The kiddos at a motel in Georgia, waiting for our car to get fixed.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”Â James 1:2-4
Count it all Joy!
Babies always bring some stress to a household, but the past 7 months have been downright difficult. After Xanderâ€™s birth, it was clear that I needed to pull away from my Jesus Film assignment to get our family fully funded. Since then, we’ve connected with 105 new families and churches, plus countless longtime friends to schedule, meet up, catch up and explain our Great Commission work and our need for partners. Meanwhile, we strive to give updates on what my team is still doing.
Many of my days have started around 9 connecting with pastors, working through emails and planning trips, and many have continued to midnight connecting with people on the west coast. By the end of 2016, I’ll have been away from my family for about 50 days and my home for about 80. For those who haven’t done it, fundraising is a game of “hurry up and wait”, while not getting emotionally pulled under by the ebb and flow of â€œyesesâ€, â€œnosâ€, â€œmaybesâ€, â€œlatersâ€ and non-responses.
Along the way I’ve struggled with various things: the juggling act of time and task management, the frustration of losing partners, the difficulty of staring down my own failures and weaknesses, the loneliness of time away from my family, the guessing and remembering game of how each of 700+ people prefer to be contacted â€” and the rare, but occasional hurt of rudeness from other believers. (I welcome a polite, straight-forward “no”, but itâ€™s taxing to be hung-up on or simply ignored by someone who has already agreed to talk with me.)
Testingâ€¦ produces steadfastness.
During one week of a trip, I had 7 pre-scheduled things cancelled on me, including a bachelor party I was invited to, and two meetings for the next month. It became clear to me that the Lord was doingâ€¦ something. But what? Well, if youâ€™re 2,000 or so miles from home and your schedule clears, you end up with a lot of time to pray. And I did.
The next week back home went pretty much back to normal, and so did my prayer life. Then, just this week, I had someone who told me to call him back hang up on me in the middle of a sentence — a pastor no less! At the prompting of some co-workers, I picked up a book called The God Ask, on the spiritual realities of fundraising. I got to the chapter on prayerâ€¦ and it hit me – hard. I’ve been trusting deeply in the the Lord for his provision, but I’ve been neglecting time with Him. I’ve been neglecting communication. I’ve been just letting his calls go straight to voicemail. I would plan times to pray, then distract myself with reorganizing my database, or one more email, or double-checking my to do list instead.
I want to encourage you to push through difficult times, and trust that the Lord is doingâ€¦ something.
I wish I could report that I am now a fully-funded prayer rockstar, but I am typing in real time. I started the book yesterday. For 13 years, our leaders have told us that support raising is a central part of our gospel ministry, not an interruption to it. So I want to ask you to pray for our family, and to encourage you to push through difficult times, and trust that the Lord is doingâ€¦ something.
Thank you for your prayers & partnership,