Friday, December 24, 2010

Educational Materials Donated to howFar

Carson-Dellosa Publishing has donated a variety of educational materials to howFar's latest school, Crimson Academy, located in Gihara, Rwanda. The gift makes it possible for the school to have innovative teaching aids and workbooks that are not available in Sub-Sahara Africa.

For more on this international education initiative of The How Far Foundation, Inc. and howFar Ministries, Inc. Click Here.

Over 200 Batwa Pygmy Children Have Registered to Attend Crimson Academy for the 2011 School Year

Carson-Dellosa Publishing, LLC, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, is a leading educational solutions provider for both educators and parents. Founded by two teachers, the company boasts a 30-year history of enhancing a child’s learning potential and environment through quality curriculum, supplemental learning materials, and classroom resources.

Today, Carson-Dellosa continues its legacy of offering a wide array of products that are created by teachers for teachers and parents. The complete product line includes supplemental books for math, science, social studies, language arts, and early childhood; classroom decoratives; pocket charts; and games and manipulatives for prekindergarten through the eighth grade.

Carson-Dellosa proudly provides teachers, parents, and children around the world with the best possible educational materials produced by the industry’s most recognized and respected award-winning brands including: Summer Bridge Activities™, Mark Twain, Key Education, HighReach Learning®, Frank Schaffer®, Spectrum®, Judy® Instructo, American Education Publishing™, and Brighter Child®.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

howFar Receives Donation

The How Far Foundation, Inc., on December 22, received a donation of $1,400.00 from the employees of Lakeland Electric. The directed donation, for Crimson Academy, was presented to Philip Haynes, project architect and financier. The donation will be allocated for final construction costs and for the purchase of textbooks.

Crimson Academy will provide an elementary education to marginalized Batwa Pygmy children at Gihara, Rwanda. To date, over two hundred children have been enrolled for the 2011 school year. Classes will begin on January 17, 2011.

Click here for more on Crimson Academy.

Lakeland Electric provides power to the Polk County, Florida area. Lakeland Electric is proud to be one of 64 of the nation's more than 2,000 public power utilities to earn Reliable Public Power Provider designation in 2009. RP3 is recognition from American Public Power Association for providing consumers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service. The Reliable Public Power Provider recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, training, and system improvement.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Construction Nearly Complete In Rwanda

The final stages of construction on Crimson Academy will be completed by the end of November. A covered veranda and bathrooms will conclude the year long construction project in time for the schools opening on January 17, 2011.

A headmaster, four teachers and a treasurer have been hired. Registration of 200 students for the inaugural class of Crimson Academy will begin this month.

Mark and Renee Maynard, founders of howFar, will travel to Rwanda along with Phillip Haynes, the project architect and financier, for grand opening ceremonies to be held on January 14, 2011.

Click here for more on Crimson Academy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pastor of the Month - Meet Renovat Barutwanayo

Pastor Renovat of the Murumvya Church (center)

Driving Through Burundi 2007

The terrain was much different than I had expected it to be. Rolling mountains separated by thousands of fertile valleys accessible only by footpaths carved into the mountain sides from centuries of use - that is northern Burundi. Living as squatters and sharecroppers, on lands belonging to the Hutu's and the Tutsi's are the Batwa Pygmies. The Twa comprise less that 1% of the tiny countries total population of nearly 10 million. (Burundi is only slightly larger than Maryland with double the population).

Mud Homes with Thatch Roofs

(Click on photos to enlarge)

In 2007, we first visited the Batwa (Twa) village near Murumvya, Burundi to share the Gospel of reconciliation. That day several came to salvation. The next year we installed a young pastor to shepherd the growing flock.

Pastor Renovat Barutwanayo is teaching, loving and discipling the young group of Batwa believers in Murumvya. His desire to see the Batwa, and surrounding people groups, has been a driving force behind the growth of the church at Murumvya.

Temporary Church Building

In 2008, The How Far Foundation provided bean and potato seed for the Batwa. They have land to cultivate but no funds to buy the seed.

