On Wednesday the 1st, if you’re on our mailing list, you received our June Newsletter in your inbox and the snail mail ones were mailed out on May 31st. I almost never send out a newsletter right at the beginning of the month but we have some great news to share. And no, I’m not pregnant. I still feel like I need to make this disclaimer every time I talk about “having news to share” with someone. So I guess the time I write…we have some news to share… and don’t make the disclaimer, you’ll all know the newsletter content already:-)But anyway, for those of your who have not read our news already, you can read it by clicking on the picture above or on our website under the About tab. We share the great and the not so great and there are some cute picture of us too, if I do say so myself.
I will almost always post our newsletters to the blog but if you want to receive them first, let me know and I will add you to our mailing list. Happy reading!
We don’t know what God is trying to teach us in this season of slow growth for monthly support or how God is at work right now because we aren’t seeing visible progress. However, we know though other answers to prayer that God is still orchestrating things to His glory and we are one big step closer to Australia (more on this in our newsletter that was emailed/mailed out today- you can wait until Friday when I’ll post it to the blog or email me to get on the list to see the news first!).
As many of you know, waiting is not my favorite part of life but waiting is a normal, necessary and often fruitful season. We are currently waiting on many things, our support being one of them. But even in this season of waiting, we are excited to see what God will do next!We have NOT made our last two support goals from the end of April or the end of May. We were hoping, working and praying towards being at 68% of our support by the end of May but we are currently at 60.9%. This is up only about $100 a month in pledges since our last update at the beginning of the month. Our goal from MTW in order to stay on track for our fall departure is the same as before but just more daunting now. We need to be at 75% by July 1st. And that requires $1330 in new monthly, quarterly or yearly pledges in order to reach this amount. This is just 13 families or individuals giving $100 a month, or 26 families or individuals giving $50 a month. But any amount is beneficial to our ministry, even if you can only afford $20 a month or a yearly gift of $240, this will help us reach our goal.
Can you be a part of helping us reach our July 1st goal? It’s easy to give by contacting MTW (Mission to the World) or using their online giving site: donations.mtw.org. We certainly appreciate one-time gifts. However, if you intend to give monthly, quarterly or yearly, please be sure to let MTW know and your amount will be recorded on our pledge report. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me or contact the donations department at MTW.
Thank you to everyone who has already been giving and advocating for us. We appreciate all the gifts that have been given and are so thankful for our advocates that have spoken up for us with their friends, at small group meetings and in their churches. If you want to advocate for us but are unsure of what it is, 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. We have a new sense of urgency because we now have a timeline for entering Australia. Please pray with us that we would trust God’s timing and His plan. Thank you for helping us get to Australia!
“It’s like calling a girl I like and not knowing what she’s going to say,” Ryan said as he was psyching himself up to call another church. Thankfully Ryan has a lovely wife now (if I do say so myself:-) and has no need or desire to call girls but we both still have the responsibility to contact individuals and churches while we continue to support raise. Each and every one of these phone calls, text messages, emails and Facebook notes require extra thought and prayer. We never know what the response will be but we will keep working until we reach our goal or until God directs us elsewhere.So as we continue this process, here are 6 things we want our current supporters and potential supporters to know.
- We wish there was an easier way. From the beginning Ryan and I have been thankful to have a long list of friends, relatives and acquaintances in our lives who care about us. We want first and foremost for people to be a part of our ministry through prayer but we also know that if everyone who reads this blog, our newsletters or generally keeps up with us gave $20 a month, we would be more than fully funded. But we are thankful to everyone who does what they can, whether that is fervent prayer, a smaller donation either monthly or one-time and for those many individuals who are able to and give more than $20 a month or even larger one-time gifts.
- Ryan and I do not enjoy asking for money. Now before anyone jumps on that phrase to remind me that we are “asking people to partner with us” or “asking people to join in our ministry” or any other way of saying it, I understand and we truly view this as a partnership with our supporters. However, at the end of the day we need money in our account to do our jobs and that funding has to come from somewhere. We know people have a long list of demands on their budgets so faithfully we will continue to ask. And prayerfully we will continue to trust that the money will come.
