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Trent Renner’s 2015 Africa Trip (Post 3 of 4…Sunday)

As in the previous 2 posts…the WiFi is still bad in Africa…so please know that I will post pictures when I return to the USA.

My time clock is all messed up.  I keep waking up at 5 am.  But, it gives me time to type out my blog post of the experiences I am having on this short venture.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.  I pray it inspires you to grow deeper and more committed to Jesus and all that He asks us to do.

As I rolled off of the thin foam mattress bed with a mosquito net hanging over it…it was time to do one of the hardest things for me to do on this trip.  It causes me great pain.  I had to take a shower and the electricity has been off for several hours.  The water is freezing!  I’m sure the other rooms could hear the gasps and laughs as I tortured myself with a cold shower.  (Suffering for Jesus, right?! LOL)  But at least I smell good again!

I didn’t bring dress clothes for Church services on this trip.  I have a pair of jeans and a Joy Christian School polo shirt that I sometimes teach my Bible classes in.  Wow…the people of Africa love to dress up for Church.  The colors of the rainbow are nothing compared to the women of Africa in their cultural dresses.  The men get on their very best suits and ties that they have.  I am astonished every time I see the bright white dress shirts on the dark skinned men coming out of the mud hut homes.  I don’t know how they keep so clean…they are very impressive and handsome.

I think the Ugandan people are some of the most beautiful people on the planet.  They have the darkest skin I’ve seen and contrast their super white smiles and it is magical.  Another thing that I notice is how straight the teeth are of the natives here.  On a past trip, I was able to travel with a dentist and she told me that the African people from childhood eat a very hard food plan.  Corn, very tough meat, the children are constantly chewing on sugar cane.  The dentist told me, that hard foods force the teeth into alignment.  Seeing is believing on this one.  I’m jealous of how white and how straight the teeth are for the African man and woman.   Maybe I’ll get Sam to open his mouth and I’ll take a picture so you can witness it for yourself. (that will make him laugh his contagious and unique high pitched laugh!) Better yet, come with me someday and see for yourself! 

The drive to church was only 20 minutes.  Sam, our director has started a Church out of his school facility of mud and sticks.  There were about 100 people in attendance…the men, women and children all sitting/standing together.  The children are very patient through the very long service.  They sing passionate music.  this church group can’t afford instruments yet…but one can’t tell as the voices of the people are so passionate and many melodies are sung, stomping and dancing to the rhythm they create together.  An occasional African woman will send out her high pitched shrill of joy…“lalalalalalalalalalalalal!”

They asked me to speak.  I told them that the older I get, I’m becoming a man of fewer words.  They actually enjoy much preaching.  A typical Ugandan Church service can last for 4 or more hours.  I’m thankful today’s service was only 3 hours.  So…I didn’t preach for long.  I spoke for maybe 15 minutes.  I told the African people that after living in America I have determined that talk is cheap.  I asked them to witness how much I love them by my actions and how much Return Hope International is doing on behalf of Jesus to love and serve them.  Sam preached and then another pastor, named Reno preached as well.

 There are many elderly who haven’t learned english, so there is always a translator.  But, know, most Ugandans speak english.  They did more music, then preached some more.  People came forward to pray and confess their sins and many did.  I was privileged to lay my hands on those who came forward to pray for them and help them understand how much their repentance causes Jesus to forgive them.  There were times the service just broke out in prayer…the whole room lifting their voices to God in prayer.  A man in wheelchair who is struggling with his health came forward and asked the whole church to pray for him.  We laid hands on him and he cried as we prayed for him.  The children watched and engaged the whole time.  More music, more preaching.  3 hours of love, learning, celebration, and so much more.  I enjoyed it tremendously.  I was touched. 

After the service we stood around and shook hands and gave hugs.  I grabbed my camera and used the opportunity to take some pictures.  I will post them when I return to America on Wednesday.  I haven’t shaved in weeks and the children were fascinated with my beard and hairy arms.  It is so thrilling to be amongst a group of people who are so loving and kind and curious.  I am curious about them too.  We learned about each other, from each other. 

