Thursday, April 11, 2013

Life as Mission, Farming as Mission

All this time later, and I thought it should do us well to plant.

We had traveled over oceans, deserts and desires and have now refined our love; life as mission. Life as mission answers so many things, but the one thing it answers is: how can I make a massive impact, right here, right now, and feel fulfilled doing it?

Life as Mission is the answer.

How does one perform it? Is foreign missions forsaken? Not for a minute. Is local missions the locus of my attention? Yes and no.

Life as mission is not a method. It is not a technique, tactic, or transition to something greater.

Life as mission is simple. It is life intentionally. It is looking at each day, totally and completely, as an abundant ministry opportunity.
  • Do you find yourself at the espresso machine serving coffee to customers? Gusto is far better fraternization than a frown.
  • Do you find yourself on the foreign mission field? Smile, enjoy the distance from the pace of mankind and enjoy the pace of the world; then serve.
  • Do you find yourself returning, oh returning, from the mission field? Accept the blessings you find, and turn them, turn them!, into something grand.
We find ourselves in the middle of discovering a new level of Life as Mission. We have astounding opportunities both here and in Haiti (and some elsewhere we still have yet to have time to chase down.)

For us, Life as Mission is becoming Farming as Mission (you heard it here first. I am trademarking it, and writing a book about it now!)

+Nate Mundell & +Adam Whelchel,
community, setting up raised beds.
Planting seed. 
Sowing seed.
Tending the sprouts.
Weeding the choking weeds.
Waiting and tending.
Watering, but not too much.
Chasing away the crows that may eat up the seed.

The metaphors are endless, with Farming as Mission. I dare tell you that it is only now, as I plant, water, weed, wait, and harvest, that I understand anything at all about the hidden messages of our messiah; written in an Agrarian Age for those who would farm their meanings.

Our budding blueberry bush!
Our foreign mission is moving forward. But only as I see our life lived as mission. I plant and water and grow our food, and we harvest self-reliance. In so doing, our soil is better and better, in fact a total re-invigoration of the land, for the next season; which will certainly be a season for the foreign mission.

And the pace! The pace! Hardly the hours. We choose to live our life in seasons, not in minutes.

Life as Missions lends itself to all of this. Farming as Mission ever more so.

#farmingasmission #growufarms #rookiemissionary

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My MANIFESTO, At Last & Things That Wake Me Up At Night

I woke up at 3:00 a.m. It is not often that I do, so when I do, I take notice.

This was not the typical "myeh, I rolled over, noticed the time, and fell back to sleep." This was a full blown wake up call; get dressed, pack up the computer, and head to Starbucks for a coffee press.

I have been fully convicted about writing.

Dabbling in a variety of things, seeing some success in a few of them, and receiving massive breakthroughs in our Grow University (farming as mission, the stateside version of our Haiti work, PhilanTropics), I have consciously been avoiding the thing I really want to do most; Write and Launch a Generation of Mission-Minded Individuals Through My Writing.

You see, while on the mission field, I spent massive amounts of time writing one particular piece. This is the project that I am most proud of to date. I believe that it is a powder keg, full of explosive, powerful content. This piece has been on my mind. It has actually been finished for some time. And I am here to give it to you.

This is that piece, and it is my gift to you.

I went through the normal procrastination.

  • "My site is not perfect."
  • "The links do not go where I want them to go."
  • "Do I have enough content to serve people if the masses arrive?"
  • "Marissa, could you read it again?"

Enough! I have to ship it. I cannot hold onto it any more.

Thus, my wake up call this morning and my total conviction to return to writing about missions and let the rest of the pieces fall where they may.

 Get The Rookie Missionary Manifesto
Without further ado, here is the Rookie Missionary Manifesto.

I wanted to have a massive launch party. I wanted to get all of my network to help me spread the word on it. I wanted to have back-room deals to make it a sizzling Manifesto-of-the-hour. ENOUGH!

I am just shipping it. Let those who love it, love it. Let those who don't continue sleeping.

What you will learn from this powerful and passionately written manifesto:

  • The Wake Up Call For All Of Us
  • The Single Most Important Thing For You To Know
  • Your Most Crucial Moment in History
  • Actions To Take Right Now To Make An Impact & Save The World
  • 7 Gifts From Our Mission To Yours

Please, keep a few things in mind:

It is not for everyone.

I sincerely believe that some of you may be irritated by some of the things I write. Others may be bored with it. But, for those who are ready to launch into a life of missions, I think it will make you tingle.

It will challenge a few of our beliefs.

The mission field challenges the missionaries core beliefs. That's because most of the things a rookie missionary believes are, well, rubbish. That is what we found. So The Manifesto reflects this.

It is full of passion and, thus, could chap a little.

I cannot tell you how pumped I was in every minute I wrote the Manifesto. Sparkles ripple through my skin. Lightning shoots through me. When I get excited like this, I get a little pushy. Do not take it personally. Passion makes me lose sight a little bit, admittedly.

It is not about theology.

Do not come seeking any new theological revelations. I am not interested in theology. I think much of it is bunk. (Much, not all.) I am more interested in theoginosko (yeah, I just made that up; you heard it here first); the revelation of knowing WHO God is.

If you can accept these things, then I would love for you to read this awesome manifesto and tell me what you think. Be sure to download it and print it off. I think you will get a ton more out of it that way.

