Saturday, January 22, 2011

Unity in Christ

If you read the New Testament, and Paul's letters in particular, the word Unity stands out. It is emphasized as a direct result of living by the Spirit. We are told with it the world will desire what Christians have, and without it the world may see very little difference. Yet from the moment Christ was taken up, and charged the disciples with going into all the world, unity even among brothers and sisters in Christ has become very difficult.

Why then is it no surprise that the World without Christ is full of struggle and violence against one another.  This past Monday, our last full day in South Africa, we took our sons to Soweto just outside of Johannesburg. This was where Apartheid was prevalent, and where the beginning of the end of this horrible concept took place. We visited the Catholic church where the government at the time tried to arrest the leaders of the student movement. Where Shots were fired within a building built for unity. We then visited a museum dedicated in the name of one boy, Hector Pieterson who on June 16, 1976 was shot and killed when during non violent student rallies, the South African police fired into the crowd killing 200 black students that day all over South Africa.

My oldest son, Benjamin, was overwhelmed by what he saw. In fact in some ways the violence that the pictures and movie clips showed made him emotionally sick. Our plan to see the Apartheid Museum the next day was cancelled. When he went to school yesterday the event that he shared, out of all the experiences he had, was about Soweto and the Museum.

I myself had learned that the word Apartheid actually meant in the language, 'Separateness." That this concept much like slavery in our own society was not only allowed by those claiming Christianity, but was backed up by those teaching and preaching at the time. Somehow a concept completely opposite of Unity was being upheld by those in The Church itself.

The deep thought that held in my mind is what might we still be perpetuating in our churches today that is not in God's word, but we have twisted it because it makes us comfortable? And the obvious answer to me is what God revealed through the entire process of this trip. Our Western Culture is so enamored with money and things. We no longer just try to keep up with the Jones, we want to move into a better part of town and drive a better car than Mr. Jones. We use Biblical models to claim that God wants all Christians to prosper financially.

In fact several years ago a small scripture in Chronicles was used to write a book called the prayer of Jabez. Although I don't believe the writer's intentions were wrong, many people took this book as a recipe for the prosperity gospel. That God wanted all Christians to expand their boundaries and prosper without pain. Seemly to forget almost every disciple in the New Testament died a horrible death living out what he believed. Somehow from all the thousands of martyrs in our history we have focused on the small passages of material wealth and prosperity and built much of our "Gospel" upon it.

Are we really any different than those who upheld slavery or separateness within the church? How are we harming many within our world by not only striving for these things, but telling others in really no uncertain terms that if they are not blessed, something with their Christianity must be wrong.

And will there ever be an awakening of the church to "march in the streets", and call out the false gods we have made in the name of comfort? Will we use the resources God has given us to help the poor, and reach the lost in the name of Christ?

What in your "Gospel" are you falsely protecting in the name of comfort?

Thank you so much for following us on this journey. If you want to hear more about what amazing things God took us through while out in Lesotho and South Africa feel free to contact me at or 623-363-3261.

I love you all,
Daniel Scott

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ do care.

We left early the 2nd day to visit the last village in the mountains. Much of the driving would be considered off road. For 2 hours we saw the most beautiful land. You had the mountains and trees along with a river and along the river banks rows and rows of Corn and other food growing not for money but for life.

As we rounded one bend there were around a hundred people just standing to the side of the road. Most were children, many had small flags, and there were 7 men on horse back with red blankets. As we got closer I started hearing the women making the shrill sound with their mouths that means something good is happening. I wondered what these people were so excited about. Then as we grew closer I saw that the flags had "Welcome Pastor Daniel and Family." To be honest I have never been welcomed like this in my life. This is something important people receive, not a family from Buckeye, AZ.

