Wednesday, December 12, 2007


It’s the Holidays and Thanksgiving has just past. Which, traditionally, is a time to reflect on things that matter…things like family, friends, values, way we live our lives and start thinking about New Years resolutions. Often it is a time to give thanks as well.

We hear the Psalms speaking about “entering His courts with praise & thanksgiving…” and “giving thanks for His everlasting kindness”. Just the same - Paul’s command to the church to simply “be thankful”. It also seems to be a mark that Jesus looked for. (i.e. the ten lepers). Gratefulness is an appropriate & fitting response to what has been given to us, whether deemed miraculous or not. I sometimes think I would be more grateful if I saw more spectacular “signs” from the Divine. A bit foolish on my part. However, if I’m not grateful for the ordinary things of life, like clean water, friends, safety, a warm bed, a mom, a dad, a brother, food, tough times, good times, my 96 Saturn (which occasionally makes me curse), some rather remarkable friends & supporters, my handicapped friend John (who is one of the most forgiving people I have ever met), and living with in a place where people “get” me.

Gratitude seems to mean something to God. He looks for grateful hearts. A grateful heart produces a humility and authenticity in us that becomes a beautiful aroma synonymous with God’s Kingdom existing not only in our hearts, but also in the planet. Taking time to be thankful blesses God’s heart, brings us perspective, makes us give generously, and pushes us to make an intentional effort serve the poor & needy as a lifestyle. (not make build bigger programs)

Our selfish hearts & society, tell us that more is better. Better houses, cars, occupations, ministries, just insert your own object here. Bigger, better, faster, and economic growth ar the magic words. Yet, the Cross of Christ calls us to simplicity, gratefulness, and love. Jesus started out in things like a stable and a feeding trough, doesn’t get much simpler than that! But that is precisely what makes him Emmanuel. He walked among us!

So as we go thru the season, let’s remember Emmanuel and live grateful lives, in light of that fact that He is with us.

Much Love,

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What a guy like me writes about on Halloween...

Hi Friends,

Sorry I haven’t updated you guys in a while. It’s been a real adjustment being back this side. I don’t think I’ll be shaking off my 3 months in Africa any time soon. Africa is one of those kinesthetic places. It must touched, felt, and experienced. In other words…yes I’m going back. Most of you probably already knew that, but just in case. I’ll head back in February for another stay. You’re always welcome for a visit!

So what am I doing in the mean time you ask? Well, I just came back from spending a week in Minnesota and Wisconsin, speaking and sharing on behalf of Ten Thousand Homes. I have the privilege of spending a good amount of time sharing about Ten Thousand Homes and what God is doing in Africa, His heart for the orphan, and His desire to see the Church engage the largest pandemic the world has ever seen. Just in case you were wondering, there are 13 million orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa right now! 15 million by 2010. I wonder what grief God must feel when He sees such suffering?
I wonder many times, “how in the world will we reach these orphans?” The need is incredible! Overwhelming! But then I think of this sweeping pandemic and then I think of how much love God possesses. He isn’t short on love, only short on the people who are willing to give it away.

When I read Scripture I see 2 laws - as Jesus put it: Love God, Love your neighbour. In the story of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25-37), Jesus redefines who our neighbour is. You know the story. A complete stranger cares for another. Two people who are complete strangers, have seemingly nothing in common, and are typically avoided by each other – even hated (for those who’re familiar with the history of the figures Jesus uses). I know Africa seems so far away, maybe all we know is what we see in the news or on tv. But Africa is a real place, with real people, who really hurt! Well, you get the point, right?
Jesus has a great way of ending stories...“Go and do likewise.” Love your neighbour as yourself.

Personally, I’m compelled – would go so far as mandated - to respond the orphan crisis. Not only because it’s the right thing to do (which it is), not only because I must back my claim to be someone who values what God values (like the 2100 times the poor are mentioned in the Bible), but rather because of the deep, intrinsic value of God’s people and His inexhaustible, baffling, even reckless love! To quote Jeremy, “God is looking for the slightest excuse to be a father to the fatherless.”