Pastor Renovat Distributing Assistance

Pastor Augustine, the Head of our Churches West of Lake Victoria, and Phillip Haynes (R), Crimson Academy Co-Founder, Show the Potato Seed

Some Members of Gihara Church

While in Burundi this past July howFar was able to purchase several acres of land for a new church compound. The final deed will be given to us in January 2011 and construction will begin.

Inspecting Land for the howFar Compound

Pastor Barutwanayo is married and has five children.

Prayer Requests:

For God to supply funds for Pastor Renovat to live on.
For spiritual protection for the church members.
For the witness of the church to impact the region.
For the proper paperwork to deed the land to the church in January 2011.
For many Batwa (Twa) to come to Christ

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"You Share with Me?"

Sonya’s Story

It was already late in the afternoon. The sun was sitting just above one of the many mountain ridges that make the sprawling city so time consuming to navigate. My driver and aid, Maurice, had been running all over Kigali trying to locate some medications that the doctor at King Fisal Hospital had prescribed for me while I was a patient there. I still wasn’t feeling well after my bout with a kidney stone and I needed a strong pain killer for the flight home.
Although I was thanking God that the worst was over I was still frustrated, uncomfortable, tired, weak and hungry so we stopped at a small cafe to eat. A young women came to our table and introduced herself as Sonya. I ordered something from the menu along with several bottles of water. The choices were limited to just a few things.

Our food finally arrived and after just a few bites I was full. My stomach had shrunk during the several days of my painful ordeal. Most of my meal was still on my plate, untouched.

The young women who had taken our order came by to check on us several times. Each time she asked if my food was okay. I would smile and say “yes” and she would disappear back into the kitchen. Finally, she approached the table one last time. This time her voice was low. I nearly missed her question.

“You share with me”, she said?

Her meek and desperate plea absolutely froze me. So consumed by my own condition I had forgotten why I was in Rwanda. In an instant, through a timidly whispered question, God jerked me away from myself and back to others.

All I could do was shake my head and hand my plate to her. Sonya’s smile of gratitude is unforgettably etched in my memory forever.

Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa. It’s economy still recovering from the devastating genocide of 1994. Ninety percent of Rwandans are subsistence farmers barely surviving on what they can produce. The average Rwandan lives on a meager 43 cents (US) per day.

For more on our work in Rwanda go to or

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pastor of the Month - Meet Reuben ole Tiges

Pastor Reuben ole Tiges with wife Leah and children Hillary and Diana. 2007

Lake Jipe with the Parr Mountains of Tanzania in the Distance

In the distance you can see the tiny fishing village where Kacharo Church, one of our church plants, sits on the shore of Lake Jipe.

Click on images to enlarge.

In June of 2005 God led the Maynard family to a small Maasai village in Kenya. The village rests near the Tanzanian border and is within view of Lake Jipe, the Parr Mountains and majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. In Maasai the village is known as Orkung'u or High Ground.

Pastor Reuben reads from a Maasia Bible

In God's sovereign plan we were able to build a relationship with the elder of the village, Reuben ole Tiges (Reuben son of Tiges) and soon after a church was planted in the village.

Lake Jipe Church, Kenya

In 2006, God called Reuben to Pastor Lake Jipe Orkung'u Church and he became the physical and spiritual leader in his village.

Since that time God has blessed the church tremendously. HowFar, in partnership with Sugar Hill Church (FBSH, Georgia) and three donors, purchased 14 acres for a compound, a church building was constructed, a school and now a deep water well. The church has become the center of life in the area with an influence far beyond the village.

Lake Jipe School Educating 150 Maasai Children. A howFar Partnership with the Government of Kenya.

New Classroom Under Construction, July 2010

One of our of Classrooms at Lake Jipe School

It has become the seat of government housing the Assistant Chief of the area during the week. We are so blessed that the church is now used as the central distribution point for supplemental food from agencies like World Relief and US Aid. It is very rewarding to see sacks of maze flour and beans and one gallon cans of cooking oil with the red, white and blue message reading, "A Gift from the People of the United States of America".

New Deep Water Well on the howFar Compound. Lake Jipe, Kenya. July 2010.

Jipe Orkung'u Village with Church and School from atop Jipe Mountain

Under Pastor Reuben's leadership new churches have been planed along the Kenya/Tanzania border. In 2006 he was called to be the Overseer (sometimes called Bishop) of our network of 15 howFar Ministries churches.