- We know that there are benefits to this system. At this point in the process we get to travel and see people face to face. Skype is good but there is something about sitting down for a meal or just hanging out. Also when people join us with interest, prayers and/or finances, we want to keep them informed and keep in touch as personally as possible. This is one of the reasons I blog, we do Instagram, keep up on Facebook, with newsletters, etc. We see the benefit in sharing our story with those who are invested in us. And we also love hearing from you and following your journey.
- Don’t be afraid of our phone call or messages. Please believe that we do enjoy sharing our story. We would much rather people be up front about their financial situation but that won’t change our desire to share and keep in touch. Maybe God might even change your heart when you hear more about our ministry:-) We are thankful for all our relationships and would love to make a time to see you face to face if we’re in the area or catch up by phone or Skype.
- We genuinely want you to pray about supporting us (and discuss it with your spouse if that’s applicable to you). Pray. Listen to God. Seek wise counsel. And if God is telling you not to support us or to support another ministry or give more to your church or whatever it may be, listen. But if you are hearing from God to support us, pray for us or advocate for us, listen.
- No is an acceptable answer. Or even, not now. Or even, maybe when things change. Or even, we don’t know. Seriously, it’s ok.
Thank you for being a part of our ministry in whatever way you can. We look forward continuing to share our journey and enjoy having you along with us on this ride.
As a planning addict, I’ve always been convicted when reading Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Seriously, Ryan says that planning is my love language. And I must admit that a thorough, organized plan is one way to my heart. But I have to be careful that my own planning or even the desire to have a plan doesn’t overshadow God’s ultimate desires and will for my life, day or even the next hour.This verse doesn’t say, “Don’t plan because God will do what He wants with you anyway.” Instead it is a gentle reminder that although we work, plan and make choices everyday, we lack ultimate control. But take comfort because the one who is in control is the loving, personal, creator God of the Bible.
So with this in mind, hear my heart planning our way to Australia in current circumstances. We hold this with open hands but ask that you would pray with us as we continue to plan and as God establishes our steps.
- 31 more days in our current support raising and training road trip. Please pray for hearts to be opened and our support levels to grow.
- Back to California for a week vacation on Catalina island. I grew up going to this family camp and Ryan and I are looking forward to a week of rest and refreshment. Please pray that this time would reboot us for the continued work that needs to be accomplished.
- Support raising milestone: 75%. We have been told that we should be at 75% by the end of June in order to stay on track for our arrival in Australia. Since we are currently at 60%, this is a big goal to reach. Please pray for diligence in asking for support and for God to surprise us with how and where the support comes from.
- A month in Brussels, Belgium for training. This may sound like a vacation but it’s an important part of the training process and what better place to do cross-cultural training than in a country where neither of us speak the language. Please pray that this would not be too overwhelming for Ryan and that I would be patient and a good learner despite having been through this training before.
- University of Western Australia: the latest we could hear about the masters program acceptance is the beginning of July. Please pray that I would be accepted into the program and that I would be able to apply for and receive scholarships.
- Travel in Switzerland and Germany. Since we’re already in Europe for the Belgium training, we contacted friends in the area and will spend some time after the training visiting people and even attending a German wedding. This is a great opportunity for Ryan to see more of Europe and for me to show him some places where I’ve lived and traveled in the past. Please pray for safety while we travel and for many fun memories to be made with our European friends and family.
- Back to California again because I am in a friend’s wedding at the beginning of August and then we have a full month of visiting churches already planned. Please pray for stamina and for God to continue to reveal what He would have for us.
- Although we have nothing scheduled past the end of August, this will be a time to work on our visas (student visa for me, spousal visa for Ryan), continue to raise the final support needed and make last preparations for our move. Please pray for wisdom as there are many decisions that will need to be made along the way.
- Leaving for Australia after Thanksgiving. A student visa allows you to enter the country 90 days before the semester starts. Please pray for God’s timing and clear direction.
We praise God that He has been guiding us and remains faithful. I look back at our newsletter from February 2015 when we shared what 10 things needed to happen before we moved to Australia and it’s wonderful to see how, by God’s grace, we’ve been able to accomplish 6 of the steps already. Despite the changes which include this new opportunity to study and learn at UWA, we see His hands at work. And we look forward to seeing how the Lord continues to establish our steps. Thank you for uniting with us in prayer and being with us on this road to Australia.
