A Church that Sends

This weekend was jammed packed with great things. As I mentioned in my last post, I was taken to an Ohio State football game as an early Christmas present from my brother and parents. Even though Ohio State didn’t play that well, it was a great day. It was nice to get away, spend some quality time with my brother and my cousin (who goes to school at OSU). The whole day was great and something I will remember fondly for a long time to come.

On Sunday I was a part of a missions event at the church I attended from a really young age and until I left for Maryland. The event had 18 different missionaries representing local and international organizations. Each missionary had a chance to talk about their ministry and a common, but not exclusive, connection was that the missionaries came from Church of the Cross. It was something that I knew, but often times I forget. Church of the Cross is a sending church and I don’t just mean they give money to a bunch of missionaries and “send” them that way, which they do, but they also have a lot of missionaries that come out of the church. There was a couple and single who weren’t at the event, but are supported by CotC. Had they been there, there would have been a total of 21 missionaries and over half of them could have said, “I grew up in this church,” or “I attended CotC for years before going on the mission’s field. Can most churches say that? Maybe they can, but regardless, it is impressive.

I am a part of those that grew up in Church of the Cross, and I am honored to stand side by side with that church and all of their missionaries.

 

I will be around Toledo until next Wednesday so if you would like to grab some coffee, lunch, dinner or just catch up one way or another, let me know, because I would love to catch up with as many people as possible.

A day of family

After a solid 8 hours of sleep, I woke up at 4:30…yeah, still too early, but I’m adjusting. The plan for the day was to go get some shopping done (I remembered all about tax this time) and then head back over to Jupmode to do some more work for them. Then I would return home to meet my niece, Sabrina, for the first time. I was a wee bit excited, to say the least.

When they arrived, Sabrina had the gall to be sleeping, so I had to wait patiently to hold her. In the mean time we exchanged some Christmas gifts since my brother and parent’s gift to me was a bit time sensitive. My brother had told me to keep Saturday the 29th open, but wouldn’t tell me why. I found out why, I was going to go to an Ohio State football game with my brother including going to a “Skull session” and having brunch with my cousin who attends OSU before hand. Again…I was stinking excited!

Holding Sabrina for the first time felt good, even though she was a wee bit fussy. I enjoyed every second of holding her and even got her to smile at me for a while. These are the things that can be tough when you live so far away. You miss a lot. Sabrina is 3 months old and it was the first time I got to hold her. You better believe I will be soaking up as much Sabrina time as possible whenever I can!

To end the night Ray, Ben and I all went to my cousin’s high school football game where I got to see my aunt, two cousins and my goddaughter. Family time is very important for me, so yesterday was a good day.

As you are reading this I am on my way to Columbus for the Buckeye game…O-H!

On Sunday I will be at Church if the Cross in Toledo for their Missions Sunday and I’d love to see some of you there! 

You will do better in Toledo

Waking up at 3:30 in the morning really allows you to get some stuff done before the rest of the world wakes up. . .but it also means you are up at 3:30 in the morning!

So the day didn’t start out the best, but the rest of the day ended up being pretty great until I crashed at the early hour of 8:30 PM. 

After the rest of the house woke up my mom and I went to the gym for a good workout. The rest of the morning was full of some errands including getting a Sim card for my phone and my jet-lagged brain had a hard time with paying. I totally forgot about tax so when I handed the cashier “enough” money to pay for the item, she looked at me and said, “The card cost that much, but either tax it’s. . .” Oh yeah, tax, I kind of forgot about that. 

In the afternoon I got to work for my friend who has his own screen-printing business. I asked him if he needed some extra help so I can earn some money in order to get back and he gladly accepted my help. I had a great time working for Jupmode and am very appreciative of the opportunity. 

After getting back to my mom’s house I had another good surprise in the form of another sizable donation from a friend and neighbor. Day one was a full day and another great one.

God has blessed this trip so far and i can’t wait to see what He has planned for the rest of my time here. 