Reuben is married to Leah and has two children, Hillary and Diana.

Pray that God continues to give Pastor Reuben ole Tiges wisdom as he labors in our Fathers field in Kenya and Tanzania.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pastor of the Month - Meet Japhet Mwagese

Pastor Japhet Mwagese and his wife, Anna, shepherd the twenty-five members of Kachero Church located in a small fishing village along the shore of Lake Jipe, Kenya. The church structure, made possible by a gift from the WMU of The Family Church - Sugar Hill, Georgia, was dedicated on April 29, 2007.

The village is comprised of a combination of Christian and Muslim people. Alcoholism, immorality and witchcraft are terrible blights on the village. Pray for Pastor Japhet as he brings the Light to the people of Kachero.

The Mwagese's, who have four children, scrape out a subsistence living on a small farm near Lake Jipe.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Prayer Requests & Needs:

For Pastor Japhet to continue to persevere in a tough and hostile environment.
For God to provide for his family.
For God to break Satan's hold in a very dark village.
Protection for the family from spiritual and cultural forces.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

East Africa WAPI (Water Pasteurization Indicator) Distribution

840 Rotary/Interact Club WAPI’s delivered to East Africa.

Six hundred-fifty Water Pasteurization Indicators have been distributed in the low-income areas of Kigali, Rwanda. The government of Rwanda is aggressively working to improve conditions for the poor who live in the lower valleys that wind through the city. However, there is a long way to go before clean water is accessible to everyone. Many still draw water from ditches and low-lying pools fed by contaminated runoff. Sadly, water-borne diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid contribute to numerous deaths every year. The WAPI is currently the only affordable alternative to chemical purification or purification by boiling.

"Young Couple Draw Water From Contaminated Ditch in Kigali"

One hundred fifty WAPI's were sent to a rural village one hour northeast of Kisumu, Kenya. While in Rwanda we received an urgent call from Lillian Abuto, the wife of my aid, Maurice Amadi Abuto. Lillian was in the hospital in Kisumu with a serious case of cholera. The village where Lillian’s family works a small shamba (farm) is in a remote area that is very dry with few wells. The family was forced to draw water from the only source they could locate...a stagnant pool of runoff left over from the rainy season. It is the place where livestock gather from miles around to water, and naturally, they defecate in the water.

An outbreak of cholera soon swept through the local villages because of the contaminated water. The villagers understood that the water needed to be boiled before it was consumed. According to my aid, Maurice, the villagers don’t always know when the water has reached a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria.

"Elephant and Cattle Pollute the Only Water Source Within 20 Miles"

In this case, people who are as close to me as my own family have suffered tremendously. The simple resolution to their suffering is a WAPI.

Thanks to the Rotary Club of Buford/North Gwinnett, and the area Interact Clubs, for making this resource available to people in desperate need of help.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pastor of the Month - Meet Emmanuel Lazier

We were first introduced to Pastor Emmanuel at a pastors conference at Taveta, Kenya in October of 2007. At first glance Emmanuel appeared to be just a boy. But I soon learned that inside was the heart of a man and the heart of a pastor.

Emmanuel Lazier has been the Shepherd of Lossimingori Church since its beginning in 2007 and dedicated a new church building there in August of 2008. The land for the church at Lossimingori was donated by Emmanuel's father.

Our young pastor, so similar to Paul's Timothy, has done an outstanding job in his church and has taken the gospel message to many distant Massai villages sprinkled across the central Tanzania savanna.

Pastor Emmanuel is currently in his second year at Tanga Christian Bible College on the northern coast of Tanzania. He has been awarded a full scholarship. While away his Associate Pastor oversees the main church at Lossimingori and the others in the area.

Pastor Emmanuel is engaged to be married next year.

Prayer Requests & Needs:

Two Associate Pastors
A Parallel Bible
Funds to replace rotten benches

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jesus Film at Gihara Compound

Two weeks ago a youth ministry team from Uganda visited the howFar compound located at Gihara, Rwanda.