If the Manifesto is of any value to you, please comment on the page you downloaded it and share the page with a friend or two who you think needs to hear about it to launch their rookie missionary journey.



Saturday, March 30, 2013

Starting a Farm, Community Blessings, & God's Training Business

So, we set out on starting a farm.

Well, not exactly that simply, and not exactly that way.

Marissa and I have been on the path to sustainability for some time. We have explored our lives here in the U.S., launching a life of mission. We took our new skills and knowledge of building homes out of recycled materials to the island of Hispaniola. We explored if we could help there and we found that we could.

You see, this last week, it was confirmed by our friends, Sadrac and Leenn Innocent, that we could obtain at least 12 acres in Haiti around Sadrac's village, north of Port-au-Prince. The mayor affirmed her commitment to us being there and will give us clear title to the land. This is huge for us and the first major step of a life of builsing sustainable living solutions for the poor.

Sadrac & Leeann working
at Monkey Jungle
 in Sosua, Dominican Republic.
In short, the homes we build:

  • Provide water for those that lack clean water,
  • Provide food for the starving and hungry,
  • Provide solid shelter for the homeless, and
  • Clean waste on site for the cholera-ridden.

We love this solution. It is simple. It hits the major areas of poverty with one solution. It leverages donor dollars and actually solves poverty with one action.

So, Marissa and I returned to the U.S. to build up the State-side part of our organization, PhilanTropics Foundation. We returned to a renewed vigor for our cause and refreshing thing we did not expect; an active community and desirous team.

You see, we connected with Nate and Ida Mundell who were thrilled in their own lives for sustainable living solutions; simple ways to save money, live on less, to take back more of their free time for the things they love. Their family, their children, and their friends discussed a passion to experience more of the same, including benefiting from our solutions for the development field.

  • Marissa and I wanted to build a demonstration model here, in the U.S., to show potential donors what we were doing in Haiti.
  • The community wanted to live the innovations and solutions themselves.
  • Marissa and I wanted a community to live these principles out with.
  • The community here needed someone to pioneer the way.
  • Marissa and I wanted it to have a truly Glocal ethos; helping local communities WHILE enabling more help for the foreign mission field.
  • The community here, Nate and Ida, Jeff and Kim Hanshaw, Adam Whelchel, and so many more had done ministry or missions, saw the value, AND wanted to make a massive difference right here at home.

It is a perfect fit. So, we are launching a farm.

We briefly put "Pick U: Where You Pick" out there and quickly decided that did not say what we wanted to say. We landed on Grow University Farms; "Grow U".

More to come on this, but it is the natural evolution of the ministry mentality; serve where you are at. It is truly "Think Global, Act Local."

As All This Grows

Marissa doin' what she loves.
I am astounded at what God has done, truly. Marissa and I traveled for what seems like forever, found where we can make a difference (Hispaniola), and have returned to be as prosperous as ever.

  • God granted that Marissa could work at her passion; teaching dive instructing. 
  • This allows me to stay home, build up the non-profit, and find partners such as the Mundells, the Hanshaws, Adam, land partners and financial partners.
  • God has granted that, out of the blue, my training business is exploding. People want to know about Customer Service, I guess, and I have a proprietary way to do that.

Me training at a MOPS meeting.
We are blessed and prosperous all around. God's word is coming to pass.

We are excited to be on this path. Please let us know if you want to partner. Stay tuned for more updates. And watch for our "Rookie Missionary Manifesto" coming out in the next few days!

Be Blessed,

Grant R. Nieddu

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Paradigm of Paralysis 2: Dirt Diggin'

You see, there was another guy standing on the shore. He watched the old man set out and fade to a speck on the shore. He wondered what the other shore looked like. He saw all the interesting unique trinkets the first man would return with. He didn't want the trinkets himself; he wanted to see the world that created such unique interesting things.

This is a lesson in itself. People in general do not want the trinkets; the latest gadgets, the run-way model clothes, the Bughatti Veyron. They are more intrigued with the life that was able to obtain them.

This second man, decided that he too would set off and follow the man. So, he hopped in a boat, grabbed the oars, and dug in.

He drove the oars hard; they resisted with every stroke. The first man had made it look so easy. The second manwatched the shore; it refused to fade. It was the same as when he first started. The first man had drifted to the horizon so quickly.

The man's sweat soaked his shirt. He would glance furtively over his shoulder to see if he was catching up with the first man. He would glance at the shore and see that he was not making any progress.

This would certainly be frustrating for any of us. 

But it was especially frustrating for the man when his neighbor sauntered by and mocked, "When are you going to put that boat in the water?"

Though this could be a lesson on choosing a career, putting your efforts to the right work, it is, for now, merely a lesson on paradigm.


Monday, March 25, 2013

A Paradigm of Paralysis Part 1

A man rowed a boat. He pointed the small, wooden vessel in the direction of his destination. Climbing into the timbered slip, he grasped his well-worn oars, plunged them into the water, and leaned his back into it.

The horizon in front of him drew further and further away. The chaotic noises of the land drifted quietly into the distance. Gulls and their cry quickly filled his ears. The dipping of the oars into the water, the sweat of his back slapping the wooden panels in the boat, and the cool breeze enlivened him.

Every now and again he would look left or right and briefly glance over his shoulder to see if he was making progress. For a bit, he would watch the fading shore to determine if he was making progress. Eventually, though, he realized that the glance over his shoulder and the shore that was now a grey line on the horizon would not be the standard of measure of his progress.

