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.

Hoping and Praying

Watching the trailers to movies is weird for me right now. You know how they wait until the end of the preview to tell you when the movie comes out….well I’m hoping I’m not here for most of those so it’s weird. I was just at a movie and saw a few previews that made me want to watch the movie, but then I saw when it was coming out and I began hoping that I wouldn’t be here then.

I am hoping to leave the only country I have ever known as a resident to move to another continent, that I have only visited a few times, this April. That’s crazy and amazing and all kinds of ridiculous at the same time. What’s strange though is I keep forgetting until something or someone reminds me.

Just the other day my brother, his wife, my mom and step-dad were all talking about their plans for this summer. I started to think about my plans for this summer and I remembered I have no idea what I will be doing. That’s ok with me, I don’t mind not knowing my plans for my first few months in Germany, but it’s weird to think I will be setting up my own apartment, adventuring around a country where English is the second language, and trying to adjust to all things German!

To be quite honest I’m scared, I’m excited, I’m nervous and I’m hopeful.

I’m scared of leaving family and going that far away and missing things that happen here.

I’m excited to see how God uses the skills and talents that He has given me.

I’m nervous that I will have no idea what I’m doing!

I’m hopeful that I can be in Germany just after Easter.

 

Please pray for me and for all of my friends who are currently raising financial support so that are nerves and thoughts are calmed and that we can find that support we need to start doing what God has called us to do.

I resolute to not resolute…oh wait, that’s a resolution

Last week I talked about Don Miller’s tips for resolutions and his four reasons why they don’t work. This week I then read a blog by Jon Acuff about what he is doing instead of resolutions this year. To be quite honest, I love his idea and I am totally stealing it for myself.

I recommend you read his blog, but I will sum up his points extremely fast. He says that a year long resolution doesn’t work for him so he is breaking down the year into 7 periods of 52 days and for each period he is going to focus on each area of life (Spiritual, Financial, Physical, Social, Mental, Career, Family) and do the following:

1. Pick a goal or two in each of the 7 areas of life. (E.G. Physical = Working out 4 days a week.)

2. Crush said goals for 52 days.

3. Drop the ones I hate at the end of the 52 days, keep the ones I love and then work on a brand new set for 52 days.

Here are my goals for the first 52 days of this year:

Spiritual

Read my chronological Bible 6 days a week

Study the first 33 chapters of Isaiah using John Calvin’s commentary on Isaiah.

Financial

Eat lunch at home at least 3 out of 5 week days

Physical

Lift weights at least 3 days a week

Run at least 3.1 miles at least 3 days a week

Social

Call a friend at least once a week

Mental

Read 2 fiction books

Career

Study Moodle twice a week

Study German twice a week

Family

Cook one meal a week for mom and step-dad

Spend time with brother and sister-in-law once a week

I’m going to keep track of the 52 days and my goals by using index cards and posting them on my mirror in my bathroom. I invite you to join me and Jon by setting your first set of goals for the 52 days ending (Feb 23).

What are your resolutions/goals for the year or 52 days. I would love to hear them so I can steal them for myself!

To Resolute or not to Resolute

Every year around this time you hear the word resolution more than probably Feb through November combined. I wrote about resolutions last year claiming that I wouldn’t make a resolution but rather I would set goals for life change. I still stick by that decision, but resolutions are necessarily bad….they just normally fail.

I got an e-mail from Donald Miller (not a personal one of course) with four reasons why resolutions don’t work, but it also included tips to make 2013 different from years past. Here are his reasons and tips with my questions after:

1. Our Resolutions Weren’t Meaningful.

Want to lose weight? Try participating in a walkathon or tennis tournament for charity. Maybe teach an exercise class at a retirement center. You’d be amazed at how changing your narrative context engages your mind, heart and spirit.

What could we strive to change that would be meaningful?

2. We Failed to Make a Plan.

The counterpart to planning is spontaneous order. And most New Years Resolutions rely, sadly, on spontaneous order. We think a goal is going to pull us through, but it won’t. We need to make a plan. Planning involves considering and organizing activities required to achieve a goal. Without a plan, resolutions most certainly fail.

When do we want to achieve our goal by? What steps will help us reach our goal? Who can we unite with to help us reach our goal?

3. We Forgot.

Seriously, once the car broke down and the baby got sick and the boss demanded we get the assignment in early, we simply forgot we made resolutions at all. We didn’t write the resolutions down in a place we could check from time to time. Posting the stories we want to live in a place where we can see them and review them often will keep us on track well into February and beyond.

Where will you post your resolutions and steps?

4. They Just Weren’t For Us.

So what if being a skinny super model or a fifty-year old jock just isn’t for you? We will never be motivated to fulfill somebody else’s expectations. Sadly, many people’s resolutions fail because they’re trying to become something they aren’t. Instead, what if our resolutions were in line with our own stories, our passions, our desires, our deepest wants? Of course, the key is to better understand what our passions actually are.

Why do we want to make these changes? Is it for us for someone/something else?

Tips from Donald Miller
1. Choose a meaningful ambition.

A meaningful experience is usually relational. So a more meaningful resolution might involve other people. Rather than simply deciding to lose weight, you might try running a half marathon as a family, or climbing a mountain with friends, or riding a bike in a special bike ride that benefits a charity. If it’s a financial goal, decide as a family how much of your debt you want to pay off by this time next year, then post it on the fridge. Do great things together if you’d like to create a more meaningful experience.