The showing of The Jesus Film, in Rwandan, and The Passion of the Christ drew an incredible 500 people to the compound. It is only through Gods grace that so many people would walk so far in the rural mountainous area to amass such a large crowd in one place.

"The Gihara conference was wonderful, we got one (loud)speaker from our church, we borrowed a generator, and other instruments were brought from Uganda by the Youth who were with us in this conference. The other Mudugudu leader (a village leader who told us to leave Gihara village and never return during our first visit in 2008) also got saved we are the one who laid hands by the time he accepted Christ as his personal savior. A boy who was mad also got healed he had a lot of hair on his head and not accepting any one to touch him but that time he agreed to be shaved off his hair, and many others came to Christ", reported Augustine Niyonsenga.

"The Jesus Film and films like the Passion for Christ it really touched peoples lives."

According to Pastor Augustine, the Overseer of our four howFar Ministries church plants across Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo, eight people came to salvation following my message from 1 Peter 2 during our visit on June 14th and an additional fifteen were saved the following Sunday. Now many more have been added to the Batwa church at Gihara.

"Vinesti, called to the ministry after surviving the 1994 genocide."

"Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." Matthew 9:38

Our team, lead by Pastor Vinesti, is obediently laboring among the Batwa Pygmies at Gihara, Rwanda and God is bringing in the harvest!

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Two Kids From Grangerburg, Ohio"

Social networking and viral marketing are terms that are commonly thrown around in today's workplace. They are methods that individuals, businesses and organizations use to connect, and reconnect, with people, customers and potential partners. Here is a story of how I reconnected with a friend from long ago.

I was raised in the rural countryside of north central Ohio. It was in a time when kids were free to ride their bikes anywhere they pleased and to explore the hundreds and hundreds of acres of farmland all around. It was there, in Granger, Ohio, that I grew up. Most days, in every season, my brother and I would end up at the old corner store in Grangerburg.

My elementary school was in the same building where my mother had graduated from high school in 1949. Then middle school and on to high school. All within a few miles of Grangerburg,

"I remember the very first day of elementary school. It was kindergarten. You and I sat together in the front seat on the bus", Jim recalled.

Jim and Mark at Jipe Orkung'u Mountain, Kenya

That was Autumn of 1964. Twelve years later, Jim and I walked across the football field of Highland High School to receive our diplomas. Then, off to college we went. Then careers and families. And as it so often happens I hadn't seen my old schoolmate since graduation day in May of 1976.

Thirty-four years later a message popped up on my MacBook screen from the Facebook Team. I read it and smiled. "Jim Kelly wants to be friends".

A few Facebook messages later, a dinner meeting in Atlanta, some phone conversations and Jim and his wife Gail, and their daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Nick Nolan were at our April 2010 howFar Ministries and How far Foundation Celebration Banquet.

Just like that, thirty-four years later, we were reconnected.

Another conversation, more planing, and Jim and I were sitting together again. This time far, far away from Grangerburg. This time in a Land Cruiser in East Africa. I can't tell you what a thrill it has been for me to have an old friend, who I hadn't seen in thirty-four years, join me to explore my beloved East Africa and to see my life's work...first hand.

In June, Jim, and his daughter Elizabeth, toured Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi with me. We visited several of the howFar Ministries churches and two of our How Far Foundation primary school projects. And we saw some of God's most beautiful creation along the way.

Elizabeth Nolan, Jim Kelly and Mark Maynard at Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.

As we swam the Nile rapids Jim said, "We're just two kids from Grangerburg". He was right. We were a long way from Grangerburg. We both knew that we were very blessed to see and do what so few have ever experienced.

I thought that you might be interested in reading Jim Kelly's thoughts on our great mission adventure.

"There is an old saying in Africa, “What is true at first light, is a lie by noon.” I witnessed on the ground, in person, in Africa a true exception to this saying. Spending three weeks with Mark Maynard in the countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi showed me first hand that when Mark starts something he sees it to its completion. Not only were my daughter and I overwhelmed by the kindness and admiration that the villages howFar has touched showed for Mark, and us as his guests, we were genuinely impressed and amazed by the dedication the people Mark has surrounded himself with in Africa.

