Thursday, September 21, 2017

Waist Deep in Boxes


In one month we’ll be on a plane to Africa, where we plan to live and work in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world. Our September 15th fundraiser deadline has come and gone and we are on to the business of putting those funds to good use. Living overseas isn’t new for us. John served on an island in the Indian ocean with the navy, and I was an exchange student in Vienna, Austria during my junior year in high school. Most of you know that we also lived in Brazil as a family for several years. But, moving is not a science and it’s never easy to decide what to leave and what to take, and when you do, it’s time consuming to make it happen. Currently our days are filled with scheduling and organizing and packing and buying and selling. It’s a lot, but we’re taking it one day at a time and hope to make it to moving day with no major incidents or omissions—like cans of pumpkin and cranberries for a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner soon after we arrive.

Many of you have asked what you can do to help. First of all, we need you to pray—not so we can get what we want, but so that we will accept God’s will in this. We’re about to face something difficult, and we’ll fare much better believing God is in charge of the details. Otherwise we’re likely to kick and scream to change our circumstances and find ourselves working against Him. We don’t need to write God’s will, we need to find it and live in it, and that's something that requires much prayer.

We also still need financial commitments. We have enough to make the move but not enough to sustain for very long. Our sponsoring church has agreed to fundraise for us, but we will be the ones to feel the burden if we’re lacking on the field. Please give what you can when you can. Every little bit helps. Very soon this blog will be about all the great things God is doing with your resources and it will be so rewarding to know that He’s using you to make it happen. 

As we gear up to learn a new way of life and a new kind of service to our fellow human being and to God, we look forward to your encouragement. Electricity in Malawi is spotty and internet coverage can be the same, but we plan to take advantage of the gift that social media is to mission work. We’ll do our best to continue to post updates and photos and we ask that you take the time to comment and give us feedback. If you really want to get involved, you might even consider a visit.


Here's a link to give to the mission work through the church: Westworth Church of Christ

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

It's Official - We're Moving to Africa



Sunday we visited a church in Fort Worth for the fifth week in a row. It’s the kind of place where we could actually know everyone by name in a short while. We were first invited by homeschool colleagues from our P.E. co-op where John coached last year. They saw our Go Fund Me video and asked us to come meet their congregation. 

We’ve been attending for a month, but last week was special. I was nervous, waiting for the announcement I knew was coming after the service: The church had decided to sponsor us to move to Malawi and work with orphans. I hoped the details that were about to be shared would be accurate and well received. It’s not that I doubted the ability of the speaker, it’s just that I know our enemy delights in manipulating words as they travel from mouth to ears.

As the elder, who has become our friend, began to speak, I relaxed. His voice broke and he teared up as he recounted the weeks and months prior to our first visit, in which the church prayed for missionaries. I didn’t know that! Suddenly, God was there and all was right. He went on to encourage everyone to get to know us—their new family members—as we prepare to leave so soon after our introduction. We were warmly greeted by some of the people we hadn’t met before, and others invited us to their homes.

We’ve been trusting that this would happen by paring down our possessions little by little, but now we’re unloading almost everything we own in a hallway-moving-sale at The Gem. We’re replacing some of those things with others we would only ever need in a place like Africa—a solar-powered phone charger, battery-operated reading lights, and water purification tablets, to name a few. We’re also shopping for tickets to leave towards the end of October, trusting that the rest of the funding will come in. 

The church has agreed to sponsor us, meaning they have assumed responsibility of the mission and will help us fundraise, but they can’t afford to cover the cost of the mission entirely. We’re still lacking money for both moving and monthly working expenses. Thanks to those of you who have already given or have committed to a monthly amount while we’re on the field. For those of you who doubted this would actually happen, you’re not alone. I could say I knew it all along, but then I would be adding the sin of lying to my sin of doubt. It’s official now, and we want you on board. Please visit our Go Fund Me page or contact us to support the mission. Then follow us on social media and subscribe to this blog to see the the wonderful things God will do through all of us on the team for the orphans of Malawi, Africa.   

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Give an Orphan a Cup of Coffee


I just read a study that says the average American spends $3 a day on coffee but doesn’t put anything away for retirement. That sounds crazy, but I guess I’ve been known to neglect our economic future while overspending on that quirky green mermaid. 

