Rick's Driving Passion

July 2013

Kelsey in HondurasI grew up traveling the world with my family, so seeing what the other countries have to offer has always been a passion of mine. I went on my first mission trip to Nicaragua in 2005. I went with a team of high school students and we did street evangelism with skits and dramas in the capital city of Managua. That trip birthed a passion in me to not only attend mission trips, but to facilitate them to make them accessible for anyone. I do not believe that traveling all over the world for the sake of the gospel is set aside for a select few. Many people are called to it, but some do not know where to start. I decided I wanted to create an avenue for whoever wanted to go on missions to be able to.

My lead pastor planted his church five years ago in Wesley Chapel, Florida. I told him I thought we should take a team to Uganda, Africa where we have ministry partners that are building a self-sustaining village in the Mbale district. This new concept will revolutionize the way Africans live, by teaching them survival skills that allow them to stop depending on the oppressive government. Our team has the continual opportunity to be a part of this monumental project (onecityministries.org). I had already been to Uganda one previous time with a large group, but I had no experience in leading a team. A team of ten gullible people let a 20 year old lead them into the bush of Uganda. Thank God they all returned alive, although most of us were very sick.

The next year I let my pastor know I'd like to take another team somewhere. We decided to take a team to a partner orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. A shorter and easier trip than Uganda, this one was also a success (with no illnesses). This cycle has continued for the past several years with teams leaving for Honduras every four months and to Uganda every two years.

Because of these experiences at my church, I have the opportunity to begin planning trips for the Nor More Foundation, the non-profit in which I am involved. The No More Foundation exists to call the body of Christ, all churches and all denominations, into action against the social injustices in the world. In the fight against human trafficking, No More has been called to Thailand with Rescue1 (Rescue1Mission.com), which is rescuing children directly out of slavery. There are six orphanages in an area that is deemed the "golden triangle" of trafficking. We will go to this area that is bordered by Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, with Vietnam and China just a few hours away. Buses full of women and children are regularly driving through this funnel to Bangkok to be trafficked to the rest of Southeast Asia and the world. I will be facilitating and leading a team here in August to attempt to rescue children from brothels, to purchase children from families who are selling their youngest child to feed the rest of the family (a common Thai Kelsey in Ugandapractice) and to create a documentary so the church of America can see the reality of slavery in the world. Once these children are purchased, they are placed in an orphanage where they go to school and live but keep constant contact with their family.

I love the opportunity to spend my spare time planning these trips and making life-changing experiences available for anyone who is willing to answer the call and for the people we encounter abroad. The trips are expensive; I don't get paid to do any of it, and getting sick after almost every trip is a bummer. However, all the sacrifice is worth it, knowing the impact that my team and I can have on someone's life and eternity, despite our temporary uncomfortable circumstances.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9