At that point, what should he use to determine his progress?

There are a lot of people who are stuck.

In my time working with missionaries, or working with training clients, I find that many people have great characteristic, strengths and intrinsic value(s). Yet they still do not get the results they want.

How do I know this? Because they are generally unhappy. If they are working, they are unhappy that they are not on the mission field or not in the business they want. If they are on the field, they are unhappy that they are so far from their family. If they are in the business they want, they are unhappy  with the client load they have.

Now, you and I both know that they really are getting the results they want. By the standard of measures they had before, they have made progress. They should be at peace with where they are, the need for the energy they are putting in at the moment, and they should measure success by their ability to carry on; knowing full well that they will arrive at their destination, that their old destination does not matter, and that the only healthy focus is to continue the work.

What it normally looks like for the people we know, however, is what it looks like for the second guy.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Creepy Voodoo Bead & All That You Have

What I joke is my creepy, voodoo bead
is my reminder of resourcefulness.
Don't tell me you have nothing.
Do not tell me that you don't have enough resources.
Do not tell me you cannot start right where you are at with what you have in your two hands.

On a steamy afternoon in downtown Sosua on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, +Marissa Nieddu and walked quickly to catch a gua-gua, the local bus. As usual, we passed the cigar maker (is he Belgium, I am not sure.) We shuffled passed the ladies offering foot massages. Then, we passed two Haitian women on the sidewalk.

They were homely. Haitians are greatly discriminated against in the DR. They are often pushed to the side, forgotten, and poor. One of the women immediately gave up offering us anything as we breezed by her in our hurry. The other woman was far more insistent. She grabbed my wrist and offered me this bead.

I told her 'no.' I told her that I have no money. I told her that I was in a hurry.

Yet, she held onto my wrist and insisted on giving it to me, saying 'gift' in broken Keyol-English. I yielded.

As she tied it onto my backpack, I realized that it was woven of human hair. She finished quickly, I reached into my pocket and gave her a few pesos, and we rushed off.

"Its human hair!" I exclaimed to Marissa. She looked closer.
"Wow," Marissa marveled.
"What if we are missionaries and this is a creepy voodoo bead!" I joked with her. We chuckled and hopped the bus.

Seated on the way back to our room, I thought about this woman. She used the only things she had; 3 beads and her own hair. She made something unique and odd and daring with it to create the breakthrough she needed for that day.

And, maybe she gained a few pesos from it; a lunch or a cup of coffee. Don't tell me you don't have something to work with! Get with it, friend.

We have a world to help. Your resources here are vast. Your resourcefulness is more so.
  • My friend, +Jason Northington, uses his knowledge alone to make an impact. 
  • My other friend, +Jeremy Cranor, consciously uses his story-telling ability to sell shirts that fund missionaries around the world. 
  • My buddy +Chantz Cutts uses his experiences from Dell and life to make a difference with human exploitation.
  • +Natalie Kale recently told me about an acquaintance of her family who uses Civil War re-enactments  He dresses like a Civil War priest, goes out onto the field after the reenacted battle, and prays over people. He comforts the Civil War-era newly widowed. And you know what? He usually has very real services set up outdoors with very real commitments to the faith. (What in the world?! CRAZY! Amazing. I know.)

Use what you got. No more excuses. You have the resources you need right now. Now, GO. DO.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DANG! Red Cross Only Spends What?!

I was, literally, floored by what I found.

To put together my fundraising presentation for our sustainable home project in Haiti and here, I wanted to compare data with the industry standard. So, I looked up American Red Cross's IRS filings; their Form 990. All charities are required to file these annually.

This is what I found.

American Red Cross Cash Flow

Now, let it be said that American Red Cross does a lot of good things. Let is also be said that their report on Charity Navigator gives them a glowing report.
  • Charity Navigator gave them a 59 out of 70; that's 84%!
  • It also reports that Administrative Expenses accounts for only 4% of their expenses. It says that Program Expenses are 92.2% of their expenses.
Now, this sounds great...on Charity Navigator. How on earth they sort these expenses like this, I am not sure. This boggles me when I read the Form 990 line by line.

How Does This Look At Our Scale

To compare, our organization promotes that that we can build sustainable homes for approximately $5,500. As a good business principle, I need to make sure that the client receives what they expect or better (under-promise, over-deliver.) That is the price it would take to complete that building.

A donor client would expect that $5,500 would go to build that house. If they found out that only $2,090 made it to the field, the building was not complete, and that I will need more donations to complete that building, they would be pretty upset. That is just not good public relations.

I am not opposed to paying salaries. Someone has to get paid. Someone has to administer medical care (Red Cross) or pound a tire (PhilanTropics Foundation.) But tell the whole story. 

In our case, we can complete a sustainable home for $5,500, a sustainable community for about $44,000. This would include the labor for the build itself. To continue to maintain the administration, however, we would need at least another $36,000 a year.

What it takes to manage an entity that large, I can only guess. Yet, I appeal, treat that donor client responsibly. The nonprofit sector is in dire need of building trust agents.
  • If that donor client knew that 60% of their donations went to salaries, would they want to continue to partner with that organization? 
  • Finally, would YOU include the Administration Expense/Salaries in the per unit production cost? 
  • If not, how would you present it?


