Moldova 2014

Today was a much clearer picture of life in Moldova and the overall mission of Beginning of Life Ministry (BoL).

Yesterday Jenni shared about what the school visits were like. My experience was similar minus the singing part. Kids were extremely gracious, curious and well mannered. My group spoke to 4 classes at the 11th and 12 grade levels. When I asked them if they could go anywhere in the world, where would they go? The most common answers were, New York City or Las Vegas.

This morning we spent a couple hours at the psychological art center which is another ministry of BoL. This facility is designed to use art as a form of therapy and teach skills that can transfer into income. They craft a bunch of cool things that can be purchased in their little store. Their customers up to this point have been special orders from larger countries and short term mission teams that visit. Now they are in the process of opening a little retail store front in their building which should give them much more exposure.

They have an extremely talented artist teach painting as an art form not only for therapy but as a way to create things people will want to buy. The other gals teach the girls, often times single moms, life skills that include sewing and crafting. The items range from bags crafted from used denim jeans to dolls and stuffed animals created from socks. Every single item is made by the girls and the sale proceeds go back to them to help cover living expenses. It’s a great reason to purchase stuff. Here are a couple paintings that weren’t for sale that one of our team members purchased anyway.

Baby Crying Photo

Candles Photo

From the art center we went out in small teams to visit single moms who have been or still a part of one of these ministries. These visits include bringing a toy or two for the children and bag of groceries to help the family. A typical single mom has difficulty even earning a couple hundred dollars in a month. Most tiny apartments will use up all their income in just the rent. On top of the rent they have expenses like heat, electricity and so on. Their utility costs are very similar to ours in the States yet their opportunity to earn income is so much more limited. From our perspective it seems impossible to survive. Here is a story of one of the families we visited

As Jenni also shared in her post today, my favorite part of the day was celebrating Valentina’s 18th birthday. It makes me want to focus on reminding people of how special they are in God’s eyes no matter what trauma or mistakes they’ve experienced. Everyone was so intentional in showing her love and you could tell she soaked it up. She is finally in a place in life to begin to receive love and believe that it is real. This may sound very simple to many of us but it has taken her over a year of intense recovery to begin to believe that she has value and that there is geniune love with no strings attached. She is finally understanding the heart of God. This is all happening because of the heart and intentional actions of the BoL staff.

Looking at life back home, I want to take a little piece of what I have seen in action here and begin to duplicate it in El Paso. I want to live more on purpose each day to influence a society in my back yard that can have a ripple effect for generations. I am so thankful for each of these BoL team members and what they have taught us all and for the inspiration they have offered me in this short visit.

I’ve gone on a few mission trips over the years. Here’s what I’ve learned and experienced by going on these Jesus centered humanitarian adventures.

1. I am the one who usually experiences the richest blessing and reward from the acts of service

2. I gain a whole new appreciation and respect for other cultures and gain a renewed a perspective on how incredibly blessed my life is.

3. God speaks to me in a clear, direct ways that I don’t often eperience in my normal routine.

4. The relationships that are formed with other team members are deep and long lasting.

5. I get inspired by those who are dedicating their whole life to missions work in very challenging environments. Experiencing their world allows me to find ways to encourage them and pray for them in very specific ways.

If you have not participated in a mission focused trip outside of your culture, you should. It’s eye opening and faith expanding. God calls us to get out of our “normal” life to partner with him in this great adventure.

About this trip and how you can help me make this happen. Jenni traveled to Moldova last year to see what Beginning of Life Moldova (partners of Children’s Hope Chest) is doing to rescue, rehabilitate and prevent human traficking. She got to experience what they do on a dailby basis and to spend time encouraging young women who have been through hell and are now trying to live a restored life. You can read more about her and last years team experiences here. (Scroll down to see several posts from last year’s trip.)


