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.
From the Keiters:
Here is where we share our daily experiences of how God is using our life in the US and abroad with EMI to draw us closer and to make Himself known.