It was approaching 2:30 and my stomach was growling, I asked Sam if we could head back to the hotel to grab some lunch.  He agreed.  Lunch was rice and beans, a chicken leg boiled in some fantastic broth, a mix of g-nut paste…(kind of like purple peanut butter), a great banana type mix that has the texture of mashed potatoes and the African staple called porsha…a corn mix…also in the texture of mashed potatoes.  To drink I had an ice cold glass bottle of coca-cola!  Who doesn’t love that?! 🙂

The rest of the day was dealing with the necessary evil I call business meetings.  Nothing to really post about.  When Sam and the RHI Ugandan team live 10 hours worth of time zones away from me…even with the internet…it is a must that we have clarifying meetings.  We compared our account sheets, budgets, estimates.  Not fun…but vitally important.  I vow to use every dollar that you invest in Return Hope with deep integrity and transparency.  If you would like to know any details of the Return Hope budget, I will gladly share them with you.  That meeting started at about 3:30 and went until dark.  It was a good meeting.  I am overwhelmed with all the work we are doing.  I am so inspired by the quality of the facility we are building and how we will use it to train around 1000 students at a time…year after year, and I can’t wait to get home and get back to the work of asking for followers of Jesus to sacrifice and invest this crazy paper thing called money.  When you and I consider how blessed we are, we will be incredible givers.  Are you an incredible giver? 

It’s Sunday.  It was a good day.  I only have a day and half left before I must climb aboard another airliner and fly at 31,000 feet back home. 

I am blessed.  Supremely blessed…and at the same time I am haunted.  Haunted by the conditions that this sin cursed world has created for such wonderful people like Ugandans…and sometimes even the people in our neighborhoods in the USA.  Poverty is not always a money thing.  Return Hope International is not just about Uganda Africa.  I teach the Bible in the US.  I am a Bible teacher at a Christian School and would be grateful to fill the pulpit of your pastor if he/she needs a break.  Return Hope makes this all possible.  God is good. Let’s continue to conquer the entrapment of poverty all around the world.

Is there anything in your life that separating you from God and causing poverty in your life.  Poverty of marriage?  Poverty of physical fitness?  Poverty of friendships?  Poverty of spirituality? Poverty of finances?  Poverty of parenting?  Poverty of emotional health? 

Only Jesus is the answer.  He won’t miraculously make you rich in those areas of life.  It will require you to become a fully devoted follower of Him.  He has asked much from you and me…but not before giving His all for us. 

We can do more for Him.  Your obedience matters.  Narrow is the road that leads to heaven.  I love you too much to just make you feel good, if you are walking down the road to hell.  Please don’t be separated from God for eternity.  I think it would be cool to spend eternity with you.

I pray you will use the tool of Return Hope to grow in your relationship with Jesus and become more like Him. Return Hope is the work of Jesus and the Church. 

It was a good Sunday.  I pray someday you will experience a Sunday with me…here in Africa!

I have only one full day left in Africa before I return.  We are preparing to drill 6 fresh water wells for people in the African bush who have never had clean water to drink. Each well will provide fresh water for approx 10,000 people.  Talk about making a difference in the lives of people! Many of the locals have been told that there just isn’t any water underground.  Wait until we show them what Jesus can do!!  He can do anything!  I am going to visit some of the locations and people, and take some pictures.  I will post about it tomorrow.  A couple of the well locations are deep enough in the African bush that some of the people will have never seen a white man.

Stay tuned.

What is 1 Day in Uganda like? Please read all of this… Please!

Imagine if you woke up this morning and the entire state you lived in was transformed into what can only be called ‘sheer desperation’.


(Please have the perseverance and courage to read this entire story)


When you awoke, you were sleeping on a piece of foam 4 inches thick, 4ft wide by 6 feet long.  The foam was crumbling from rot and dirt. It is more of a barrier from the hard floor than a comfort.  The blanket you are under is tattered and full of holes.  You wonder how you could possibly be comfortable.  Then you recognize that your comfort and warmth was coming from your spouse and four children sleeping around and on you…on that one mat.   As you lay there wondering how this has happened you focus on the ceiling and you recognize that your home is now the one room mower shed that is typically in the backyards of most American homesteads.IMG_5725


As you quietly get up to try to understand how you are in such horrible circumstances you first see the ants and the cockroaches scamper from under your bed and the one chair in the corner.   As you open the door to outside, all you see are others in the very same circumstances.  Your TV’s are gone, your beautiful home is not there.  Your car is not there and if it was, you realize $3.50 for one gallon is more than 3 days wages that your husband brings home.