It was an incredible welcome, especially considering we were only there for a few minutes before moving on. Soon the 7 men on horseback began leading our vehicles in a small procession to the World Vision Center in that part of Lesotho. The whole way they were chanting something. When I asked the translator said that were quoting poems about great visitors, and telling people to be joyful. When we arrived there were another 100 people there to great us, and sing to us. We were always given chairs to sit even though almost no one else had a place to sit. A little while later we were off again to the village where sibusisso, one of the boys we support, lived. Down the road there was another group who only came to wave and greet us. As we got close, once again we were greeted by 12 more men on horseback leading us the remainder of the way. We found that all those on horseback were many village leaders from around the area. When we arrived we found near a hundred more there to greet us.

After all of this I had to ask the World Vision staff why the people here made such a big deal about a few visitors from America. He explained that for the first time the people saw that there were actual people supporting them behind just the money. For them it meant not only dollars were given, but in their minds a fellow Christian was showing they really did care.

For us in America where we have it easy having a fellow Christian from another country visit would mean very little. But where life is such a struggle on a daily basis it meant the world to have someone say they love them. I tried to touch everyone of them, I prayed continually that the peace and grace God had for me would rest with them.

How humbled I was to be the one God sent to this village to remind them that HE LOVES THEM!!! They are as important to Him as anyone in His Kingdom. And through them he reminded me how important it is that we as a body of believers encourage one another. Whether that means the village half a world away, or whether that is those down the road in lower Buckeye. We need to love those who don't yet know Him, because we may be the only light of the Father that they might see.

What simple act of kindness can you perform today to remind others of Christ's Love?

Daniel Scott

Friday, January 14, 2011


I wasn't really sure what I should blog about after our first village visit. So many things happened that I could write many pages, and still not related the whole experience. It was like going back in time. Seeing what daily challenges these people face was overwhelming.

They live in small one or two room homes made mostly of stones put together with mud. The roofs are made of grass. If it rains they have to go back the next day and add mud or the walls would eventually eat away.

They survive only on what they can grow or produce. They still plow their field with the few cattle pulling a plow, and milk is straight from the cows. A village may consist of 30-100 people, and may have a few cows and sheep. One of the biggest challenges is just getting any kind of water. Most villages consist of mainly women and children as the men will go out to South Africa to work in the mines, only coming back once a month if their fortunate.

Yet, when we entered the first village we were treated as honored guests. They were extremely excited to see us, and even some from surrounding villages came out to see who we were. They performed many of their cultural dances, and provided an amazing meal. World Vision supplemented what they normally could offer with chicken which the family we visited prepared. Of the dishes offered 3 were different ways to make corn, one was made of sugar beans, and two other of Sorgam including a soup. This was the same in the other villages we visited, and helped my children see that variety in food is something we take for granted. Here the village eats and saves what the ground produces during the growing season for the entire year.

While we were there they also allowed me to participate in a couple of their activities such as plowing and milking. They all got a laugh out of how poorly I could milk a cow. You would think coming from Texas I would have some sort of clue, but I failed miserably. The little bit of milk I got out was quite pathetic compared to the bowl full the young teenage boy produced right after me.

Then they set me to plowing with the oxen. With their expertise all their rows are nice and straight. I ruined all of that with a couple of "s" rows right in the middle. I hope I didn't add a few hours to their work. Through all of it we laughed  together. In fact I smiled so much that day my face hurt.

The biggest thing I took away from the first day was that although their lives were far more difficult than mine, and yet even in the midst of this hardship they could sing hymns and praises to God. Most of the villagers are Christians. Most of the villagers own 2 or 3 sets of clothes, 1 of which is used for occasions like today, or for worship on Sunday.

I was convicted that I complain when my TV signal goes out, or my car has a problem. I don't think I have ever worried that if my plants don't grow I won't eat. Yet their faith in God is not nearly effected by their circumstances. Their life is far more difficult than mine, and yet they are thankful for God's provision all the same.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Day in Lesotho

Well the final flight ended on a small runway in Maseru, Lesotho. The airport is smaller than the one where I live in Buckeye, AZ. If your first thought was where is that, I say, exactly. We step off the plane with the 12 or so people who flew in with us. We immediately go to customs, which is a single guy at the desk who stamps your passport and some papers. We look over to get our luggage, and of the 5 bags, we're missing 2. The good thing is it's mine and the boys. We still have the clothes and toys donated to the villages, and Mindy's clothes.