Grant R. Nieddu

Monday, March 11, 2013

How to File Your Non-Profit

The document is also on Scribd.
A Sparked Guide to Official Organization

[Version 2.0 - Included the application with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.]

Recently at an appointment with an awesome couple launching their own cause-driven non-profit, they asked me to help them with their official organizing documents. Having done this a handful of times, I had some resources they could use.

Following is the information I sent to them. Get the information now. Use the documents listed as this will go up on and soon as a paid document.

As a sidebar, to make sure your organization is formed exactly the way you want, I would always recommend that you consult a lawyer. (If you are in the Lakeland area, you could use the guy I used, Sam.)

 This is the general outline of what the process looks like.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  1. Articles of Incorporation
    1. Cost: $35 is the minimum fee. Get copies of your documents once they are posted online by clicking the PDF download and printing from there. Get additional, stamped hard copies sent directly to you from the State office for additional fees.
    2. Apply Offline: Do this OFFline because applying online has set, standard Articles of Incorporation. This looks well and good, but when you get to Step 3, applying for the 501(c)3, you will be required to have specific language in your Articles of Incorporation. That will require you to file an Articles of Amendment which, typically, can only be done offline anyway. Save yourself the time and money; apply offline first.
  2. Apply with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
    1. Cost: The fees start at $10. The first year most organizations will only pay this. There is a sliding scale of up to $400.
    2. Apply Offline:
      1. Get the form here.
      2. The Department does not offer the option to register your charity online yet.
    3. Renew Annually!
  3. Obtain EIN
    1. Go here:
    2. You should be familiar with the IRS website and everything having to do with Nonprofits. That link will take you directly to the application. But take your time to get familiar with the website; they have great resources.
  4. Apply 501(c)3
    1. This is a 25 page document that will require additional sheets when you are completed. Take your time with it! You currently only have 3 times you can reapply until you have to pay the $750 fee again!
    2. Working with a lawyer can seriously cut down on the time it takes and can help you become confident that you are forming the type of entity you want to form.


  1. Check the
    1. Verify your trademark, brand, name, and phrasing are available by doing a search.
    2. I recommend applying online if possible before forming your company. I had a friend who lost his entire brand and $8,000 of product because this was not established first.
  2. Check your website domain availability.
    1. Go to
    2. See if your domain name is available.
      1. If it is not, try variations of your slogan or phrase.
      2. If you are still stuck, the WhoIs information will be available for you to consider contacting the current owner.
  3. Apply to the State.
    1. Download the form from your state’s website. (Here in Florida.)
    2. Add the language required by the IRS for Public Charities.
      1. Dissolution Clause
        1. An example is included in this document.
      2. Purpose Clause
        1. Pull language from the IRS website for Tax-Exempt purpose.
        2. An example is included in this document.
      3. Conflict of Interest Policy
        1. This will ultimately be part of your By Laws. You can avoid this on your application for the 501(c)3, but you will have to answer additional questions.
        2. An example is included in this document.
      4. Limitations Clause
        1. This clause will simply ensure that your organization will limit its actions to be in accordance with its tax exempt purposes.
        2. An example is included in this document.
  4. Apply to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
    1. Get the form here:
    2. Select ‘Registration for Charitable Organizations’.
    3. Fill out.
    4. Include your fee.
    5. Mail to the Dept of Ag & Consumer Services.
    6. You do not have to wait to receive this before applying for your EIN.
  5. Apply for an EIN.
    2. Follow the prompts.
  6. Apply for your 501(c)3.
    1. Download the Form 1023 from the IRS website.
    2. Step by step, fill out each of the questions in detail.
    3. I have included several examples of actual applications for you to use.
    4. I highly recommend working with an experienced lawyer on the application. If you are on a budget, however, you can feel confident that these two applications were actually used.
    5. Contact us if you have any questions.

    Examples of Articles

    Language for Your State Articles of Incorporation Required by the IRS


    Said corporation is organized exclusively for:


    Board of Directors



    The board is responsible for overall policy and direction of the organization, and assigns responsibility of day-to-day operations to the staff.


    The board shall have up to 12, but not fewer than 3 members.


    Board members do not receive compensation, except the Executive Director.

    a. The Executive Director receives reasonable compensation approved by the board in accordance with the Conflict of Interest policy.

    b. Compensation shall be approved in advance of paying compensation.

    c. The approval process will be documented in writing, recording the decision made by each individual.

    d. Compensation amount will be approved by basing compensation of similarly situated taxable and tax-exempt organizations for similar services.

    e. The information on which was relied to base and its source(s) will be documented in writing.


    The initial Board of Directors is as follows:

    Name: _____________________   Address: ____________________________________________________
    Name: _____________________   Address: ____________________________________________________
    Name: _____________________   Address: ____________________________________________________

    Section 3 – POWERS

    The Board of Directors shall govern the Corporation, and shall have all the rights and powers of a board of directors under the laws of the State of Florida and of the United States, as well as such other rights and authority as are herein granted.  Such rights and powers shall include, but not be limited to, the power to adopt and amend the by-laws and other corporate governing documents, by a majority vote, in any way not inconsistent with the Articles of Incorporation, the laws of the State of Florida, or the laws of the United States.

    Section 4 — TERMS:

    All board members shall serve two-year terms, but are eligible for reappointment for up to five consecutive terms.

    Section 5 — MEETINGS AND NOTICE:

    The board shall meet at least quarterly, at an agreed upon time and place.

