We’ve got WATER

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 by joshbronleewe

Hey everyone, we’ve got water! After 3 days of hard work down at the well site, we were able to pump water for the first time today! The community has really been doing an amazing job to get this well done quickly, and by God’s grace, we’ll be handing it off to them on Friday. Community involvement is such an important part of this process, so it’s been great to see them really owning this well and putting in a lot of hard work!

I had a great conversation today with Chris Sasser, who’s on staff here with Global Support Mission. We talked about the physical and spiritual needs of these communities and how addressing spiritual poverty as well as physical poverty is the most important element of what we do here. If we were to just meet people’s need for clean water, but neglect their need for LIVING water – our Savior Jesus Christ – then we would doing them a disservice. That’s why during the “Handing Off” process we let them know of WHY we’re doing what we’re doing and the hope we have beyond the physical needs of this world. To drink from this well, we will grow thirsty again. But to drink from the well of God, we will be eternally satisfied. And THAT is why we do we do. To preach the gospel to the poor. So they can hear it from our lips, and KNOW it by our love…


1 John 3:16-17. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

James 2:15-17. “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”


I’m back! (in Africa)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2010 by joshbronleewe

Hey everyone! I arrived here in the village of Kaihura Sunday night, and we hit the ground running this morning. The community was so excited about the well, they had already started digging a day early! (And made awesome progress) So, after a hard day’s work today, we are finished digging the 14 foot hole and started laying the cinder-blocks for the main well structure. About 2PM we got poured on (it’s rainy season) but when it lightened up a bit we kept on working. We’re building this thing rain or shine! (Took some sweet video and lots of pics of the process. Will upload to the web once I actually get some bandwidth)

The community who is benefiting from this well is a small, isolated village in the “Katooke” District, which is about an hour drive from Kaihura. The Katooke area is very poor has some pretty huge needs. It was amazing working hand in hand with people from the community today (who are really hard workers), and to see the magnitude of their excitement and the gratitude in their eyes for the work we’re doing in their village. For those of you who don’t know the details of this well project, the “we” is a non-profit called Global Support Mission whom I’m connected with. They have a permanent presence here in Kaihura and thus see, feel, and breathe the needs in the community. Where the rubber meets the road is Know.Think.Act, which is how Global Support broadcasts the needs here in the village to the world and allows people to step up and meet those needs. This well is a result of Know.Think.Act and many of you who have given generously to see peoples lives changed. Thank you to all of you who have given!

To learn more about how you can be involved in truly changing the lives of the people here in Kaihura, check out everything Global Support is doing!



I’ll keep you updated on our progress! Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

(Please be praying for healing for me… I injured my finger pretty bad a few weeks ago – possibly broke it – and the healing process has been very slow. Not much fun to be digging a well with a broken finger…)

Kings and Queens

Posted in Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 by joshbronleewe

As a songwriter, sometimes a song will quietly sneak up on me and slap me square in the face. When this happens I have no choice but to wrestle it to the floor and write it out. These are the songs that wreck me. These are the songs I can’t forget.

Ever since I walked off a plane from Africa and back onto this continent, many thoughts and feelings have been making their way around my heart and mind and finally settled into a song yesterday. You could say it snuck up on me and slapped me in the face. It was a normal day. I was scheduled to get together with a writer/artist friend of mine named Nicole Serrano. After about 3 hours, we had a song written called “Kings and Queens”. It’s a song of if/then. IF we have been forever changed by our God and given new life, and IF we are aware of the tremendous needs of others… THEN we will show them hope and love, THEN we will give our lives away toward that end. There’s some harsh truth in this song depicting our general ignorance and indifference toward the pain and suffering of people outside the walls we’ve erected to preserve our comfortable, padded lives. As “kings and queens” we live in affluence and wealth and knowingly, or unknowingly, keep our eyes from looking upon the poverty and despair of others. There’s some challenging truth in this song as well, that true FAITH requires ACTION. That “if we say we love our God” then “they will know us by our love.” That we would take the gospel to the poor and the needy and meet their hunger and thirst spiritually and physically. That they would know our God’s love by the way we love them.

