Epic Updates – Haiti, China, UCLA, & USC

Since my last email I’ve been on a mission trip to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere as well as a trip to the most populated country in the world. Stateside I’ve done outreach at America’s most applied to public university as well as the world’s top film school.
Haitian Flag         Chinese Flag         UCLA Logo         USC Logo

To clarify deeper, I took my 15 trip to Haiti, my first ever mission trip to China as well as helped start a ministry at USC alongside everything we’ve been doing at UCLA this fall!


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Click to Join the Haiti Experience Devotional

Since my last trip to Haiti I have been working on something called “The Haiti Experience” and I want to invite you to be a part of it. It’s a free 3 week daily email devotional series that follows the entire trip. I took a video each full day I was there and am in the process of creating the devotional series. You can sign up for this HERE.

I’m not automatically adding everyone to the series so you have to manually sign up at the link above.

As you probably know, they were hit with a pretty devastating hurricane recently. This has left some of our friends homeless. We almost took an emergency trip down there but at the last minute we deemed our resources would be best allocated if we sent some funds down there in advance and waited to personally go until December. This will be my 16th trip and if you wish to contribute to this disaster relief fund you can do so below. My expenses are already covered and this is going to help those in need.

Click to help with Haiti Disaster Relief


 

USC Outreach American Picnic Photos
Click for Photo Album

When was the last time you were able to get 160 people to go anywhere… much less college students off campus on a Friday night?!

Alongside the ministry efforts we have been doing at UCLA we recently started reaching out to international students at USC. Yes, thats right… UCLA’s rival that’s so intense that it boasts its own wikipedia page.

For 13 years straight USC has been deemed the number one university for international students in the United States (Now it’s number 2, barely behind New York University). Our first outreach on that campus was an american picnic. We started with no email list and just started passing out flyers the week of the event (2 hours on Monday and Wednesday, 1 hour on Thursday). We also had students sign up for our email list which we used to send out a reminder for the picnic that Thursday.

Our first outreach table at USC resulted in 120 students signing up for our email list! That campus is so ripe for the harvest! To offer a comparrison, the next day we were at UCLA and only 10 people signed up in a similar time period.

In the midsts of all this we had no clue how the event would turn out… and we were shocked! At least 125 people came to our first event! 

These international students were hungry to get to know Americans and experience the American culture, yet for some of them they said we were the first American friends that they had made. What excites me the most is that many of these students are in their masters and Phd program and will be in Los Angeles for 3-5 years. This really gives us some time to develop deeper relationships, get them plugged into our church services, and disciple those who become believers before they return to their home country.  

Later that month we hosted a Fall Party to introduce these students to the American tradition of pumpkin carving. We had a joint event with our international friends at UCLA off campus and at least 160 people came to the event with 125 pumpkins to be carved.

Fall Party Fall Party Photos

Click for Photo Album

I saw the multitude of international students at our last event and my heart was filled with compassion. I remember praying “Lord, send us laborers!” For there was so many international students ready to connect with Americans, learn about our culture, and ultimately be introduced to Jesus. It gave me a whole new appreciation for Jesus’s heart in Matthew.

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. – Matthew 9:36-38 NKJV

Next semester we are looking to start having a Bible Study or service on the USC campus to invite these students to.  This coming weekend we are hosting a traditional Thanksgiving celebration for international students. We have so much momentum it’s incredible!

Finally, if you want to hear about my trip to China I would love to tell you about it. Send me an email and we can talk on the phone about it. It’s a closed country to the gospel and I don’t want to post anything online about it.

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15th Haiti Trip! Let’s Advance the Kingdom

She was living outside with her young children because her husband had died and she was forced to move. She had no money… No food… No opportunity…  She prayed without ceasing under a small canopy of a church for provision.

On my trip to Haiti in December we were able to visit many starving families and provide a months supply of food to them. When we returned from going hut to hut we were angered to learn that one of the bags of rice had been left behind!

Going Hut to Hut Feeding FamiliesChild EatingBagging Rice

Naturally we were frustrated because that meant someone didn’t get to eat. We had divided our team into three groups and each group leader insisted that they took all their assigned bags with them and each family received food…

So maybe the bag of rice wasn’t left… Maybe God multiplied the rice just as Jesus multiplied the fish and the loaves.

The lady I mentioned at the beginning of this email was brought to us not too long later by one of the youth we sponsor. She was in a desperate situation and needed help.

