An Encouraging Word

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Message from Dick Taylor:

Third day in Uganda today.  Great church service this morning as many agreed to a life of compassion and  evangelism efforts. Then an incredible visit to a "Blind Village'. The  community has brought the blind together so they can better care for them.
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I had a humbling God experience this morning in the Lord’s Pantry during their week of prayer and consecration. As I sat quietly listening  to the worship music and in prayer, along with 6 other men from the Lord’s Gym and Pantry, a woman from the streets, Sonya, came into the Pantry. At the first chair she saw, she knelt at the chair managing to fold her small frame of a body between and underneath the plastic lawn chair. She laced her arms on the seat and bowed her head into her folded hands and silently prayed. Honestly, I began to peek and watch her as she occasionally lifted her arms and hands into the air while she prayed. Her eyes were closed, her lips spoke softly, and she appeared to be engaging God with all humility. It’s not that she was distracting or showed fanfare as to say to everyone –“hey, look at me.” In retrospect, I was impressed with her mility before God.

As the song finished and the Lord’s Pantry air was filled with silence, she spoke up and asked Bob Clarke, (Director of Men’s Ministry for FOCAS), if she could pray for us, which she did in a very fractured style of thoughts and phrases. However, it was her simple message that she  transitioned to that hung in the air like a thick fog. (I thought, did God send you in here to share a word? Maybe!) She simply reminded us of the story of the prodigal son and how God loves the prodigals of the world. After reminding us that it’s the prodigals whom God is seeking out, she reminded us that the streets of Over-the-Rhine are full of them. She concluded by praying that God would watch out after them and protect them as He protected her!

As I got up to leave, I thanked her for her prayers and she grabbed onto my hand with both hands. I couldn’t help but notice how tightly  she gripped my hand and drew it to her face. Pastor Rob turned in his Bible and began to read the story of the prodigal son and then prayed as he felt led by God. I stood there, holding Sonya’s hands in mine, and praying in agreement with Pastor Rob. I can’t even recall now what he prayed, but now it was our turn to minister to Sonya – a self-proclaimed former prodigal. Now, I was the one who was humbled.

I think the spirit of God used a person from the streets of Over-the-Rhine to remind us of His love and mission to save the lost.

Thank you for your support that allows The Lord’s Pantry and
Lord’s Gym to remain open and reach out to all who will grace our doors.

In Jesus,

Scott Bowers

Director of Development - FOCAS
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This morning, around 10:30 am, I walked into the Lord’s Pantry and Lord’s Gym. The Gym’s lights were out and the curtains to the Pantry were drawn closed. This is perfect I thought. It’s going to be great; and, I was not disappointed.

Walking into the Pantry, worship music was playing, words were being projected on to a screen, prayer cards were available, people could meet with a chaplain, or you could just sit silently in prayer in meditation. While I chose to sit in worship and prayer, my brothers from the neighborhood raised their hands and voice in shouts of praise. Bob Clarke and his staff were fully vested in day 2
of their week of consecration, which he did last year as well.

This first day of summer invites everyone to a week of consecration and continual prayer meeting at the Lord's Gym and Lord's Pantry, 12th and Race Street, from 9am until 5pm. There is designated scripture reading, intercession, meditation and worship times. All styles of worship are respected, so feel free to join us. Also, we offer one-on-one prayer and counseling for those who desire it in the room next door.

You are invited to come and participate. I plan to attend again.

Blessings,

Scott Bowers

FOCAS
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I would like to personally invite you to a very unique event to bring awareness to Haiti and help us raise money to rebuild the clinic in Calebasse.  My friend, Pedro Palacios, owner of The Rowing Place, is again hosting HEART activities for Haiti. In 2010 he organized four teams of 3 persons where each team rowed for 90 minutes to raise money. Pedro is doing this event again. This is a very healthy & unique way to bring love of Christ’s people to Haiti. Please check out his website www.nolimitsrowing.com and join him on Saturday March 10th at 8 am. We will row 1 hour in teams to raise money to build a new clinic in Haiti. The goal is $5000.

Yes – I am going to row as well to show my support and encouragement to Pedro and Haiti. Perhaps you would sponsor me or another member? All the money will go toward the clinic. People can sponsor me for one cent per meter rowed, become a matching sponsor, or just a flat amount for the time rowed. I will be rowing on a concept 2 rowing machine.