The bottom line is this: It is costly to live out true faith

There’s a passage in 2 Corinthians where Paul describes the hardships he has gone through in order to follow Jesus. It goes like this: “…In great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

We need to remember that following our Savior is costly. Not sometimes only for certain people like Paul. But for everyone that desires to be a follower – a disciple – of our Lord Jesus, He said there will be a COST. But it is WELL WORTH giving up the things we cannot keep in order to gain eternal riches in our God, which we CANNOT LOSE. Here are the words to “Kings and Queens”, I hope they can encourage and challenge us to tear down our walls and start giving our lives away.

“We know but we don’t do. We have but we don’t give. We don’t want to see or feel anything for you. We just want to live. We just want to be. Behind our castle walls living like kings and queens.

If we say we believe, if we say we love our god. When will they find hope, when will they find love. If we have been set free and forever changed. They’ll know us by our love if we give our lives away. If we give our lives away.

You need but we don’t share. You die but we don’t care. We turn on our tv’s ignoring your despair. We’re holding on so tight to all our pretty things. Our silver and our gold is poison in our veins.

If we say we believe, if we say we love our god. When will they find hope, when will they find love. If we have been set free and forever changed. They’ll know us by our love if we give our lives away. If we give our lives away.

We’re holding on so tight to all our pretty things. Behind our castle walls living like kings and queens.”

Give Water Give Life

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2010 by joshbronleewe

It’s early in the morning. You wake up before sun rise and set out on your journey – a 5 mile treck to the nearest water hole. Nearly 2 hours later you arrive at a muddy pool of water. The fact that cows are grazing just a few feet away and consequently dumping their waste next to your only water source doesn’t even register with you. This is all you have. This is all you’ve ever known. The water is brown and murky as usual, and you can hardly see into it. You’ve heard people talk about clean water before, but you wonder if it’s something you’ll ever get to see. As you struggle to carry the two 40 pound jugs back the 5 miles you came, you dream of the day your community will be able to afford a well. The 3,000,000 Shillings it would cost to dig a well seems so daunting. Even if every family in your community saved everything they earned, it would take years to raise that kind of money. Your heart sinks as you realize you will probably never be able to afford such an extravagant luxury. Clean water – a luxury. In your best efforts, with your best resources, the best you can do is bring home diseased and polluted water that is likely to bring sickness and even death to you and your family. This is your reality.

The reality is, it costs only $1400 (around 3 mil. Shillings) to build a well in Uganda. That’s it! Global Support Mission, a non-profit based right here in Nashville digs wells for people like the woman in the story above. They work primary in a rural village in the western part of the country called Kaihura. I helped build a well back in March of this year through Global Support, and I know first hand that clean water isn’t a reality for many there. I want to change that. Global Support has built close to 15 wells in Kaihura, but there are nearly 40 more sites in the surrounding area where they desperately need wells.

This is where we come in. We have the abundant resources and the means necessary to build these wells. We have what it takes to meet the needs of the poor and the needy where they’re at. So why not do it? Why not rise up and make a difference among those who are in great need, in Jesus’ name? Who says we can’t build a well half way around the world? After all, these are our neighbors in a global community that is becoming larger and larger as we are becoming more and more aware.

Here are just a few verses from God’s word about His heart for these people:

Psalm 82:3-4 – Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy…

Psalm 146:7 – He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free.

Proverbs 13:23 – I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.

Proverbs 19:17 – He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.

Proverbs 21:13 – If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

Proverbs 28:27 – He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

In Matthew 25, Jesus makes is clear that we are to share HIS heart for the poor and the needy: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for ME.” Friends, I want us to join God in the work He’s doing in Uganda, and around the world. Here’s how we can start becoming involved: visit know.think.act. and join together to raise the money for a well! I’ve started an “Action Group” to meet this need in Kaihura, and once the money is raised, I want to go back over there and complete the work – be the hands and feet of Christ.

I want us all to be a part of the great story God is writing as He redeems this broken world. God is at work in Kaihura, all across Africa, and around the globe. Let’s join HIM!


Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2010 by joshbronleewe

I recently read a book about viewing your life as a story. What kind of story are you living? It was a really good book, and it got me thinking. You could say this post is the culmination of my thoughts about story combined with the convictions I’ve had ever since I returned from Uganda. I want to share it with you.