As you peak outside, you smile a little, when you see in the yard, a mother Hen with 8 little chicks scampering around her.  They are very cute as they chase that little grasshopper in hopes for some breakfast.


As you step out of your home into the light of the new day, your stomach growls.  You know that you are going to need to eat, but even more you know your spouse and children will be rising soon and they too will want to eat.  So you peak back in your new home…the garden shed.  You see a very small blue plastic bag.  Your are curious.  You find beans and some rice and one nearly blackened banana.  As you look around for other food items, hoping for a nice bowl of cereal and cold milk, or bagel with cream cheese, or fresh bacon and eggs on toast…you recognize there is not even a stove or a microwave to prepare such foods.  You stare at the walls and understand there are no cupboards with dishes, no drawers with utensils, no sink for washing, no water to wash or to cook with.


You discover an aluminum bowl with a stick resting in it.  You figure you could cook the rice and beans with some water so your spouse and 4 children may have some breakfast.  You accept this reality and you take the cooking bowl, rice and beans, and prepare to cook it.  You first look for the stove.  It does not exist.  It cannot exist in this new house…there is no space and even if I had the space it would take nearly a years wages to pay for a stove and even if I could pay for the stove, there is no electricity or natural gas lines to power it.IMG_5751


You feel like panicking.  You are overwhelmed at your new reality.  You look around your one room home…You see your other 2 outfits to wear, and the one or two sets of old clothes for each of your other 5 family members.  There is no room.  You can barely see the floor of your home because it is so small and there is no room for anything you possess and it is all just stacked upon each other.


You realize that in order to have some moving around space, you must try to create some living space outside.   You have no lawn chairs or patio furniture, so you think to yourself that you will buy a floor mat that you could sit on and your children could play on.  You hope it will be big.  You go inside your home to find your money stash, or at least your debit card, or possibly your password so you can get money from your bank accounts.  You soon discover they do not exist.  The only money you have is 2 quarters, a dime and 6 pennies.   You realize you are lucky, because that is the price of a small mat.  But you pause and recognize that if you spend those coins on the mat, you will not have any money to buy beans and rice for your family tomorrow.  You begin to cry because you now know that there is not enough food for lunch and dinner for that day.  Just beans and rice for breakfast and you hope the school will feed your children.  But you feel a sense of desperation because you know you cannot afford for your children to attend a school.


You tell yourself that you will worry about that later.  For now, you need water to cook the rice and beans, for you can hear the kids stirring inside and they will soon be asking for breakfast.


You seek water for cooking the rice and beans.  The only thing you find is a yellow gas can in the back of your house/shed.  You grab it and look for the sink.  It does’t exist.  You look outside for a water spout to turn on so you can get a gallon or two of fresh water to drink and cook with.  You notice your mouth is dry and you too thirst for water.   You glance across the street and you see other people in the exact same circumstances.  There is a group of ladies who are all filing in single file line, chattering with one another as they walk down the hill for a 2 mile walk to fetch some water for drinking and cooking and maybe washing.


If you are the mother of the family, you must decide if you want to go fetch water or send one of your older daughters or possibly one of your younger boys.  Your 2 year old boy, now sitting on the floor with the ants scurrying around him just smiles and gazes at you with true love.  You cannot believe that you do not have any pants for him, so he sits on the floor with ants with only a shirt on.  He does’t mind.  He doesn’t know any better.


You pick him up and give him a squeeze and you recognize that you need to pick up the ‘house.’  So, you awaken your other daughter…now 13 years old.   You ask her to take the yellow gas can on the 2 mile walk to bring back some water.  She doesn’t complain, gets up, rubs her eyes and sets off on the journey.   You pray for her safety as she makes the journey.  You pray the 17 year old boys of the town will not rape her and you pray that she has the sense to stay with the group for safety.  You also pray that she has the strength to carry the 40 pounds of water back up the hill to your home on the 2 mile walk back.IMG_5712


You pray that the water source will not have any animal feces in it or that the rain from last night, as it washes to the water source, doesn’t encounter any dead animals and carry more disease to the water you must drink everyday.  You pray that maybe today the water will be less milky colored and more clear.  You pray to God that He will protect the family from all the disease that this water brings with it.  You feel overwhelmed that it is the only water you have to drink, period.