2. Create a plan to accomplish your ambition.

Creating a plan to follow through on our resolutions requires sitting down with pen and paper and putting real goals on real dates in a real calendar. Anything else is just wishful thinking. But making a plan also involves following through on major steps. This year, to follow through, we need to sign up for that exercise class or create that savings account or have a garage sale. Stating a vague goal is great, but creating “inciting incidents” is what really gets us moving. The term comes from novelists and screenplay writers and it involves an incident in which their characters are forced into the story. So, when we sign up with friends for an exercise class or go down to the bank and open a savings account, we are taking a step that launches our story. Creating an inciting incident may be the most powerful tool we have in following through on our ambitions.

3. Engage conflict.

Most people avoid conflict and its for good reason. Conflict isn’t any fun. But when we realize no good story is told without conflict, we can redeem it in our minds. While it may still sting, we can also see conflict as meaningful. and when conflict is seen as meaningful, its more bearable and even, to some strange extent, meaningful.

4. Share your story with the world.

While it may not be the world, feel free to add your goals for next year here.

Help me brainstorm possible goals for me and you for the upcoming year. I will post my goals next week sometime, but would love some thoughts from you.

How you can help me get from here to there, updated!

Back in June I wrote a blog about wanting to get to 80% supported before my Alaska trip in July so that I could register for pre-field training in September. That didn’t happen, but what did happen since then is I was able to sign up for the next available training in February. Beyond raising the final 23% pre-field training is the last hurdle that I have to get over. That means with your help I could be moving to Germany in late March after the training is over.

That means that before I go to training I need to get to 90% of my monthly support raised so I can buy my plane ticket. Then i need to be to 100% before I can leave and I am hoping to do that around March 25th.  I am hoping to get to 90% before the end of the year and 100% before I even leave for training. Let me break that down a little. I am currently at 77% so in order to get to 90% of the $5000/month that I need, I have to find partners to provide the $650/month. That means I have 45 days to get the $650 in commitment, about $100/month raised per week. Then between January 1 and February 11 I would need to get commitments covering the last 10% which would be $500 or just under the $100/month raised per week.

What I wanted to do today 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 90% and 100% so I could be in Germany by the end of March.

The main 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%) 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!).

I will also be having a fundraiser in mid-January (stay tuned for details) and am looking for donations for a silent auction and for lots of people to come. Let me know if you can help!

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.

The Humblest Humbling I’ve Ever Humbled

I’m 31 and I live in my mom and step-dad’s house. Not in the way some people live with their parents in the basement or above the garage, no I occupy a bedroom upstairs with pink carpet. Even though this might look like I am whining, I’m really not. I enjoy staying with my mom and step-dad and before that my brother. It’s humbling, not in the “I’m going to prove you wrong and make you look like a fool in front of the cute girl you like” kind of humbling, but more of the “But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” in Matthew 23:12 kind of way.

This past year has been a little strange. I went from having a career and living with people who weren’t related to me and playing kickball on the National Mall in DC to living with my mom and step-dad spending most nights at the house. This blog is not meant to be a pity party kind of thing, because my life is not to be pitied. For the most part I am enjoying whats happening because I know it is what God has called me to do.

I am trying my hardest to put God before myself, to be an example to those around me of what trusting God can really be like. Of course, there are times when it is frustrating, times when I wonder if I did the right thing, times when I think will I ever get to Germany, but then a verse like Proverbs 16:9 comes to mind. “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” These may not be my plans, but who am I to think that my plans are better than the One who spoke all of creating into being. I think He’s better qualified to make these plans, so I am learning to humble myself before Him and listen for the next step that I should take. I encourage you to take a few minutes today to listen to Him and see who’s plan you are following.

Indiegogo results

Some might look at the results to my indiegogo project and think of it as the opposite of a success, but they would be quite wrong. No, my launch fund is not completely funded. No, I didn’t reach the goal I set of $10,000. Yes, I still have to raise more support. Yes, I view it as a success.

If I don’t look at the numbers I can still see God in this project. He has shown me some support from places I had not even thought of. He has shown me how awesome my current ministry partners are and He has helped me see other routes for future fundraisers.

If I look at the numbers I am still encouraged. What the amount I raised is allowing me to do is purchase extra Mudlove bands (pictured below), and extra Jupmode shirts (the front is pictured below) that I can sell to people who want them. Now people can contribute and get a band or t-shirt too. It’s an awesome two-for-one deal! Help the ministry I’m called to and get a gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple weeks back I went to the Levis Commons Fine Art Fair with my mom and we found a tent for a photographer name Tiffany Kimmet and her business Subtle Verse. Tiffany had some awesome pictures and on some of them there were Bible verses over top of the images. My favorite one was a picture of steps leading up to a door with Proverbs 16:9 written on the steps.

Proverbs 16:9 reads “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” I think this is the main lesson God is trying to teach me during my ministry partner development time. I’ve said before that I am a planner so you can see why this verse applies to me. How I am looking at the indiegogo fundraiser is this. I planned on raising a lot of support through the project and it didn’t initially do that, but who am I to say that it won’t still generate a good amount of support through the Mudlove bands and Jupmode t-shirts. You know, I don’t know, but I am learning to let God determine my steps and I will follow His plan as best as my stupid human nature will allow me.

By the way, if you want a Mudlove band or Jupmode shirt send me an e-mail and let me know.