Today Ryan received an email from a friend in Perth. It was an update with some heartbreaking prayer requests, an attached article on men’s mental health in WA (Western Australia) and general encouragement for us to keep working hard towards getting to Perth, more specifically the Wheatbelt. You can click on the picture below to read the full article that was emailed to us.How talking can mend men by Andrea Burns from the West Australian, gives the reader insight into the state of men’s mental health in these rural communities. She sites the statistic that, “Across Australia, about 8 people kill themselves every day, with men outnumbering women three to one.” But the article also gives a little glimmer of hope in sharing about a group of four men who are being listening ears in these communities. The “Talk to a Mate” signs referred to in this article are what broke Ryan’s heart for this area to begin with. But this battle is far from over and this article shows just one of the ways these communities are hurting.
Please join us in praying for Western Australia. Pray for these communities. Pray for the men who are out there listening and trying to make a difference. And especially pray for the men who are hurting.
“The Lord will fight for you. Just be still.” Exodus 14:14
These words, from the kid’s church verse from last week, are a powerful reminder to me in this season of business. Ryan and I have gone from place to place, speaking engagement to speaking engagement and this is just the beginning of our busy summer. We swing from low, exhausted lows to energized, determined highs and back again. Yes, this is our job but we have to be careful that we don’t start relying too much on our own abilities and forget the underlying foundation of our work.I’m not good at being still. I’m not good at resting. Case in point: As I type these words, I’m actually feeling a little guilty because it’s Sunday afternoon and I should be napping or otherwise really resting but instead I’ve convinced myself that writing a blog entry to maintain my blogging schedule is more important. And although I am going to finish this, I’m reminded that I need to remember the words of this verse even more.
“The Lord will fight for you. Just be still.” The deeper we get in this process, the more convinced I am that my own words and abilities are severely inadequate. It’s only by God’s grace, through the Lord fighting for us that we will see everything fall into place, raise the support we need, finish the training we have to complete and make it to Australia.
We have a loving heavenly father engaged in this battle, we have his son Jesus who is also in on this fight and the Holy Spirit is constantly doing battle on our behalf. We have a whole army fighting for us…now to just be still.
I have a confession…I’m terrible at math. Keeping track of our budget, how much we still need to raise and our monthly goals is not an easy task for me. But I am organized so I can usually keep up. However, every once in awhile my rounding tendencies get the best of me. Yesterday I reworked our numbers, updated our records and am back on track. Ryan and I both continue to be amazed and humbled through this process. Please be praying about how you can be a part of the foundation of prayer and financial support that will get us to Australia.Last support update we reported that we were at 50.4% of our goal but now we are at 57.3%! We are currently praying for and working towards surpassing our April goal of 60%. This will help keep us on track to be at 75% by the end of June when we head to Europe for training.
Since percentages are sometimes hard to understand, in US dollars this means we need another $293 in monthly pledges by the end of this month. 3 individuals or couples giving $100 a month can help us surpass this goal but if you can’t afford $100, $20 a month still makes a difference. It only takes 15 people at $20 a month to help us reach this goal. It’s easy to give by contacting MTW (Mission to the World) or using their online giving site: donations.mtw.org.
Thank you to everyone you has been advocating for us. Advocates help by connecting us with people who otherwise might not have heard about our ministry. Advocates can also be great at encouraging other people to become a part of our ministry. Ryan and I aren’t used car salesmen, we genuinely want people to pray and give as God is directing. With that said, other people can have a great influence and encourage the people around them to give in ways we can not. Advocating is as easy as talking about Australia and encouraging others to get involved and learn about our ministry (Why Australia?).
Please keep praying for our support and God’s timing. This summer is filled with travel and training. We appreciate your prayers and financial gifts that will keep us serving. Thank you for helping us get to Australia!
Ryan and I are not going alone to Australia. We are part of a team. Tonight we did a three way Skype with the main team already in Perth, another couple here in the US and us. Although having 12+ people (4 couples and kiddos) on one end of the Skype call made for an interesting time of pass the phone and say hello, we got to connect, share prayer requests and ended the conversation even more excited to all be together. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.
On Friday I sent out our latest newsletter. If you want to get the news first to your inbox, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add you to the newsletter list. But you can also download it now from our website (ryanwithjoy.com) or just click on the picture which will take you directly there. The newsletters being made available on our website is just one of the April website updates. Stay tuned for more, hopefully helpful and informative, changes this month.
Since we’ve sent out the newsletter, we’ve received $100 in monthly pledges so we now just need $331 in monthly pledges to reach our April goal. We would love to surpass our goal this month! If you’re considering partnering with us, please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have. Even if you’re far away, we’d be happy to Skype with you and share with you more details about how God is working through this process.
There is no shortage of reasons why I love my husband. Even on the difficult days, I still find that there are many reasons to celebrate our marriage and how God is working in us together.
#60- His ability to focus on the moment. Although frustrating at certain times, I wouldn’t change my husband’s ability to be in the moment, enjoy what is currently happening and not be weighed down by all the other stuff that can easily crowd out in-the-moment joy. This is one of the things I truly wish I could glean from Ryan, even just a little.
#61-He’s a cat whisperer. No, not every cat likes him but he has an uncanny ability to connect with cats and other animals too. He’s amazed a couple people who thought they had cats who don’t like anyone but by the end of our visit, Ryan had them purring. #62- He doesn’t yell. I really don’t know what it sounds like for my husband to raise his voice. I’m very expressive when frustrated or angry, however, Ryan chooses his words carefully and rarely even raises his voice. Sometimes I wish he would just yell and let it out but we both know that yelling is probably not the solution. I love Ryan for his gentle, not yelling ways.
As much as I do love singing Ryan’s praises, this list is as much for me as it is for anyone else. Marriage isn’t easy and I need these constant reminders that God brought us together for a reason and that there are indeed, many reasons why I love my husband.
Ryan and I spoke again tonight and we found ourselves in a room filled with many people who have been “holding the rope” for me for many years. And now they’re holding the rope for us. We look forward to continued relationships with many people who are on the other end, holding us up as we move towards Australia. Thank you to everyone who is in this category! We appreciate you.What do I mean by holding the rope? Read the account below about William Carey, a missionary to India in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
After hearing an account of the spiritual needs of India, the secretary of the meeting remarked: “There is a gold mine in India, but it seems almost as deep as the center of the earth. Who will venture to explore it?” “I will venture to go down,” said William Carey, “but remember that you must hold the ropes.”