4 Countries, 3 Airports, 2 States and 1 HMA begins

Yesterday morning I left Germany, via France and the Netherlands on my way to Perrysburg via Detroit. Traveling back to the US always results in a long day, especially when you start your day 6 hours ahead of the people with whom you end your day, but overall it was a pleasant trip. I even got an empty seat next to me, which is always a bonus! 

Walking out of the airport and seeing family is great. As I was approaching the van, my mom was headed into the airport and she didn’t see me. I know, it’s tough to imagine, but there was a giant SUV that was blocking her view of me, so it’s justified. I yelled for her, she turned and rushed I’ve to give me a hug, the kind that only moms know how to give. 

After an easy and uneventful drive we arrived at my mom and Ray’s place. It was dinner time, though my belly and brain didn’t quite comprehend that. It was 12 AM according to my body’s clock,  after all. 

After relaxing a bit and fighting sleep, my aunt came over and provided one of the first major praises for this trip. She told me they were going to make a sizable donation and also provide a rental car for me when I go to North Carolina and Maryland. I was flabbergasted (I love that word and wish people would use it more often). Both of those are huge answers to prayer and ended a pretty eventful first night back in the US. 

My apology for apologizing

During my six weeks back in the US I met with individuals, groups and churches and told them about what I, eDOT, EuroTeam TEFL and GEM do. I wanted people to get excited about what I am excited about. I told the same stories over and over again, I explained the details of what the heck an instructional designer actually does and then towards the end I asked if people would like to join my ministry partner team prayerfully and/or financially. All of this was fine, nothing was done horribly wrong, except one thing…I apologized.

Now, my parents raised me right and taught me to apologize when I did something wrong. The problem here, is I didn’t do anything wrong. I was apologizing because I was asking for money. I apologized because I know that being asked over and over again to donate money to one cause or another can be super annoying. I apologized because, well, I felt uncomfortable asking.

Here’s the problem and the reason for this apology: I had nothing to apologize for, but by doing so, I didn’t properly invite people to join in and participate in the ministry to which God has called me, where my talents are being used, where, only by the grace of God, people may hear about Christ and choose to follow Him. I was contacted by someone I respect who called me out on this and told me to never apologize when inviting people to help reach others for Christ. I failed, and for this I apologize.

My plan is to properly invite people into my ministry partner team, where they can truly feel and see their impact in Europe. It won’t stop at the invitation though. Through this blog, my newsletters and any conversation you all have with me about my ministry, I will strive to inform you on my work here in Germany. You all deserve better, and my hope is to help you understand just how valuable you all are to me, the ministry and those that come across the curriculum I design.

I’m sorry and I hope you all will feel like more of a team from now on and will better understand how important you truly are.

The toughest blog I’ve ever written

I’ve been writing on this blog on and off for the past 2.5 years and I’ve never had a blog that is as hard as this one to write. It’s not that the words won’t come out, or that it is physically hard for me to write this blog, but this blog is tough for a completely different reasons.

So why is this blog hard to write? It’s one of the more vulnerable posts that I’ve written, but that’s still not even the issue. I’m asking for help, that’s why. Normally I have a hard time asking for help from people unless it is something that I literally cannot do alone. Asking for a ride to the airport is no problem for me, but asking for someone to come help me move a large piece of furniture might make me try it myself first. Then once I get started trying on my own, don’t even bother asking me to help…I can be a bit stubborn.

Today though, I must come to you all for help. I must lower my normal defenses to present my struggle and ask for you to stand up next to me and partner with me. As you may or may not be aware, I will be making a trip back to the US this August and September in order to find more ministry partners and meet with existing ones as well. I thought I would be fine until then…but I’m not.

Let me break down the numbers a bit for you:

$5400 – My monthly support need

$5100 – My monthly pledged support

$4400 – My monthly average support received

$1000 – Need

 

As you can tell, each month that goes by I am short by around $1000 and this quickly drains any reserves that were built up over the last two years or so.