Your Friend,
Dave Henry

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Home For Now

Hi Friends,
Well I’m home now. Just a few days ago, a plane landed at JFK and I was on it. It’s definitely a mix of emotions. New Haven and South Africa have a special place in my heart. Being in Africa has really made America feel like more of an idea than a place. As stark as the difference may feel, I have to remind myself of how similar the two are. Both filled with people who want to belong, be fathered, and have hope for tomorrow.

For now I wanted to update all of you on how things are with “Z”. For those of you who might remember, I stayed with her and her brother for a few days. (Please refer to August blog.) They are orphans who live in Masoyi on their own. No parents, no real safety, very little to call their own.
As of last week, we were able to purchase land for them to have their own home. Their current living situation has put them in a vulnerable situation and they are easily taken advantage of – mostly for the little money they have. This has happened more than once.
Here’s a picture of the land that will very soon have “Z’s” home on it. It doesn’t look like much now, but soon it will be a safe place for “Z” and her daughter and younger brother.
Z is just one of many. Our dream is make sure that many more just like her are recipients of hope, Christ, as well as a home. I will keep you updated on how things are going for “Z”, her daughter, and her younger brother.

I leave Africa with the assurance that this is just the beginning of something very profound. Africa is a significant piece of the dream in my heart. As my friend Ken said to me once, “Living your dream isn’t easy.” Being part of pioneering something in Africa on behalf of the orphan and widow is a profound privilege. My time in Africa has been challenging and fulfilling all at once.

So for now, I head to America with the mission of telling “their story”. Plans are already in the works to head back in February, perhaps even sooner. Look forward to seeing as many of you as possible. Please feel free to call or email. I’d love to grab coffee or a meal.

Your Friend,
Dave Henry

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Almost There

Hi Friends,
In just a few days I’ll be leaving South Africa for the States via England to visit good friends. As I’ve reflected on my time, there are plenty of triumphs, tragedies, joys, and sadness. I could paint a rosy picture of how my time here has been one huge joy ride, but the truthfully it is both joy and pain. Let’s not pretend, shall we?

Something that has really been apparent to me has been the necessity for beauty here. Granted I know that there is a certain amount of beauty in every situation, for those who choose to find it. However in a place where survival is the name of the game, beauty often gets pushed right out of the way. The appreciation of beauty is a sign that we are no longer just surviving, but truly living, in the fullest sense. I heard someone say, “ The job of art is to chase away ugliness.” Not just aesthetic ugliness or the reality of life, but the ugliness of just surviving and living for the tyranny of the immediate. Beauty reminds us that there is something more, “a deeper magic”, and that there is a God who is meticulously involved, pursuing, seeking.

Take time today to find God in the most unlikely place or person. Ask Him to make you aware. Ask Him to remind you of what is good and beautiful in the world.

Your Friend,
Dave Henry

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Hi Friends,
Just wanted to update you guys on how things are here. It’s hard to imagine but I’ll be back in the States in about a month. It’s kind of surreal how the time has passed here in Africa. It’s flies by because there is so much to do, but at the same time seems to creep along…sort of like watching the grass grow. That’s Africa I suppose.

(Sorry no pictures…for lots of reasons…but please keep reading)
Let me tell you about Roger (not his real name). I met Roger while doing home visits. These home visits are a foundational piece to what we do here. It is the most valuable and effective way that we can connect personally with the people of Masoyi. We hear their stories and respond in the best way we can. Whether it’s just a friend to listen or giving medical or food or giving whatever we can. In this case, a nursing team had already come to visit Roger’s wife who is battling severe TB. Even their newborn baby is very ill. Roger spends most of his day providing for his sick family, as well as caring for them in their illness. He is an incredible example to me. Especially in light of all the tragic stories of men who don’t act responsibly toward their families.
When we visited we notice that there was no food to go with the TB meds that nursing team had brought. In fact, there hasn’t been much food for the past 3 months. It has been very lean times for many people in Masoyi. (The grant we just received doesn’t arrive until October) This situation was looking grim for both mother and child. No food and plenty of sickness to go around. Being in Africa always reminds me how fragile life is.

