road-blocks Interesting enough, when Rev. James A. Kelly first met Steven, the husband of Jenny, he told him, “You will not succeed in ministry, and that you will hit several roadblocks. But Steven was very sick and was a little bit confused. He also said I had left my first love. His first love other than Jesus Christ was missions.

Rev. Kelly has hit several roadblocks, but according to him, whenever there is a roadblock, always take the detour. Roadblocks have delays, but sometimes roadblocks lead to better roads than what a person has been traveling.

The family of Rev. James Kelly sacrificed much to go through the College of Maasin, but he had been assured if he did this, he would be accepted as an United Church of Christ in the Philippines ordained pastor.

The UCCP NORWESCON Conference did accept him as an American missionary. He was consecrated and commissioned as a diaconal minister for youth and campus ministry and is continuing this even today.

From 2009-2016 he stood up with all the other ordained pastors. But at the 22nd United Church of Christ in the Philippines of the Northern-Western Samar Conference everything changed.

Rev. James Kelly is not a proud pastor, although he has taken pride in everything that he accomplishes. It was decided that due to his health and being assigned as a youth and campus pastor, he could no longer provide ministerial services. He was prohibited from wearing the pastoral robe and stoles. This hurt his wife so badly, she has not come back to church since June 2016.

Rev. Kelly doesn’t have to be appreciated, but he has volunteered his services, and at not time has the conference even appreciated his services that he and his family has provided.

It was suggested by a third party that all the conference did to Rev. Kelly was to provide a false hope, and now no hope of him being accepted as an UCCP Pastor.

At first this devastated the family of Rev. Kelly as it would, anyone who takes their ministry seriously and who spent so much time, money and energy trying to fit into the UCCP NORWESCON. Rev. Kelly spent eight years going through the process of being accepted as an UCCP Pastor.

However, this is not how he feels today, and the Lord has renewed his ministry and has even increased his borders. He knows that God is not done with him and his family. He does not work for a church or conference, he works for the Lord.

Even the school taught every ordination comes from God, but men confirms that ordination. Many people have confirmed Rev. Kelly’s ordination, especially the Youth and campus ministry students.

All of this means one thing, “God wants to do something new” in the life of the Rev. Kelly family. To make a way where there seems to be no way, or to make a spring in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:18-19). At the time Rev. James Kelly could not see this but today Rev. Kelly and his can thank God for the roadblocks his family encounters, because there expectation for the Rev. Kelly family that God wants to do something special in their lives!

 

An Old Direction

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    Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a new way in the desert and streams in the wasteland Isaiah 43:18-19

There was a time I thought talking about my past would help others deal with issues they may be facing. However, the Lord has told me, to take this in a new direction.

One of the duties of Christians, is to build one another up. This has always been the idea behind the ministry of Eagle Wings Ministry International.

For the last eight years our family has been working with Eagle Wings Ministry International here in the Northern-Western Samar Conference of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.

In 2002 Eagle Wings Ministry International began to work with single parent families, and after school programs in various communities.

Actually around 1977-1978 I met a young girl by the name of Jenny at church camp. We became close friends, and actually throughout our life, we have been like brother and sister.

Her father was a substitute teacher, and also a Sr. Master Sergeant, in the United States Air Force. For about thirty years, I have been like an adopted family member of this family. I was invited to most family outings, usually for Christmas and Easter. As a matter of fact, for most of those years Jenny and I decorated the family Christmas tree together, and we had to place every ornament that Jenny made on the tree.

Jenny would eventually marry, and they would and they would live in various places, at one point they were living in Pennsylvania. Her husband attained a job at an university library and if this job would work out, Jenny and her family would have been set for life.

Due to some very bad decisions by her husband, her life became entangled in betrayal, deceit and lies. It will not benefit us to discuss this any further, but to show that God is faithful, we needed to mention this part. Jenny had no control on what had happened and she would have to rely upon God in ways that she never had to before, and it had strengthened her relationship with God, and others.

In 2002 our lives would once again be united, while our presence with each other was not always constant, it was always consistent, due to modern day technology.

The decision was made for her and her girls to move back into Indiana where her parents lived, and it would be here God was preparing me for a new ministry but with a twist.

Jenny had two girls, Amanda was the oldest, but had the most difficulty with this move. She was very intelligent, a honor roll student, an avid reader, writer, and was an expert with a computer. She could write and speak in eight different languages including Japanese and Chinese. This later would be the tool God would use to give Amanda and me rapport with each other. Amanda was also an excellent artist but due to the decisions of her father, it really affected her in a bad way for the rest of her life.

Hayley was an elementary student, smart, but very bashful, but her and I had rapport from the very start but she would not talk much. She was the outgoing of the two girls, she loved riding her bike, going to the park, skateboarding, among other outdoor activities.

