After almost two years of Covid lock-down, I was finally able to make my first international trip in July of 2021. I’ve been waiting to get back to Iraq to see and minister with some very close friends. My friend, Jamal, has faithfully been going to Iraq, particularly the Northern Kurdistan region, for almost 15 years. I’ve gone with him for 13 of those years. We minister to refugees, many who are still in tent camps even though many have now started re-locating to their former homes near Mosul and other areas of Iraq.
WE ARE FAMILY…
Did you just start singing the Sister Sledge song, “We are Family… I got all my sisters with me. We are family, Get up everybody and sing!” I did!
God created us to live in “family” and I love my family. It’s not always been perfect but I’ve been nourished, encouraged and blessed by my family over the years.
Sharon and I recently returned from a wonderful couple of weeks in beautiful Alaska! We didn’t go there just to get colder or to see the beautiful mountains, whales and eagles… thought we saw plenty of them…. We went to see our family! Particularly the birth of our new grandson, Kellen.
WHAT’S UP WITH CHRISTIANS??
I read some pretty interesting stuff recently. I’d love to know what you think… without trying to be exactly what the article is talking about. Here are some excerpts…
Spend two minutes talking to almost anyone outside the Christian faith and you’re almost certain to hear a list of complaints they have about Christians. The problem with many non-Christians isn’t that they don’t know any Christians. The challenge is they do! So what gives?
Many Christians would tell you we have an image problem: we’re treated unfairly, we’re being persecuted, or we’re just badly misunderstood. I’m not so sure.
It’s not so much that Christians have an image problem. It’s far more likely that we have an integrity problem. Do we get misunderstood on some issues? Of course. But that’s outside our control. There are more than a few issues entirely within our control that give us a bad name with people outside Christianity.
Too many Christians come across online as either
- Toxic (Hello angry ranters, trolls and haters);
- Cynical (Yes, we know you’re disappointed with everyone all the time and no one gets it as right as you); or
- Syrupy (So sweet we can’t stand the taste and are not really sure you live in the real world)
Why do so many Christians think their social media feed is a place to show the world their weirdness? It gives the impression that if you’re going to follow Jesus you also need to become socially awkward.
I know people might say “no, I’m just being authentic”. But being authentic does not mean being weird. (I shared my personal criteria for what I share online in the name of authenticity in this post). I think a general rule is if you can’t imagine saying it in real life to a person, you shouldn’t say it online.
If you go to post something and you think, well, that would be braggy if I said that to someone, that’s a healthy check. It means you’d be bragging. So don’t post it. Similarly, if you think “Well, people would just walk out of the room if I said that in real life,” then maybe don’t say it.
If you’re always angry or cynical or all you do is complain online and you think “well, I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone like that in real life,” then that’s a clue that maybe you shouldn’t say it, or be like that.
And if you think “well, then I’ll have nothing to post,” then you’ve likely put your finger on a deeper issue.
Christians, let’s just stop being so weird online, okay?
There’s much more on this subject. If interested, go here for the full article.
It was November of 1989 and Sharon and I were in Frankfurt, Germany. I was singing for a renewal event in a church that was made up of mostly American military from the Rhein-Main Air Base, a United States Air Force air base near the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. I also had the privilege of singing on the base.
That was on November 8th and the next day, on Nov. 9th, the Berlin wall came down! So, off Sharon and I were to Berlin the next day to join in the celebration! I bought a couple of smaller chunks of the wall that the newly free German entrepreneurs had cut out and were selling on the street. One guy even tried to sell me about a 20 lb. chunk of the wall and I told him no thanks! I had no idea how I would get it into my luggage back to St. Louis! When I got back to the states and very saw small fragments of the wall being sold for $10 each, I realized that I could have made a mint off that chunk of the Berlin Wall! Several small “Wall” chunks are still being sold in the US for anywhere from $40 to $400 and much more for larger segments. I think that if they connected all the pieces of the “Berlin Wall” that have been sold to date, you could build the great wall of China. Not sure how one could tell that their piece of concrete is real! I know mine are, I was there and saw them chopped off! (Yes, I’ll sell you a genuine piece for $1000!)
