Today, I’m continuing to write about the gift of encouragement.
I often say we were more afraid of raising money then of moving to a developing country. I’m completely serious. The thought of going from church to church, friend to friend, and asking for money left me feeling desperate and afraid. What if they got mad at us for asking? What if they said no? What if they avoided us after?
So we didn’t ask. Not really. Instead, we opted for the “tent maker” model, where we continued to work our Stateside jobs in order to support our family and ministry abroad.
It worked really well, for a while. Until the ministries in which we were involved—and the time and resources they required—grew beyond what we could provide. Eventually we started to dip our toes into the pool of fundraising. It would be great to sit here and tell you we had instant success and wondered what we were so afraid of. But that hasn’t happened. All of our fears came true, in some way or another, but we didn’t melt in a pool of despair. We did, however, find out how hard it is to actually raise support while living abroad, and realize we needed to either jump in with both feet or walk away completely.
So we did something I never saw coming. We left our ministries in the (very capable) hands of others and moved back to the States to take on the administrative and fundraising role.
We went from an boots-on-the-ground life-in-the-trenches where we never knew what was coming, to weeks on end of the same things: management, planning, networking, and budgeting. Yuck.
Starting and running FIT Nicaragua has left me feeling totally inadequate. There were so many days when I told God he clearly had no idea what he was doing to put a fool like me in Managua to support families in transition. Design and communications—those are what I was trained for! Not counseling or missions or Spanish! Definitely not Spanish! The irony is that this management role has me completely dependent on God just as much as being in the trenches did.
I keep telling God the same thing I did when he started this adoption care ministry: this is your vision and your project. Please give me the wisdom to accept your will and follow your leading. I know the resources are there, and you just have to “move things around a bit” to line them up. May my words and actions bring glory to your Name and your plan.
And he continues to sustain and encourage us.
Just when I think I’ve exhausted all options for funding, I get an email offering a matching gift of up to $8,000. If the full goal is matched within the time frame, the ministry would see donations of $16,000 in just eight weeks. This would be enough to fully fund FIT Nicaragua through the rest of 2015! Do we still need monthly giving to increase to meet the needs of the following year? Absolutely. But would this allow us to breathe a bit and focus more on actually serving the families and growing the ministry? Yes, yes, yes!
As of 4/10, we’re 60% of the way to reaching that goal. With about two weeks left of the campaign, we only need an additional $3,000 in gifts to get us over the finish line. It still sounds crazy to me, and yet if you had told me in February that we would somehow raise $16k by the end of April, I would have asked you to put down the crack pipe (or show me your check book, depending on how I know you ;-)). (But seriously, here are the details on how to contribute…)
Edited 4/17 to add: WE ARE 88% THERE! We need LESS THAN $1000 to reach our goal!
Another adopting family is now challenging their friends and family to each give $10, to help them turn $10 into $1000… which will bring in a third of what is left to raise. And we are so encouraged.
And the encouragement continues! FOUR fellow missionaries in Nicaragua have supported FIT Nicaragua during this matching gift campaign. These are people who are in the trenches with us, people who see us at our best and at our worst. Their support has blown us away!
When we asked one of those families to share why they sacrificially give to this ministry on a monthly basis, here is what they said:
“We, ourselves, are the recipients of the generous and obedient giving of ministry-partners (a.k.a. donors). We could easily justify that we ‘give’ enough by serving and living cross-culturally… but God’s Word tells us that giving is good. We have a ground-level view of many ministries here, and we feel that FIT Nicaragua is one of the BEST ways to impact and nurture lives in Christ. God Himself adopts us into His forever family when we believe…and while we, personally, are not walking the road of adoption on earth… we can participate in this Kingdom act by partnering with FIT. Living in another culture is quite stressful at times and even more so for these adopting families who are experiencing intense transition: physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. These families NEED a caring community to walk alongside them… not just when they get back “home” but right from the start… and FIT Nicaragua works to provide this for them. We are honored to be a part of what God is doing through FIT as they seek to support these families that are choosing to welcome a child into a forever home. What a beautiful way to be involved in the Kingdom of God!”
Wow. I couldn’t have said it better myself. And to have it said by a “coworker” on the field, leaves me so humbled, so encouraged, and so gracious to the One True God who always provides. Always. It’s rarely how I envision it happening, or in the time frame I want, or using the people I expect, but it’s always how he plans it. And his plans are good. In that, we can rest peacefully.