My previous post highlighted men’s mental health and suicide rates. And shortly after I posted, an Aussie friend shared this video via Facebook. This is an ad recently posted by Marie Claire Australia with the explanation, “One woman is killed every week in Australia because of domestic violence. Will this tv ad – launched around the country this weekend – make a difference? We hope so.” While this statistic is for Australia in general, Ryan and I recognize that domestic violence is also very high in the Wheatbelt outside of Perth.
Please continue to pray. Pray for us as we continue to work towards moving to Western Australia. Pray for the women who are victims of domestic violence. Pray for the men who are the aggressors. And please pray for the families that are dealing with the effects of domestic violence in their own homes and communities.
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.
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.
We had two speaking engagements yesterday and are looking forward to one more on Wednesday. If you’re in the Sacramento area, please join us at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church for a potluck missions night at 6pm. Bring a dish for the potluck, and listen to Ryan and I share more about Australia.This weekend we spoke twice, first in Bakersfield and then in Fresno. We had the opportunity to speak to an adult Sunday school class, as well as share a meal with some people who are quickly becoming special friends in Bakersfield. After that, we got on the road and arrived to a delicious Australian spread.We provided the TimTams but our host, whom I love dearly, made all sorts of amazing Australian deliciousness. Meat pies, sausage rolls and fairy bread, just to highlight a few items. And then for dessert we had the TimTams, of course, but also sticky date pudding, a white chocolate rolled cake and even a beautiful banana, caramel pavlova. Although I didn’t partake in the banana dessert, others thought it was delightful.This was a fun evening of sharing food, visiting and answering questions about our vision and heart for Australia. Ryan and I love gathering people around us who are already proving to be a foundational part of our ministry, whether through prayer, finances or the many other ways people have chosen to come alongside us.
The last day of March is inspiring me to look forward and set some April goals. April is our last month in California before our cross-country road trip, training and traveling May through July support raising extravaganza. It’s going to be an intense time of work, travel and training but Ryan and I are both excited about all the possibilities. So here are 3 of the goals we have as we look ahead to our April in California:
- 60% support by the end of April: $580 will get us to this goal. This is about 6 individuals or couples giving $100 a month or 29 individuals or couples giving $20 a month. It’s been so exciting for us to see how our support team is growing. Please prayerfully consider how you can be a part of our ministry in this way.
- An April Newsletter: Typically we will be sending out newsletters quarterly but so much is going on right now that we want to keep people (who might not be blog readers:-) in the loop. Look for a newsletter in your inbox early next month!
- Update Our Website: Ryan and I worked hard to get our website (ryanwithjoy.com) up and running but have recently left it kind of on the back burner. We’d love to have our newsletters switched over from the blog to the website and add some other features and links to help continue to share our vision. I’ll be sure to post a link when we do make those updates
Please keep us in prayer this month. We feel the impact that prayers make and we love that we are building our ministry on a foundation of prayer.
- Pray for our marriage: Ryan and I live together, work together, eat together, play together, etc. While this is amazing in so many ways, it also has it’s own challenges.
- Pray for our travel plans: Coordinating is a big part of our job. Pray that we would connect with the right people while we are traveling and for safe travels along the way.
- Pray for discernment: We have some big work related decisions to make and we need abundant wisdom. Pray that God would continue to direct us under our team leadership and give us peace while taking the steps of faith that He wants us to take.
- Pray for our ministry: Our ministry has already begun. We praise God for the opportunities we have had to encourage, support and pray for others along the way. Pray that we would continue to glorify God while in this time of transition.
Thank you for loving us through prayer!