I’ve also seen several full segments of the wall all over the world (even in the Men’s room at a Vegas hotel!!) But there are several segments very near us in Fulton, Missouri on the campus of Westminster College where Sir Winston Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech in March of 1946.
And who can forget US President Ronald Reagan’s famous, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” in 1987.
On December 5th, 2019, Randy Mayfield and a mission team of six members of Central Presbyterian Church left St. Louis on a twelve day mission trip that included visits to Erbil, Kurdistan in northern Iraq and Amman, Jordan. This was Randy’s 12th annual trip to Iraq. With the recent influx of many new refugees from Syria, it was a critical time to help those with many needs. By God’s grace, the team returned home two weeks before the recent hostile incidents with Iran.
The team taught art classes, shared in music, crafts, and games with children in the refugee camps. They participated in training classes where youth and adults learn a trade such as sewing, electrical, hair dressing, art, music, and computer skills. Graduates of the classes received certificates and the tools need to practice their new trade, i.e., sewing machines, barber tools, computer, etc. Our team also met with a group of widows, some of whom shared very heart-wrenching stories of losing their husbands and children to ISIS and in the ongoing wars.
The team also delivered aid to many refugee families including food, clothing, and household goods. Randy also worked alongside the NGO, “Hand of Help” run by our missionary, Jamal. In the Mosul area, Hand of Help is currently rebuilding homes that had been destroyed you ISIS. The families are retiring to Mosel after living in refugee camps in Erbil served by Jamal’s ministry.
As with many of the previous trips to Erbil, the team met with members of the Kurdish Parliament. This time, however, they were presented with a plaque giving thanks and recognition from the Vice President. The team also visited and took supplies to the Peshmerga Army who are guarding the borders between Iraq and Turkey, Syria and Iran.
If you would like more information on Central Missions or would like to be a part of our Mission team, please call or email Pastor Randy or his assistant, Carol Mulick at Central Presbyterian Church at (314) 727-2777 ext. 133. You can email Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you & God bless!
Above: Randy Mayfield sings for the Thanksgiving Day Festival in Kiev, Ukraine
Central Presbyterian Church has been ministering in the country of Ukraine since 1991. We have helped the local church with children and youth camps, trained pastors, planted new churches, provided encouragement and aid to those in need.
The September 2019 trip was focused on evangelism and outreach as pastor Randy joined with local Ukrainian musicians in outreach events in areas where people are really hurting due to the ongoing border war with Russia. Hundreds came to listen to the music and message, and many gave their lives to Christ. We did similar events in churches, town squares, and parks, and at every occasion, there were many who came forward to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Randy also had the opportunity to perform in the annual Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in downtown Kiev where over 100,000 people packed the main street, Khreshchatyk, to hear music, sermons and experience a time of worship.
Click here to view video of Randy performing with the Ukraine Gospel Orchestra.
Shots around Kiev, Ukraine — Thanksgiving Day Festival on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019
The Orchestra was excellent and Randy enjoyed rehearsing and performing with them! A crowd of over 100,000 people gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving Day and pray for Ukraine. Leaders from many Protestant Churches shared in music and the Word.
Beautiful Kiev… or KYIV as they now call it!
Randy and his band, “The All Star Band,” traveled with a team to Kenya, Africa in June of 2019. Their primary goal was to use music to reach and encourage the young people of Kapenguria, West Pokot, Kenya.
During their 10 day tour, they performed in a number of local high schools to more than 2,000 students and they were well received. Randy sang in English, Kiswahili and their native tribal language of Kalengin. They especially enjoyed the Kalengin as they rarely hear a visitor speak or sing in their tribal tongue! (Kinda an Acts. Chapter 2 in the Bible!)