This blog isn’t to guilt people into supporting me but it is to help explain the need and to ask for help. The good thing is, help can come in a variety of ways that I will lay out for you below.

Current Ministry Partners:

  • Pray, pray and then pray some more
  • Prayerfully consider raising your current pledged amount by $5-10 a month
  • Share this with a friend
  • Invite me to share with a Bible study, church, your friends, etc. when I am back in Aug/Sept

Everyone else:

  • You can pray too!
  • Prayerfully consider joining my ministry partner team (either e-mail me or go to my support page for more info)
  • Invite me to share with a Bible study, church, your friends, etc. when I am back in Aug/Sept
  • Share this with a friend

I know God will take care of my needs, but it is not without effort on my part. I appreciate all of you who have read this far whether you feel led to help in one way or another.

Thank you.

How you can help me get from here to there, one last time!

Last year I wrote two blogs about helping me reach Germany by the end of March. Well, I was granted permission to buy my one-way ticket (such a weird experience by the way) and so I did, for April 22nd. I’m actually leaving. This has been a long time in the making, but I rarely doubted that it would happen. I did wonder how it was going to happen, and still today I am wondering that very thing.

333

While I was able to buy  my ticket, I am still not done finding people to partner with me in the ministry God has called me to. I need to be at 100% of my monthly commitments before I can go. I am currently only 7% away from that, just under $350. That’s nothing for our amazing God! In the next three weeks I need to find  new partners who are willing to join with me and old partners who choose to increase their monthly commitments. In 3 weeks my commitments need to increase by $333. That’s $111 a week starting today.

What I wanted to do today, in addition to updating my current progress, is explain what it means to support a missionary monthly and give you an idea of how you could help me get to and stay in Germany through your support.

So what does it mean to support any missionary monthly? Well, it means you give a certain amount of money to a missionary on a monthly basis for as long as they are a missionary. At least, theoretically, that is how it works. That doesn’t mean that if you lose a job, have a kid or have some unexpected major expenses that you have to keep supporting the missionary when you can’t afford to feed your kids, but what it does mean is you will do your best to provide the agreed amount for as long as you feel called to give.

On my support me page I go into more detail on how exactly you can start supporting me monthly or with a special gift (both tax-deductible), so I don’t want to go into too much detail about that, but I would like to point out some ways that you could help me reach my goal of 100% by my departure date so I can be in Germany on April 23rd.

The main way to partner with me is to do it monthly. This doesn’t mean that you have to give a huge amount every month. Any amount helps. I have people giving between $5/month and $200/month with some churches doing more. A monthly pledge should be beyond what you give to your church for your tithe and it is whatever you feel called to give. No pledge is too small! Don’t forget whatever you give is also tax-deductible too!

A way I like to think about monthly pledges is by how much it is per paycheck. For instance:

If you are single and give $50/month (1% for me) then each paycheck you would be giving $25. That’s a dinner at a nice place or two at an average priced place.

If you are a two-paycheck family (four/month) then $50/month would only be $12.50 per paycheck!

A third way is to ask friends/family (that I don’t know or haven’t talked to) if I can contact them personally or inviting them to a dessert/coffee night where I present to a small group. You could also get me connected with your pastor, church or bible study. You could also share this post on facebook/twitter/linkedin or any other social site to get more people to learn about what God has called me to do.

Another way you could help is by giving a special monetary gift. This doesn’t help me get my monthly support level higher, but it does get me closer to completing my launch fund which will get me to Germany and cover the one-time expenses (like buying a kitchen, ask me more about that!).

No matter what though, supporting any missionary should be something you pray about and feel led to partner with them in the ministry they have been called to do. God calls some to go and some to send. He has called me to go so He has called my team to send me! If you feel that you are being called to join my team please let me know by commenting below or e-mailing me at jacob.coon@gemission.org. If you want to learn more about my ministry before making a decision use that contact information and we can set up a time to sit down and talk.