A local volunteer, also named David, and I decided we needed to act right away. So off to the local shop to buy food. You should have seen the smile on Roger’s face when we returned – food in hand. It was bright and it was ear to ear! Granted there are several thousand more in Masoyi with the same problems, some much worse. This time it felt good to actually to do something for this one man and his family. Sometimes it just doing the good you ought to do for one person that makes all the difference.

Much Love,
Dave Henry

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Funny Story

Hello Again Friends,
I forgot to mention a story from my time in Masoyi. I don't know how I forgot to tell you, but I did. My bad guys.
So on the last night of my time in Masoyi, our very drunk neighbor decided to pay a visit...and he brought a friend, actually his daughter. I thought "okay, maybe it's an african thing to bring your daughter to meet the foreigner who's staying next door." Well, it is if you want the foreigner next door to marry your daughter. He proceeded in drunken english/suswahti to inform me that his daughter would give me many children. And his daughter was right there! (that wasn't awkward at all) Although he made several good cases, I really thought it would be best to decline. Besides, I didn't have the 30 chickens and goats he was asking for. To be quite honest, I'm just a bit surprised by all this. I wasn't exactly looking my dashing self. Full beard and no shower for about 4 days and I just returned from working on a building site for a new care center. Not exactly looking my devastatingly handsome self.

Awkward Africa moment #372: turning down the neighbor's daughter.

Awkward Africa moment #373 sure to come soon.

Much Love,

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Week in Masoyi

Hi Friends,
Last week I spent the a few nights staying with an orphan headed household. I can’t give their names, but let’s call them S and A. S has a 4 year old daughter, L, who is stocked full of vibrant giggles! L is 20, raising her 4 year old daughter, going to school, and raising her younger brother. Things I have not much of a grasp on. Admittedly I wasn’t sure what to expect. So I decided a good start would be to have a heart willing to learn from the differences and embrace the moment. Strangely enough, I was blinded sided by the similarities, not of our social status but by our hearts. Granted I have no idea what it means to grow up without parents, nor to raise a younger sibling and a daughter, provide for them, or get them to school on time. I was rather struck by the common bond of relationship. More than anything, my new friends just wanted to be understood and have a sense of belonging…not so different from myself or perhaps even you. More than wanting to be “helped”, S and A wanted to be understood, to know someone was in their corner. I guess I’m that person now.
As I walked thru the community, I could feel the stares. Particularly because I was one of the few “whites” who had ever really stayed in the community. There wasn’t an American for miles around…literally. Word travelled fast thru the neighbourhood. Plenty of people stopped in to say hi. Which is great, until you try to remember everyone names…slightly embarrassing. My “fish-out-of-water” syndrome was most evident when I went to fetch water at the bottom of the hill. We loaded up the wheelbarrow and headed down the hill. When we got to the well, I could feel the eyes of all the people around bearing down on me. In South Africa, it’s completely strange to see “whites” carry water, much less a foreigner such as myself. Next came the trip to the house, complete with a wheelbarrow full of water jugs - slightly more difficult, to say it politely. But this is a near daily routine for S and A.
To be quite frank with you, S and A are my hero’s. They are examples for this community and the hope that is coming here. At the same time the reflection of the crisis at hand. It is devastating and full of hope all at the same time. I find myself scratching my head at the things I see and the stories I hear.

On Another Note:
In one of my previous blog’s about a grant proposal to USAID and the twenty-four hours we had to turn it in. Well, my nerdy-ness paid off and with a “little” help from the Lord. We got the grant! This was so crucial and now starting in October the funds will be released to us: so that we can continue to feed and resource the 9000 orphans in Masoyi! This is a big deal! It’s somewhere in the neighbourhood of a million USD! This is huge! Thank you for praying. It really means more than you know.

Much Love,
Dave Henry

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Big Week!

Hi Friends,
Today I'm heading into the Masoyi community to live with an orphan headed household until Thursday. For those of you wondering what that is, it's a family that is headed up by an orphan, usually under the age of 18. This orphan cares for his younger siblings just as a parent would. If can imagine being 16 or 17 and raising your younger brothers and sisters, providing food, money for school & supplies, keeping them out of trouble. Providing everything that a parent normally would.
I'm basically going to live like them in every way. Be a part of their lives. It's a really a small thing, all things considered, but I'm excited by this time of learning and experiencing life with these precious ones.
I know that I stand to learn more than I care to. But it is the stark reality here in Masoyi and most of Southern Africa.