You can join us at the Rowing Place 673 Wilmer Ave Suite D and help row for Haiti. Also, see us on FOX 19 Friday March 9th at 8 am. Pedro and I will be interviewed by Sheila Gray promoting this event. FOCAS asks everyone to pitch in and support our medical, restorative, and evangelic
efforts to the Haiti people, and consider a fund raiser as a unique and loving way to show love to God’s people. Please pray for innovative ideas and contact FOCAS if you want to lead such an effort.

Scott Bowers
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Written by Evelyn Perkins Community Press columnist Nov 9 2011 Tri-County Press

This year marked 25 years of humanitarian effort that began with FOCAS (Foundation of Compassionate American Samaritans) helping Haitian children attend school, receive food and obtain medical care. Founded by Dick Taylor in 1986, FOCAS later began serving the needs of Cincinnati. Taylor and his late wife, Anne, shared a vision that resulted in Lord’s Gym, a Bible study and weightlifting program to help men in Over-the-Rhine.

FOCAS still works in Haiti and, with Lord’s Gym developed many programs to serve youth, and young adults here. Anne started Lord’s Pantry to feed the poor and homeless. FOCAS created FOODShare in cooperation with local churches and business, and began a moving business to help people gain employment. They also opened the Nicholas Hoyer Sportsclub (named in honor of their late grandson) for youth and children that involves Bible study. A child survival program helped reduce child mortality and HIV rates. Jerry’s House is a live-in discipleship program for men.

Springdale’s Noreen Mocsny and husband, Dave, have supported Lord’s Gym for many years. She invited me to attend the Oct. 5 celebration at Sharonville Convention Center, where success stories and words of encouragement made you realize that none is lost who truly wants to be found.

Jack Atherton of Channel 5 News said that man’s extravagance is God’s opportunity, and this was our opportunity to do God’s work in the organization’s programs. The chair of FOCAS, Courtnell Francois, offered a prayer of thanks for the opportunity to stir the gift of giving.

“There are souls to be delivered. Burn in our hearts the desire to reach out to others.”  Dick Taylor spoke of how God moved him and Anne to open Lord’s Gym to feed the poor and homeless.

“We couldn’t envision in 1986 what 25 years would bring.” Their mission statement vows, “To see transformed lives reproducing changed lives,” and that they have done many times over through prayer, feeding and support.

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Life is hard in Haiti

Posted  November 16, 2011 by Scott Bowers

One of the most  significant things that happened on this trip occurred in Callebasse as the  construction team was working pulling wire, trimming the temporary clinic, and  clearing rock for the new clinic. It had nothing to do with the frustrations of  construction but with the everyday difficulty of life in Haiti. A  fourteen-year-old boy approached Glen, one of our leaders from the Lord’s Gym  who was part of the Haiti construction team. The boy was distressed and asked  for help and his three other siblings (11 and two 9 year olds). His mother had  just died four days ago and they were hungry. He said his dad had died too, but  later we learned that he had abandoned the family. Two of our FOCAS board  members (trustees) who were with the team – hauling rocks no less – stepped in  to help. Our interpreter, Serge, found out that the kids were living with their  grandmother with no food in the house. From my experience in Haiti, tragedy and  survival are all too common. While Haiti makes the news due to natural  disasters like the earthquake and previous hurricanes, life itself is a  challenge. A parent dies or leaves. Children are abandoned, find an orphanage,  or possibly sold as a restavek (child slavery) if they are not fortunate enough  to be taken in by a grandparent or friend. We visited one orphanage for girls  that provided a safe home for 17 girls. These girls will have a chance. To  learn more about them go to www.HaitiUnderGod.org and consider supporting the  orphanage. I know of the person who is behind it and he has a good reputation.  To learn more about the restavek problem go to www.restavekfreedom.org. The  people behind it are very reputable too. If you feel led to get involved I am  sure they would appreciate it. SB

 Haiti playground
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     Scott Bowers November 9, 2011

Clearing the terrace - stone by stone!

