I am praising God and feeling grateful to all of you in this new year! Before 2017 began, we hit our fundraising goal! We are fully funded for year one of our work in Ghana and even have made some headway into funding for year two! This is really incredible, awesome, and encouraging, not to mention a great relief! Thanks to Bill Krause, it is also organized and tracked, which I would have definitely mucked up if I did it myself.
I wish I had some great insightful interesting thing to say about all of this, but to tell you the truth I haven’t felt like I’ve had anything all that blog-worthy to say yet. It seems that perhaps I am a bit intimidated by this whole “blogging thing”. Perhaps I just need to lower my standards and just share whatever thoughts I do have? Would that be okay with all of you?
Here goes: “Four things I learned from these months of fundraising and preparation”
- I like people. I absolutely loved every chance I got to interact with people through this process. The paperwork has been rough on me, though I am persevering and have done more paperwork (health insurance, visas, endless onboarding forms for IJM, etc) in the last few months than the last 10 years. Seriously, it is really quite unbelievable how much paperwork is involved in this. Paperwork, I love thee not. People, you I thee.
- I like small group home-gatherings. It was incredible to be a guest in peoples’ small groups. I don’t know how many I visited, but I’d guess around 12. Every group was different. Every group was wonderful. Some had kids running around underfoot. Others were older retired folks. Some were all mixed together. They almost all food. They all laughed. They all loved each other and were engaged in some kind of study/discussion/reading enterprise to grow in their faith, character, and understanding of God. They all were a joy for me to spend an evening with, getting to know better, and engaging with on a topic that means a lot to me. In my future ministry, I hope I can visit small groups regularly.
- I like fundraising. I know to many people that sounds weird. I know for many people it is a terribly frightening prospect, but for me it wasn’t. For me, it was simply gathering with people and looking together at a problem (injustice) and great news about it (God’s heart to stop it). I shared the plight of boys that I have never met, but have come to care about deeply. I watched as other people who have also never met these boys began to join me in my concern. I felt like at the end of each gathering or each conversation, like we were more of a team, standing together in this battle than before we talked. To me, that was thrilling, deeply meaningful, and encouraging. I felt a sense of camaraderie with everyone that invited me to share with them. It was awesome. One of my better experiences in ministry. At one point I said to Joy, “I could do this 10 nights in a row and not get tired of it.” She said that she would get tired of me being gone 10 nights in a row! My epiphany was that it didn’t feel like “work” to me. It felt like I was on a quest with friends.
- I am profoundly moved by people’s generosity. As a pastor, I never knew what people gave to the church. That information is purposefully kept confidential. It has been an entirely new experience in this mission to watch the generosity of God’s people in action. There is something profound about watching a person make a significant sacrifice for the Kingdom of God that fires me up. It makes me feel like I’m not alone in this. It’s not just me going out on a limb and making a sacrifice. Others are out on the limb with me in significant ways because they also believe in the work and believe in us. I also experience this with people giving time and prayers and practical acts of help. As hard as the preparation has been, I have been buoyed every step of the way by God’s people.
- God is with me and demonstrates it to me through His people.
OK, well I guess once I got started, I did have some things to say! Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your comments below. Just click the link at the top for “comment”