All this to say, expect a blog post about this week in the near future. I'm expecting to get rocked, so that means you'll be reading and eyeful this time next week.
Thanks again friend! I really appreciate you!

Much Love,

PS. I also added some links to friends of mine who I have the privilege of working with at some level. They're ace's in my book!

PSS. One more thing. A few of us who've been working here are going on the road this fall. If you're interested in having us come thur your church or community please feel free to email and we can chat about it! Hopefully we'll be seeing you soon!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Way Out Of My League!

Hi Friends,
Here we are…3 and a half weeks into OUR African adventure….(yes, you are a part of this too). It has been quite the ride. There are plenty of moments of holding on for dear life! Sometimes for fear of the treacherous roads, enormous spiders, and creepy animal noise at night. Sometimes it’s because of the stories I hear and see day to day.
This trip is certainly different than all the rest. Africa, the orphan, and widow aren’t just a phase for me, but something I have to live in light of. Especially, since I claim to follow Christ. And now my journey with Him has led me to this place.
Last week, one of the directors of the ministry here asked me and my friend, Dave Song, to put together a quarterly report to turn in to one of our major donors for our projects here – the US government. Usually, this isn’t a big deal. Just one catch this time…we had less than 24 hours to build it, essentially from square one. So we jumped into super human work mode.
To make a long story short, this report would essentially secure about a million US dollars to feed and resource (school fees & supplies, social services, medical care, blankets, mattress’s) around 9000 orphans for 3 months. No pressure, right? I’m not going to lie…I was sweating bullets! In short, we were able to get the funding and our little crisis was averted. (Your prayers being a significant part.)
That being said, I kept looking at all those names on the spreadsheets. At moments they seemed countless. Each one has a unique story, some of triumph and some of tragedy. Unfortunately, most have seen their fair share of heartache. All of them orphans for whatever reason, due to HIV/AIDS or some other tragedy. Some of them heading up households, others living with a relative, some all alone. Yet, God dreams who and what each one could become. They are priceless treasures of God’s heart – the displaced, unknown royalty of His Kingdom.

I feel very compelled to repeatedly thank all of you for believing in me and this mission. I have felt your prayers and your friendship – even between the huge geographical distance. I really couldn’t do this without all of you. Much love to you all.

Your Friend,

PS. Sorry for the run-on sentences. A friend pointed out and declared me “King of the Run–on”. I’m working on it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Made It!

Hi Friends,
I made it! It’s great to be back in Africa. It’s currently winter here…winter being a relative term. (Lots of sunshine and about 65 in the day, 40 at night). Here are some photos of where I live and my journey over. It over looks the valley that is home to the Masoyi community. We’re about 10 kilometres from the nearest paved road at the top of a hill. Our electricity went out the other day for about 12 hours. When I asked why, everyone responded, “Welcome to Africa!” Yet, somehow the inconveniences add to my over all love for this place. It reminds me of what I do and don’t necessarily need.
I saw a bunch of guys from the village today. It's such a privilege for me to be remembered by them. It's probably the most rewarding part for me...among other things. When the poor remember your name, it says something about what they see in me and it’s humbling. These guys have seen several short-term people come thru, but when they feel a sense of home with around me it means a lot. Obviously it is the relational investment that is the most important thing. I love being here, but it’s the people who make it what it is.
Thanks for reading. I really appreciate all your prayers and friendship. It means a lot. Lots of love to all of you. Keep in touch if you can. I’d love to know how you are and how I can be praying for you.