Stories. Whether we know it or not, our lives are saturated with stories. Some good, some not. Everyone has a story. People read stories. We watch them on little glowing screens in our living rooms. We even come up with stories in our heads about what we want our lives to look like years from now. And years from now, as we look back on our lives we will have written a story. Some stories are good. Some are not. The truth is we are driven by stories, and when we see a majestic one unfold before our eyes, something cries out from within us that wants to be a part of something great. Our souls resonate with greatness. Sadly, for most people here in America that greatness is viewed on a giant screen and we’re filling our face with popcorn in the front row. And when we walk out the door, and into our own lives, greatness is nowhere to be found.

What if someone gave you two options? One: Sit on your couch and watch a documentary about a team of climbers who summit Mount Everest. Or two: Climb Mount Everest for yourself. Which would you choose? One would be easy, but not that rewarding. The other would be extremely rewarding, but probably the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life. Maybe you’re just not that into mountains. Pick something you’re passionate about. Cooking. Sports. Whatever. Would you rather watch something great unfold, or actually be the greatness that unfolds? It seems like a no-brainer right? Everyone wants to be a part of a great story. But there’s one problem. A great story always involves tremendous risk. For the most part, we’re too afraid to take the risks necessary to live great stories with our lives.  Sadly, we will often opt out for the less meaningful, forgettable story line because we don’t want to count the cost of living a better story. Here in America, there’s never a shortage of stories. We just live vicariously through the glow of television screens, and in the pews of movie theaters. We cheer loudly as artificial battles rage between our favorite sports teams. All the while, we miss out on living the real stories and fighting the real battles God is calling us to. Stories where we interact with God and people and have an impact on eternity. I wonder where our hunger for life went. True life. I feel like we’re trying to fill our stomachs with scraps at the table of this world, instead of eating our fill at the table of God.

It’s extremely easy to fall victim to a kind of spiritual short sidedness here in America. We spend much of our lives inundated at the I.V. of a Godless culture. A culture of materialism, idolatry, and greed. Honestly, the culture around us wants us to waste our lives. Sadly, we either don’t realize it or we don’t care. At least not until it’s too late. We have to keep the end goal in mind. Is this our home or not? Do we actually believe in a King who gives a Kingdom that is eternal and not of this world? If so, our lives should reflect that in radical ways. If our lives don’t reflect it, then we have to ask ourselves whether we really believe what we say we believe. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in Matthew 13. Jesus is teaching a parable about the Kingdom of God. He says it is like a treasure hidden in a field, and when a man found it, he went with joy in his heart and sold everything he had to buy that field. My prayer is that God would show us that field, and with joy in our hearts we would give our lives away. To forsake the mediocre story line we’re living right now, and live for an eternal story that God is writing as He redeems this broken world. I’m afraid for some of us, because at the end of our lives we will have wasted them. And as we stand in the radiant Glory of the God who bought our souls at the costly price of His precious Son, He’ll quietly draw our attention to the cries of millions of orphans and widows who lived and died as we turned a deaf ear. He’ll point to the 4.5 billion people on the earth who were on a road to an eternal hell whom we did not concern ourselves with. He’ll flip through the pictures of thousands and thousands of children who died every day of our lives from starvation or preventable disease. And with tears in His eyes He won’t even have to say a word. At that point we won’t have much to talk about. Our lives were simply boring. My friends, we were meant to live epic stories with our lives.

I feel like we squander our time flipping through picture books instead of writing our chapter in the epic novel of God. A story of setting captives free, of bringing justice to the poor and the needy, of advancing a kingdom of hope into a dark and battered world. We’ve become too comfortable living mediocre lives filled with meaningless stories. I want us to live great stories with our lives. Stories of risk and reward. Stories of ordinary people who gave their lives away, and changed the world because of it. I want us to write chapters and chapters into the eternal novel of our beautiful Savior. In the end, His story is the only one we’ll remember. The question at that point will be, how did we write our lives into HIS story?

Last week in Africa

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2010 by joshbronleewe

Well, I made it back to Nashville safe and sound, and I’m beginning to re-adjust to life here. It’s a hard process – jet lag, culture shock, all the white people everywhere, etc… Trying to re-enter life before Africa is kind of like trying to remember a dream. Kinda fuzzy… details are blurry… but I generally remember what’s going on. I’m a different person than I was before, and I want my life to reflect everything I’ve experienced. I think that’s going to take a while… and in the mean time, when people ask me “How was Uganda?” I’ll have to give them a short answer like “GREAT!” when what I really want to do is sit down and write them a book. So, as clarity comes, I’m certain I’ll have more to share with you all… but for now, let me re-cap my last week in Africa.