This coming February Jenni and I will be taking this trip again along with a team for our Paseo Church family. Jenni has explained a lot about what we are going to be doing and the expenses of the trip that need to be covered here so I am not going to re-write but I’ll paste in the meat of her post.

will be working with Beginning of Life Moldova (HopeChest in country partner) to help bring awareness to their programs that assist trafficked, abused and exploited girls/women. BOL operates three programs that we will be visiting/working in:

  • A rehabilitation house – Girls live here after they have been rescued. The girls in the safe house are ages 8-16. They live at the safe house where they receive holistic spiritual and psychological treatment.
  • A reintegration and independent living program – Once the girls have completed treatment they move to this phase of the program where they continue to receive ongoing treatment and begin to learn life skills, receive job training, and prepare for independent living. We’ll also visit with girls who have successfully completed the program and are now in independent living.
  • Prevention program – BOL and HopeChest work in schools and offer training and support groups to educate vulnerable children and teens to connect them with services and prevent trafficking. We will be working in the schools and assisting with this program. There are pieces of the prevention program that deal with crisis pregnancy and abortion prevention that we may also be visiting.

We’ll also be meeting with staff, checking out the local area, learning about Moldovan culture, and participating in worship and just spending time with the girls. It’s EXTREMELY rare that outsiders are allowed in to work with actual victims of trafficking. This is humbling… a privilege… and I can’t wait for my team to experience all that I did last year.

Paseo (my home church) is strategically sending all of us on this trip to figure out how we can permanently partner with BOL/HopeChest in. Our ground costs are $1,000 and flight will be another $1,500 or so. Since Brian and I are both going, the total cost for both of us is $5,000. We humbly ask that you partner with us.

I’d like to ask you all to consider the following:

(1) Prayer: We need prayer. Moldova is far from “safe”. We actually had to sign a waiver in our application that stated we understood that there would be no efforts of negotiations if we were kidnapped. I highly doubt that will happen… but the fact that THAT needed to be signed warrant for SOME prayer. Please pray with us and FOR us. Please pray for our children. We aren’t taking them with us, though I really would love to one day… but for now, that they’d feel secure at home with the friends we are leaving them with.

(2) Financially: We need to raise $5,000. It sounds like a lot. It IS a lot if just ONE of us had to pay it. But if 50 people partnered with me for $100 or 100 people partnered with $50, that could be covered quickly. This letter is going out to 400+ friends/subscribers. Every little bit counts and is EXTREMELY appreciated.

If you feel called to help in this way, you can simply CLICK HERE (or on the Online Giving logo on the right column) and give your tax-deductible donation to Paseo. Just make sure you label it: “CLAYVILLE’S-MOLDOVA” in the “Description” section.

I have not stepped out to do something like this trip since 2007 so it’s time. I work on commission in my mortgage business so it is a sacrifice because when I’m not out interacting with people my business generally slows down. I am trusting that God will continue to provide new clients and my business will be in capable hands while I’m gone. I trust my kids will be protected and loved and not miss us too much while we are gone.

I look forward to sharing the ways we saw God working in Moldova, with our team and in our own hearts. Partner with me!

Today is one of those days…I have nothing to give my bride for her special day. Well at least nothing that costs money. Over the past several years, I have not been able to give her a cool gift on her birthday. I guess the good news is she is happy to just have me, my heart and my affection.

Is she disappointed by not getting a super cool gift or expensive jewelry? Maybe, but she loves me for just being me and doesn’t act disappointed or let down. This year, all I could give her was a cheap date that consisted of dessert and coffee. We had big plans for dinner and a movie but those plans got messed up by circumstances outside our control so we did dessert and coffee instead. She rolled with it and we had fun anyway. It was the first date we have had for many weeks so it was kind of a big deal!

Dear Jenni,

I am so thankful for the woman you have become. You give so much to so many people everyday of your life. You take care of your boys in so many amazing ways. You do mounds of laundry every week even though you have tons of other work to do. You make us amazing meals that are creative and healthy. You show love to our boys even when they are disobedient and grumpy. You are patient with me when I am detached and stressed.