Jenny was busy remodeling their house, and due to the paint, Amanda was not able to stay in the house at this time. They would live with their grandparents until the remodeling was close enough for them to move in.

At the same time Jenny was trying to juggle her assignments as a substitute teacher, which the income was good, but the assignments were not consistent. She was forced to find other work.

I had mentioned to her about Eagle Wings Ministry International and asked her to come on board as a supervisor, as I felt I need some kind of accountability. She agreed, and I was going through some state approved job training, and the job coordinator agreed that this would be a great way for me to get practical experience, although it would be a volunteer service. This is how Eagle Wings Ministry (International would be added later on, this will be explained later).

My responsibilities would be to be at the house before the girls got home, I would be responsible for helping Hayley with home work assignments, preparing food, which I was not always the best cook, fortunately Jenny could correct many of my mistakes. And let’s just say Macaroni and Cheese was not my favorite dish to cook, and it was the favorite of Hayley.

Fortunately, Hayley liked Hot dogs and that was something even I could do. I also could do Tacos, and other things. Jenny just did not want the girls to be by their selves. The girls were able to do most things by themselves, which freed me up to do other things, and so normally I would just have to check on them, while doing other tasks that was given me to do.

Jenny could not afford to pay for my services and I had come up with a  Scripture from the Bible; it is found in Matthew 10:8:

     As you have freely received, freely give.

 

This became an objective in the ministry Christ had entrusted to me. God would later increase my borders in ways none of us saw coming.

This ministry would help others in the community as I was working with after school programs, mowing lawns, raking leaves, shoveling snow, washing and waxing cars for single families and the elderly or just to help others, I realized that ministry would be a big part of my life, I just never realized how big.

I did these things in order that someone’s life would be a little brighter, I would talk to the lonely and do what I could.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of Amanda (Mandy) L. Studdard on June 3,2010 she lost the struggle of life, and the Lord called her home. This is why I have dedicated my life in helping youth and campus ministry students, that they would come to know the plans God has for them.

    I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm, to give you a future with hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

Amanda was the one girl I wanted to reach for the Lord, but all I can do now, is to entrust her to the Lord, but most of her life, she considered me her youth pastor. All I can say is that God truly understands all of us!

Through earlier years Amanda and I would be able to help each other, as in 2006 I met a Filipino woman named, Eden and she would forever change my life, by Hayley and Amanda would be a big help to me.

As a closing note: our young people and families are under attack, and they face temptations and dangers that was not present in my generation. We need to keep our children and families under the covenant of prayer and this blog is now becoming a ministry tool to reach others.

Again I have given enough information how Eagle Wings Ministry International got started and I cannot go into further details as this will be covered in a book that Jenny is writing. Just know God does work in ways that we never see coming, but in ways that will help all of us to mature and grow in the grace of God!

 

 

Is Flirting As Harmless As It Seems?

 

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Most people would agree that extramarital relationships are wrong. They would also agree that sex before marriage is also a sin. But it seems that flirting may be okay. What harm could flirting be.

This is what Satan wants us to think! There is nothing wrong with flirting, everyone seems to be doing it. But if a person is married, I wonder how the spouse would feel?  Shouldn’t our husband or wife be the number one person in our lives?

Many ministers have run away with their secretaries, and it all could have started with a causal look or compliment, such as wow, your hear smells terrific or you look beautiful today.

On the internet women sometimes dress provocatively, and sometimes barely at all. But then, the question they should ask themselves, ” Is this how I want to be remembered?”

What ladies fail to realize is this: men are motivated by what they see, the more they see, the more they want.  Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes. Proverbs 27:20. Once a man sees you dressed provocatively, it is hard to get that image out of their heads. They will even remember the first nude picture they saw even as a teenager.

Women are motivated by what they feel, of course they are also turned by good looks, but their eyes are satisfied, but their feelings can be a problematic. We see this in the Samaritan Woman and Jesus offers Living Water. She is known as the woman at the well.

She seems like a wonderful woman, but she has been in six different relationships. Whether we are referring to pornography or ongoing relationships, none of these things will satisfy our souls.

These things will take us farther than we want to go. I lost a wife of seventeen years because of my involvement in pornography. Although I am not like this today, I regret a lot of the things I have done in my youth.

Ted Bundy was a great looking guy who was addicted to pornography, but for him, pornography took him further than he wanted to go. He started out peeping at ladies undressing. Then he became frustrated and angry and he began raping and killing his victims. He may have killed as many as 100 women. His youngest victim was a thirteen year old which led him to the Florida’s electric chair. Yes, sin, no matter what form it may take, will take us farther than we want to go.

