Our History – The full story

The Lord’s Work

founded in 2018

We are all friends, or friends of friends. This is not a large organization with a bunch of unknown people running things.

Haiti: The Beginning

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The idea for our organization started in Haiti in 2018 with our founding member Dr. Maudelin Mesadieu. Our good friend Dr. Carlyle Schlabach had been working in Haiti off and on for decades. In 2013 Carlyle taught a CALS (Comprehensive Advanced Life Support) program in Haiti. Their program teaches doctors and nurses advanced emergency life support classes in a joint effort between U.S. instructors and local doctors and nurses. Carlyle enlisted the help of Chad Bates, an EMT and college student, and they worked with Nate Nickerson and his organization Konbit Sante and their friends Dr. Maudelin Mesadieu and ULS (Unite De Lutte Pour La Sante).

In October of 2018 Maudelin visited Gatesville, Texas. He gave a presentation at Coryell Health about all the projects he was leading in several communities in Northern Haiti around Cap Haitian. The presentation was not recorded but was very similar to this one.

On November 2, 2018 Dr. Jeff Bates was sitting with his wife Jennifer at lunch in Austin, doing hospice paperwork, and was reviewing the Haiti projects and had an epiphany. While overwhelmed by all the needs the Maudelin spoke about in Haiti, he was struck by the micro-loan idea of Dr. Mesadieu; the model of what was then called “The Goat Project” or “A goat for a goat.” Jeff reached out to 30 of his friends by text with the following original message. 

How about a charitable cause ?

For years I have been working on a micro-loan idea. I’ve finally got it set up with a doctor friend in Haiti.

Here’s the model:
Goats cost $30-50. Women (not men) borrow the money from us. They use the goat’s milk to feed their children and to 
feed their family. Extra milk they can sell to make money. They then pay us back about $10/month.

They’ve already sold ten goats with success. There are 100 women waiting for a goat. 

Do you want to join in ? $500 ? It would buy ten goats. 

In 2 days Jeff raised $10,000 with several friends asking “How much more can I give? $500 doesn’t sound like enough.”  

Overwhelmed by this out pouring of interest in the goat project, Jeff teamed up with his newest best friend, Dr. Kevin Dwyer and decided that we would limited our original plan to about $4000 in donations from a dozen friends. We spent the first year buying and tracking 100 goats and 10 donkeys in Haiti. We also used this time to make connections and start very small projects in 4 other countries.  

In Haiti, we set up the payment structure with Dr. Maudelin Mesadieu and his wife Felizor and they identified people they new in their community in Mombin that they considered reliable borrowers. They distributed goats, sent pictures, and collected payments. 

One day Kevin said to Jeff “we need to go to Haiti!” Jeff invited his new friend Tom Wright and we travelled to Cap Haitian and Fort Bourgeois, Haiti in February 2019. We met the local people at the medical clinic, toured the new construction and discussed the micro-loan program with 2 women whose lives had changed because of businesses they had started with just a $20 loan. We met with the community and church leaders in Fort Bourgeois in Northern Haiti and we toured the new and old clinic facilities there.

On our first trip to Haiti we met Debbie Harvey of Helping Haitian Angels. She has been working in Haiti for ten years and runs an orphanage and has written a great book about her experiences in Haiti entitled And I don’t even like kids, failing forward in Haiti”. One of her contacts she put us in touch with is Brad Smith of Men of Valor.Brad’s mission is men’s ministry. The things we take for granted in the US like men’s prayer meetings, men’s bible study, men’s prayer breakfast and men’s conferences simply don’t exist in many other countries. To date Brad and his organization have put on 50 men’s conferences in 20 foreign countries. Tom and Jeff are now helping with this organization to preach to men in Kenya via Skype. Several graduates of the MOV program are now exploring microloan projects with The Lords Work.

On return from Haiti we met Ryan Gibson through a common friend in Waco and Ryan introduced us to Gabe Lindor in Southern Haiti.