It is extremely hard to get things done in the areas that Mark has chosen to do his work. But to see how Mark and howFar have been able to, for the first time in these villages, create a true community center with the planting of churches and the impact of his group of pastors is one of the most amazing things I have seen in my life. And then to see how some have been able to grow and blossom with the much needed addition of a school is truly a blessed thing to witness. We could see the genuine pride is the eyes of the people in the village at Lake Jipe, Kenya that had both a church and a new school and the overwhelming excitement of the villagers in Gihara, Rwanda that have a new school under construction. If you ever get the chance to travel to these areas and see the work Mark has done, it will be a life changing experience.

I not only was able to see and feel the many waves of emotion through my own eyes but was blessed to be able to observe them through the eyes of my twenty-six year old daughter. It is very hard to express in words the impact Mark has had on these beautiful souls on this magnificent continent but as I listen to the excitement and emotion in my daughter Elizabeth’s voice as she retells our experience I am continually drawn back to those wonderful villages and lives that howFar is changing."

Jim Kelly
Executive Vice President
Bil-Jac Foods, Inc.
Medina, Ohio

Elizabeth Nolan and Jim Kelly at Ologum Maasai Village, Kenya.

We are so pleased to announce that Jim Kelly has accepted our invitation to join the Board of Reference for howfar Ministries, Inc. and The How Far Foundation, Inc.

Jim Kelly is raising his family in the same little town where we grew up - in Grangerburg, Ohio.

And so...thirty-four years later, God has reconnected us and we are working together in a common global cause.

howFar will you go?

Friday, July 16, 2010

howFar East Africa Video Journal - June 2010

I have just returned from a four-week mission in East Africa...and what an incredible time it was!

Your eternal investment is ensuring that our churches are growing and maturing, new churches are being established, many are coming to Christ, and the poor and helpless are being helped!

Here are a few of the highlights:

We are so grateful for a one-time gift to our ministry of $5000, which came while I was in Tanzania. What an incredible answer to our prayers.

I preached in four of our largest churches - many came to Christ and one was freed from an evil spirit!

Three new Maasai churches have been planted in western Kenya!

A new classroom and deep water well have been added to our compound at Lake Jipe Orkung'u

Construction on the new church and school at Gihara, Rwanda is progressing very well. Lord willing Crimson Academy will open January 2011.

New land for the church at Muramvya, Burundi to be purchased.

An incredible pastors conference was held at Kigali, Rwanda.

Watch visual journal here!

Double click image to view at YouTube.

"A Lonely Grave"

Atlanta - Dubai - Addis Ababa - Nairobi.

Fifteen thousand eight-hundred sixty-five kilometers. That's nearly 10,000 miles in the non metric world. Seems like the long way around to get from Atlanta to Nairobi, doesn't it? It is.

For missionaries, getting to the field is one of their largest expenses and one of the most time consuming. So, donated SkyMiles round trip to Dubai = $140. Round trip ticket from Dubai to Nairobi via Ethiopia = $850. Thirty-three hours later...I was in Nairobi - exhausted but eager to begin my mission.

Seems like a along time, I thought. Not really. History put my journey into perspective. Early missionaries often embarked on a grueling journey; by land and by sea, that took them months to get to their mission site.

A young Dr. John Ludwig Krapf, a German missionary of the Church Missionary Society, departed France on February 6, 1837 and did not arrived at Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) until December 1837. A journey of nearly eleven months. The famous doctor arrived nearly four years prior to the Scottish Missionary, David Livingston, who arrived in South Africa in 1841.

After several years work along the coast he landed, in 1844, at the island of Mombasa, Kenya with his wife, Rosine, and their newborn child. Dr. Krapf was the first Protestant missionary to establish a mission station on the eastern mainland of Africa.

"He at once plunged with characteristic ardour into the study of the Suahili language, of which there was neither grammar nor dictionary; and on June 8th, a day he always considered one of the most important in his life, he began a tentative translation of the Book of Genesis, with the aid of the Cadi of Mombasa. Scarcely had he begun, however, when, in the mysterious providence of God, a heavy trial was permitted to fall upon him. On July 1st he was attacked by fever, and on the 5th his wife took it still more severely. The very next day Mrs. Krapf s confinement took place; and on the 9th it became apparent that God was about to call her spirit to Himself. She called the Mohammedan attendants round her, and earnestly besought them to believe in Christ the Son of God, in whom, in that hour of anguish, and in the prospect of immediate separation from husband and babe, she could rest with perfect peace. Krapf was lying close by prostrate with fever, and when she breathed her last, it was only by a great effort that he was able to rise and satisfy himself that she was really dead, or afterwards follow the beloved remains to the grave, in which they were laid in the presence of the Governor, the Cadi, and other leading inhabitants of the place.

