Building the Library in Cange, Haiti

Cange, Haiti LibraryThis past March, I travelled to Cange, Haiti to learn about the small, community library there.  It’s a small, 1-room building with 2 walls of books, 6 computers, and many patrons.

The students I encountered in Haiti have a strong desire to learn. They appreciate the value and the power of education in a way that is foreign to me and my days in my school. In the evenings, as we walked through the walled-off complex, I was fascinated to see students sitting at the base of the lampposts, reading and studying there because there were no lights at home. In the mornings and afternoons I saw children and youth walking for miles beside the winding mountain roads to get to and from school. They want to learn so they can empower themselves. All they need is a space and some resources. An education is the best help anyone can give.

The good schools are brick and concrete.  Many others are nothing more than open shelters built from rough-sawn boards nailed together.  Chalkboards and desks are an extra treat.

They don’t have many resources, but 4 years ago this small, community library was started, and has quickly outgrown its space. Dr. Sara Mansbach works diligently with her organization, Partners in Literacy Haiti, to help secure books and resources for the library. She travels to Cange regularly and meets with the local leaders who are fully-involved in making the library a sustainable and successful part of the community. Together, we interviewed many of those community leaders as well as students and others who experience the benefits of the library first-hand.

The exciting news is that the land has now been donated for this purpose, and we are now focused on finding donations to begin construction on the new library. I hope you will learn about this project through the short videos below and consider how you might help make this new library a tool for change in the region and the world.











Granito de Mostaza

Album Artwork.001“Granito de Mostaza”
(aka The Mustard Seed Song, aka Let the Mountains Move)

I learned this song from my friends in Cuba, and loved it so much I wanted to record my own arrangement. Pardon my Spanish, please. The translation is: If you would have the faith of a seed of mustard, this, the Lord tells you: You could tell the mountains to move, move, move, and those mountains would move.”  I’m on guitars, bass, percussion and vocals.

100% of the proceeds of this song will go to support the “Patio Projects” across Cuba, a successful and growing effort to help communities and individuals turn wasted spaces into gardens and growing spaces, providing food, medicine, and turning lives around in the process.

I’ve been there and seen it in person, and there’s a lot we can learn from them.  Learn more about the Patio Projects in this video.

Download from CDBaby
Download from Amazon
Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes


Si tuvieras fe como un granito de mostaza, eso lo dice el Señor
Si tuvieras fe como un granito de mostaza, eso lo dice el Señor

Tu le dirías a asea montaña, muévete, muévete
Tu le dirías a asea montaña, muévete, muévete

Y esa montaña se moverá, se moverá, se moverá
Y esa montaña se moverá, se moverá, se moverá
Y esa montaña se moverá, se moverá, se moverá

Se está moviendo ya
Esa montaña se moverá

Don’t Let Go

This song came out of my recent American Ninja Warrior adventure in Orlando. My favorite songs are the ones that end up writing themselves – they just sort of come out on their own, from somewhere inside, and this one was no different. I wasn’t trying to write a song at the time, I was just picking on my guitar one day in early summer and this groove started coming out, and then these lyrics started coming out, so I followed where it took me and this is what I ended up with.

It’s titled “Don’t Let Go”, and it offers a glimpse into what was going on in my mind as I was running the course, but it’s about more than just that. It’s about not letting go of our goals and dreams, being unafraid to fail, using those failures as motivation to overcome our obstacles, and about hanging onto whatever figurative “rope” you’re hanging onto in life for just a little longer.

100% of the proceeds of this song will go directly to support my ninja friend Kenneth Niemitalo and his wife, whose new baby girl is dealing with some expensive health issues, so please share this post, spend an easy dollar and let’s help a brother out!

This song is dedicated to the entire ninja community, and everyone out there who is reaching for their goal or hanging onto their rope. Don’t let go!


Download from CDBaby
Download from Amazon
Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes

Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Güira:  Bootie Cothran
Drums, Bongos:  Ryan Harper
Sound asst:  Will Dodson
Camera:  Peyton Mills, Richard Saad
Mt. Midoriyama Stage 4 Photo:  Jimmy Bogle
Additional video:  NBC

Man vs Machine 2015


I’m not a fan of the cold.  Winter has its positive aspects, but mostly those involve things like hot chocolate and warming up by a fire – things that involve escaping the cold outside.  Sure, playing in the snow is fun, but if not nearly as much if you have to come inside to a home without heat.

Maybe there was an emergency or an unexpected financial burden.  Maybe the house is old and drafty which makes it costly and difficult to heat.  Maybe home improvement expenses are just not able to be covered because eating or finding a job comes first.  Maybe even poor decisions were made.  We all make mistakes.

Regardless of the reason, there are some members in our community who could use a little help, and here’s a fun and easy opportunity to do so.

At Noon tomorrow (Saturday, January 31) at First Baptist in Greenville, SC, I will battle it out against a 20-ton hydraulic log splitter to see who can split the most wood the fastest, all to raise money for those who need help heating their homes.  There will be food, fellowship and fun, so come hungry and join us for lunch and enjoy the competition!

I hope you’ll be able to join us there, or donate online!


Live television promo:


WHAT: WOOD SPLITTING contest for charity
WHEN: Saturday, January 31st at High Noon
WHERE: The Front Lawn of First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC. 847 Cleveland Street, 29601