Last week I was in Jinja hanging out with Katie Davis and Amazima Ministries. Like I mentioned before, Katie started Amazima from the ground up and now they have multiple feeding programs, a school sponsorship program, a sustainable income program, and minor healthcare. But it’s so much more than just programs. It’s grass roots. It’s relational. It’s God’s kingdom at hand. If you don’t know Katie’s story, you can check it out here. I was so blessed to be in such great company for a week, and I was able to experience life through the eyes of someone who has given everything they have to caring for the “least of these”. For Katie and the Amazima staff, this isn’t just a hobby, or something they do on the weekends. It’s not just humanitarian work, or philanthropy. It’s not a missions trip, or a church event. It’s their LIFE. They live and breathe this stuff. It was an incredibly humbling week… and I loved every minute of it. I’ve gotta say that my favorite part was hanging out with Katie’s girls. She has 14 girls, all adopted, and all have their own unique story of how they came to be a part of Katie’s family. One of them, the youngest, is named Patricia. For Patricia, the first year of her life was spent being neglected and abused by her mother, who didn’t care for her whatsoever. Katie found Patricia in a dumpster, severely mal-nurished and with cigarette burns on her body. Patricia is now a healthy, thriving 18-month old with a smile that could melt a heart of stone. Katie saved her life. Literally. And as I sat there holding that beautiful little girl who wouldn’t be alive if Katie hadn’t come along, I wondered what my life could look like if I decided to live out the teachings of Jesus in a radical way. Not just on the weekends. Not just for a church event. Not just on a missions trip. But with my entire life. When’s the last time I literally saved someone’s life? Can’t say I’ve ever done that. But the real question is WHY NOT? What could MY life look like if I truly took Jesus’ words to heart? What could YOUR life look like? What if we began to live for more than a promotion at work, or a bigger house, or all this STUFF. What if we lived for a greater story, one that God is writing all around us EVERY DAY. Everyone’s story is not going to look exactly like Katie’s, but each of our stories could be just as fulfilling and life-bringing. We just have to be willing… willing to take a chance that the things we’re holding onto right now pale in comparison to the things God has in store for us. To LET GO. To not look back. To take that first step with our eyes fixed on Jesus, and to let our hands and feet move with His love.

I’m on a journey to give my life away. I’m learning more and more everyday what that looks like. My time in Uganda was a huge milestone in that journey, and I thank God for the opportunity He gave me. I pray He will provide for me to go back someday. I pray He will move my heart to live differently not just in the future, but NOW.

The truth is, we’re all on a journey. I want to challenge you to look ahead. Where are you going?


Posted in Uncategorized on March 28, 2010 by joshbronleewe

So after a full day of bus rides clear accross Uganda, I arrived in Jinja. Highlight of the trip – some guy hurling his guts out the window directly in front of me. Luckily, I escaped with minor puke spatters. Along with a tire blow out and rain-induced mud sliding, the trip was interesting to say the least… A few others from the team made the treck out here with me to spend a day in Jinja and then head back to Kampala. It was good to spend the first day in an unfamiliar town with friends. After they headed back I was able to connect with Katie Davis, the founder of a really amazing non-profit out here called Amazima Ministries International. I sponsored a little girl through Amazima in Januaray, and yesterday I was able to meet her face to face for the first time. It was absolutely incredible. To see the joy in her eyes and be able to give her a great big hug and show her how much she is loved and valued – more than I can put into words. I thought back to the morning in December I woke up, felt a burden straight from God’s heart, and wept because of it. And after the tears had dried, I wasn’t the same. A fire burned deep in my heart to do something about it. What? I had no idea at the time. But God has gone before me and carried me every step of the way. He has brought me to this place, and I am overjoyed to be here. And yesterday as I sat beside a little girl here in Jinja Uganda, thousands of miles from where I started my journey, my heart was full. God is so good. I will spend my last week in Uganda with Katie Davis and the Amazima folks loving on kids… stay tuned!!!