My husband loves listening to Alistar Begg, not just because of his Scottish accent but also because of his spiritual knowledge and insights. An article I recently received quoted him saying, “If you cannot trust God with the physical, how dare you trust Him with the spiritual? Can you trust Him for your soul’s redemption, and yet not rely upon Him for a few lesser mercies? Is God not enough for your need, or is His all-sufficiency too narrow for your wants?”
To maintain this mindset is difficult while raising support, especially when we reach plateaus or don’t see our account growing as quickly as we would like. The article, If God can Save the World then He can Pay your Wages, speaks directly to this point. And for me, it is a reality that I wholeheartedly trust and praise God for my salvation but in the same hour question His ability to provide for us. Please pray for our hearts, that we would trust that God would provide for us, even through the silence.
Last support update we reported that we were at 59.2% of our goal but now we are at 60.1%. We didn’t meet our April goal of 60% until the first week of May. But now we have surpassed that mark and are ready to trust God to help us get to 75% by the end of June. But we do this one month at a time so our May goal is 68%. $900 in monthly giving will help us reach this goal. $25 a month makes a difference in our budget and 36 individuals or couples can make this goal a reality. 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 who has already been giving and advocating for us. We know that we are part of a larger community who trust the God of the universe and I am encouraged by everyone who is praying for us and already a part of our ministry. If you want to advocate for us but are unsure of what it is, 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. We have a lot of things going on right now that need to be covered in prayer. We trust that as we share more in the future that you will be excited and praise God for what He is doing. Thank you for helping us get to Australia!
Today we embark on our cross-country road trip. There are a few different reasons for this trip but the main two reasons are connecting with current, potential and future supporters and also attending a week long training in North Carolina. The training is a spiritual emphasis week which should prove both challenging and refreshing. We will be traveling as far north as the Twin Cities in Minnesota, as far east as Ridge Haven in North Carolina and as far south as Gulfport, Mississippi. I know that our drive up to the Twin Cities isn’t pictured on the map but this isn’t our exact route. I just wanted to give you all an idea of how much driving we’re going to be doing in the next 50 days. If you’re somewhere close to our route and we haven’t touched base, give us a shout out. We’d love to try and get together with you!
Tonight we are staying in Las Vegas and this is especially exciting because we get to try out the Beerhaus which is a new restaurant on the strip and my cousin is the chef! We get to enjoy his food at family gatherings and he’s the one that is credited with cooking the perfect brussels sprouts that got Ryan hooked:-) The Beerhaus (which had a great write-up on usatoday.com) is a bar that serves food so no brussels sprouts tonight but we’re looking forward to the beer and brats! This is a great way to start a road trip.
Here is our update with our latest numbers and we are happy to report that we are within reach of surpassing our April goal! Thank you to everyone who has become a part of our ministry in this way. Another one of my April goals was to update our website. You can check it out here: ryanwithjoy.com. Thank you to everyone who has been advocating for us, your words and invitations make an impact on our ministry. This month we have become particularly aware of this as we see our support team continue to grow and how God is gathering people who we have known for a long time as well as those who have more recently connected with us. What is advocating? Advocating is as easy as talking about Australia and encouraging others to get involved and learn about our ministry (Why Australia?).
Last support update we reported that we were at 57.3% of our goal but now we are at 59.2%! This means that another $83 a month in pledges will help us reach our April goal of 60%. Just one individual or couple giving $100 a month could help us surpass this goal. Or just 4 individuals or couples giving $25 a month. It’s easy to give by contacting MTW (Mission to the World) or using their online giving site: donations.mtw.org. This will help keep us on track to be at 75% by the end of June when we head to Europe for training.
Please keep praying for our support and God’s timing. Thursday we begin our cross country road trip for support and training. It will be a wonderful, exhausting trip but we keep focusing on God’s presence and all we have to be thankful for. We appreciate your prayers and financial gifts that will keep us serving. Thank you for helping us get to Australia!
“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!
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.