Your Friend,

Friday, June 29, 2007

One Week

Dear Family & Friends,

Just a week now before I fly for South Africa. HERE WE GO!!!I have to admit the pace of my heart has quickened as the time has gotten closer. This feels like a significant intersection for me. I often think of it in terms of my bungee jumping experience. The scariest part is just before you jump, after that it becomes an experience you never forget. It's funny that I think of myself as taking such a big risk, yet I forget there is One is who risks even greater, both with me and on me. This is really humbling and gives me greater courage to jump into the unknown. It is His perfect love that displaces my fear.
These past 2 weeks have been incredibly busy, between packing, planning, moving my things into my friend Noah's basement, running errands, buying things like shampoo, soap, and tooth paste. All adding to the quick pace of my heart. Along with the wide range of emotions that come along with packing your life into a couple of boxes and a suit case and saying bye to friends.
Since I'll be in South Africa for 3 months every moment of every day is not necessarily scheduled. There are some "unknowns". But the instead of fearing the unknowns, I must allow God the freedom to fill those places with Himself and not my fear. The "unknowns" are an opportunity. This is more than a mission. It is a pilgrimage, and I must take intentional steps to see that. This isn't just a short term mission trip for me. It is a life investment. Africa has my heart and if something has your heart it has everything else. God is worth it and the royal people of Africa are worth it.

NOW SOME DETAILS: (please don't stop reading)
I will do my best to post blogs while I'm there. Email is spotty at best, so please be patient. I plan on posting everything from the flight there to food to projects. My heart is to eliminate as much disconnect as possible, especially for those of you who are curious as to what Africa is like. So be on the look out! And if you're curious about anything please let me know I'd be glad to post something on it. Please no requests for up close photos of lions or their teeth, as I will probably end up in their bellies.
Also, I'll be will be passing on a new American number to all of you, if you'd like to give me a call. It will ring to my South African phone without international charges. I'll also pass on my South African number if it's easier for you. Just remember I'm 7 hours ahead of the East Coast Time.
One last thing...if any of you are interested in contributing financially to me please send your checks to: YWAM Tyler, Attn: Accounting P.O Box 3000, Garden Valley, TX, 75771 USA. Just put a note in the envelope with my name on it. MY NAME CANNOT APPEAR ON THE CHECK AT ALL.
If you'd like to give to Ten Thousand Homes and our projects, please contact me directly.

I say it over and over, but THANK YOU! It means the world to me how much all of you have contributed to me and this mission. I could not and would not do this without all of you. Some of you have given finances, cameras(Dave & Karen), your pledges to pray, some all of the above, but most of all you've given me your friendship and that is priceless. Thanks for believing in me.

Your Friend,

Monday, June 04, 2007

Another Adventure

We've survived another winter here in New England. Lots of cold and lots of snow... enough said. Sunshine and green grass are a very refreshing sight! Yes, that means spring for us. And with spring comes change. This includes yours truly.

As of July 6, I will be heading back to South Africa for 3 months to continue working with our project - Ten Thousand Homes. My time there will be spent helping to shape and define the future of our mission there. I will also be spending a significant amount of time developing our network of relationships with our partners on the ground, as we look at the possibility of expanding and partnering into other African nations like Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique. Of course, I will continue to be a part of building homes and care centers for needy families and communities - specifically for those directly effected by HIV/AIDS.
This is just a continuation of the journey God has moved me towards in regard to the orphan and the widow, especially in the context of Africa. There are moments when the peace and confidence escape me, but I have come to the conclusion that peace and confidence are not criteria for guidance. The orphan and the widow is where God seems to be moving, so rather than invent my own "mission", I'd rather be found where God is already moving. Make no mistake, God is on the move among the orphan and widow. In the words of Mother Theresa, "We find Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor."

Upon my return in late September, I will be going on the road sharing about Ten Thousand Homes in churches, universities, and various other groups about what God is dreaming for Africa. Our prayer is that we will help to remove the disconnect between what is seen and what is done for Africa. Just the same we hope to be a significant doorway thru which people may have a meaningful effect on the lives of the children of Africa. If you are interested in having myself or one of our team members come and share about Ten Thousand Homes, please contact me.

I am still raising the funds for the plane ticket. If you are interested in giving toward this, please contact me. The total airfare is $2000 and all gifts are tax deductible.

