FaceTime for Support

It’s no secret that we need financial support in order to get us to Australia.  Ryan and I have been blessed with abundant financial gifts from our wedding that have allowed us to pay for our vision trip to Perth as well as our flights to and from Atlanta for our first two trainings.  However, this money is quickly disappearing as we transition towards Australia and have more ministry costs.  But as our personal ministry finances dwindle, we love seeing our official MTW account grow.  Although we still have a long way to go, we are excited about Australia and seeing God move in people’s hearts to join us financially.

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To give you some idea of what we’ve been doing in order to make this happen, here are some basic numbers.  When this month is over, in addition to emails and phone calls, we will have had meetings with three churches and at least, 11 individuals or couples.  Some of these meetings have been in person but when we’re far away we’ve been taking advantage of Skype and FaceTime.  It’s been very fun to catch up with friends, introduce Ryan to people and share our hearts as well as our vision for life and ministry as a couple.  If you’re far away and want to catch up with us, let us know and we’ll schedule a time with you!

6 Things You Should Know about Support Raising

Ryan and I are currently raising support for our work in Australia.  But what does support raising even mean?  We recognize that this may be unfamiliar to many of you, money may be an uncomfortable topic to hear and talk about or you may be familiar with another organizations process but not MTW (Mission to the World).  However, here are 6 things Ryan and I want you to know about us and support raising.

australian dollar

Number 1: Support raising is a process.

Although we would love to be able to wake-up tomorrow, check our pledge report and see that we are fully supported for Australia, we know that it’s a process.  We have goals along the way that we need to meet in order to complete our trainings and every dollar given gets us closer.

Number 2: We need pledged monthly support as well as one-time gifts.

One time gifts definitely help us get to Australia and they will be beneficial to our work in the future as well.  However, we need monthly financial gifts in order to sustain us and our work.  If half of our mailing list gave $50 a month, we would be fully supported.  Is $50 too much for your budget?  Even $20 a month helps us meet our budget goals.  Thinking you could give more than $50?  We have generous givers at all levels, $50 and up from there.

Number 3: We need to be at 100% on our pledge report before we can leave.

The goals we have along the way are based on our financial progress, we need to have enough support to attend 2 more trainings and we need to be at a certain amount of our support before we can apply for our Australian visas.  MTW has an official pledge report that they use in order to track our support.  Ryan and I are currently at 6% according to that pledge report.  But if everyone who has said they would give, would make their pledge and/or begin giving now, we would be at over 20% of our support.  We’re thankful for the support we have but we’re looking toward the goal of 100%.

Number 4: We can’t keep working and support raise at the same time.

Ok, can’t is maybe a strong word.  Many people do continue to work while they are support raising.  But most of the time they have supporters in certain geographic locations, generally close to where they are working at their current jobs.  However, Ryan and I have supporters as well as potential supporters scattered around the US and the world.  We want to see as many people as possible face to face which requires travel.  It will be more cost effective to stop paying rent and drive to visit supporters rather then take time off of work and pay for multiple plane tickets for short, quick trips.  So that’s our goal, to be able to support raise full-time in the new year.

Number 5: We need prayer and financial support.

Yes, we believe in prayer.  Yes, we are so thankful for people who pray for us fervently and regularly.  Yes, we want you to keep praying.  However, we need both.  We need financial support in order to leave for Australia.  We are convinced that this is God’s calling and this is where he wants us, we know that the money is out there so we are going to keep working, asking and praying until we reach 100%.

Number 6: We want you to be a part of our support team.

First of all, we realize that sometimes you are unable to give financially.  We respect your decision.  We would still love for you to pray for us or support us in other ways.  However, we love it when people partner with us financially.  This is a great way to be a part of growing God’s kingdom world wide.  God is already at work and moving in Australia.  Ryan and I want to be there living and working and your financial gifts make you a part of the work.

Please Pray

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately.  So many good things are happening but with the new comes greater responsibilities.  Ryan and I are both being pulled in multiple directions with many important opportunities but they all demand time.  And we all know that time doesn’t multiply itself, it simply keeps moving.  With this said, I ask for your specific prayers for Ryan and I as we are navigating this big transition from current jobs, to full-time support raising, to work and life in Australia.  This picture shows the open area outside of Brookton which is an hour and a half outside of Perth.  We long to call this place home.

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Here are some prayers and praises.  I’ve listed the praises along with the prayers so you can see how they are woven together for us.  Thank you for praying!

  • Praise God for technology that makes our lives more organized, helps us stay connected and simplifies some things.  Please pray because I’ve been having technology issues at the school where I work, Ryan’s kindle fire (basically what he used as a computer) stopped working, my computer has been acting strange and Ryan and I are trying to figure out what to re-invest in as well as finding the time to fix or diagnose the problems.
  • Praise God for us being approved to start support raising and getting closer to Australia.  Praise God for the tickets to Atlanta in two weeks for the next training.  Please pray for this process because many previous supporters can no longer give so Ryan and I are basically starting from the bottom again.  Please also pray because support raising is a full-time job and we both are trying to juggle this while working.
  • Praise God for extra hours at work for me.  This will help us financially while we transition to support.  Please pray for me as I struggle with how to balance my jobs, support raising and the relationships and responsibilities that come with working at a school.
  • Praise God that Ryan can now quit one of his jobs.  Please pray for the timing and the transition because Ryan has been working with this company for over 8 years and he wants to transition out well and maintain a good relationship with his co-workers and the company bosses.
  • Praise God for daily provision in our lives and for our community here in Camarillo.  Please pray for us as we make big decisions regarding when to give up our apartment and jobs here and being traveling to support raising.
  • Praise God for a wonderful husband and marriage.  Please pray for us during these stressful times that we would grow stronger together, support each other and find the time to continue to nurture our relationship.

