’t bore you with the details, and just jump right into it.  We are heading back to Ghana this September.  It will have been 2 years since our last visit.  This year, we are taking one of our board members, John Grosso, as well as our dear sweet Alicia Bowles.  It is hard to believe how time flies. 

Troy and I made our first trip in 2009, but truth is, sometimes it feels like yesterday.  Throughout the years, traveling to Ghana has just been a part of the ministry.  There are a lot of blessings by going, but with the blessings it is a lot of work and a lot to be aware of  - to be careful to avoid.  There are conflicting opinions regarding benefit or harm of short-term missions.  Do they do more harm than good?  We have learned and are constantly learning, how we prepare and how we go may matter more than what we do.

I was reading an article written by missionaries in Guatemala who shared common concerns and issues. These are some of their thoughts blended with my heart.

We are not the hero.  The families and communities we are called to work with in Ghana, do not need a short-term hero.  They need long-term partners.  One Step In Faith could not successfully follow God’s lead without the continued work and relationship building of our in-country cross cultural workers and in-country Star Throwers!  During our travel in Ghana this year, our main agenda is to continue the bridge of relationship building, as well as filling the cups of those who pour out day in-day out into the lives of the OSIF families and their communities.

We are poor too.  Poverty looks different than you expect.  There is material poverty, physical poverty, spiritual poverty, and systemic poverty.  Jesus called us to serve, but before we can expect to serve others we have to acknowledge our own brokenness and absolute need for none other than God.  It is too easy to enter into the lives of the families in Ghana and walk away feeling pity and remorse for their “poor” life.  However, if you release all your preconceived notions about these families, allow yourself to be fully present and in the moment, and truly build a relationship with the individuals – you begin to see them as creations of God, just like you.  In this, you can see in their eyes, poverty’s definition to them is not even the same as yours.  They carry such joy and love, despite a life lacking material items.  You might even find when you leave Ghana, you’ve learned a few things about finding joy in the simplicity of life.

Join them.  If planning work, don’t do all the work, invite the community to join you.  There is that old saying, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.  This has huge merit, but beyond that, so often the work we go to do - the community already knows how to do.  This year we are planning on sponsoring a Hep B clinic.  Instead of bringing a team full of doctors and nurses, Dave and Ellen will coordinate with a local pharmacy to manage the entire clinic.  This is a significant component in relationship building, empowering and investing in the people to help themselves. 

You are an ambassador for your country.  With technology these days, regardless of circumstances, so often developing countries (including Ghana) have access to videos, movies, and social media views of USA.  Through these, they have already developed ideas of what life is like here.  It is your opportunity to debunk these likely incorrect assumptions.  I remember during our first trip in 2009, one of the house guards was sharing he believed every boy in the USA received a red convertible sports car when he turned 18.  Talk about incorrect assumptions.  It is extremely difficult to completely relate equally with others from another culture.  It requires they see you as equal, and I promise that can be nearly impossible.  But, when their belief is at 18 a boy is given his dreams – it is completely impossible.  We know this is not true, and through sharing our lives, being vulnerable, allowing the relationship building to be a two-way street, we reprogram misconceptions and build bridges that allow for long-term partnership for His kingdom. 

All of this was not to be discouraging, but to change the way we think of mission trips.  To change the purpose and benefit.  It costs a lot of money to travel to Ghana, stay the couple weeks, and support needs while in country.  A lot of money, many feel should be sent to the long-term missionaries to continue the long-term partnerships.  So, why do it?  In my humble opinion, there are so many!  I can tell you , if it wasn't for our first trip in 2009, we may not have listened to God's call for us to launch OSIF.  Without listing all the reasons -I'll list the most important.  It's simple.
Jesus called us to go.  Jesus himself left the Father to live among us.  So, go – leave the comfort of your home – and share your life.  Live with them, learn from them, eat what they eat, and when you return, be their voice to share their story.  SHARE what you’ve learned.  Share their names, their stories, about their lives and most importantly about the author - Jesus and all He is doing through His people.  It’s not all about the cute kid pictures (even if our kiddos are super adorable!)  Take one step in faith, one step at a time, and share your life with those who God calls you to serve – in Ghana or the ends of the earth.  For us, little by little, visit by visit, God has built an amazing love between both us and them AND them and us.  It is through this, we are learning from each other and share in the growth of God’s kingdom. 

One final thought I’ll share – Jesus called us ALL to go!  But, you do not have to fly to Ghana to join in His work.  Look out your window…it’s a big world out there and you can build relationships with those in your neighborhood, regulars at the local dog park, at your school (your children's school), at work, or even at the grocery store.  The thing to do is - pray for God to reveal His heart for the people around you ...and for Him to show you the least of these.  Then...Look them in the eye, Smile, and Begin a conversation (start with hello!).  It may change your life.

Love to you all!