This year, as we have just begun a new year, let us, ask ourselves a simple question, “Are we walking in a manner worthy of our high calling. How we treat others will come back to us, some people refer to as “karma”.

As we begin a new year, I want to be more Christ like. I want to be able to do the right way. I made out forty New Year’s Resolution. The first one is this: “I have made a covenant with my eyes, not to look lustfully at a girl Job 31:1.

Job was a godly man who loved and feared God. If he felt the need to make a covenant with his eyes, I know I too need to make a covenant with my eyes. Especially, in today’s technology age.

God has given me a new lease on life and ministry. I love both my wife and my son, and I never want to hurt them. I want to use the Bible to live my life. I am not holier than anyone else. I am simply a man, who has a heart after God, and want to serve him. God wanted me to write this, to encourage us to live with and for Him.

I pray all will have a Happy New Year as we have begun a new year. I also hope it will be a prosperous New Year for you as well. I love all of you in the Lord and seek His blessings for each and everyone of you!!

Living within an Interracial Family

american-filipinoThis is not my family. However, I just want to share how much I love my family. I never really thought I would be in a position to marry an Asian. The Lord had a different plan for me. It is has been filled with much rewards and challenges.

My wife is upset doesn’t want to talk. I on the other hand, like to get everything out in the open as soon as possible. Although there are American foods available in the Philippines, many Filipinos prefer to eat like Filipinos, and I still love American food.

One thing you may not realize about Filipinos, most speak and write Filipino. My wife’s name is Ms. Edena Cabanza Aticaldo-Kelly and we have one child, a son, named Stanley David Aticaldo Kelly born March 8, 2010. He is a very handsome young boy. He is also very smart. He can speak and write in Tagalog, Wray-Wray dialects and English. As a matter of fact he gets better grades in Filipino than he does English.

He is very hyperactive and can be naughty at times, but he has a great love for God, even at age 6 and he cares about everyone. He loves building things with Lego blocks and loves video games. As a matter of fact, even at age 6 his is quite the computer expert.

My wife is very supportive, and Filipinos tend to be more nurturing than most American. women. Filipinos are very family oriented while most Americans tend to be more individualized. I love my wife and son, and I am glad that both Eden and Stanley are a part of my lives.

I lived in foster families all of my life, the family I became connected with was not even a foster family by the state, it was one that God brought us together. One of the sisters out of this family is very protective of both Eden and Stanley. There is no problem with her being accepted as part of our family when we return to the United States, and there are friends who are more like brothers and sisters to me that will love both of them . It is apparent that even in the midst of challenges that living with a Filipino can bring, the rewards are even better.

There were very few people, who felt this relationship would last. Even one pastor said, what will you do when reality sets in? Well reality has set in, and I have a beautiful wife, and a handsome son, and going into 2017, reality looks pretty good so far!!

 

 

What Has Changed?

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President Obama has said, during his inauguration speech in 2008, Change has come to America?

Yesterday, I turned on the T.V., I was watching CNN, and saw 20 to 30 year old men and women, destroying property, looting businesses, setting fire to Charlotte. Some individuals were assaulted. All of this was a result because a black police officer, shot and killed another black person.

One of my foster moms once told me, “Jimmy two wrongs never make a right!” From my understanding, this individual who happen to be black, had a gun in his hand. It is tragic that a black man lost his life, but could it be, that man, made the mistake and not the police officer.

Many want to blame the police officer, but most policemen and policewomen do not want to pull their guns. They simply want to go back to their families and friends who love them very much!!

Here is what has changed, I was born December 16, 1959. I grew up in different foster homes from 1959-1980. Moms usually did the disciplining and the punishing of us children.

Many times I ended over my mother’s knee and she would have no problem, pulling my pants down and spanking me with her dreaded hair brush, as I go older there was a wooden paddle or the much more dreaded switch. What was the result of this:

  1. I learned to respect and obey my parents
  2. I learned to respect my teachers and elders
  3.  I learned to respect my own property and the property of others
  4.  I learned to obey
  5. The hands were the devil’s workshop and therefore, we were kept busy doing chores around the house and outside.

I also learned the value of church, and I was a Seventh Day Adventist in my early childhood until I was 14. I moved into another foster home, and that family went to the Christian church and later, I would become a Christian Missionary Campus Ministry Pastor. This is what I am still doing today.

When we take God, The Bible, Prayer and Discipline from our homes, and schools, and elected officials have no respect for any of these: The results is change comes that we probably will not like nor want.

 

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Many of you will remember Jackson State University and Kent University, in the midst of protests, national guardsmen shot and killed several students, and wounded many more.