Please accept this post as a token of how much you are loved and appreciated. I hope one day your body doesn’t hurt and you can sleep all night and feel rested for a day. Maybe I won’t have to work so hard to massage all the kinks out of your neck that day!

I am seriously thankful to have you as a partner on this crazy journey of life. It’s awesome that we get to be a part of changing lives and advancing God’s Kingdom together. One day, I will get you a super cool birthday present and blow your mind! Until then, you just get me.




Since our episode of Unfaithful aired yesterday on OWN  I thought it was a good time to discuss what it’s like to remember something awful.

Everyone knows the saying, “forgive and forget”. Well it’s simply not a very truthful saying. Even after you forgive, you will likely remember forever. The power of forgiveness is the memory does not get to control you or your emotions any longer.

Watching the show last night with Jenni was almost as difficult as sitting in counseling sessions shortly after she confessed to me. The pain was fresh, raw and totally disturbing.

I was humiliated very publicly.

Don’t read into what I am saying here. It was by choice and I don’t regret sharing so publicly. BUT, it was painful and difficult to endure in the moment.

As much as I want to crawl back in a hole and feel sorry for myself . Instead I am choosing to move forward, to push closer to Jenni and to continue to chose forgiveness over bitterness. God has worked a miraculous restoration in our marriage and I am very grateful. In all sincerity this experience has proved to be another layer of healing in our marriage and a kick in the head for Satan.

If you are dealing with betrayal or struggling with something you need to confess. Please be encouraged that there is healing and forgiveness available to you. Your story may turn out very different than ours but I know that I wouldn’t change much of anything from the past two years. As painful as it has been, the rewards are far greater. My encouragement to you is to simply do the next “right” thing. You probably know what that is.

Mrs. Clayville,

I am so proud of your willingness to be humbled, vulnerable, and even attacked by a few. I know your heart. Everything you have shared publicly was intentional in order to help a few ladies avoid making the same mistakes. To right a wrong. I am proud of you for risking everything with just a slight hope that you would be able to live with me in total honesty and purity. I am not sure if I could have made the incredibly difficult decisions that you have made along this journey of restoration. You will have a special place in the God’s kingdom one day. I love you.

In The World

Recently I went to a Mexican Restaurant with a bar here in El Paso. I like to go there every few weeks to play in a free poker tournament. It’s something I enjoy doing and I am intentionally working my way into a community of people we would call “unchurched”. The thing is, I just see them as people who have normal concerns, pain and a longing for happiness in their life.

They are no different than me accept most of them have no relationship with their Creator. One particular person stands out from the crowd. She is an amazingly warm and friendly woman I’ll call Virginia. Virginia is 63 years old.  Looking at Virginia you would not think of your typical grandmotherly type. She is completely covered in tattoos, she is not afraid to hug every man in the bar and will talk about absolutely anything with just about anyone. She has befriended me over the past couple months and introduced me to several regulars.

The last time I went to play I got to sit next to Virginia and I started asking about her tattoos. She told me about the next one she wants to get and showed me a necklace that it would be copied from. She asked if I knew what it said or meant. I had no clue.

As she began to explain the symbol for slaves she asked if I knew anything about Dominatrix. Me, a little in shock, said no. She procedes to tell me about her current “Slave” relationship with a retired high ranking military man. She grew up inside the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. She said her mom was a slave to her father and so this lifestyle is really all she has known. She is basically the property of this man and has to submit to pretty much whatever he tells her to do. It is quite fascinating and frightening all at the same time.

Virginia asked if I was freaked about what she was telling me. Inside, I was a little freaked out but I told her I wasn’t. It became crystal clear to me in that moment that I am speaking to someone who has lived in dark captivity her whole life and she doesn’t even know it. Satan has so deceived her since she was a little child that she now believes this is a totally acceptable lifestyle. I silently prayed for her to be released from satan’s bondage and to know what God’s freedom feels like. The conversation died for a while and I just pondered the things she had revealed to me. I felt honored to be given this opportunity to know so much about her and to know that I am able to show her what a relationship with my Savior looks like.