    Section 6 — BOARD APPOINTMENT:

    During the last quarter of each fiscal year of the corporation, the Executive Director of the Corporation shall appoint Directors to replace those whose terms will expire at the end of the fiscal year.

    Section 7 — OFFICERS AND DUTIES:

    There shall be a minimum of three officers of the board, consisting of a executive director, secretary and treasurer.


    Resignation from the board must be in writing and received by the secretary. A board member can be terminated from the board due to excess absences, more than two unexcused absences from board meetings in a year. A board member may be removed for other reasons at the sole discretion of the Executive Director.


    At all times the following shall operate as conditions restricting the operations and activities of the corporation:

    1. No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article Third hereof.

    2. No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the corporation shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.

    3. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or (b) by a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

    Dissolution of Assets

    Upon the dissolution of the corporation, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, to the legitimate local government where the corporation dominantly served as determined by the Board of Directors for a public purpose. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction of the county in which the principal office of the corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.

    Debt Obligations and Personal Liability

    No officer or director of this corporation shall be personally liable for the debts or obligations of this corporation of any nature whatsoever, nor shall any of the property of the members, officers or directors be subject to the payment of debts or obligations of this corporation.

    Documents You Will Need

    As promised, following are the documents you will need.

    Florida Applications:
    FORM 1023 [Applying for 501(c)3]:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Rookie Missionary Tip 045: Permaculture

A permaculture plan for a small farm.
One of the biggest concerns I have on the field is that many missionaries and humanitarians starting out do not have many practical skills to offer.

The goal is to a) connect with the locals in a relevant meaningful way, to b) implement and sustain something that improves their lives, so that c) the experience a more sustainable prosperity.

Here is one powerful way to do that!

Rookie Missionary Tip 045: Permaculture & Working With Nature. What can you do on the field that is sustainable, contributes to the local needs, offers cutting-edge ideas and is an appropriate technology? Permaculture achieves all of these and more.

Also check out (non-affiliate link) and our friend and fellow Biotecture student, Nick Burtner.

Grant and Marissa Nieddu, live from the mission field on the Island of Hispaniola, offer their daily Rookie Missionary Tips and Mistakes.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Everyone a Rookie Missionary

About to Launch; What About Your Leap?

Having just recently returned from being on the field for the last 9 months, I have returned to a changed world. And I like it.

Everyone in my community are in a major transition in their lives. It is not always an externally critical moment. Many times there is a massive internal adjustment happening.

Rookie Missionary launched while we were on the field in the Dominican Republic because we were constantly encountering people who want to do huge things on the field. Some were motivated by basic evangelical yearnings. Most, however, just wanted to help vulnerable people in a massive way. I have a passion to help this latter group.

You see, being a Rookie Missionary is someone on the edge of their seat about to launch a mission. Hear me on this; they are people about to launch any mission.

A mission is that cause, that need, that art, you cannot let go. It lives in between the cells in your marrow. It ekes out in the in-between moments.

A Type of Freedom

As the world spins out of control, as popes quit, comets hit, Chavez dips, and the economy flips, we arrive at a type of freedom. We quickly accept that we can really trust very little of others' dreams. That is when we begin to dream again.

And when we dream, we quiet ourselves to listen to our internal dreamer, our spirit. And it is crying out to us from our marrow and reminding us of the thing we are passionate about. It is reminding us of our calling. It is reminding us of our mission.

You see, we are all Rookie Missionaries, striking out anew on a mission on our heart.

Speaking at MOPS I encountered
many passionate people with their
own causes and drives.
As an example, in returning to Lakeland, I have encountered no less than 4 different small teams of people wanting to launch a cause.

Many point and say, "See, the non-profit segment is inundated!"

I say, "Look! Passionate people rising!"

In fact, there has been so much interest that I am considering putting on a Saturday session, bring in professionals, and help launch these wonderful causes.

They, like you, need massive professional input. They, like you, need to get acquainted with the ins and outs of your cause, of the non-profit sector, and of high-lid leadership skills for the humanitarian field.

We need to equip.
We need to learn.
We need to implement, or partner with implementers.

I say all this to say that I am deeply encouraged.

I am deeply hopeful. Light up the cause in your heart. Light up the mission under your skin. Let me know if I can help. (And, let me know if you want to be involved in a powerful session, too!)

Now, go out, be a Rookie Missionary on something, and let us know how you're doing!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bamboo Fencing and Problem Solving

Part of our work in creating Sustainable Communities for underdeveloped areas, we have several terms.

  • Materials must be truly sustainable*.
  • They must be able to be sourced locally.
  • They must have some aesthetically pleasing qualities.

These being our principles, +Marissa Nieddu and I will install a privacy fence on our teaching & demonstration model sustainable home. We want to have a privacy fence on our property in the U.S. so that we can innovate without being hassled by local code enforcement before we were ready. We want to do things by the law. At the same time, we want to be able to show people that a technology works before it gets shut down.

To that end, we were deciding on different types of fencing. However, we hit a snag. As we read the code we realized that a privacy fence can only be 6 feet high. That is all well and good, but to a curious code enforcement worker or nosy neighbor, that is not too difficult to look over.

Thus, we then began searching for a work around. The idea arose to plant a fence. That's right, plant a fence.