Whether the rice was left behind or God multiplied it one thing was sure… God intended that rice for her.

Whatever you’re going through, God has reserved some much needed “rice” for you… whether that “rice” comes in the form of financial provision, emotional healing from past trauma, or a restored relationship. Just as God cared about that lady and her family He cares for you!

Alongside providing that family with rice we were able to take up both a snack offering from amongst our team and a financial offering. On my most recent trip I learned that she was able to use the funds to build a house for her family!

Evidently Angela negotiated with a carpenter to provide the labor so she was able to use the offering to buy the building material. Someone graciously allowed her to build on their property. We visited her last trip and were able see her place and help some more.

Inside Lady's HouseGroup Photo with Lady

In less than two weeks I leave for my 15th trip to Haiti! I am praying for some more “rice” so we can maximize our impact on this trip. I know how dire the situation is and that their is a direct correlation between my ability to share the vision and my Haitian families ability to have a meal, go to school, start a business, and have a future.

If you wish to sow into this trip that would be an answer to my prayers and the prayers of the people of Fond Doux. My personal expenses are already covered… This offering is about advancing lives!

It’s my passion and desire to fund the gospel… and I am doing my best at it while still living as a missionary… You may know of friends, businesses, and churches in your sphere of influence that are looking to sow into causes like this and are just waiting for the right opportunity. Please at least consider being a “Haiti Ambassador” on my behalf and challenge them to help!

I invite you to sow into this by clicking HERE.

Click to Donate Now
Thanks so much and I think of you often!

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UCLA Shooting – Update – We Are Safe

Yesterday morning I received a text from a UCLA student informing me there was a shooter on campus. Not too long afterward my AP News app started blowing up with news alerts about it which meant this was now national news and people across the country were praying for the situation.

I’m sure you’re aware of this too by now and I wanted to email and let you know that I was not on campus when it happened and none of our ministry’s staff or students were injured.



Thank you if you were thinking of me and my ministry yesterday and praying for us.
 
Not too long after the initial text informing me of the shooter I started receiving text messages and Facebook messages asking if I was alright. I appreciate your love and support and am saddened that this happened on my campus.

As tragic of a situation as this was, I praise God that it was not like Virginia Tech or Columbine. When a student tells you there is a shooter on campus you don’t know what is going to happen… There could have been multiple assailants, bombs, and people kicking down doors with rifles!

Photos from Coffee Outreaches Outside Court of Sciences

Coffee Giveaway

I watched some of the footage (Link Above) and it was pretty crazy to watch the SWAT team pouring out of the Court of Sciences right by where my weekly outreach table had been for years along with our coffee giveaways. I know the area where the shooting took place and it was connected to a building across from where I prayed for students and invited them to service each week. Allegedly a graduate student frustrated with his grades shot and killed his professor before turning the gun on himself. No one else was injured.

The images below are from one of those outreach tables next to the underpass the SWAT team came out of in the video above and the sidewalk in the background of the left image was where they were checking students for weapons.

Photos from my weekly outreach Table

Outreach TablePraying for Athiest Student

Campus ministry is so crucial! I’m reminded again and humbled of just how important the work I have been doing on the UCLA campus has been. Reaching distressed people like the shooter with the gospel and introducing them to a loving support group like Chi Alpha before the enemy can lure them to such evil is paramount! I often wonder what the ripple affect is that I’ve had in the world from all the people I’ve prayed with and invited to service over the years on this campus.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and support of me and my ministry through the years.

UPDATE: Reports “UCLA gunman had accused slain professor of stealing his computer code and is suspected of killing a woman in Minnesota”

Source: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-mainak-sarkar-ucla-20160602-snap-story.html

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God in Action and What I Learned From Sean Smith

“I didn’t know God still did that,” a student told me after one of our services earlier this quarter. It was his first time attending one of our services. He had found out about it after a multi-day outreach blitz we did at the beginning of the quarter where we gave out free snow cones, lemonade, and then bagels and coffee.

Outreach Images

Our special guest speaker Sean Smith preached a powerful message and then prayed for students afterward. The presence of God was very strong and students encountered the love of God, the peace of God, and the healing power of God. Whenever Sean comes to minister to our group the power of God always manifests. Ever since he started his traveling career as an evangelist Sean had always put an expectation the power of God every time he preached.