Without vision the people perish. This statement sounds like some motivational talk, but it’s actually taken from the book of Proverbs. I had the opportunity to speak to about 180 children at the FOCAS school in DuPlan II. Through my interpreter I asked how many of them have dreams? I called on 3 children who responded: doctor, teacher, and engineer. The other kids laughed. I did my best to encourage them by explaining that achieving their vision or dream will take time and many, many years. Isn’t it that way with us? My words would become an object lesson to me upon our return trip to Calebasse where the permanent clinic is being built. There is a vision to see a new and robust facility, with  a clinic, built on a terrace, right next to the destroyed clinic. A U.S. architect and engineer have plans already drafted. A 135’ x 2’ x 16’ foot wall  was put in place earlier this year – stone by stone wrapped in wire mesh. (Simple but effective technology). Our construction team worked along side the Haitian team to clear the terrace. It’s a massive vision and project that will take many people and years to finish – just like those children wanting to accomplish their visions. One rock or step at a time, those three children can achieve their vision with the right people and enough time. Because many of them have sponsors in the US, they can go to school. In FOCAS’ 25 years, we have seen one student make it to become a doctor. I accompanied her on a medical trip on my last visit to Haiti. Visions are very powerful and provide the hope and determination to help us pick up one more stone. With enough persistence, we (with the help of others) find one day that all of the stones have been moved. Who knows, maybe one of these kids will be the next leader and we will have helped them with the heavy lifting to get there! One can hope can’t they? SB

 

 
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Is Haiti Getting a Second Chance?

Posted November 9, 2011 by Scott Bowers

Can you imagine a bad thing yielding positive opportunities? It seems that as Haiti digs out  from their earthquake from Jan of 2010, they are slowly experiencing signs of  rebirth and opportunities. I am seeing signs of growth in the area we are  staying, which is Petionville. Our flight into Haiti was mostly non-Haitian,  suggesting that many were teams from churches, government organizations, and  non-government organizations or NGOs. These teams continue to bring finances  and revitalizing resources to Haiti. During our drive (in the dark) from the  airport to the guesthouse, I was surprised at the newly constructed buildings,  the lights being on in the buildings, and the business of people in the  streets. Best Western is building a new hotel just a few blocks from where we  are staying. (I imagine they are anticipating more influx of help and construction for some time to come since Haiti is not a destination spot for  tourism.) In our area some of the damaged buildings have been torn down, and tent  cities in our area have been reduced as the government resettles people to  other areas. This week Habitat for Humanity, with 450 people, is building 150  small homes in Leogane, near the earthquake’s epicenter. And, the temporary  clinic in Calebasse has been constructed and our team is working on trying to  make it more operational. From talking to our Haitian friends, it seems that  reconstruction money that is being invested in Haiti is coming with oversight  and accountability – something that has been sorely needed. Make no mistake;
the earthquake was devastating and horrible. My glasses are not so rose colored  that I think Haiti has turned a corner – my observations are just on a small  sliver of Haiti. However, as the cliché goes, “dawn still comes in the morning”  and maybe Haiti will experience a new dawn as a result of all of the focused  help. Time will tell! SB

View of FOCAS's  new temporary clinic as seen from inside the old clinic which was completely destroyed by the earthquake in 2010.

Is Haiti Getting a Second Chance



 
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9:44 a.m. Parade Honoring Carl Lindner, Jr. taken from cincinnati.com

Ten men from the Lord’s Gym gathered at the corner of Liberty and Walnut — the first site of the gym that moved to Washington Park. Among those paying respects to Lindner was Dick Taylor, founder of FOCAS Ministries, parent of the gym.

Men from the Lord's Gym stand at the corner of their original location at Liberty and Walnut to honor Carl Lindner as the hearse carrying his body traveled down Liberty Street Friday morning, October 21, as part of the parade to celebrate Lindner's life.

The men all wore black T-shirts and sweatshirts from the gym. “His pain, your gain,” they read. When the procession passed the men removed their caps and placed them over their hearts as a sign of respect. Taylor said he first met with Lindner in 2000, and over the past 11 years Lindner donated almost $500,000 to the ministry.

Lindner’s donations were primarily a $25,000 annual contribution Taylor used as a matching-grant incentive for other prospective donors.

“He even would stop in a couple of times,” said Taylor, a retired General Electric engineer. “He was most interested in investing in me and my vision for the ministry,” Taylor said.

The ministry uses weight training as a draw for men, many of whom are in substance abuse and alcoholism recovery. The gym offers bible study as part of its weight-lifting sessions.

FOCAS Ministries, which also operates a program in Haiti, was founded in 1986. The gym opened in 1993.