If you are the wife, you do all you can to keep your mind off of your daughter journeying to the water source, so you get the others up and ask them to clean up around them, you send them off to the school that you hope will let them attend without paying and maybe even feed them.


You are beginning to become so desperate that you and your husband actually consider having you go into town at night, where the truck drivers park their trucks and pay 2 or 3 dollars for sex with you.  You know if you do this, your kids will eat much better, but you worry about HIV.  You know it will embitter your husband even though you both agreed it’s the only way to provide for the family.  You haven’t caved in to that temptation yet, but you are growing ever more desperate every day.


You hope the dollar your husband makes that day will be stretched further as you encounter others in the same circumstances at the market.  Maybe some trade and bartering can take place.  Instead of buying a mat for the front of the house for the kids to play on, you can be resourceful and pull some of the local reeds that grow nearby and find some old string and tie them together and make a flat mat, so that the kids aren’t directly in the dirt.IMG_5709


If you are the husband, you get up, frustrated, that you are headed into town or down the road where you might find a farmer who will give you 50 cents…maybe up to 2 dollars for your day of working in his fields.   You know that amount of money will barely sustain your family with the rice and beans so you at least may not starve to death.  You are losing weight because you forgo some meals, hoping the farmer might provide a small meal for your work, so your children may have a little extra food as they are growing.




You have no stove, so you cook your rice and beans behind your house over firewood.


You find out your kids are not allowed to attend school because they do not have a uniform or school supplies, or the administration fees for them to attend so the teachers may be paid even a little.


You wait for your husband to come home, hoping he made a little extra money that day.


You pray and hope that your children do not get sick, especially from Malaria from mosquitos, because you have no medicine and cannot afford to go to any hospital.


You pick wild bananas in hopes that somebody, maybe even a tourist, would journey past and pay you a quarter for some bananas, but you recognize that everybody is selling small bunches of bananas.  You pray someone buys yours.


You hope there is water left over from breakfast to feed the tomato plants on the side of your house, so you don’t have to take another 4 mile trip for dirty water.  You hope you can trade your tomatoes for some corn or an onion or a mango.


You pray to God for this all to change.  You are working very hard, there just is not income.


You pray to God that a Christian from a more prosperous part of the world might choose to give and help and serve.  You pray that thousands of Christians around the world would sacrifice as much as they can every month to help conquer this injustice.


You met an American missionary today who asked you what you hope would happen first so that your life might be less desperate…you reply…I beg that my children could go to a good school, where they can eat, receive a good education and change their future.  You say that you can get by, but you are praying to the Lord that your children’s future will be better because they learned new ways of life through their school and education and world exposure.


You thank the missionary for coming to visit you and you hope that he will preach at the church you attend on Sunday.


You sing to the Lord nearly 10 times a day… songs like… “God you are good, God you are good, God you are good, you’re so good to me.”  You sing it with a smile knowing that you will join Him for eternity and it is there you will have no tears, no starvation, no hurt, no thirst and pure joy.


You are joyful, even amidst all this day’s injustice.

READER…IF YOU WANT TO BE A SOLUTION TO THIS INJUSTICE….PLEASE START BY DONATING SOME OF YOUR MONEY MONTHLY.  www.ReturnHope.com  I am asking you to consider sacrificing eating out one time a month as a family.  You can take that $40 and give it to the least of these through Return Hope International.   The 40 comes from Matthew 25:40.  Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, that which you do for the least of these, you do unto me.”   Just click the ReturnHope Logo and donate.  

It’s not the 40 that is such a huge amount that helps so much…it’s the power of many of us giving 40 dollars each a month.  Call your friends and have them join you in giving 40 a month for the least of these.  I will come speak and tell stories and show pictures at any group you request me to join.  We must do this together.  The eternal impact is huge!




YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.  Please remember what Jesus said…

“Where you treasure is…there you your heart is also.”  

What is the Renner Family up to now? :)

2013-08-10 05.16.48In 1997 my wife and I started a brand new Church, named Parkway Christian Church, in Surprise Arizona with 20 strangers. In January of 2010 (13 years later), I was prompted by God to give Parkway to Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) so we could have a stronger impact for Christ together, whether it benefited me or not.  The rest of this post is a description written from the perspective of 20/20 hindsight at how God has prompted me and used others to bring everything together right up to this point.

