It’s Not the Thought That Counts

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What does this button do?  That button.  There.  The one right above these words.  The one that says “Donate.”  Do you know what it does?  Contrary perhaps to popular belief, it isn’t just an icon that we put on every blog and newsletter we send out.  In fact, if you actually click on it, it takes you to a page where you can donate to my family to support the work we are doing.  In my opinion, the most difficult part about raising funds is that everybody always assumes someone else is giving.  And this truth doesn’t just pertain to my family – it is a generally accurate statement.  People feel inclined (or led) to give, then human nature sneaks in, persuading us that good intentions are the same as actually giving.  But you know what?  They’re not.

Little girls in Kuwinda slum help my hold up her skirt hem.

Little girls in Kuwinda slum help my mom hold up her skirt hem.

I like what the Apostle Paul says in II Corinthians 9:11, “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous in everything.  And through us your generosity will cause people to thank God.” (CJB)  And I like my Mom’s God-idea about giving, that you give to every good work when you are asked.  Now that is not to say we use no discernment — there are plenty of hustlers out there — but in my family, when we have an opportunity to give to God’s work we pray asking How much? and NOT, Should I?   I’m not saying this to make you feel bad or anything – sometimes we pray and God answers, “Don’t give to that now” and that’s okay.  But choosing not to give until you have mentally determined that you have “extra” is simply not God’s way.  And neither is placating yourself that people who have “more” should be the ones that give.  (Read Mark 12:41-43.)

If you’ve gotten this far into my post, you might be thinking, “Are they asking for my money?  How tacky!”  But you know what?  The Lord says that we have not because we ask not.  We don’t serve a God of lack; we serve a God of abundance.  As missionaries, your donations are what allow us to live and eat and do what God has called us to do.  At the moment, we are packing to leave Africa after nearly four years of serving and loving here.  For the time being, God has called us back to Grand Rapids, Michigan to be a part of what He is doing there and to build up His church in our home city.  My family will be assisting with a downtown church plant, where my dad will pastor.  This has been a dream of my dad’s since he was a teenager.  We never thought we’d move back to Michigan, but we go wherever God leads.  And God is leading now.

What God is doing in Grand Rapids, Michigan is absolutely amazing.  He is stirring up revival and renewal, and my family will get to be right at the heart of it.

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.  (Isaiah 43:19)

This is what God has been speaking to my heart lately: He is doing a new thing, a thing so glorious and beautiful that we can scarcely imagine it in its entirety.  But do you remember what I said about your support helping us carry on our ministry?  We still need that help.  The pastorate position at this new church plant comes with a modest housing allowance but not a salary.  This means that my family is now officially a “home missionary family” instead of a “foreign missionary family.”  But do you want to know something really cool?  If everyone would just give something, we would easily be able to cover our monthly living and ministry expenses, plus do “extra” things, like lead short-term mission teams to come back and serve in Africa.

We are really blessed that a friend has hooked us up with a rental house and that another friend has asked whether we need a washer & dryer (yes, please!).  But let me just lay it out straight for you a minute: since we sent our latest newsletter specifically asking for financial help with our move, we’ve generated oodles of excitement but only one donation (you know who you are — thank you so much!)

My Dad teaching a Bible lesson at Shangilia.

My Dad teaching a Bible lesson at Shangilia.

As missionaries, we rely totally on God to provide our income, which is generally supplied in the form of your donations.  Your financial support really matters to us — sometimes we can’t buy groceries or put gas in the car until a donation comes in.  Sure, God can provide miraculously (we’ve seen it) but the body of Christ also has a role to play in expanding the boundaries of God’s kingdom and reaching out with His love in the earth.  Don’t think I’m whining – I’m not – God has ALWAYS taken care of us.  You can chose to play a part in what God is doing, and maybe now you realize that the part is much bigger than you ever thought.

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Go ahead – click on it; it doesn’t bite!

Did you miss our last newsletter?  Catch up with us by following this link:  http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=088bb8b0c62f4c165ed218931&id=879f44937f&e=cad86e28ae

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