That faith-filled expectation reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s attitude when he first visited the church in Corinth.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” – 1 Cor 2:4-5 NIV

The greek word used in that verse for power is “dunamis” which can be translated miracle working power. Being around Sean always challenges me to contend for that “dunamis” power wherever I go to be a greater witness for Christ. An experience will always trump a theory. If college students have a genuine experience with God it will trump their theory of atheism.

Haiti Photos

 

 

[LEFT: A few photos from my recent trip to Haiti. I’m taking my 15th trip next month so expect another email soon. If you wish to help send an offering to the village click HERE ]

 

 

 

I was blessed with the opportunity to pick up Sean from the airport and grab dinner with him the night prior and ask him questions. Sean has had the opportunity to travel the world speaking alongside many of the generals of faith. I asked him what were some of the best things he had picked up from others he met. In the video above video below I share one of his nuggets as well as share some ministry updates from my recent trip to Haiti. I know you’re busy but I highly recommend you take out a few minutes and watch the video.

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Updates from the Front Lines

UPDATES FROM THE FRONT LINES

We took our largest team ever to Haiti in December (33 including some special guests from China!)… We were able to personally go hut to hut and provide over a month supply of food to 20 families, host two Christmas celebrations, sponsor tons of education scholarships, host multiple revival services, start a healthy pregnancy initiative, and so much more!

Then in January we brought students from across the west coast together (including Stanford!) for our largest SALT conference ever (over 400 in attendance) to equip and train upcoming leaders.

We hosted an incredible Chinese New Year Celebration for International Students inFebruary where I was able to befriend a Palestinian Muslim Researcher who I invited to our first service in March… It was his first time to ever attend church… and he was really impacted by it!

Chinese New Year at UCLAHelping San Diego State, Missions Convention, and Haiti Expo

Alongside my efforts serving in the ministry at UCLA and Haiti, I’m blessed to be able to travel with Pastor Winston on the weekends as he preaches for Sunday morning services and missions conventions.

UPCOMING ADVENTURES

I’m actually taking my 14th trip back to Haiti next Wednesday (March 16th) for our annual spring break trip... Please pray for protection!

We brought so many people last time we had to convert a storage room into a living quarters. We are looking to have a bathroom and shower attached to that room this trip to enable us to host larger teams. We will of course be advancing the lives of the locals through continued economic development, scholarship sponsorships, feeding programs, revival services, etc.

Haiti Pictures Feeding a Family

It’s not always easy leaving the comfort of Los Angeles to head to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The gospel is free but the ministry takes money. It’s people like yourself that enable me to fulfill the calling God has on my life…

It’s not easy, but you make it easier.

I would like to thank you for their prayers, emotional support, and financial partnership into the kingdom of God through me and my ministry.

I‘m making calls this week and trying to have as many meetings as possible to invite others to sow into this great cause so we can maximize our impact there. We are still raising funds for this trip and if God has blessed you with the resources to help, I invite you to do so by clicking HERE.

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Happy Cyber Missions Monday!

I have all this cool stuff from my past 12 trips to Haiti and I would love to send some of it to you! All I need is for you to email me your address and contribute any amount to my upcoming mission trip to Haiti HERE.

I leave on the 11th of December so the sooner you can contribute the better!

Assortment BoxHaiti souvenirs

Watch this awesome video for me to explain it more (and share a funny story of how a company made over $70,000 by selling absolutely nothing on black Friday). I also share some powerful scripture and some inspiring stories of lives we’ve changed on recent trips.

 

 

Seriously though, we need your help! On a recent trip there was a Haitian I wanted to help with his English school. All he needed was $50 dollars and I didn’t have that… I had emptied my bank account, challenged others to help as well, and we made a big difference down there… But what if I stretched myself a little farther in reaching out to more people.

I told the campus pastor that I’m traveling with that I would help raise an offering for this trip. I’m raising $4,000 before I leave. This could come from one person, four people, or even forty people. At whatever capacity, I want to challenge you to extend your generosity a little further this Christmas season and enable us to give the village their best Christmas ever!

Kids EatingGiving away food

If you can’t give, no worries. You can be an advocate instead. I know that you know at least one person who would want to get on board (trust me). Please send them this email, give them a call, and challenge them to help… Feel free to make an introduction. We can do a three way call if you like and I can tell them all about it. Call me and let’s talk about it…

You can reach me on my cell at 573-286-4700.

If you’re able to help, at whatever capacity, be sure to email me your address so I can mail you your Haiti surprise!