I look back at our time at Parkway and I remember doing a sermon series where we studied every teaching and command of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was the most amazing sermon series I have ever done.  It changed me.  It haunted me. I didn’t fully understand all that God was prompting me throughout this series, but I sensed God telling me to do something more by serving the less fortunate around the world with with my time and other resources.  Within a year of that series starting, I created a new 3 year church vision for Parkway;  “We as Parkway love people so much that we will serve anyone in our line of sight who is hungry, lonely, thirsty, or has a shattered life…AND…we will send 50% of our Church population to all 7 continents to do the same!”

The combination of the Teachings and Commands of Jesus, and that missional statement made it clear that my time with what was known as Parkway was coming to a close and big change was coming.  Parkway became Christ’s Church of the Valley and I became a team preacher that rotated preaching with Don Wilson, CCV’s lead pastor.

In August of 2011, while on staff at CCV, I sensed the prompting of God again and again.  One day at  the Willow Creek Leadership summit conference, Bill Hybels asked all in attendance to write on a broken clay shard, a phrase that described what my life calling for God is.  I wrote on the shard, “Whatever YOU want. I will not back off. I will not hold anything back from YOU.” WHATEVER YOU WANT PIC
That sentence, unleashed three years of a head-spinning roller coaster ride for me and my family. The Bible says that God will never tempt us, but it is clear that God will refine us and try us while always being there with us. Trials and Refining are never easy, but the return on the faithful person being tried and refined is greater purity and personal closeness with the Lord. Just like gold being refined, a sword being sharpened or a diamond being cut and polished.

So, with the clay shard vow, God prompted me to walk away from the securities of being on the leadership team and preaching in a church of 21,000 people…into the unknown. I didn’t hold back and I submitted my resignation.

At this point in time, I had been in professional ministry for 20 years and 15 of them were as a Lead Pastor.  It’s what I was good at. It made sense to me to simply find another Church to Lead.   God was telling me different.  I ignored Him. I wrestled with Him.  I kept thinking there is no way that God would prompt such a thing, I had to be hearing God wrong.

After a year of refusing to listen to God about all this, God gave me what I was demanding. He let me lead a church whose leadership was so full of legalism and behavior modification religion, that after seven eternally long and grueling weeks I had to resign.  What had I done? I had just moved my family of six across the USA to be a successful Pastor again in a church that was begging for leadership to bring the change that a majority of the people wanted for this Church.  God used a powerful and dysfunctional few in this church to show me that I did not want to get stuck behind four walls of a Church building and argue with Christians about their personal preferences.  God used these dysfunctional situations to try to get me to listen better to Him.  Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man paves the way, but the Lord directs his steps.” After my experience with this church, I want to add to that Scripture passage, “and sometimes has to use a 2×4!”

I resigned from the Church in Florida after 7 weeks and lived off my emergency funds until I could determine what I was supposed to be doing. Nothing was making sense.  At this point in time I began to hear, via Facebook and personal meetings,  from many people who had been injured in the previous church with all its legalism.  It made sense to start PulsePoint Christian Church and try to be used by God to breath new Church life into these great but wounded people and reach others at the same time.  We began to meet in parks and finally we secured the Oviedo High School auditorium and we became a very fast growing church. After 7 months we we had about 170 in attendance and yet I  was being prompted by God that I was not doing what He wanted me to be doing, but only doing what I knew I could do.

This is when I met a pastor named Mitch in FL. Mitch leads River Run Christian Church just down the road from the High School where PulsePoint was meeting for Sunday morning worship.  God used Mitch to keep prompting me about what I needed to be doing…God was prompting me to give PulsePoint to River Run, just like I gave Parkway to CCV. God has called everyone of us to be like His Son Jesus and be willing to give, asking nothing in return. I vowed to God that I would hold nothing back from Him and I meant it. I won’t share all the details, but the merge began and at the very same time that merge was coming together, I received a call from Hope4Kids International in Phoenix AZ. I had traveled with them to Africa a couple of times and loved the work of this ministry. The founder of this ministry is a friend of mine.  Looking back, this phone call was really just God repeating what He had been telling me from the beginning.  God used Tom Eggum to bring me back into the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix AZ to be the Vice President and Executive Director for Hope4Kids International.   I was really pumped about this opportunity.  All of God’s promptings and this job offer came together.  All the years of sacrifice and being willing to hold nothing back from God were now having what seemed to be a great return.  It finally was making sense.

