“One without the other causes a lot of pain and reduces the effectiveness of ministry.”
2) Absolutely No: Complaining, Being Critical, or Comparisons
3) Absolutely NO Excuses
4) No Newsletter Pressure
If someone were to ask the following question, what is the absolute best part of being a missionary? I would have to say my answer would be sharing the message of grace, truth, & love to someone who has never heard the name of Jesus (and repeating that over and over again). A close second would be discipling a young believer. Also, training Christians to become leaders themselves is high on the list. On the other hand, the least desired part of being a full-time missionary is -> fundraising. However, as we prepare to leave and re-plant ourselves in a land 5,914 miles away, I have taken a slightly different approach to raising financial support for the family and ministry. I feel God saying just simply share the vision and give anyone who has ears to hear an opportunity to respond. We hear the example of several in the New Testament that gave to support the work of Jesus and His disciples including Suzanna seen in the gospel of Luke 8:3. It has been to share the encouraging message of the gospel to those who are willing to hear right here at home before we leave. At the same time, the Lord has spoken to me some encouraging words, which basically are -> make sure you give all those you know an opportunity to share in the vision for ministry you have been given. Why? So that those who have heard could pray or help send through giving. We understand that God has not called everyone to support us or any other missionary financially. However, we have run into people in the past that have said, "if I only had known of the need." Therefore, we believe God has called some to go and some to send. The apostle Paul said to the church in Philipi regarding their support of his missionary journey, "not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit." (Philipians 4:16)
During the past several weeks we have been given the opportunity to share our vision for ministry and missions. We have done so in our local church, on social media, and with friends and family. In the midst of the discussion, we are generally asked the question, "how will the bills get paid when you all are serving as missionaries?" In response, we would first like to share specifically what the need is:
There are some upfront costs when relocating a family from one continent to the next. Thankfully, we were able to use some airline flight miles to book 5 one-way tickets from Phoenix (via Houston) to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Therefore, the majority our one time needs will be buying a car, furniture, and initial housing costs. It is difficult to put a price tag on these items but any amount of initial support will go a long way to helping this cause.
1. We are currently running a campaign from Bonfire.com selling t-shirts to help raise some initial funds for the above: You can purchase a t-shirt by clicking right -> here. Half of all the proceeds will benefit the ministry.
2. We have once again aligned with a great missionary facilitating organization in Missionary Companion Ministries. They will handle all the financial logistics for those looking to support us financially. If you would like to give financially you can read more on the Support page on this site or click here . You can also give online at missionarycompanionministeries.com/donate (Account #4041).
Furthermore, We have determined for the upcoming calendar year (2017) our monthly need will be around $3,000 per month. This amount will cover items such as rent, food, gas, health insurance, school for the kids -> as well as funds set aside for ministry opportunities. We look to obtain the goal of reaching a consistent amount to cover these needs by:
1. Reaching out to those willing to commit to give on a monthly basis for an extended period of time.
2. Seeking to work on a part-time basis either by:
a) by finding locally based employment or
b) working at home in an online capacity
I am often reminded about the worry my wife Carol and I had during her first pregnancy. We had been married just one year and I had recently graduated from college. One day we read a verse together that inspired the name of our firstborn, Lilly Joy:
"Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." (Luke 12:27)
Jesus would go on to say a few verses later if God can provide for the flowers of the field in such a way -> will he not take care of us? And He called upon all of us to have Christ-like faith that He will provide for our needs as He sees fit whether physically or speaking speaking. J/D
Last night we hosted a Bible Study in our home here in Phoenix for our local church, Calvary Chapel Desert Hills. It was a blessed time as John taught the book of Philemon. Carol made a delicious chocolate banana bread and we had sixteen or so people praising the Lord in song as well as prayer. The night reminded me of the last time we were serving in Brazil. It was such a sweet time.
"Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise..." - 1 Chronicles 16:23-25
It was in 2007 that my family first moved to the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil. The city with a population of over 1.5 million slowly captured our heart. We liked the southern South American climate which produces four distinct seasons including hot summers and cold winters. The food was consistently delicious. Porto Alegre is the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which borders Uruguay and Argentina. It has several beautiful and active city parks and nearly a dozen shopping malls. The downtown area has a significant amount of historic buildings and a favorite of mine is the market building right in the heart of downtown which offers a lot of local fare including; era matte, fish, and other items. Most of all, I grew to genuinely like the people. I remember how helpful strangers were to my family on various occasions when we needed help. There are numerous examples including; one day when a neighbor we had just met offered to take my family to the hospital and wait with us for hours while my daughter Lilly underwent tests at a local hospital (she had pneumonia symptoms). While such acts of kindness could happen anywhere, we experienced them all the time in Porto Alegre.
Unfortunately, Porto Alegre is not without its downfalls. It currently ranks as the 9th most violent city in world, according to a recent survey found here. This means the people are living in near constant fear of being a victim of a crime regardless of the time of day. It is also experiencing, along with many cities in Brazil, one of its worst economic downturns in many years as the country is currently in a deep recession. So much so, that it is common that the state cannot pay its workers on time during many months of the year in 2016. Also, as a matter of inconvenience, at the time of this writing, all the banks in the entire country have been closed for over a month as their workers have been on strike demanding better benefits.
However, the reality is that Carol and I really love this city - for its people and its character. Furthermore, it is of my opinion, that when life becomes more difficult it is not time to run from our problems but to face them in light of what is good. It is even more true when those actions are affecting our community and city in which we live. The Apostle Paul said (in Romans 12:20) to the Christian believers in Rome who were suffering through difficult times, "If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink." He reiterated his point by saying: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." -Romans 12:21
This is the attitude that we are taking upon our journey back to Porto Alegre, Brazil - to love both the lovable and the unlovable and that God would break our heart for what breaks His heart. And that we would realize that there exists within the friendly confines and wonderful aspects of any city (Porto Alegre included) the poor and powerless that God desires so much to be loved, to be prayed for, and to be saved. -J/D