The mission of F3 is to plant, grow and serve small workout groups for the invigoration of male community leadership. It’s a wonderful mission that has seen great success in the past couple of years.
The idea of “community” may prompt much discussion. Is it our neighborhood? Our town? Our city? Or, is it any group of people with a common goal? A church? Our office/work place? Our family? F3? All of them?
Most would agree there is a great need to develop, improve and invigorate male leadership in Charlotte and across the United States. During my years with F3, I have seen what the accountability and brotherhood within the group can accomplish. F3 has played a role in strengthening marriages, helping men reduce or eliminate medication because they have lost so much weight, and supporting men as they work towards becoming stronger spiritual leaders in their homes and workplaces.
As a group, we’ve donated tens of thousands of dollars to various charitable organizations. We have opened the door for men to meet others and find a place where they gain a sense of belonging/fellowship. I know I have found several genuine friends in F3.
However, this need for male leadership does not stop at our nation’s borders. In fact, I believe that there is just as much (or greater in some cases) need for this type of male leadership in other countries as well.
This past September, I travelled to Haiti with ten of my F3 brothers. We experienced a culture that lacks male leaders known for their integrity. Often times in Haiti, the men play little, if any, role in caring for their children. Violence in the form of domestic abuse or rape is not uncommon. Joblessness is the norm, and even if jobs were available, many men in Haiti are not literate or lack the skills required to hold down jobs successfully. Many don’t know how to drive.
During our week in Haiti, we learned about the true needs of this country (the poorest in the western hemisphere). Yes, they need financial help in the way of food and material possessions. However, what they really want are jobs. What they need is accountability. What they absolutely crave are relationships with God and a place to learn what it means to be a leader in their families and churches in order to do their part to reverse the lessons they learned as boys.
We met one such group of men. There were six men enrolled in a men’s discipleship program through the mission organization we were there to serve. These men met every day for Bible study, meditation, fellowship, trade skills training, and spiritual and emotional encouragement. Most of these men live in Haiti’s tent cities. At least one is homeless, sleeping in his church at night. But every morning, these guys got themselves up and traveled up to an hour and a half to get to this discipleship program. These men made the necessary sacrifices to attend this program in the hopes of creating a better life for themselves and their families. They formed a brotherhood (much like F3) to encourage accountability and were turning into leaders for their families and in their communities.
While we were in Haiti, we stayed at a guesthouse owned by this ministry. In addition to the F3 Team, there were various other staff and missionaries from around the world staying there. Every morning we were up and in the driveway by 6:00 AM in order to post before our day’s work began. Our host leader posted with us each morning. (He originally told us that he doesn’t exercise and might post once. He posted every day.) It was an odd sight in Haiti when the twelve Americans were up before the sun, running, doing merkins, dips, burpees, etc. along the streets and fields in the neighborhood we stayed. By mid-week, one of the other missionaries from Haiti staying in the house joined us. The next day, the son of the guesthouse manager joined us. On the last day, a missionary from Zimbabwe joined the PAX. We started with eleven F3 brothers and finished with fifteen from three different nations. It was a pretty cool community.
Along with meeting these different men, there was plenty of time spent on construction projects, visiting orphanages, and learning about the Haitian people. Aside from the need for accountability and male leadership in Haiti, another lasting impression for me was the amount of joy and thanksgiving the Haitian people have despite their perceived lower quality of life. Within the slower lifestyle, away from the technology and distractions we take for granted, they spend much more time reading, in prayer, and with each other than I do in my life. Since our return, I’ve come to evaluate my life differently and have adjusted my priorities. I do my best to keep my life simple and avoid over-filling it with things that may not matter down the road. I do my best to not hurry as much.
There were many lessons we took away from the week. We are looking forward to a continued perspective change I’m sure we’ll have after our next trip. Mostly, we look forward to catching up with the men that are in this class of the discipleship program, meeting the men in the next round of the program and EHing as many as we can to post with us.
We have two weeks booked in September (9/13-9/20 and 9/19-9/25) and we would like you (from as many AOs as possible) to join us. If you’re interested:
- there is more information here (http://heartlineministries.org/artifacts/heartline-experience-2015.pdf)
- sound off in the comments
- contact me directly at [email protected] or Col. Mustard at [email protected]
Frodo (from MECA)