After only 5 days from the job offer by phone, my kids were on a plane back to Phoenix to start school and Kelli and I began to pack our rental house and prepare for the 36 hour drive. I announced it to our Church on that next Sunday and we packed and moved in days. The people of PulsePoint have been dispersed to a couple of Church plants and to River Run. I am in contact with some of them regularly and I love seeing them be pushed and challenged by the will of God too. I used to preach regularly this phrase, “Shift Happens.” I believe God moves fast and you and I must try to keep up by being swift and nimble as well. Don’t put your faith in a pastor or a specific Church because Shift Happens. The only one who doesn’t shift is Jesus Christ for He is the same always.

I began my new ministry and life at Hope4Kids. My whole family was excited and curious about our new future. I was given the challenge to lead a staff. I was given the challenge to develop the organization’s budget. I was to create an Ambassador program, and lead the staff meetings, and speak at churches to raise money for the good work we were doing. And so I did.  After just 90 days, I was confronted by my friend and boss, Tom Eggum, and for the first time in my life, I was fired. I had hoped to do what this organization does for the rest of my life. I was told my DNA was all wrong and that I was leading the organization in a direction that Tom and the staff did not want to go. I was deeply confused, but accepted it as God’s continued refining as I had promised God that I would hold nothing back. So, I packed up my office went home and shared the news with my wife and four kids and sat stunned and numb. From my perspective I have done everything the Lord had asked of me. I had given so much away over the past couple of years and the only return I kept getting was a beating, tossed out, and wondering how I was going to be able to provide for my family. I battled the temptation to be deeply angry at God and demand a return on my sacrifice. I was tempted to do the very thing that Jesus didn’t do.

A pastor friend , challenged me to handle these new temptations in a holy manner. I listened. I’m grateful. I didn’t follow through with my temptation to demand angrily from God. But I sure had some hope in what might be some kind of return on my investment. By the way, it wasn’t just my investment. I fully acknowledge It was also the investment of pain and shift on Kelli, Madison, Riley, Garrett and Mia. They had a lot of skin in  this game too. I am so grateful for them and their patience and trust in me as their husband and dad…and more importantly their trust in Jesus Christ.

Kelli and I didn’t know what to do. No income, no job offers, nothing. This story is just a continual stripping and refining. When does it end? When do I get a return from the pain of faithfulness to hold nothing back. I had no option and desperately applied for Unemployment insurance which would provide food stamps and maybe some small income that would allow my family to stay afloat, that was even denied. I began to job hunt for anything that would allow me to pay the bills and feed my family.

Eight days after being fired by Hope4Kids International, I received a call from a guy with a pretty lofty title, in which he doesn’t even like, but it is the title of Dr. Rev John Mitch King. He goes by Mitch. He is the founder of an international mission called “Omega Alpha International.” Mitch, through this ministry, has personally been used by God to harvest somewhere around a half a million souls for the Kingdom of Heaven through preaching crusades and doing the work of Christ, serving the least of these in many countries. Mitch is now in his 70’s. His daughter was a committed member at Parkway Christian Church. Mitch was asking me to come work for him until he was ready to give the Org to my leadership. I was humbled by the opportunity, but found myself living in my own version of the movie Groundhog Day. This would be my FOURTH recent opportunity to work under someone who founded “their” ministry. Founders are amazing people…but one thing a majority of them have is what’s professionally called, “Founder’s Syndrome.”  Google it!  I kindly stopped Mitch in his offer and explained my past four experiences and told him I would not repeat another experience like those again. I then asked Mitch to give his ministry work to me and to ask nothing in return just like I did with Parkway Church and PulsePoint Church. He prayed about it and the next day he said yes. I tested his release by saying the first thing I would do is change the name of the ministry. I tested him more by telling him I am going to change the corporation 501c3 so we can start with a fresh beginning, fresh financial bookkeeping, etc. Mitch’s reply was, “Okay…This ministry has never been mine and I ask that you lead this ministry into the future and acknowledge that it all belongs to God.” He said, “please keep it about seeking and saving the lost around the world…that’s all I ask.”