Our Bible group has been studying Scriptures about wise spending practices. While there’s no directive on how to budget for coffee or retirement, there’s plenty of counsel on money handling and the heart behind it, including the importance of sharing with others less fortunate. As we take an honest look at what God really wants, instead of searching for a justification for our habits, we're finding a wealth of information.

For example, 1 Timothy 6:17-19 says, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

If you can read this, I hope you identify with the “rich”, because most people in this world don’t have that luxury. That means you can help others. The mission to Malawi is not just about feeding kids. You could send your money to one of the many organizations that already does that. Instead, we hope to address the roots of poverty and begin to train kids to help themselves and others, both physically and spiritually. In essence, we plan to make, not just disciples, but disciple makers. 

I wonder if, while you’re enjoying your coffee and putting a little money in the bank for your earthly retirement, you would consider matching what you’re dropping at Starbucks each month to help get us to Malawi so we can do our part? According to God, you would be investing in your eternal retirement account at the same time, and that’s about as cool as an iced mocha latte. 

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P.S. Thanks so much to all of you who have already sacrificed for this mission. We're watching the mercury rise:





Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Fundraising Progress


We're so thankful to all of you who have given towards this mission to get us to Malawi to work with the poor and orphans. We just started and have already raised a significant amount of money. But, we have a long way to go. Take a look at our progress on the thermometers below. 



Please share the need with as many people as you can, so we can all make this happen together. Remember, September 15th is our deadline

In case you're wondering, $10,000 is what it will take to fly our family to Malawi. We aren't planning on taking much with us, so there is no built-in expense for shipping items other than the bags we plan to travel with. Also, the $6,000 per month includes our living expenses and our working fund. We have to budget $1,000 per month each for the following: rent, international medical insurance, food, and education. Hopefully that helps you understand a bit more where the money will go.

Here's the link to our GoFundMe account: https://www.gofundme.com/movingtomalawi

Friday, July 21, 2017

Fundraising Deadline


In an effort to honor the needs of everyone involved in this mission, we have set a deadline for our fundraising efforts. We need to have our moving expenses and monthly commitments secured by September 15 to go ahead as planned.

The family that invited us to step into their shoes in Malawi needs to move to the States by October to start their new jobs. They are offering us their house, cars, and employment status with their current NGO (non-governmental organization)--things that we will still have to pay for but that took them years to establish. They also have long-time and trusted employees, relationships that also take years to form and are a necessary part of life in Malawi. If we don't get there by October, we will have to start over, which will cost much more money and time than we have budgeted for. Starting over in a third world country is not the same as making a move within the United States.

If you have already given a one-time gift or have started to send your monthly donation, we thank you. If you have made a verbal commitment, we ask you to make that a reality now. It's time to make this happen. The sooner we get to these orphans, the sooner they get what they need.

It's easy to give. Comment to let us know you're interested in committing to a monthly amount, or click on this link to go to our GoFundMe account to make a one-time donation: Donate

Thank you!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Malawi Mission


Here's a link to the GoFundMe account we created.

Click Here


















It's a short video (around seven minutes) explaining what we plan to do in Africa. Please watch it and give us feedback. The details are still in the works, but we want to share the general idea with you, so you can be a part of this mission from its inception. The more involved you are, the more blessed you'll be by the updates as this comes together.




Saturday, July 15, 2017

Oops!


If you're reading this, you probably got an email from us with several old blog posts you may or may not remember. Sorry. That was an accident. We're gearing up for a new mission and, in an attempt to refresh this blog, accidentally sent out some old information.

The good news is that some of you contacted us for clarification, and--voilĂ --now we're in touch again. Nice how our mistakes sometimes work out like that. Another piece of good news is that I promise to never purposely send out that much to read at one time, so you can keep up with us in small bites.

We've taken the trip to Africa since the last post, and you can see the photos by clicking on this link: Malawi Survey Trip 2017.



By the way, I looked over the email list from years ago and don't recognize every address, so please check in to let us know you who are and what you think.

Have a great weekend! We'll keep you posted.