I wanted to visualize how it looked so I drew this up quickly.
Bamboo was an obvious choice. It can easily grow 20+ feet high. It can be planted in one location and swiftly spread. The only challenge would be having controlled growth which can be accomplished with a lined bed of sort.

It naturally grows that high. It is not technically a privacy fence as much as it is landscaping. We will see how long that holds up.

No, this is not exactly on topic for Rookie Missionary or humanitarian development work. It does have to do with setting up our teaching and demo model. 

It is also insight into the problem solving necessary to implement the vision on your heart. Get busy solving problems!

Rookie Missionary Tip: 044 Multi-Tool

Rookie #Missionary Tip of the Day: 044 - Bring a Multi-Tool

When we originally shot this, we were in Bayahibe, Dominican Republic. The day before, the toilet clogged and we had to use a coat hangar to get the toilet working again. This is the follow up video to that, letting you know how to maneuver the coat hangar.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Polk County Planning Seems Hopeful

Phew! Moving our sustainable community incubator forward another step. Just got off the phone with the #PolkPlanningDepartment .

Apparently you can apply for a "Pre-Application Review" where several city specialists will review and potentially sign off on items at a weekly meeting. The fee is $100 and it occurs at the Bartow office.

The City Planner on call returned my call the next day, listened to my questions, and gave me direction. I am happy with that service.

I am still jumpy with the unknown cost and time-expense of the planning process. How many appointments like this will be required? How many $100 this and $100 that will I have to go through? Why is it not a clear process?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Adopt The Producer's Approach To The Mission

The Spirit of Kansas City by Normal Rockwell.
This is a guy, rolling up his sleeves to get to work.
+Marissa Nieddu and I saw this in person with my mom.
Returning to the States has been tough. My friend, +Chantz Cutts , said it would be. His wife, Renee, said that their return to the U.S. was difficult and that they never felt landed when they came back. It was only a matter of time, 2.5 years before they were back on the field and launching GoMAD Ministries.

Now, I could take a moment and make this a commentary about what's so right and wrong about the United States. My only authority would be in the weight of my travels away and abroad for the last 9 months. But I won't.

I could also take the time to leave commentary about the missionary field, what I saw, the behind-the-scenes back-biting, and dynamics of the world of missionary groups. My authority on that would be the varied conversations I had on the field, in trucks, in coffee shops in open-air churches, with the missionaries I passed while on the island of Hispaniola. I won't do that either.

I will try to keep it simple. I will try to do with you what I am trying to do with me; help stay focused on The Mission.

You see, all of these things and more hinder the mission. What is right and wrong with the U.S., mission-field back-biting, and critique of either are wasted. They should be known, bless God!, they should be known. But, in their end, they are only recycled products of a consumer's approach to the field.

Instead of all of that, I will point you toward The Mission, and how to get through it.

You see, we have returned with The Mission in our heart. The Mission is simply the pulsating, throbbing need you have inside of you to create. It is the drive to see things improved and bettered.

It is the non-profit organization you desire to build to serve in Africa. It is the business you want to build to have the resources to fund an organization in Africa. Both are the desire to see something bettered, improved.

This is Desire, the first step in the Producer's Approach to The Mission.

Now would be a great time to tell you HOW to return to your home country after a time of working on the field abroad. Though everyone warned it would be difficult, no one told me how to get through it. (Maybe that's just it. Maybe so little is written about it because you have to do just that; get through it.)

Instead, however, I will simply leave you with this: adopt The Producer's Approach to The Mission.

You want to see the thing in your heart created? Get busy creating it. Critique of things around you certainly does not get a business built. Pondering what happened in the field may motivate, but it will not make that next appointment for you. Knowing what's right and wrong with America is all well in good, but are you taking advantage of what is right in America to fix what is wrong with it? I mean, actually?

Coffee talk is good for first dates and mission research. But someone has to pound the hammer.

Get out there and adopt The Producer's Approach to The Mission. I'll see you on the field.

+Grant R. Nieddu

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Our $24,000 Tell-All From 2012 & 3 Lessons Learned

In doing our taxes for 2012, I finally was able to itemize everything we invested into launching our non-profit for the year. The final tally: ~$24,000+!

We learned a lot from this year of travel and educating. But I wanted to share the actual reality for those of you Rookie Missionaries, beginning humanitarians, or anyone out there curious about what it takes to move a young couple to the field for a year.

Below you will find first the charts so you can get an in-depth look at what it costs to launch a non-profit and spend a gap-year building your foundation. The second section contains the 3 Lessons we learned. Enjoy!

The Charts

Consider this complete transparency our intended mode of operation in launching our own non-profit, PhilanTropics. More on that soon. Happy reading.

1st Chart: Our Expenses for 2012

2nd Chart/Spreadsheets: Our Expenses by Line Item, by Category, and the Chart (again)
The 3 Lessons We Learned from Doing Our Taxes

Our Financial Tell-All From Our Year Abroad

1. Education is Expensive

Marissa and I even scoured high and low for frugal alternatives to the things that cost us money. She chose less expensive dive gear. I rarely bought software for writing or office supplies for the non-profit. We only traveled when necessary. We refused to rent a moped.

In Taos, we ate in the Earthship and not out. We camped in KOA's while driving the country to get back and forth from Taos, New Mexico.

I refused to buy new socks (despite them all having holes) and new shorts (despite the crotch missing out of my last pair!) Still, we spent $24,000+ of our own savings to invest in this life dream.