I am inspired by this Rev. Dr. John Mitch King. John Mitch KingBy the way, Mitch also served in the United States Air Force for 20 years. The song by Salt N Pepa is coming to my head, “What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man!” If I sang those lyrics to Mitch…he would smile, but he would also shake his head and say…”I’m only serving the Lord…Jesus is the good in me.” Mitch asks nothing in return, but only returns the hope that was given to him through the love of God proven through the sacrifice of Jesus. I’m inspired and touched by this man’s life. I am grateful to have been chosen to carry the torch he carried for Jesus. I will carry it diligently and only for the Lord. I vow to never think that this ministry is mine. It’s all Jesus’s and I must hold on to it all lightly.

So…here we are!  The Renner Family…Wondering if God is turning the refining heat off for a time so that we may all cool off and see if we are better, purer, holier, and grateful for it all. I have been given the leadership baton for this ministry. Kelli and I, vow to serve only Jesus through this ministry. I pray that it accomplishes only what Jesus wants it to accomplish.

As I have been trying to return hope to people, due to the fact that Jesus gave hope to me, I found a man in Mitch, who is willing to give his life’s work and who only wants to return hope to me as Jesus gave hope to him. I found a man who truly proved through his action that nothing is his and everything can only be returned to the Lord. The immediate future might be tougher than the past three years, but I am hopeful. I fully understand that nothing comes easy. I desire to honor the Lord and continue the legacy that Mitch started through this international ministry.

It would make sense that Jesus gave hope to Mitch and Mitch returned hope to many many people throughout his leadership of Omega Alpha International. As Mitch has given me the leadership baton, he gave me his blessing to lead this ministry in the direction that Jesus is asking me to lead it. There are no strings attached.  I sense God prompting me, Kelli, Madison, Riley, Garrett, Mia, and YOU…to spend the rest of our lives returning hope to as many people around the world.  True hope is only in Jesus Christ as Lord of life. True hope is restored through more than just clean water, or child sponsorship, or traveling to Africa to serve Africans…True hope is found only in a strong relationship with Jesus Christ that overflows into the relationship with yourself, others, and the material things that God has asked us to manage.

Thus, I believe God is asking me to call this new ministry venture in which He has given my family….ReturnHope International.
ReturnHope Logo

Or…just for fun…what’s your honest opinion about this idea for a logo and branding campaign??

Hope Hog Front Hope Hog Tshirt back copy

boomerang t shirt boomerang back

The logos and ideas above are not our official logos, but its the beginning of some creative brainstorming we have started. I am asking some people to create a branding theme and design an edgy and youthful feel for ReturnHope that will catch attention on T-shirts, billboards, and social media.  Got a rockin idea?  Send it to me…who knows maybe you will have branded ReturnHope.com’s future!   My email address is trentrenner@me.com   I have reserved the name returnhope.com and returnhope.org and will be in process of building a website as our communication center.  My wife and I are in process of creating a fresh vision and new beginning for a ministry that has been changing lives for Jesus for the past 30 or 40 years. The only obstacles I face in this new venture are obstacles of practicality and of the devil. We are working hard and fast on adapting our new 501c3 documents from the organization’s old documents. Please be patient as we wait to hear from the State of Arizona and the IRS about our current paperwork and forward movement. Kelli and I pray that this great ministry might benefit from your personal investment.  I will have to raise my own salary for the year 2014…which is always a challenge, and I ask that you will pray about your ability to support this ministry.  I would be grateful.  We pray you might consider giving to help lay the administrative foundation so that hundreds of thousands more people can discover the Hope found only in Jesus Christ. Kelli and I pray that you would be a part of the start up of this new vision being built upon Omega Alpha’s foundation through Mitch’s leadership. Mitch is going to introduce me to his contacts and networks around the world. (I will post instructions soon about your ability to give year end gifts and how.) Please stay tuned and prepared for that news.