We meet the World Vision staffer in the airport as we wait to tell the airlines of the missing bags. His name is Julius, and he is an incredible guy. He start off 11 years ago as a representative for his village with World Vision, and has since come to the main city of Maseru to work with the national office. He is extremely gracious. As we drive from the airport which is a good 20 minutes from the main part of the city we see these huge ant mounds. I'm wondering what huge ants would come pouring out of there. He pulls over so we can investigate. Matthew stays in the vehicle probably afraid that anything that could build mounds these sizes would have no problem devouring a 6 year old. He's seen too many fire ants in Texas come pouring out of disturbed mounds to take that chance. Julius walks over and kicks the mound, and the thing is like cement. I guess they use mud to build it, and then it dries. Finally, even I step away as he finds a large rock and opens the mound up. Much to my disappointment only a few very small termite look alikes coming slowly trampling out. How they ever built anything that buig walking that slowly is beyond me.

As we continue to drive on some very nice roads we see very little traffic. Most people who work in Maseru the capital, walk to work from surrounding areas. There was alot of foot traffice. Of course animals and those looking after them were just ambling down the roads as well. When we finally get to the city I ask Julius if we can stop to get some bottled water, a SIM card, and local currency. We pull up to a large 2 story building that would be equivalent to a small strip mall in the US. It even has a small food court where we eat our first meal in Lesotho. At least here the food establishments were very westernized. My youngest son even got to have his life staple of chicken nuggets.

We proceed to the national office where we met a couple of staffers. They told me most people who visit the children they support come from Australia, and a few church groups from the US. At this point I wonder how they can say we might be the first whites to visit a couple of the villages we are going to until we find out that there are over 1300 villages helped through 13 ADP's (world vision outposts). Of course this doesn't even come close to providing help to the whole country. They will be creating 2 more ADP's this year. 7 of the ADP's are American supported. They include support for 29,000 children, and citizens in Australia, Singapore, and Taiwan support 11,000 more. In the already established ADP's there are over 40,000 more children waiting to be sponsored.

We then head to our "bed and breakfast". As we pull up, 8-10 foot cinder block walls surround it. When we get through the gate, we see a bunch of small building some attached, others apart that look like small huts. It reminds me more of a compound than a hotel. We check in and get to our rooms, which are quaint but relatively nice. The bathrooms are definitely old, and cracks showing throughout. Probably a 2 star in the states.

We are completely exhausted. The boys fell asleep any number of times from the airport to the stores to the national offices. But before we take naps, Ben decides he wants me to go with him and explore the compound. As we walk around something from the bushes startles him. Yes, walking in the middle of our "hotel" is a chicken...well that's what I thought until Ben points out that it's actually a rooster, and from here on out I will call him "Legion." For although there aren't many, as you'll see, there might as well have been.

We got in our rooms at 3:00 p.m. local time, and took a 4 hour nap. We woke up in time to go get something to eat for dinner in the "dining room". We were told it would be wise for white visitors especially with children not to be out and about after sun down. As we walk in I saw something strangly familiar. There on the television in the dining area was a tv, and it was guessed it WWE SMACKDOWN!!! The TV choices were much like Thanksgiving at my grandmother's in Star City Arkansas growing up. 5 channels none particularly appealing. So for all of dinner we got to watch scantily clad people throw each other around and poorly act. I wonder what people in Lesotho think about our culture!

After dinner we go to bed. I was sleeping great until I heard what Paul might call a thorn in my flesh, namely "Legion" at 3:30 in the moring begin to cry out every 30 seconds. Yes this was not a Lesotho rooster. Because any rooster worth his name would know you wait until sunup to annoy everyone. No this rooster was from 4 time zones away. I am currently writing this blog post at 5:00 am because I couldn't go back to sleep. I am praying that maybe rooster will be on the dinner menu tonight. Otherwise, I may be forced to have spiritual warfare with "Legion" consisting of me ringing it's neck!!!