You can HERE or the link below to contribute.
Click to Donate Now

For your reference, here are the scriptures I mentioned in the video:

He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD,
AndHe will pay back what he has given.” – Proverbs 19:18 NKJV

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27 NKJV

 

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Happy Thanksgiving! Refreshing Word of Encouragement!

I wanted to wish you and your family an incredible Thanksgiving today! I just wanted to show my gratitude and offer a timely word of encouragement.

This thought may be spot on for what you needed to hear today… but if it isn’t, I guarantee that you will meet someone soon who needs to hear this and you just need to have the courage to share it with them… whether a friend, family, coworker, or even that person you meet at the store.

 

 

Don’t have audio? Click HERE to read the transcribed version

 

The video is short and if it isn’t for today, it will be a crucial crux for next week, next month, or even next year… It’s simple, but even the most veteran believers can take the simple things for granted… So grab a pen and watch it HERE!

Now that you watched that video and are encouraged and challenged, I wanted to share some quick highlights from the ministry.

Five hundred people came out to an awesome outreach we had right before the UCLA school year started!  We brought in renown illusionist Jim Munroe performed and then shared the gospel.

A few weeks later I was watching “My Hope America with Billy Graham” on Netflix (before it was removed) and was surprised to see Jim’s evangelistic ministry featured! You can watch it free HERE. Midway through his performance he said he was going to share his testimony and allowed for students to leave… 400 stayed to hear the gospel message, many of which for the first time! 
Famous Christian illusionist at UCLA Chi Alpha Activities

Click for Jim Monroe Video                               Click to Enlarge

I’ve been busy as you can see from the photos! I had the opportunity to not only help at UCLA but Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. Additionally, I just finished up a midwest Haiti Expo tour in Nashville and St Louis and will be taking my 13th trip back to Haiti next month.
Haiti Expo TeamHaiti Expo Tour Photos

As you probably remember, we had to take an emergency trip down there earlier this summer and it was crucial that we did that trip. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be taking this trip next month because the children’s home wouldn’t exist anymore…! We literally stopped it from being annexed by the Haitian government and we couldn’t have done it without our faithful prayer warriors and financial partners.

I hope this was an encouragement and I look forward to sharing many more adventures and thoughts with you.

Blessings and have a great thanksgiving!

 

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Transcribed Encouraging Thought

I thought this was important enough that I transcribed it below:

Here is the transcription:

Hey there, it’s Bryan Citrin and I just want to wish you and your family wherever you’re at in the world a very very happy Thanksgiving.

I am hear up in St Louis today. I am excited to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my family and I have some really important thoughts to share with you.

So please grab a pen, please grab a notebook, please pull up your smartphone.

These thoughts… These thoughts… if they are not for you right now, they’ll be for you one month, two months, three months down the road.

And I guarantee you you’re going to come in contact with somebody soon that if you share this with them it’s going to be a huge encouragement to them.

You’ve probably heard these thoughts, you have probably heard these scriptures before.

But I just know that this is something you want to have in your back pocket and every single time that I read these scriptures they just resonate with my Spirit.

And I want to share them with you real quick.

The first scriptures is Philippians 4:6-7 … And then I am going to read to you 1 John 5:14-15.

So Philippians says:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

How powerful is that.

And in 1 John 5:14 it says:

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

How powerful is that. We don’t have to be worried anymore. You don’t have to be anxious, you don’t have to be concerned.

God knows what you’re going through more that you know what you’re going through. And He’s the one who has the answers and so it’s crucial that we go to Him with our concerns.

Go to Him with our problems.

And we petition and we pray and we actually believe that He hears us and we actually believe that He is going to answer us because He desires to answer the prayers and the crys of your heart.

When you pray according to His will… and you pray with good motive God hears you and he answers those prayers.

He is the solution.
He’s not the cause.
He’s the solution so please, please in this holiday season pray and trust in Him and know confidently that he’s going to take you through it.

And please share those thoughts with other people.

Once again that’s Philippians 4:6-7 and 1 John 5:14-15. Thank you so much and I look forward to giving you incredible updates in the coming months.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Bye bye

 

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Important Video – Time to head back!

 

I know you’re busy, but please watch this video to learn why I need to head back to Haition Thursday (YES, TWO DAYS FROM NOW) and how you can help! They are threatening to seize the childrens home property and throw the pastor in jail!

