Monday, Nov. 18, 2019

Today as we entered the PEP classroom, it seemed like everybody was out of control just to get their IDs. After everyone received their IDs and settled down in their assigned spots, we prayed in. The prayer was short and simple – the person praying put a blessing on PEP and all of our families. After the pray-in, one of the Vision 2020 brothers gave the word of the day. At first it had to do with a football injury on the field. It was explaining how a defensive back missed a tackle because of a block, and then he went limping off the field. He really wasn’t hurt physically, but his pride was crushed because he missed a tackle. The point of the word of the day was that too much pride can make you fall. He also included some scriptures about a prideful man, including Proverbs 11:2, which says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” and also from Proverbs 11:8 “The righteous is delivered from trouble, and the wicked walks into it instead.”

After the word of the day, Brother William R. danced down the aisle from the back of the room to a song that we had never heard before. When he got to the front of the room, he explained that we needed to act more mature because some of us have been playing around with our badges by hiding them. After he spoke, we celebrated two of our fellow brothers’ birthdays. After that we had the opportunity to listen to Richard B. teach us about art history for two episodes. We concluded the day by praying out and putting our name badges up.

Antony K. (a.k.a. “Peekaboo Princess”)

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019

Today we started the day off bright and early. The good thing about being in Phase Two of class is that we don’t have to wake up as early. Phase One class is just starting, so our new brothers are going through Authentic Manhood class Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s a really good class helps you change if you really want to.

The Phase One brothers are on the third session in their Quest for Authentic Manhood workbooks. Taught by author Robert Lewis, he will open your eyes if you have certain problems or just need help changing, but you have to want the change in order to change. Just like stopping an old habit, it doesn’t happen overnight.

The rest of us are really close to graduation, and we have to stay prepared for anything. We are reading Integrity Selling For The 21st Century by Ron Willingham and Crime and Punishment by Fydor Dostoevsky. If we aren’t reading one of those, then we are studying Chapters 8 and 9 from our Entrepreneurship books.

Other than that, we are having a very good and relaxing day being here in the PEP community. This program is a true blessing for those of us who want to do something different with our lives. God blessed us with another great day.

Wallace L. (a.k.a. “Big Hungry”)

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019

Today was the long-awaited test day for us in Phase Two. We were wide awake and on the move at 7 a.m. in the PEP classroom, with some people setting up chairs us to sit in, while others were busy turning on all the computers and monitors.

We formed a line stretching toward the front of the room with people waiting to turn in any homework they might have had, as well as extra credit articles for the chapter we’ll be tested on today.
Michael S. made his way to the front of the room to pray us in for the day. After he finished, Darryl O. walked up to the front of the room and dedicated a new 2020 daily devotional to our PEP class.

Then we heard the long-awaited words that caused a stir: “Test time – it’s time to turn your chairs toward the library.” We were not only hit with a Chapter 8 test, but also a pop quiz on Chapter 9. (We use the word “hit” versus “given” when it comes to tests, because tests are hard like being physically hit.)

When we finished our tests, it was time to be taught next week’s chapter by Kirk N., who started out his presentation by giving us his background. He stated that he started his career as a lawyer doing criminal and civil law. After about three years, by demand, he went into business law, which he has been doing now for 38 years. He then gave us the history behind how we obtained written laws.

Then Kirk went into Chapter 9, “Establishing the Legal Foundation.” He started off telling us mature economics are based on laws. He continues with the fact that we should appreciate the reliance in the United States on the legal institutions, versus the legal system in China. Because of our mature economics, we have a clear, reasonably enforced legal system for businesses that keeps corruption relatively low. As a result, legal conflicts are treated fairly, not by who you know or how much money you have. The law is for both the owners and customers. He told us that as future PEP graduates, and one day small business owners, we needed to understand that one day we may have to go to court to resolve business disputes.

He ended today’s lesson by giving us three financial books to add into our PEP library. The entire class stood up and clapped, yelling “Thank you, Kirk!” as he left. We prayed out and went back to the dorms to study for next week’s tests.

Robbie L. (a.k.a. “Gingerbread Man”)

Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019

The men in Phase One got up this morning and were preparing for class. The brothers who were awake and in Phase Two decided to go to rec to work out and play handball. Work is an important part of life, and it should be fun and rewarding. After rec, we wrote out flashcards and started studying for our tests next week.

After our Phase One brothers got back from school, we greeted and conversed with them about the things that they went over during class. We watched television programs together, and during commercial breaks we would quiz our brothers on the 10 Driving Values.

Later, one of our Servant-Leaders volunteered his time to a group for Phase Two brothers to practice their Toastmasters speeches. We heard such a touching speech that it left us all misty eyed. After chow, we came back to the pod and watched a movie together. It was a little warm in the dayroom, so one of our brothers brought his fan, plugged it in and made sure it was positioned to benefit as many of us as possible.

We have a big day tomorrow because it is our Business Plan Workshop event. We are all excited to have this opportunity to work on our business plans. This program serves as a constant reminder of how blessed we truly are.

Bradley L. (a.k.a. “Split”)


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

These are the words of Jesus Christ. He spoke them long ago, but they are still true. How few have bothered to understand them, much less put them into practice. We claim to be wise, yet how often we fail to place you, God, first in our daily lives? We admit in word that you are our greatest treasure, and yet seldom think of limiting of our earthly interests in order to give you more attention and better service. I want to begin the rest of my days trying to have fewer things in my daily life so that I may have less to draw my attention away from you. Fill my thoughts with you. Direct my intentions to yourself so that I may begin at last to live for your praise, honor and glory. Being poor in spirit does not mean having nothing. It simply means being free from all earthly attachments. Such a poor man wants nothing which leads to sin. Moreover, he wants God’s friendship so much that he eliminates as much competition as possible within himself. In his eagerness to come closer to God, he turns his back on as many things as he can. By doing this, he is able to think more easily of God, speak with Him more often and please Him more perfectly. This quote has changed my life and has made me the man that I’ve only dreamt of becoming – the man I have always wanted to be, God-driven always.

Jose L. (a.k.a. “Madonna”)