By the way our last two pieces of luggage did arrive. Pray for us we are on to visit the villages today!

Daniel Scott

Not enough time?

After 12 hours in the air, Benjamin looks over at me with a smile and says, "Dad this isn't much different than home." On the one hand, the trip in the air was going much better than expected. The boys were entertained with borrowed Nintendo DS's, and the plane had any number of movies and video games on the screens in front of each seat. On the other hand it was very convicting, because it reminded me of how in everyday life we have found a way to distract ourselves with meaningless things so as to lose what should be most important.

My own plans had been to read a couple of book, and do some studying in God's word. We were going to be in the air for 21 hrs, and in the airports for another 8. More than one day worth of time, and given that I got very little accomplished. The plane was dark which made for a convenient excuse not to read even though a light was a button away. Also, they had any number of new and old movies to distract me and entertain me. But really it was just easier. Yes I was tired and didn't sleep but maybe 4 naps of less than an hour, but as I said before they were excuses.

Maybe Ben was right, the plane is just like home. How many times have I had time to meet with God, and instead I found something else to do. As a pastor that might mean "ministry" or good ole fashion work for God, but what should be the most important things like my relationship with God first, then my family, and with those around me, becomes time lost to NFL, Burn Notice, and the internet.

The worst part is we think instead of going to God with our problems, and spending time daily in His word and on our knees, and making time to worship him with a body of believers, our lives will be better and far easier just to distract ourselves from what's going on.

What is distracting you?

Daniel Scott

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Have you ever asked the question what can I do?

A few months ago when we started talking about this trip with my boys, My oldest son Benjamin found a World Vision Catalog. In it for Christmas you could give monetary gifts that would be used to buy livestock such as Goats, cows, and chickens for those who it could become a sustainable source of food and income. He began to ask questions, and at one point looked up and said dad we can get 4 chickens and a goat for $50. I almost have $50 in my bank, can I help? (He really only had about half) I was very proud that he recognized and desired to help. But as Christmas came up, and new toys came out, he found himself wanting to spend his money on those things as well. The battle that we all deal with of wanting things for ourselves and giving to others had already begun.

Rewind to the summer and I get a call from my wife who was at a Women of Faith Conference. Although we were already supporting two children on a monthly basis, one from World Vision, and one from Compassion, she felt like we needed to support some more. There were so many children who needed help. After discussing what to do, and with the current financial place we were in, it came down to the question what were we willing to give up. Mindy immediately said our weekly eating out at Chick-Fil-A.

Now this was our families favorite place, and almost a sacred time we set aside with the family. I have loved Chick-Fil-A since working there as a teenager, and the kids loved their food and playing. Since kids ate free on Mondays, we could feed all 6 of us for $20. By cutting that out, the $80 we saved a month could support 2 more children. Once again I appreciated my wife being willing to give something up she enjoyed for a kingdom goal. (My children also gave it up, but they didn't have a choice this time :)

All of this really has me thinking about how often in my life I rarely sacrifice anything. When I made alot of money I gave alot, but I could afford to give. I still had everything I wanted and more. It wasn't really much of a sacrifice. Our culture has so influenced The Church and Christian philosophy. I see everywhere in scripture where following God meant sacrifice. But we as believers have set it up differently. Instead of sacrificing our resources of time, money, and gaining true joy as God intended, we have exchanged the Biblical model for what makes us comfortable.

Those who have extra time serve. We create our schedule according to our desires, and then fit the things of God around the schedule. Men, how often do we give up watching the big game, or those hobbies we love like golf, to go to prayer meeting (For our church it's Tuesday nights at 7:00 in the offices), or serve with the youth (Wednesdays at 7:00). Women what in your schedule do you have that you can give up? (Don't say your kids lol :) What if instead of finding time to serve God, we made time by sacrificing something else.