 

 

I was in Haiti for almost three weeks at the end of June  and early July. Victories ranged from sponsoring many kid’s education which resulted from the Europe Tour, supplying hungry families with food, to even being able to rescue a kid from a voodoo hut! I will go into more detail in the future as well as be sharing some additional stories once I return from this emergency trip.

To fill you in a little, I had shoulder surgery just four days after I returned from my recent trip. I have been experiencing cronic arm dislocation due to sports injuries and I didn’t have a choice.  Just a few weeks after surgery, I left for Orlando to help serve and attend at General Council for the Assemblies of God. Right after General Council, I was blessed to be able to attend John Maxwell’s leadership training program which was also in Orlando. This has enabled me to become a certified speaker, trainer and coach for his leadership curriculum. John has written more leadership books than anyone who has ever lived and it was very exciting to meet him.

I was expecting to get back into Los Angeles and get a little rest before the school year started at UCLA. I arrived back on Wednesday evening, and learned of a serious situation that was taking place at the childrens home in Fond Doux.

The childrens home has been using a generator to power the buildings and run the pump for the well. One of the reasons is because the power company stopped providing power due to their inability to pay.

I was just informed that the power company has threatened to seize the property and throw the pastor that oversees the property in jail if they do not pay the bill this month. Needless to say, we need to head down and handle this situation.

While we are there, we are going to make our time count. We will put on different church services, provide for education for some of the kids who were not sponsored during our last trip, providing evening feeding programs, etc. We will accomplish things that would have never happened if the enemy hadn’t sent this attack!

I usually have 3 or 4 months to prepare for an upcoming Haiti trip, and am able to send out a newsletter discussing the previous trip. I know God can do more in a week than we can do in a year… I leave in two days and we still need money to be able to pay the power company.

Please consider contributing to this trip to help save the children’s home. If the Lord puts this on your heart, you can do so via our ministry’s paypal HERE.

Click to Donate Now

Thanks so much!

Bryan

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Haiti Missions – Update from My Layover

We have a four day revival service set up for tomorrow. Pastor Winston left a few days ago on Saturday evening to help prepare the children’s home for our arrival and gather local pastors for our back to back services. Please pray for the team and I… I will not be returning to the States until July 10th. I am currently at a layover in Atlanta after a sleepless redeye flight from Los Angeles with 24 other students and ministry staff from the UCLA community.

As I write this, my thoughts are towards my friend Wilson. On a recent trip we were playing cards in the main room of the children’s home. At first glance he looked like an ordinary kid. Wilson was friendly, outgoing, and well dressed. He always beat me at speed, his favorite card game. After spending so much time with him and other locals, it felt like hanging out with friends on the weekends back in the States at times. It was in those moments when my guard was down… and I sometimes forgot the dire reality they faced ever day… and it could come as a shock to see the true reality of their situation and needs.

Outside Wilson's HouseInside Wilson's House

We were visiting different different families in the village one day on a recent trip and we came to a house across the street from the children’s home. Outside the small dirt house sat a hut. We went to look inside and there was Wilson. He was blessed enough to have his own room… a small hut with a tarp divider between him and the kitchen. As I looked down at the dirt floor I saw a small pile of clothes, the few belongings that he owned. Upon closer examination, I notice that most of those clothes came from me or the team. 

Compared to many Haitians, Wilson had it good. He had a good job and he was learning a trait. Yet just last year he was at a crossroads. Though he had what you would call a lot of “street smarts,” he struggled making the grades necessary to be successful in school. He had an interest in carpentry but that seemed impossible without the tools or training. Through some encouragement and the help of our team he built the confidence to pursue that career path. A local in town offered him an apprenticeship if he was able to obtain the tools necessary. Last summer we were able to help him get started by giving him the money to purchase a saw.

Wilson and ITools for Wilson

I just returned from a European Haiti Tour to help raise money for economic development and education in Haiti. One of the projects that was sponsored was to help Wilson continue his pursuit of entrepreneurship through carpentry. Though it may not seem like a lot by United States standards, this is a game changer for his life. I’m excited to announce that this week we will be able to present Wilson with a brand new electric drill hammer, gloves, screwdriver, sandpaper, protective glasses, a measuring tape, and a level. This is just one of the untold stories of the people of Fond Doux.

Thank you for your continue prayers and support of this village. I am expecting God to do incredible things in the lives of the people here.

 

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