Kenya: Proving the model in other countries.

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Our friend and fellow missionary Bill Keeney introduced us to a guy in Kenya named Ouma Gabriel Obuya. The birth of this relationship was on Dec 25, 2018. Gabriel’s father was a pastor and had recently had a stroke. Gabriel was trying to move from his role as an engineering student into the role of pastor. We have worked on several projects with Gabriel giving micro-loans to women, distributing bibles and encouraging youth through a football/Soccer league. 

Gabriel introduced us to Fred.

Bill Keeney also introduced us to Victor Otieno Gumba from House of Glory, in Nyatike.

On another front Jeff met Mwaura Samson Wanyoike in Kenol Murang’a through a new friend Mike Lawson, in Belton, Tx. Mike had worked for years in Haiti with Hope for the Hungry. Samson received his college training at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 1981 in Belton, Tx and worked as a chaplain at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas. Later Jeff discovered that his friend and colleague Dr. Glen Smith had known Samson for many years and Glen now leads Hope for the Hungry. Glen introduced us to Ravi Mohan in India and started our projects there.

Uganda: Our early roots.
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In 2014, Dr. Colby Cessnun called Jeff from Uganda. He left a voicemail stating “I’m a physician in the mission field and I’m coming home soon. I need a job.” Jeff immediately said yes and that’s how this chapter begins. 

Colby, his wife MaryAnne, and his now 10 children had know Dr. Tim McCall since residency training in Waco, Texas and they were now working together at Restoration Gateway (RG) in Uganda. 

In October 2018 at the yearly RG fund raiser our friend and fellow missionary Bill Keeney introduced Jeff to Tom Wright. Tom is a builder of churches in foreign countries and Jeff invited Tom on their first trip to Haiti in February of 2019. Tom and Kevin bonded more when then went with Bill to Uganda in March 2019. There Kevin encouraged his old friend Colby and met a new friend Dr. Andrew Bakainiga on that trip.

Nepal: Friends of Friends.
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In November 2018, at the beginning of our organization start up in Haiti, Jeff reached out to 30 of his friends and one of them was a doctor named Paul Ou. He told Jeff “You should really talk to my friend Timothy Ackerman.” Paul’s friend Timothy? How biblical is that ?

Timothy and his wife Lani Ackerman have been involved in Nepal for 20 years. They wrote a great book “Ke Garne?: Sustainable Christian Community Development in the Himalayas”

Congo: Being Bold

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Jeff’s best friend since 1971 is David Williams. David introduced us to a friend, Felly Maisha. He was a graduate student living with David while he worked on his PhD. Felly introduced us to Pascal Mugaruka a friend from his church Ark of the Covenant. He is in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have worked on several projects with Pascal and look forward to many more.

The next generation – 2021

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Liberia

We met as a group March 1, 2020 and set our mission statement and agreed to start a 501(c)3. We were then slowed down by COVID but we began to connect more by Zoom meetings. The Gideons moved to Zoom and a group in Kenya moved to weekly Skype meetings. We began to work more with Men of Valor and began to explore new ways to connect. We also began to explore with other missionary friends to connect with their friends. Friends of friends. The first successful start was with William in Liberia.

India

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Our friend Glen Smith at Hope for the Hungry introduced us to Ravi Mohan.

Thailand

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Jeff met Clinton Garsee in Waco one day while visiting with Ryan Gibson. He and his family have been church planting for 20 years, most recently with the help of Antioch in Waco, Tx. We been exploring ways to help Clinton with his ministry including construction of churches. https://365.catalystgathering.com

Waco, Texas

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A generous gift of property in Robinson has helped us grow our international missions as well as start new programs at home. 2021 saw our first to Christian Men’s Conferences, and the final piece to the dream of Our Hospice Houses and Resale Shops in Central Texas. We are exploring in Temple, Georgetown, and Liberty Hill for additional location to serve so that no one has to die alone.


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