At The End of The Rainbow

Today would have been a perfect day for us to go searching for the elusive pot of gold because this morning we watched a double rainbow arc across the sky and then move towards us over the lawn between our building and the Swan River.  Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 7.44.31 PM.pngAs beautiful as it was, we decided against digging up the public lawn.  We recognize that no pot of gold can compare to the amazing gifts we receive from all of the people who support us in so many ways.

Here is a little update for those financial givers and those who are considering giving:

  1. Our organization’s mailing address for checks has changed.  If you mail in your support, please make note of the new donations address:
    Mission to the World
    P.O. Box 744165
    Atlanta, GA 30374-4165
  2. Thanks to many generous one-time gifts and our current living situation, we are seeing our support account stay healthy.  Praise God!
  3. We are still trying to increase our regular monthly support in order to potentially move into a different place in the city.  Any regular monthly gifts can help make this possible.

Thank you to everyone who prays!  Thank you to everyone who gives!  Thank you to everyone who supports us near and far!

Let’s Do the Numbers – End of the Year Giving

Ryan and I leave for Australia in one week, and year end giving ends just a few days later.  We are so abundantly thankful for all the individuals, churches and families who are already partnering with us.  If you aren’t already giving, please pray about becoming a part of what God is going in Australia.Screen Shot 2016-12-17 at 6.32.46 PM.pngWe praise God for how he has provided in many ways!  We are thankful for the provision of an apartment for our first 6 months in Perth.  This will get us through my first semester before we try to find a bigger more semi-permanent flat to rent.  Ryan and I are amazed at how God provides and are so thankful for a place to call our own in Perth.  Let me know if you want our address, it will be fun to get mail in Australia.

We are currently at 91%!  And we also have received some very generous end of the year gifts.  Each gift is a blessing to us.  In order to be at 100% we still need another $1000 in monthly giving.  Any amount pledged monthly gets us closer and as seen below, gifts of all amounts make a difference.

5 faithful givers @ $100 a month = $500
4 faithful givers @ $50 a month = $200
8 faithful givers @ $30 a month = $240
6 faithful givers @ $10 a month = $60

How do you give?  Contact the MTW one of three main ways.

  1. Call- 1-866-373-6133 (Before December 30th because that’s the last day to make donations for 2016)
  2. Give Online- Ryan and Joy (End of the year gifts and pledges will be accepted before midnight EST on December 31st)
  3. Mail a Check- MTW Donations PO Box 2589 Suwanee, GA 30024-0982 (Must be postmarked before the 31st and include our names and account number 11299)

Any questions?  Feel free to ask me, I will happily help you through the process.

Thank you to everyone who has already been giving and for those of you praying for us!  We look forward to sharing the journey with you as we ring in the new year in Perth Western Australia.  2017 should be a very interesting year.

Raising Rent on Giving Tuesday

We have our tickets so it’s official.  We are leaving for Perth on December 28th!  At this time next month we will be flying across the world to Perth, Australia.  When we arrive we will be staying with our teammates because right now we don’t have enough financial support to cover the cost of rent in West Perth.  For the next two years, West Perth is the desired neighborhood for us because it’s close to the University of Western Australia where I will be getting my Masters Degree in Social Work.

How does social work fit in with our hearts for the rural areas outside of Perth?  If you haven’t already seen it you should check out this video Ryan made recently about our vision for life and work in Western Australia.

Today is Giving Tuesday and you can be a part of helping us rent a place in Perth.  This will keep me close to campus and also give us a home to entertain and have a welcoming place for people to gather.  If you make a pledge before the end of November 30th to give a reoccurring gift (monthly, quarterly or annually), your monthly pledged amount will be matched in a one-time gift from a generous couple.  Every gift makes a difference for us, your $10, $25, $50 or $100 monthly gift adds up to help us afford Australian housing prices.

It’s been a long road but we’re excited to see how God will open doors and what opportunities we’re going to have to minister in Perth, Brookton and beyond.