2. The Biggest Cost of Launching a Non-profit Organization is Not The Biggest Expense

Many people could look at the largest category of our spending and see a fat $11,000 expense for education. That would be the tuition cost of the courses for Dive Instructor, sustainable home designs (Earthship school), and the business of corporate training courses (Pici & Pici Speakers' Boot Camp). 

This is huge. But, think about it a second. It still does not represent the BIGGEST cost(s).

The biggest expenses are the peripheral things. The petty life expenses. The biggest expense is actually the cost of living while obtaining education, researching for a non-profit, and traveling the Caribbean.

3. Your Are Already Paying For the Biggest Expense, So Why Not Do What You Love?

Cell phones, medical care, food and fuel are the top 4 items we spent money on. You and I are already spending this money. This is normal for our lives in the U.S. 

Why not put the rest of your money, if you have any, to living a life of massive significance?

That is we questioned of ourselves. So we put it to the test and it proved true. We have taken a massive step forward. It took a TON of our own money. It took even more from our supporters, friends and family (in the form of places to crash, small donations, and encouragement.)

But, we totally believe that we made no mistake. Our momentum is huge. People are getting on board daily. So, the real lesson is the age-old adage we all know. But I encourage you to take it to heart as you begin to shape a vision for your own explosive life of significance:

A wise master-builder counts the cost.
$24,000+ to jump-start 
our Explosive Life of Significance.

--- Grant R. Nieddu

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

3 Lessons I Learned from MOPS & Resource List

What Can You Learn From Speaking To a Room of 60 Mothers

I had the honor of speaking at a M.O.P.S. event yesterday. Just being back from the mission field I felt under-prepared and a bit uncouth. Here is the short list of what I learned from that event.

MOPS at Florida Baptist Church at the Mall
1. Being THE ONLY Male Is Intimidating

Standing in front of the ladies who were ever-so-rapt in their attention, I was suddenly aware of my flaws. Then, it dawned on me that it just may not be my flaws but the traits of being a male; hole in my jeans, hair out of place, my beard suddenly feeling grimy and ugly.

Compared to the clean, well-dressed, well-behaved room full of shiny mothers I felt grimy. I half-expected one to jump up at any moment, lick her thumb, and press my eye brows down.

2. Mothers Want To Be Their Best

After the talk I was able to speak with several of the mothers. Several confessed that they were convicted that there may be babying their sons a bit. Some even confessed that they were not cultivating their husbands to be me. Though this was a mother's meeting, it is actually a meeting of family-driven women.

They pressed me for resources, asked for advice, and eagerly sought to be the best woman of the house they could be.

Men, listen up. I am convicted that we need to give a bit more grace. They women are gentle, graceful, and, at least at MOPS, were willing to admit a gap in their ability to serve our masculinity. I was honored to be able to speak to this in a small way.

3. MOPS Are Activists

Just some of the things the mothers are up to.
Nearly all the women in this particular MOPS group were involved in some form of activism. Whether it was Ida Mundell's 12x12 project, local events, church volunteering, or "Pastor" Jesse Goodman's church in an at-risk neighborhood; these women put skin in the game.

They may not take up arms, wield swords or light-sabers; but they make an impact. Consider them the Jedi mind-tricks instead of the fancy kung-fu.

Resources to Understand Your Man (Little or Big) More

Of all my talks, it was a potent room. We had synergy. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. In parting, several asked for resources to better understand their men. As promised, here is that list.

A Final Gift

I have assembled several free tools and resources over time. I list these tools and resources in the document above. A quick list is below:

  • Free Tool - '7 Day Spark Homework' - a 7-day tool for clarifying the goals that are most important to you.
  • My Book - 'H.O.P.E. from Here to Haiti' is an overview of the early work we did in Haiti and the lessons on hope we learned.
  • Coming Soon - 'The Top 100 Dream Igniter' - a comprehensive vision and strategy tool to walk away with total clarity on your life vision.

I am super grateful for being able to hang out with these awesome Mothers of Pre-Schoolers. Thank you. Let me know if I can serve you in any way. Let us know if these tools were helpful to you at all


Grant R. Nieddu

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Where The Heroes Will Come From

Gandhi Bleeding by Russel Hulsey.
Who is going to save the world?

What heroes will arrive on this planet from unknown realms and truly lift lives out of the dank gutters our destructive force of will has created?

Where do the great men and women live? Where are the halls of Valhala from whence demi-Gods, those who act human but whose actions we can only believe are half-deity?

These people surely have lived among us. We know them by their human names. Adjectives are the only thing that graze their godly names.

The most powerful and mystifying of all, Loving.

Mother Teresa Portrait by Jerry Breen.
Who are these people, these demi-Gods, that truly lived among us, that rose above their gritty humanity to accomplish mythological feats?

And, more importantly, will we ever be like them?

Their names, when spoken, burn like a searing coal on the title screen of a movie. Licking blue flames whip off of their name, and their myth mystifies us.

Mother Theresa.
Princess Diana.
Martin Luther.

Searing, singeing, crackling and popping while their names burn in the black introduction and fades into the opening of a movie worth filming.

And we certainly sit through it. We crave to hear their stories. When was the tipping point passed that these heroes' stories entered our minds and transported these individuals into the halls of the pantheon?