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With all of Cincinnati and many around the world we mourn the death of Carl Lindner.  But, we also rejoice in his going home to be  with Jesus.  Carl was a patriarch of promoting Cincinnati, programs good for our city, and the work of God in our  area,  I met him in 2000 when he took time to hear what God was doing through The Lord’s Gym and he began to support  our annual breakfasts with matching funds. He continued right through this year, and we thank God for his life and  his incredible generosity.  The picture shows me and Anne as we received his first check. Also, note the image of the parade honoring Carl this morning as it drove through downtown Cincinnati and past the original site of the Lord’s Gym where men from the Gym paid their final respects.

 

Dick
Taylor

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Haiti 45 Trip    19 missionaries have returned from a great trip to Haiti.  The team included 11 Sigma Chi’s from the University of Cincinnati, 6 folks from Aley United Methodist Church in Beavercreek, OH, John Crabb a FOCAS Board member and me.  Activities included work at Callebasse on the new retaining wall, the new interim clinic building, and clearing thousands of rocks to make way for the new clinic at Pastor Moliere’s Callebasse center.  There were also visits to FOCAS supported schools, including the challenging trip to the top of Mont Marre Roseaux, an orphanage with precious little girls, and the Sigma Chi’s had several opportunities to get soccer lessons from Haitian young people.  See http://haiti45.tumblr.com/ for the Sigma Chi blog with some photos and text.

Maybe you should go with us on Haiti 46, Nov. 5-14.

Dick Taylor

Haiti 45 picture
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Many thanks to our friends and supporters for joining us at the amazing 25 year celebration. Testimonies, music by Eliot Sloan, and abundant worship and praises, made this celebration service a memorable one.

Thank you all so very much for your help in making this ministry possible. To God be the Glory.
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GREAT HAITI TRIP --  I returned to the States from Haiti on March 6 with a small team – me, Don Seela, Rich Herndon and my son Rick.  I am very pleased because we accomplished all of my major goals for the trip, many funded by earthquake relief donations:

  1. At Callebasse, Rick wired the new Interim Clinic and had time to also add wiring to get lights and outlets to the rooms under the church being used as the clinic right now.  The original clinic was badly damaged by the earthquake and then finished with the propane fire.

  2. Great opportunity to meet with Jack Cope, the Nashville Architect who is designing the new permanent clinic for Callebasse.  Don Seela came up with a new approach to building the retaining wall which Jack and his engineering advisor liked that will save many dollars and allow us to start on the wall right away. A real breakthrough!

  3. Don & Rich went to Mont Marre Roseaux and inspected the church/school.  Both ends of the building were badly damaged by the quake, but the ends have been replaced – better than new!

  4. We purchased a one-bag cement mixer to be kept at Callebasse by Pastor Moliere.  This will be much more efficient than the standard mix on the ground technique, but more importantly will provide much stronger cement.

  5. Pastor Moliere and I had an excellent meeting with Gary Juste the head of Contracts at USAID in Haiti. USAID will have extensive reconstruction funding very soon and we received some encouragement and good information on the process.

  6. We hired Elise Nicholas to replace Maxeau as Child Sponsor Coordinator.  He seems to be highly qualified and motivated with very good English.


Praise God for His faithfulness and help!

Dick Taylor
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When you walk through the doors of the Lord’s Pantry, the first person who greets you is Renee. She always has a smile on her face and a warm welcome for each and every person who walks through the door. She smiles as she squirts a glob of hand-gel sanitizer in your hand and gives you a plastic bag to put your personal items in. You will see her sitting in the daily bible study, absorbing God’s word and learning about His mercy. Her favorite expression is that,” God can make a way out of no way”.

 Renee has been transformed from her old way of life. Four years ago, she knew the harsh reality of living on the streets of Over-the-Rhine when she lost custody of her son, she’d been in the county jail, and she was walking the streets, hungry for some food.   It was at the Lord’s Pantry that she found more than just a meal when she was welcomed by Anne Taylor. Anne not only fed her a meal, but brought Renee into a relationship with Jesus by witnessing to her, and showing her unconditional love. Through Anne’s mentoring, Renee discovered that the Lord’s Pantry is a way to stay out of trouble, a better way of living than anything the streets offered, and it is a way to give back to the community out of gratitude. It has become her refuge and sanctuary.

 Renee has become a leader. She can be counted on to oversee her fellow patrons of the Pantry daily, and when they are offered trips to our picnics, or to a Christmas party. When the homeless come in, she directs them to clothing that has been donated or personal items they may need. She, who was once so irresponsible that she lost her son, has Christ’s transformation apparent in her life now. She even has custody of her son again, and is guardian to another child as well. She has become responsible in Christ and passes her joy on to all as they walk through our doors.

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