If you know me, my leadership decisions will be devoted to us all working together to ReturnHope around the world in the name of Jesus. We will teach the Good News of Jesus Christ in the areas He commanded of us…to the ends of the earth. We will focus hard on the specifics Jesus talks about when He referenced true religion. Orphans, Widows, Prisoners, Hungry, Thirsty, Naked, the Least of These. Those things are bully’s that steal Hope. You and I have been chosen to be the Body of our God, Jesus Christ, and to ReturnHope through Him across our streets and across our seas…to the ends of the earth! We will have a simple strategy for this ministry based off of 2 words. RESTORE, RETURN! It will all be Christ centered. If we are going to do this together…let’s do it right and let’s do it dynamic.

I can’t predict the future. I gave up trying to do that awhile back. I don’t know what waits around the next corner. I know I’ll make mistakes, but it won’t be the kind that offend God. I do know I have a lot of learning to do in this International adventure we are beginning together. I’m guessing you do to. I am asking you to journey with me, and learn with me and my family in this ministry to the least of these around the world.

Stay tuned for more information very soon!

I love you and I’d do anything for you…I have received so much hope from you and from the Lord. I know you have received love from me. Let’s join together and ReturnHope to others in the name of Jesus Christ!

Lions…Elephants…and Floods…Oh My!

Lions, Elephants and Floods…Oh My!

If you’ve been keeping up on this African Adventure that I’ve been blogging about, you noticed that I didn’t blog yesterday.  The reason is because is was a travel only day.  We drove 9 hours from Torroro to Fort Portal Uganda.   It was a long ride.  

We arrived in Fort Portal Uganda for our process of re-engaging into America.  We got into our rooms at the Mountains of the Moon Hotel.  All I can say is whoa!  This is an upscale place.  Incredible food.  Amazing rooms and the grounds are in perfect shape.  After spending the last 9 days in a place that didn’t have running water most of the time…this is a true delight.  Tonight will be our last night here and tomorrow we head for the airport and I will arrive  home at 6:30 pm at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix on Monday.

But before we call this African Adventure a wrap…please let me tell you about a really cool and fun day.  

We got up this morning at 6am and had an amazing breakfast.  Then we headed for something I have only ever dreamed about doing.  An African Safari.  Unbelievable.   We drove 2 hours to the Queen Elizabeth National Park where we had a two hour boat ride where we saw wild hippos, cape buffalo, all kinds of wild birds and just had an amazing time in the middle of wild Africa.  After the boat ride we hit the land in our bus and we went on the lookout for two major animals that we wanted to find.  Elephants and of course…Lions!

We looked for hours driving through the Safari Refuge and then our guide spotted a Pride of Lions laying under the African bush in the shade.  They were about 200 yards out and you could barely see them.  The guide got on his phone and before we knew it we turned off the road and drove straight at the big cats.  They didn’t budge until we pulled up beside them…I kid you not…10 yards away!   The pictures I got with my iPhone are amazing.  There were 2 male lions…big manes and all that stood up….seemed to pose and then just looked at us and walked around a little bit.  I’ve never been that close.   There is something surreal about seeing a massive lion in the African wild.  I mean, the Phoenix Zoo is cool and all but…Africa?….wow!

After spending about 10 minutes next to the big cats…we started whining about how we hadn’t seen any Elephants.  So we drove around for about an hour more and then gave up and headed for our hotel.  On the way out of the park…we literally almost ran into a herd of Elephants.  They walked right at the bus…and then…walked around the bus.  I’ve got some decent shots with my iPhone of the big bull, but everybody in the bus was out of their seats trying to grab a great shot.  

After about 10 minutes of just watching the Elephants we headed home.  We made a quick stop at the Equator.  Pretty cool to stop and take a photo.   After everybody got their photos we took off and about 20 minutes into the drive it began to rain in the only way Africa seems to do anyting…BIG!

The road ahead of us began to flood out.  The water came rushing over the road and all the people from Uganda began to get out of their cars and it looked like a huge traffic jam . Our bus was just sitting on the highway and all these Ugandans were just walking around talking to each other.  So…we got out.  It looked like we were the only white people in the world.   I started talking to people around me and I had my iPhone and began to video people.  One guy got in my camera and yelled…”Its happening to us…this is a Ugandan Tsunami”…and he just began to laugh out loud.  

These are the friendliest people I have ever met. 
This trip is the most emotion evoking trip I have ever had.
I pray that you will go to Africa someday in your future.
When you go to Africa…you must go with Hope 4 Kids International…
God has something to tell you when you are there!

Thanks for reading this. 
I will be back in the USA on Monday.