Those who have money give, but not often sacrificially. Giving of our resources is hard enough in itself, but are you giving out of abundance, or does it ever hurt.

During the last month I reminded Ben he had to decide whether he wanted a new toy or give to those we were visiting. He vacillated back and forth, probably like we all do. Finally he decided he would buy a $10 soccer ball for the village which was about half of what he had. Reluctantly at first, my youngest son decided to followed suit. I was proud of them, but I wasn't going to make a decision for them.

At the same time, watching them reminded me of all the decisions I make on a daily basis. This life is difficult, and I am selfish. We are offered so many choices, and most of the time I still find myself choosing what's in my best interest, and makes me most comfortable.

So I'm asking you the same questions I'm asking myself. What has God asked you to give up for His service? If it's not really costing you much, you probably need to ask the question again!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why Lesotho, Why Now?

To understand why we are headed to Lesotho you have to know a little about the walk of faith that God took me through to bring me out to help start a church out in Buckeye, AZ. It is really the basis for why I'm taking my wife and boys to Lesotho to visit the 3 children we support through World Vision.

God proved so faithful to take care of us in so many ways during that journey. At one point God supplied a large financial blessing that took care of us for over a year while we were preparing to move out to AZ, and while at the same time our family expanded from 4 to 6.

In Dec 2006 my car that was 11 years old and had 169,000 miles finally gave out. I had desired to get rid of this vehicle for years. Before, while we both had good paying jobs my thought was to get a nice sports car. Of course God always had different plans, and constantly prodded me to keep the vehicle even though it had no hub caps. In fact when my son Ben saw any car without hub caps while riding with mommy he would scream that it was daddy's car.

I had been praying for quite some time about what vehicle to buy. When the Altima gave out I found myself purchasing a 2 year old Sonata. The cost for the vehicle was $16500. The very next day while investing the money God had provided the account gained 17k in one day. I remember vividly that God wanted me to pay off my vehicle immediately. Of course I thought I knew more than God. If I could make 17k in one day why would I pay off a car that I had a 3.25% interest rate on. 3 months later I lost 17k in one day. I didn't really connect the dots until I was out here as pastor on a much smaller salary complaining to God about my expenses being to much. God reminded me that I was making a car payment that if I was obedient I would not be making. I began to understand that you can't walk in faith without obedience to the one you claim to entrust your life with.

Which brings us to a few months ago. We were blessed once again financially in a time where our savings were coming to an end. This time I immediately paid off my vehicle, and was so excited that God had given us a savings account with a little over 14k in it. A few days later, I was traveling the quiet road from our community to the City of Surprise, and praising God for His faithfulness and care. Then God spoke to me very clearly, telling me I needed to take my boys to visit the children we support in Lesotho.

You have to know that I have never owned a passport. I have never had a desire to go outside the United States. I lived in Texas all my life and never even visited Mexico.

My natural man wanted to be able to keep money in the savings account for just in case. But after a quick thought about the last time I tried to be a better money manager than God, I quickly called my wife and informed her of what we were being called to do. My wife is incredible. While many wives might have questioned their husbands to death my wife was all in. We set up appointments to get our passports, and soon found a travel agent who could help us with our visit. Interesting enough our cost was going to be a little more than 14k. Just what we had in our savings account.

As we have continued to prepare many people in our church family have asked how they can help. They have provided the funds that we will use to buy the villages' groceries while we're there, and provide school supplies, ect. for the children in the villages.

God has made it clear that although my wife and I may receive new insight through this experience, this visit is really for my sons. I'm excited to be able to invest in my children, and maybe even generations afterward. I dream about how God might show himself glorified in them throughout their lives.

For me as I'm sure it is for some of you reading this, it's still hard letting go financially. I have always tried to control this area of my life, and in reality it has controlled me much of the time. But I'm grateful that God won't let me withhold anything from Him. Because through this entire journey I have learned the less I hold back and try to control things,  the more fun the ride gets!!!