I just want to tell each of you how much I appreciate your friendship, support, and prayers. Without a doubt, I could not do this you - nor would I want to. Thank you for believing in me, this mission, and the dream of God for Africa - giving a place for people to belong.

Your Friend,
Dave Henry

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fear & Loving in New Haven

I'm in Montreal, Canada at the moment. So I thought I'd write about the place I live- New Haven. (I'll write more about my experience here later.) Since the first of the year, I’ve had a phrase repeat over and over in my head, “Belief equals action.” What we DO is really what we BELIEVE. Living in New Haven, the gap between the belief and action is certainly evident. Connecticut has the highest per capita income in the US, yet spends more on social services per capita than most nations.

I have been quite convicted about my role in the city I call home. This past Fall I started volunteering at a soup kitchen, distributing free clothes in a needy neighborhood, as well as visiting my new friend John Kennedy (yes, that really is his name). He’s suffers from minor seizures, learning disabilities, and probably a good deal of loneliness. Now he’s my friend. Honestly, he keeps my feet on the ground. John knows how to be a friend to people.(that's John and I in the picture)

No, it’s not as sexy as working in Africa (which is equally as valid). But, I can’t get it out of my head that Jesus loves the homeless and friendless here in New Haven just the same. Sure, maybe they’ve made mistakes, but so have you and I. Certainly God views the people of the world as equally valuable, not necessarily validating every idea or action, but certainly valuing their lives. After all, we are the crown of His Creation.

So my “word” of the day is: “Do our actions equal our belief statements?” Just something to ponder. I understand taking action is a big deal. Action is a scary thing. Believing costs so much because it demands action to be of value. It seems we often wait for all the right pieces to come together before we move, but perhaps God calls us to risk with what we have, rather than what we don’t have. We can have confidence that God will meet us if we move on His behalf toward to the world around us. His perfect love casts out fear. So when we make space for God in our lives, we make space for the hurting and forgotten.

Much Love & Your Friend,

Friday, March 02, 2007

Dear Family & Friends,
Welcome to 2007! My hope is that this year will bring many blessings & pleasant surprises for each one of you.
As most of you know, late last year I travelled back to Masoyi, South Africa to continue to pursue what I feel God has put in my heart concerning the AIDS & orphan crisis there and in the rest of southern Africa. It was an incredible time of revisiting a place where we have invested before. To see the progress and growth of Masoyi over the past 3 years, was incredible for me. From my first time there, seeing a dirt field transformed into full fledged care centers (which we built) – teaching, loving, and feeding hundred of kids every single day. Children, that would normally be extremely fortunate to have just one meal a day, much less have a safe environment in which to be cared for.

Perhaps even more meaningful for me was being able to walk thru the community and be recognized by many people, both young and old. This was very, very humbling for me to be recognized by these precious people - Royalty before God.

One particular experience I’d like to share is the story of 5 orphans who lost their home. Just a few days before I arrived, their home was burned to the ground. Tragically, the youngest brother was not able to escape the fire and died. When I landed the need was vary evident…we were compelled to do something tangible for these orphans! So we were able to raise the enough money to build them new home, pay for their school f ees, and furnish their new home. In addition we were able to connect them with local caregivers who will continue to nurture these beloved children.

The future feels hopeful. Last year was we gained a lot of momentum with our initiatives in Southern Africa. This year we hope to focus on India, in addition to our work in South Africa. This year is full of possibilities now we must see what will land. We hope to jump aboard what God is already doing rather than hope that God chooses to bless what we want to do.

Just as Jesus gave the mandate to go into all the world, we are also given the mandate to care for the orphan and the widow. Thank you very much for investing in all your various ways to see the Love of Christ given to those who go without some the basic necessities of life. It is my great honor and pleasure to have all of you stand behind me in this. THANK YOU!

Your Friend,
Dave Henry

Prayer Requests:
-Increased finances
-Newer vehicle
-Wisdom for the way ahead

March 14: Storrs, CT – Speaking at University of Connecticut
March 27 – April 1: Montreal, Canada – Help facilitate Emergent Church Consortium
April 11: Storrs, CT – Speaking at University of Connecticut
April 16-17 NYC – Speaking at Missions\Discipleship School