So many people told us this journey would be a bit of a roller coaster ride. Some thrilling "up" days and some seriously sad and frustrating "low" points. We would experience elation and fear.
This is not like most roller coasters. Yeah, we feel up and down and everything in between. But I LOVE roller coasters. They are always fun. I whoop and holler and laugh the whole time. They never scare me or make me sick. Unless we are talking about Tower of Terror. Last time I rode that one I staggered off it, barged through a door marked "Cast Members Only" (I used to be one, so cut me some slack here), and tossed my breakfast into a recycling bin (again, if you are willing to be loose with the definition of "recycling"...).
But I digress...
God promised to meet our needs. And our most pressing and important need is in learning to trust Him. That lesson has many facets and can take a lot of different forms. In the past week those lessons came hard and fast. There were gut checks and prayers, a learning to look only inward to the condition of our own hearts, confession, confusion, adoration, the rooting and weeding out of "prosperity gospel," letting go of control, and another giant faith leap. And through it all, knowing that when God is in control the end result will always be much better than if we try to manipulate things. Within moments of catching our breath from all that "studying," God dropped the gift bomb.
In under 24 hours our monthly support went from 46% to 71%.
I debated quite awhile on whether or not to post this, for quite a few reasons that I will spare explaining. In the end it came down to the knowledge that we need to give praise where it's due. So if God does something totally crazy we need to shout about it.
Can you hear us shouting? All the way (virtually) from Topeka, Kansas? I mean, we totally broke the speed limit crossing most of Illinois and all of Missouri. Bethany, I am so sorry we didn't have time to stop in St. Louis. It was all a lovely blur.
That photo at the top? That's us on a little bitty roller coaster at LegoLand. It doesn't look like much from the ground, but the main drop is a real doozy. It is short, but steep and fast and takes you by surprise. We all knew where that camera was located, having staked it out and planned to make funny faces at it. Then we plunged from the top and all but one of us lost our nerve and forgot the plan. The result was a better photo though.
A few days ago a friend asked me, "How's the fundraising coming along?" and I was all like, "Nobody says the F-word."
Not because I think fundraising is a dirty word. It's just that we refuse to think of what we are doing here as fundraising. Yes, there is the necessity of coming up with enough money to eat and stay out of the snow (anyone see the weather in Colorado Springs this past week?....crikey). But if money were the only need here I believe we would be very near the finish line by now. We would be all excited, packing a moving truck and driving west and posting little Instagram videos of our happy dance across various state lines.
We won't call this fundraising because that puts the focus so squarely on money that it gets overwhelming. Our need becomes a Mt. Everest of sorts and we can't even see the summit, let alone get there. The climb becomes huge and exhausting and discouraging and to say I get a bit cranky is like saying diamonds are a little pricey. We can't focus on the money. We have to focus where the heart is: people.
Yeah, we think we need dollars, but I suspect what God needs is to connect the right people to HIS purposes. He alone knows who they are. Ultimately those personal connections are the most important thing for several reasons. First, the volunteers who go on an EMI project trip are the very lifeblood of the ministry. Without them we don't exist. Secondly, the people who partner with us financially are the stakeholders who will edify us in prayer and encourage us when this gets tough. We have already seen that one play out.
Just like last year in our travels, we have been privileged to meet some new friends we would not have known otherwise. God is using this experience to draw our hearts closer to the real reason He bothers to use us to accomplish His work: His people. This is personal. No matter what we go do in this world, if we want to know Him we have to get close to his people.
We have met with organizations that are capable of wiping out a large chunk of our monthly need in one whack. We have been turned down, and while that stung initially, we know that when one source gives a huge amount it means there are maybe five or six additionally whom we would not end up asking and thus not be connecting to something much bigger. Again, God alone knows who those people are and why we need them and I won't argue with that.
So we call this thing we do to prepare us for EMI "Partnership Development." If you are giving to us financially you are not a donor or a supporter - you are a PARTNER. Truly. We have 37 dear partners now and we thank God for each one of you. Your names are on our fridge and in my prayer journal and on our calendar. You may not see your contribution as significant and yet we feel your prayers every single day. Whether we've known you forever or only a few days, you are significant because God brought you here. I don't pretend to know His plans for my future, but I do trust He has a purpose in bringing us this far together.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
Add your email below to get our newsletter, or click the RSS Feed above to get blog post notifications.