Eventually I asked her what it was like to be inside the Hells Angels. She said all the “myths” that I have heard are not myths at all. It is not a friendly organization. She went on to tell me some more things that were hard to fathom. She also told me that she has had experiences with ghosts or spirits. Early in our conversation I sensed that she was in severe spiritual bondage and the more she shared the more her spiritual captivity became apparent.

In my past I would have written Virginia off as a weirdo and moved on. Now, her situation really bothers me. I truly want to help her find freedom in Christ. The thing I know is I have to show her the power of God. She has to have some desire to be set free. These things will only happen if I show her unconditional love and acceptance.

How do I do that?

Honestly, I don’t have a clear answer yet. At this point all I can do is spend time where she hangs and continually pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our conversations and give me insight. Please join me in praying for the Virginia and the many other hurting people in El Paso.

Just want to pause for a minute to share how much I appreciate Jenni on Mother’s Day and everyday.

  •  you love us intentionally
  •  you are content to spend the day with us without any big hoopla
  •  you work hard to be healthy on every level for our boys.
  •  you are always beautiful
  • you keep us from living in a dirt house with soiled clothing
  •  you take time to play and document priceless moments

I love you!

P.S. Chance say: “Happy Mothers Day Mommy. Could you get me some pretzels?”

So I feel very convicted from my time with God this morning. He is asking me to share what I am learning with the people around me that are ready to learn…Some of you are probably way more knowledgeable than me in these topics, others may have no interest at all. This is for the people who are interested but maybe not sure where to start.

Let me give you a little background on why I speak with confidence on these topics. From 1999 to 2007 I worked in the residential mortgage business in Portland, OR and dabbled in real estate investing. From 2007-2010 I was a licensed financial advisor and went through a lot of product training. Over the past two years I have invested a lot of time in reading and studying economics and the issues that are effecting all of our personal finances. Most importantly I have done a lot of praying and seeking God’s wisdom in these areas.

Jenni and I  have systematically reduced our monthly expenses from a high of around $7500 per month a few years ago down to around $3500 today. We believe in living a simple life with an emphasis on investing in people and ministry. We believe that we have been adopted into the Kingdom of Heaven. Being children of the Kingdom we are blessed with unlimited resources when we follow His instructions for living and claim His promises in faith. (this is a whole other post or 10).

Today I want to focus on a few points that can be found in the parable of the talents Matthew 25:14-30 NKJV. Come on a short journey with me.

  • Those who have spent time seeking wisdom will be given more to manage. there is real truth to this, we are instructed to seek wisdom and understanding in regards to growing and protecting our resources. We need to be excellent stewards and treat what God has given us with the utmost care.
  • We should not hoard what God has entrusted to us. Money needs to flow to grow.
  • The treasures of the Kingdom are entrusted to His servants. Look closely at verse 14 where it specifically talks about who was given the talents to manage.
  • He trusts us to do our research and to make decisions with the wisdom He is imparting to us. Seek Him, do your research, seek wise council, be decisive and pay attention. (After the talents were distributed He went on a journey verse 15). We may not hear a clear yes or no on every financial decision that we face.
  • We should not paralyzed by be fear and indecision. (This is a tough one for me because I am not decisive naturally and from childhood I learned to live in fear). Look at verse 25 because I think this speaks to most of us. Once we have done our due diligence we need to take action.

Please meditate on this parable and pray for wisdom to be revealed to you. It is extremely important to draw out what God has to say to you personally. My only objective is to get you to start thinking and asking questions so you can act wisely and decisively.

Interested in some fabulous resources? Contact me by email, Facebook or twitter and I will be happy to share them.