Let’s Do the Numbers- Black Friday Edition

Today is a day when many people will be out braving the crowds.  There are even Australians joining in the Black Friday sale shopping now.  But it’s still mostly Americans who will be starting their Christmas shopping or using this day to finish off their list.  And there are lots of people working in the stores to allow people to go out and do their shopping.  For those who don’t have to or don’t want to venture out, online shopping is easy and available.  From the comfort of your own home, you can try to get through your must buys with the utmost efficiency, snag that one thing you really want for yourself or even buy something you need at a great price.  I personally really enjoy getting just the right gift for someone.  screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-7-03-15-pmSo while you’re out shopping or better yet, doing your gift buying online, don’t forget Ryan and I have a Christmas list this year too.  Taking a cue from our current amazing faithful givers, gifts from $10 a month up to $300 a month all make a difference.  The last amount we need now is for our rent in Australia.  You can even sign up on your computer in order to avoid the Black Friday lines (Black Friday Giving- Ryan and Joy’s Housing Fund).

We are currently at 85%!  In our last update, about 10 days ago (November Giving) we asked about 200 givers to help us get the last 20% by giving $12 a month each.  We now would love you to do your part in helping us have enough support to rent our own apartment in West Perth near the University of Western Australia.  You can give any amount (monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc) but here is a breakdown of what we still need.  Will you be one of the 41 individuals, families or churches to help us have enough for our weekly (yes weekly!) rent?

5 faithful givers @ $100 a month = $500
15 faithful givers @ $50 a month = $750
10 faithful givers @ $30 a month = $300
11 faithful givers @ $10 a month = $110

How do you give?  Simply contact the MTW donations office at 1-866-373-6133 but don’t call until Monday because they are all out shopping or with their families:-)  But if you want to give right now you can use MTW’s online giving site for us: Ryan and Joy.  Any questions?  Feel free to ask me, I will happily help you through the process.

November Matching is Still Available!  Hopefully you saw our October Newsletter but if you didn’t, you should know that we have a generous couple who has agreed to match every new reoccurring pledge in November with a one-time gift.  This will continue through November 30th.  This matching has the potential of raising over $2000 towards our ministry.  We’d love to take full advantage of this generosity and we can only do that with new pledges in November.

Thank you to everyone who has already been giving and for those of you praying for us!  Ryan and I continue to be blown away at how God is providing.  Please continue to pray.  Please pray that we would have the full amount for our rent when we leave in December.  But first, we’re going to enjoy the rest of our time in the US and that includes Black Friday.

The Road to Australia in Video

This weekend one of our churches had a Sunday highlighting the ministries they support and they requested us to make a video.  We added a little something to the beginning and the end of the video specifically for the people in that congregation and for that event but we wanted to share the rest of the video with all of you.  Hope you enjoy Ryan’s handiwork.

And just a little reminder, if you want to be a part of what God is doing in Perth, Brookton and beyond, November matching is still going on.  When you make a reoccurring pledge this month, the monthly amount is matched for an extra one-time gift.  The easiest way to give is through this link: Ryan&Joy.  Just put the amount you intend to give in the ‘give’ box at the top of the page and when you click through it will give you all your options (frequency of giving, payment method, etc.)  Thank you for being a part of this with us!

Stop Saying Raising Finances for Missions is Hard

This post from a fellow MTW coworker came at a good time for me.  We’re towards the end of a crazy season of support raising and all I want to do is say, “This is hard.”  But each day where we have too much to do and honestly can’t possibly get it done, we have to trust that we are going where God wants us and He will make it happen in His timing.  I hope you are also encouraged and emboldened by these words from Mike Pettengill: Stop Saying Raising Finances for Missions is Hard.

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Mike Pettengill writes:  Money and the Christian faith has such a cloudy relationship in the minds of most Christians in the modern Western Church. Don’t misunderstand what you just read. God and the Bible are very clear about finances. Throughout time and in the rest of the world, other Christians have had a healthy biblical understanding of finances. However, in the modern Western Church, we turned finances into a complicated topic.

Because money is such a powerful idol in the West, raising financial support for missions is a murky topic in our churches. Contrary to popular misconception, it is God who controls all finances. Many Christians say God is sovereign and in control of everything, but their actions and attitudes toward money prove differently. Too often missionaries, churches, and congregants act like they have ultimate sway over who does and doesn’t make it to the mission field by their actions surrounding money. God controls every dollar, pound, franc, and peso. If this is true, why do missionaries view raising financial support as such a hard task?

Missionary
A missionary is not a super-Christian, simply an obedient Christian. Because of this, many missionaries enter missions with the same sinful attitudes the rest of us share about God and money. Missionaries view raising financial support not as a God-centered activity, but as a man-centered venture. Missionaries think the burden is on them to sell themselves and their ministry to individuals and churches who may or may not deem them worthy.