Creative Support Raising #2: Rural $1 Rent

Ryan and I are gearing up for REV at the end of the month and we know that the next big step is starting the financial support raising process.  This is, of course, a daunting task in general but it’s made especially difficult because of the high cost of living in Australia.

Australian Countryside

While I was raising support back in 2013 I received a few creative suggestions to offset the high costs including Banana Smuggling.  At this point banana costs have gone back down so that strategy is now obsolete.  However, I found an article recently boasting $1 a week rent in Australia.

Rural Home 

Since a good portion of our monthly costs will go towards rent, this sounds like it could really help our budget.  Too bad the closest town offering $1 a week rents is about 4 hours away from our desired area.  But in all seriousness, I love this idea that some rural Australian towns have implemented.  They offer very reduced rents in exchange for people to come out, live in old houses, fix up the properties, send their kids to the local schools and contribute to the small town economies.

This has evidently been going on for a few years in Australia and small towns in the east and west have had various successes because of the new life being breathed into the countryside by the families.  Because 4 hours is a bit too much of a commute, Ryan and I won’t be able to take advantage of the $1 a week rents but I am looking forward to living in the Australian countryside a little closer to Perth.  And I know that Ryan and I are excited about contributing to the local town and being a part of country life.

Approved For Atlanta- Certain Uncertainty

We’re heading to Atlanta in July!  One step closer to Australia and yet still so much that has to happen.  But instead of dwelling on the distant future, let’s just look forward to next month.  The last week in July, Ryan and I will be in Atlanta.  We’re thankful to everyone who has given to our ministry fund and those who continue to give because this means that the entire cost of our trip, tickets, etc, are already covered.  The purpose of this trip is to attend REV (REV is short for Readiness Evaluation and it is a week long course that tests to see how ready we are to live and work overseas).  I’ve been through REV in 2012 but this time will still be a challenge.  They’ve changed things a bit, I’m now married to Ryan and it’s been a couple years.

Although I can’t go into any real details about the course, you can read the poem I wrote: A Long Week in Atlanta, after the course.  It was an intense week but it was worth it.  I hope that Ryan and I both have a positive experience this year.  One of my favorite things from this poem is the line about certain uncertainty.  I feel like this is definitely a theme for our lives.

Outcasts United

But if you must have some details, I can recommend this book: Outcasts United.  This was passed on to us as pre-REV reading and I read it after I attended REV the first time.  We will be crossing into this world during our week in Atlanta and this book is an amazing look into a part of the United States that many people don’t even know exists.

Thank you for your continued prayers.  This is a big hurdle that we have to clear before Australia but every step has its purpose and like I’ve said before, I’m thankful to have Ryan by my side and to be doing this together. 🙂

Continued Prayers for Nepal

When disaster strikes the news lights up with information and aid relief rushes in.  These first responders are critical because after a large natural disaster people are often operating without the basic necessities: clean water, food and shelter.  But slowly as the danger subsides, the basic relief is handled and time goes on, the aid workers leave taking the money and their expertise somewhere else.  The people are left to rebuild on their own.  Of course this is somewhat of a hyperbole but it rings true because it’s the reality of disaster relief.  It’s relief but not rebuilding.

Because of this I am happy to share two updates from groups in Nepal who have vested interests, relationships with people on the ground and people who are staying in Nepal or going to Nepal to help the local communities assess and plan for the future.

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MTW is responding by sending a team to assess the needs (physical and spiritual) of the local church and national partners.  The picture above is one of the church buildings that was damaged.  Since the churches in Nepal worship on Saturdays, 17 people were killed while gathered during the earthquake.  If interested you can read more on MTWs News Board about the impact of the earthquake on these churches.

MTW is asking people to respond in three ways.  First of all please pray (more specific prayer requests listed below).  Second, consider giving financially (online donations).  MTWs disaster response will be coordinated directly with the local church which means that all donations will have a direct impact on the partner communities.  And also there is a bulletin insert and slide ready to be used to bring awareness during church services.  They can be found HERE.

My friend who I wrote about a week ago (The Earthquake in Nepal- How to Pray) also sent an update.  Since she works specifically with health care she writes they are meeting to discuss how they “can contribute in the sector of mental health and psycho-social counseling as well as specific nutritional needs of mothers and newborns”.  She also sent another great prayer list.  Thank you for praying for Nepal.

  • Please pray Psalm 46 for the assurance of God’s continued presence and protection in the face of continuing widespread anxiety.
  • Please pray for those who have lost loved ones and those who have lost their shelter either temporarily or permanently.
  • Please pray for those living outside, for stable weather and protection from disease.
  • Please pray that the water supply will be sufficient and clean.
  • Please pray for those in remote rural areas that they will receive the support needed for recovery in a timely way.
  • Please pray for the helicopter pilots, truck drivers and porters bringing needed supplies into rural areas.
  • Please pray for our UMN staff, especially those with significant personal loss, as we implement our emergency response plan and that we will be able to help.

Praying for Our World Near and Far

The news continues to be full of sad and frightening stories that are often beyond our comprehension.  But this is an important call to continued prayer.  Looking internationally, eyes are currently focused on Nepal.  The continued aftershocks and possibility of more earthquakes in that region make for an uncertain future.  If you would like to give financially in order to help Nepal you can click on the picture below or this link for more information: MTW Disaster Response Ministry.

APTOPIX Nepal Earthquake

Let us also pray for America (to my international friends I’m sure there are many ways you can pray for the country in which you’re living).  Please pray for Baltimore and the families and communities impacted by the riots and unrest.  It’s easy to look around and see places and people who need prayer but who might seem far away or disconnected from us and our daily lives.  So let us to forget to pray for our own states and communities as well as family and friends.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16