A day or two after, the motherless infant succumbed also to the fever; and, wrote Krapf, "I was obliged by the climate to conduct this second victim of the king of terrors to the grave of my beloved Rosine as soon as possible." "My heart and body," he wrote in a private letter, "wept for many days."

As he thus twice crossed the estuary to bury his dead on the mainland, he little thought that close to that solitary grave would rise, thirty years afterwards, a prosperous missionary settlement. For the Frere Town with which we are now so familiar is built on that very mainland opposite the island of Mombasa, within a few hundred yards of the white tombstone that marks the spot where rest the bones of Mrs. Krapf and her new-born babe. [See a picture of the grave, from a sketch by Lieut. Gordon, R.N., in the C. M. Gleaner of August, 1879.]

But he could see in that grave the pledge of future triumphs of the Gospel in Africa, and he wrote home to the Committee his memorable and often quoted message:--

"Tell our friends that there is on the East African coast a lonely grave of a member of the Mission cause connected with your Society. This is a sign that you have commenced the struggle with this part of the world; and as the victories of the Church are gained by stepping over the graves of many of her members, you may be the more convinced that the hour is at hand when you are summoned to the conversion of Africa from its eastern shore."

The Missionary Career of Dr. Krapf. London: Gilbert and Rivington, 1882.

My work in East Africa began on that same Island of Mombasa. I've seen that white tombstone that marks the beginning of the missionary struggle for the conversion of souls in East Africa.

And I realize...that my work, our work, is easy compared to those obedient and courageous servants who came before.

"Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the Body of Christ

If we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way

Jesus is the way"

If We Are The Body - Casting Crowns

Monday, June 28, 2010

Failed States - does mankind have the solution?

Just yesterday a friend pointed me to a posting on Foreign that reminded me, once again, of the deteriorating condition of our world. The photo essay entitled Postcards From Hell (Captions by ELIZABETH DICKINSON) is introduced with these words.

"For the last half-decade, the Fund for Peace, working with Foreign Policy, has been putting together the Failed States Index, using a battery of indicators to determine how stable -- or unstable -- a country is. But as the photos here demonstrate, sometimes the best test is the simplest one: You'll only know a failed state when you see it."

To view the essay go to:

As I viewed the list of "Failed States" I was struck by this question. Does mankind have the solution? Do we, individually or collectively, have the ability to address and resolve the worlds seemingly unsolvable issues. Issues that have plagued the nations for centuries. Some say we can but does history provide a different answer?

MARK MAYNARD/howFar Foundation

In spite of the best efforts of the United Nations, global humanitarian aid agencies, and nearly immeasurable funds from the worlds leading super-governments to resolve the worlds most pressing issues the world we live in is broken in many ways. "Evil is abundant, righteousness is rare, crime is increasing, poverty is epidemic, natural disaster is imminent, and even the world as we know it is in jeopardy", Kevin Edwards (The Hope That's Fixed in a World That's Broken).

What is the answer?

I believe with all of my intellect, heart and spirit that there is an answer. It will never be found even by the brightest minds in our greatest universities. It is a supernatural answer and it is an eternal answer. The answer is found in the Word of God.

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." Revelation 21:3-5

To date, howFar Ministries and How Far Foundation are actively working in five of the worlds 60 worst "Failed States". They are DR Congo (5), Kenya (13), Burma (16), Burundi (23), Rwanda (40).


howFar will you go?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Churches, Schools and Kidney Stones - Kigali, Rwanda

What a mission this has been! From Kenya to Burundi, north across the equator and then a southern crossing...several thousand kilometers. God is using howFar to build His church from the Maasia Mara to the mountains of Rwanda.