If God wants you on the mission field He will provide the means when He deems it appropriate. We have such a sinful attitude toward money and raising support that potential missionaries avoid missions once they learn they have to raise their own finances. Missionaries are scared to ask people for support and then feel too beholden to supporters when they receive it. We too seldom even bring God into the equation.

Individual supporter
Do a web search for “God and finances” and the articles that pop up have titles like, “Trusting God with Your Finances,” “God and Your Money,” and “10 Ways God Works Through Our Finances.” Dear gentle reader, let me be crass for a moment to provide a little clarity … YOU DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY! Our view of God and finances in the Western world is unhealthy and unbiblical. We too often act like we earned our money and it is ours. God is the owner of all money and He has seen fit to make us temporary stewards over a small part of it.

Give wildly to God and His ministries. Go crazy with God’s money. Spend the money you have, but spend it on God’s glory, not your own comfort and security. Do not view God blessing you with money as some sort of reward for your loyalty to Him or some kind of blessing to be lavished on yourself. God put you through school, provided your job, and gave you opportunities so you could more easily fund His ministries in your town and around the world. When we give our wealth and financial blessing back to God we experience His glory. If we have a perspective that says, “I just can’t afford to tithe or support missions,” we have already placed our own comfort ahead of God’s glory.

Church supporter
God has made the Christian Church that exists in the Western world today the richest, most financially blessed church in the history of the world. He did not do that so we could have softer cushions on our pews, but so we could finance the global spread of His gospel. Do you believe your church needs a more expensive building, new carpet, or another secretary while the missionaries you’ve partnered with are struggling to pay for new Bibles, translated books, or shoes for their own kids?

God’s Great Commission is a mandate given to the corporate Church to spread His gospel around the world. Yes, you are called to reach the heathen in Iowa, or Tennessee, or Illinois. Yes, the people in your town will go to the same hell as the people in the jungles of Zimbabwe, Laos, and Colombia. However, the people in your town are not more deserving of the gospel than the people around the globe. Please continue to reach the people in the town where you have been called to minister, but never forget God has mandated you to participate in His global march toward the end of days. The Great Commission is not optional.

When we act like man controls all the money, missions seems impossible. When we acknowledge God controls all the money, missions seems much easier. Too many missionaries act like raising support is a hard task, because too many Christian disciples take God out of finances. When God is in control of finances things like an economic downturn, a local factory shutting down, or a rich family leaving a church are far less relevant. When Christian disciples are focused on God controlling all finances, God will receive greater glory, and no Christian will ever again say, “Raising finances for missions is hard.”

Faithful with Little

“Support-Have been praying but thought what I can do is too little then your headline said $12 is good. God has given me the answer I would like to pledge $200 per year. God Bless You in your faithfulness.”

When I was single and support raising I met with a man who told me that he focuses on major donors only for his fundraising.  He doesn’t even bother sending Thank You notes to any gift under $100 and really only pays attention to those who can give more than $500.  He had his reasons but that has never sat well with me.  I see too many examples in the Bible and in daily life where being faithful with little is exactly what we are called to do.  I’ve written about The Widow’s Offering and how Ryan and I are humbled by gifts of faith.  These gifts are sometimes substantial in the world’s eyes and we are blessed by that but often these gifts are small.  We are indeed blessed by these small gifts because they can still do mighty things.  And we have been amazed at how the small gifts have added up to provide in great ways already.  We are truly humbled by the acts of generosity that come in all forms.2016-november-please-give-onlineThis was part of the inspiration for our latest newsletter.  We ended up with 5 different versions.  We thanked those who are already giving faithfully, we thanked those who had given one time gifts over the past year, we thanked those who had given one time gifts more recently, we sent out a general update newsletter and finally we sent out a newsletter asking people to give $12 a month.  We prayed over the list who would receive this and I prayed over the email and letters as they were sent out.  We understand that some can not give $12 a month or some are called to give their money somewhere else.  However, we pray that many will have that $12 (or whatever God is putting on your heart) as well as a heart to give towards Australia.  Each amount given adds up and makes a difference for us and for our life and work.

Ryan and I celebrate every gift, no matter what size because God is using it all.  The quote at the beginning of this post is from our newest faithful giver.  We are thankful that this person is listening to God.  We also rejoice in each gift that makes our move to Australia possible.  Thank you to everyone who has been faithful with what God has given you.