In Charlotte, N.C., we have a similar scene. As a matter of fact, we have not been this divided in our country over race, since the 60’s and 70’s. George Santayana is quoted as saying, “Those who fail to learn from their past, is doomed to repeat it. Yes, it appears the USA is repeating history that most of us, would rather not remember and especially not repeat. May God have mercy on the United States of America!  But once again we have another president leadership that has failed us. May God send us a true leader this November 8, 2016, when America will choose a new president, and other elected officials. May God give each voter wisdom in their choices that they make.

The good news is this: NO MATTER WHO BECOMES PRESIDENT, JESUS CHRIST IS STILL ON THE THRONE. There is nothing that is going to change that!

FFA Chaplain

 

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Jimmy, did not accomplish a lot of things in his life.

However, one of his greatest achievements, would follow him for the better part of his life. This will be seen later on in this blog.

He was elected as Future Farmers of America Chaplain of the Caston Educational Center, Future Farmers of America Chapter. He was elected from 1977-1980 when he graduated. Future Farmers of America uses the abbreviations FFA.

He loved being a part of the FFA activities, he would excel in FFA Popcorn sales. From 1977-1980 he was in the top ten of FFA Popcorn sales. He also did well in essay and speaking contests.

He also won 1st in the chapter and regional contests of Horse Proficiency and would go on and win 2nd in the Indiana State Horse Proficiency Contest in 1979.

Jimmy always wanted to be a missionary pastor, he felt God leading him in that direction. It would be many years before that would become a reality, but serving as the FFA Chaplain for four years, would serve him well, and it would give him respect and confidence that he would need later on in life.

As one can see, winning horse proficiency and popcorn sales, would not nearly be as important as becoming a FFA Chaplain, for the experience he would gain here, would last a life time.

It was in this area, that he would meet a new family, the Cramers. Senior Master Sergeant, who was a substitute teacher, became his mentor and like a father to him. They both became close like father and son.

Interesting Senior Master Sergeant created a youth ministry program, and it was in these early years, that this mentor would become most important way, that no one ever saw coming. Jimmy would become an excellent youth minister, due to the many challenges he would face in his life.

It is amazing how little opportunities like this; will lead a person on to big and better things. He really needed this to help in other challenges he would face and God and Country would become a big part of his life. Jimmy received the favor of God in his achievements, and he would never forget how God allowed him to achieve great things in his life.

 

The Storms of Life

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The Storms of Life can occur at any time.

Life seems to go by so fast; people come and people go. Some are a blessing, while others are in our lives, to teach us lessons we need to learn.

Even if I pass by only this once, I pray that in some way, I will be a blessing to you, in some small way!

Some people wish for plenty of money, fame, and fortune, fancy cars and fancy gadgets.

I live in pain every day! Wishing that one day, all the ugly boils on my body would be gone. I hate to go outside, where people laugh and jeer at me. I love to write, but at times I have to go outside. I don’t what is worst, the boils, or the ridicule I face.

This makes me feel the pain of others, who have gone my way. A friend like Mark, while a teenager lost his nephew, in a very tragic way. I still remember the picture in the newspaper, the most dreaded day. How do you survive such a loss, and wonder why such an innocent child had to be killed on such a beautiful day.

Then Pat McCarty never done anyone any harm, that I remembered, but the storms of life was too much for him to bear; he ended up taking his own life. Not realizing the pain he would leave behind, in his classmates. One was a beautiful young lady named Jo Teel. She is always remembered of what he met to her.

Then there is Kay Fields, a lively but seemingly trouble maker, and it might be easy to judge her, but as a teenager she lost her best friend Debbie.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The question we must ponder is why so many storms in our lives? I read a quote the other day, not sure who wrote it; I found on Facebook. Young people are complaining how life treats them; better buckle up butter cup, you haven’t seen anything yet!

Storms may hit us at any time, and they may seem bigger than we are, and they are. Jesus is bigger than the storms, and he can comfort any storms that may come our way.

I also have a new friend, she has been divorced twice; but in her posts, you can see a twinkle in her eye, purple is her color. With the storms of life come disappointments, failures, regrets and even tears; but in the midst of the storm: In the very eye of the storm, there is a calm and peace, and to us, this becomes Jesus Christ in our life’s storms.

What I have found no matter, how people treat us, always be good to them, for you do not know what burden that person may be carrying. Remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Yes life is not always fair. But I remember this quote by Chuck Swindoll. “The older I get, the more I realize, only 10 percent of what happens to us, really matters. The 90 percent that matters most, is how we respond to what happens to us.”

I can look back at most of my classmates and say, you know I am proud of you! I have seen your struggles, and I now understand you completely now. If not for the storms of life, would we be as refined as we are after the storms come. The storms only last for a time, but our growth from the storms, last a life time!