Three weeks with a high school friend, Jim Kelly and his daughter Elizabeth, has made my time here in East Africa fresh and new because we have taken the time to see things that I have never seen before.

The first half of our mission was exhilarating in every way. Then day 2 in Burundi...where it seemed as though God was allowing me to be "sifted like wheat". I awoke in the middle of the night with the all to familiar symptoms of an oncoming kidney stone. With the closest hospital 200 mile away in Bujumbura what was I to do. Pray. By the grace of God there was a small "clinic" in Murumvya where I received some midnight pain pills and then a rush back to Kigali, Rwanda in the a real hospital.

Three days in the hospital - there is just something wrong with having to sleep under a mosquito net in a hospital - and I was released...still carrying the stone.

I'll not be able to visit DR Congo and the people in Northern Uganda "who wears naked" as my friend Pastor Augustin says. But I know that my driver and friend, Maurice Amadi, is correct when he says, "God had a different plan".

Watch for the full story upon my return to the states.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

First howFar Celebration Banquet Huge Success

April 23, 2010 marked the first annual howFar Ministries and How Far Foundation Celebration Banquet. The event hosted one-hundred twenty of our mission and ministry partners and their guests.

Guests were welcomed by an original oil painting donated by local artist, Phil Bursi. The painting is of a village church the Maynard's visited in 2005. The hand built mud church sits in the palm covered hills of Rabi, Kenya. The area is one hour inland from Mombasa, the largest coastal port in Kenya.

Board Vice-Chairman, Scott Gates, welcomed the guests and shared some of his personal experiences from his mission with a howFar team in Myanmar.

An African themed buffet dinner of Tomato and Cucumber Salad, Groundnut Stew with Chicken and Beef, Rice and Sweet Roasted Plantains was enjoyed by all.

Several additional original oil paintings by Phil Bursi were offered in a Silent Auction. The auction raised $2,200.00 for How Far Foundation, Inc.

The Drummers of Burundi entertained the guests with Burundian folk music and dances. The group is comprised of several members who escaped the 1993 genocide and fled to the US as refugees. Of their music they say, "Africa is the continent of drums, but the drums of Burundi require extraordinary vigor, dexterity, agility and grace. Burundi drums sound like rolling thunderclaps. You don't listen to them with your ears; you listen with your heart."

Our guests were captivated by the sound of the Burundian drums.

After a moving video that captured images of churches, schools and our brothers and sisters in Sub Sahara, Africa howFar founder, Mark Maynard, shared the history and vision of howfar Ministries and How Far Foundation. "Our mission is to obediently take the gospel message to unreached and unengaged people groups and then to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ by offering humanitarian aid that will improve their quality of life".

He went on to explain that howFar plans to maintain its work with the Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania and expand its work among the Batwa Pygmies in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and The DR Congo.

Additionally, he announced that howFar has committed its resources to reaching the unreached and unengaged Ngongo people group. The Ngongo inhabit the deepest forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With no roads leading into their remote villages, and Hutu rebels still active in the area, this will be howFar's most aggressive mission effort to date. No Bible or Jesus Film exisits in the Ngongo language.

Table covers, in African animal prints, were made by the Refugee Sewing Society of Clarkston, Georgia, Clarkston is one of the main entrance points for refugees entering the US. In fact, many of the people groups that we are engaging around the world have refugees living in Clarkston. Our desire is to engage them here as well as in their homeland.

Mark Maynard reminded the guests that everything that has been done through howFar should cause us to celebrate God's goodness, mercy and grace and that it is all for His glory.

Mark reminded the group of our mission question, "howFar will you go?" He asked two questions of the guests.

"First, for those of you who have worked with us and prayed for us and supported us over the years. Will you continue to 'go' with us? Will you go until all that God has chosen for Himself have come in?"

"And for those of you who have come as guest tonight. Maybe you have been moved by what you have seen and heard tonight. Will you consider joining us? Will you 'go' with us?"

"howFar will you go?"

After the Celebration Banquet the Drummers of Burundi mixed with our guests. They taught Burundian dance steps and let them play their drums.

The compelling question at howFar is this, "howFar will you go?" How far will any of us go to fulfill the Great Commission?