What we are seeking are hints to our own lives. As a race of young-hearted humans racing the fields as young does, we asked for so long whether or not our lives would be as worthy. As we matured to lumbering elephants, meandering the savanna of this world, pleasant, yet lacking newness, we came to believe that the work was too hard. And that is what caused us to say, "These few were the chosen. The gods looked down and said 'this will be the one to run and make a difference.'" Not us.

But the demi-Gods look down and weep. They weep because they know that the only separation between their myth and ours is a simple realization. They weep because they obtained a revelation that we all have shared. The difference is that the revelation moved them.

We all are frighteningly aware of the same thing. For the tellers of the myths, the awareness stood too tall before us, too wide. For the demi-Gods, the awareness burned as a flame in their heart, consumed them and their fears, and left nothing but charred ashes from which living demanded them to rise, shake off the coals, and fly, fly over such a wall to see the heights and the great beyonds, endless miles of beauty and truth lifting them.

That awareness is that we ARE the miracle.

We are the answer the dirty and dying need.
And they will become our answer.

We are the one we have been waiting for.
We are the caped hero, the bull-whip-wielding savior.
We face our own leviathans.
We overcome them too.
We are the living divine by the breath that was breathed upon us.
We are the animated Force on this earth.
We are moved by golden and gleaming truth.
We emanate worthy values.
We live and die for nobility, honor, and good.

Our call is to the desperate and dying.
Our journey is to the widowed and orphaned.
Our ears careen to the sound of travesty.
Our hope bleeds at the crying need.

Each human knows this. It is in our blood. Our genes are mixed and mingled deity.

When we crave a heroic story, we crave our own. When we are disappointed in stories that lack a savior, we point to our knowledge that we need one and that we have been called, in our small and powerful ways, to be one. When we sense wrongness, we point to the rightness shaped like marble under our mangled flesh.

We are the ones we have been searching the horizon for. We are the caped ones. We are the blazing, resurrected flying-ones. We are the creative and brilliant ones.

We are a race that lives as pantheon; half human, half God. What will it take for you to live it?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Heading Back to the U.S., New Partners and How

Dear Family and Friends of our life and work on the mission field,

Just before loading up to depart.
Marissa and I set out on our journey to a life of mission 9 months ago. Accomplishing all that we set out to do and moving into the second phase of what developing our non-profit demands, we are now returning to the U.S.

Heading Back to the U.S.

FIRST, as I mentioned above, we have accomplished our goals for this time abroad. We wanted to learn more about the field where we would be working, gain a better understanding of the language and culture, and develop lasting relationships with a community of missions workers on the island. These have been accomplished. We are happy with our results so far; we now know better the complexities of the work, have improved in our Spanish and ability to function day to day, and have spectacular friendships with people like Chantz and Renee, Alessandro, Maurizio and Chris, Jeanne and the entire New Life community.

How; What We Will Be Focusing On

The plans for the type of sustainable home we want to build.
SECOND, we move into Phase 2 of developing our non-profit. If Phase 1 was accomplishing the goals outlined above, Phase 2 will focus on the administrative tasks and fund raising efforts needed to implement our vision.

One of the things we learned in accomplishing our goals was that the width and depth of time and commitment are far greater than one could predict when facing the prospect of working on the mission field. To live on the field is a tough reality and will demand much more of us than we thought. That was the point, after all, of Phase 1 and moving along the learning curve; to learn what we need to accomplish in Phase 2.

Though we are glad to have finished Phase 1 so soon and joyfully look toward Phase 2, we are sad to face the reality of having to depart the field. Regardless, we are very excited to put our feet back on the ground.

Sometimes we talk about the things we indulgently look forward to most in returning. I look forward to a hot shower (something we have not had in at least 2 months, maybe more) and catching up on the many great movies I missed. Marissa looks forward to simply being healthy again (from Dengue Fever on, she has been sick for almost 2/5 of our time here; 2 months at least) and just seeing friends and family again.

Marissa playing with the horse
we sometimes shared the hostel with.
We have stayed in beautiful places, to be sure, in our time away. However, the circumstances were not always favorable (local thugs, lack of connectivity, language barriers, limited infrastructure). Regardless, we were favorably treated by God in all of His intents for us during this trip.

Updates on stories of our adventures and adversities, lessons learned, and future plans will come. Once we have solid internet and time to focus when we return, we will deliver these. We will be landing on January 31st, visit Hilton Head, South Carolina shortly, and then return to Lakeland, Florida around February 10th.

We would love to reconnect with you all. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you soon.

We are grateful for everyone who has been supportive of this phase of our development. We have so many people to thank for our success so far.

Love, Grant and Marissa

New Project Partners gained during our time:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Rookie Missionary Tip 043: Toilet Snake

Here is a funky addition to the #RookieMissionary  Tips of the Day. Why would you need one of these on the field? Hint: most countries around the world do not let you flush toilet paper!

Rookie Missionary Tip 043: Toilet Snake. When toilets are clogged on the field and there is not a plunger or toilet snake in sight, what do you do?

Grant and Marissa Nieddu, live from the mission field on the Island of Hispaniola, offer their daily Rookie Missionary Tips and Mistakes.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rookie Missionary Tip 041: Forgiveness. The forgotten power of asking for forgiveness and its ripple effects.

+Grant Nieddu and +Marissa Nieddu, live from the mission field on the Island of Hispaniola, offer their daily Rookie Missionary Tips and Mistakes.