Was that you God, or just me?

One of the things I have struggled the most throughout my life is knowing when the plan that pops in my head is God’s and when it is mine.

I’m the guy who looks for signs to lead me. Not literal sign posts or where everything is a sign, but if something out of the ordinary happens, is God trying to tell me something type of thing.

Let me give you an example. Today I was driving to my mom’s house and saw a bunch or rabbits which isn’t completely normal and then when I got home there was a rabbit in the neighbors yard. This isn’t super unusual, but what pops in my head? Are you trying to tell me something, God? Maybe He is, but I doubt rabbits would be His best plan to get my attention.

I have always said that I would prefer God to whisper something to me and I would understand, but in reality I know that too often I need a holy 2×4 to the head. Maybe if God sent Hacksaw Jim Duggan to my house with his 2×4 then I would know what God is wanting me to do more often.

Then there is the other issue I have where I jump into an idea full-force and then after I have planned it all or maybe even initiated it I pray, asking God to bless the plans. I think I have that backwards. Not everything I do is that way, but sometimes I find myself doing that.

Two things that I am doing right now I am confident God has placed in front of me. One is going to Germany as a missionary and the other is the project I launched on indiegogo. I prayed about them both and asked for prayer for them before doing anything about it. Now I just need that to be the norm instead of the rarity.

Anybody else in the same boat as me?

Don’t forget to check out my indiegogo project, share it and recive my thanks, donate to it and receive a perk!

How I can get from here to there, with your help

In a recent post I talked about my desire to be at 80% of my monthly support raised so I could go to the September training in North Carolina. My plan (and I stress the word my in this phrase because I am submitting myself to God’s plan) was to be at 80% before I go to Alaska July 19th. That gives me 22 days to reach my goal. I am not sure if this is the plan that God has for me, but I am doing all that I can to reach this goal all the while praying for God to work in my heart and others to achieve His plan.

In the next 22 days I need to have an additional 15% of monthly support raised ($750 more per month). That is just under 1% ($50) per day. 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 80% and then 100% so I could be in Germany by the end of the year.

One 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!).

Another way is to support me 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.

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.

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, e-mailing me at jacob.coon@gemission.org or calling me at 301-848-7353. 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.

Smacked in the head by a 2×4 part 2

Yesterday I talked about how God has been planning my ministry plan far longer than I even knew and today I am going to talk about the more recent history.

Five years ago (2005) I was deathly sick. Over the course of four months I was given a 50% chance to live, had my gall bladder removed, two gallons of some random fluid removed from my abdomen, had two feet of my small intestine removed, was told that I was a week away from death had I not had the second surgery and then had pre-cancerous polyps removed from my large intestine. All of this at the age of 25. I fully believe that God used my health issues to get me to listen to His calling on my life. Gradually after I returned to normal health I felt like God was leading me to a leadership role in my Bible study.

In 2009 I had reached a milestone in my weight-loss, 150 lbs. To reward myself I was planning on buying a nice, new tv. My friend suggested that instead of buying something material, how about we organize a trip to someplace awesome. So, the two of us and three others planned a trip to, you guessed it Germany, where I fell in love with the culture and the people. I also visited the town that I will be working in without ever having heard of Kandern, Germany before.

Two months later my co-Bible study leader asked me if I had ever considered full-time ministry work (she meant more of in the church) and I quickly said no. She then asked me if I would look up short-term missions trips for our Bible study to consider. While searching I got bored and decided to look up long-term positions and stumbled upon Greater Europe Mission needing an instructional Designer in Germany. I was qualified, but I still wasn’t considering it. After prayer by myself and others I felt God leading me to do this and am certain, now more than ever, that this is His calling.

Something cool since all of that is that through a ministry partner or mine I met someone who is going to be working two floors above me in Kandern. We are both young, her more than me :-), and both exciting about learning more about Europe through travel.

If anyone looks at these things and says that I have not been called to serve Him in Germany then I would be surprised. Being the planner that I am I appreciate God’s plan going back over 20 years.

Thank you God, for smacking me in the head with a 2×4!

Smacked in the head by a 2×4 part 1

I thought I would take a couple posts and share with you all the different things that happened in my life that God planned way in advance to get me to see His plan for me. I have always said that God has to use a 2×4 upside my head to get me to recognize something and I really think He did that….slowly, but He still did it.

I’m going to do this chronologically, because that just makes sense in my head to do it that way. In this post I’ll cover everything up until the recent past (past 5 years-ish).

In elementary school i was in the gifted program where we studied a new language every year. One year we took Spanish and my mom had me speak a little to her friend who new Spanish pretty well. The friend said I was good and encouraged me to keep studying Spanish.

In junior high they offered an after-school German language class for two days a week in 7th grade and then three days a week in 8th grade. It would allow anyone who completed it to move straight to German 2 in high school. I was apparently a big enough dork that I decided to forget my mom’s friend’s advice and i stayed after school to learn German which at the time had no real applicable use for me.

Throughout high school I finish 4 years of German and the desire to visit grew within me. My brother never quite understood why, but nonetheless the desire was there.

In my first couple years of teaching I was looking at Master’s programs, but had no real plan. I was talking to one of my co-workers who was also my Pastor’s wife at the time. She knew that I like technology and was somewhat knowledgeable so she suggested I get my Master’s degree in educational technology. I had no idea that was even a possibility, but sure enough it was.

I ended up getting my degree online through the University of Florida and the program they used to design their courses is a program called Moodle which is the same program I will be using to create courses while in Germany.

These events are just the beginning. Within the last five years so much more happened in my life that God planned to use to get me to see where He wanted me. Come back tomorrow to find out what He did.

New ministry timeframe

I thought I would take a few minutes and share with you my new ministry goal. There are several goals I have for when I get over to Germany but right now my priority is to get there as soon as possible. So what does that mean? Well, in order to get to Germany I have to be 100% financially supported of which I am about 65% of the way there. In addition to that I have to attend a training in either Colorado or North Carolina for five weeks. I need to be at 80% supported in order to register for the training. Here is what I am praying will happen and I hope that you will join me in this prayer.

Training:

September 16- October 26th in Union Mills, NC

Final Visits: All of these times below are estimates since I really don’t know when I will get to 100% funded, but my goal is to be completely funded by the time I am going to the training.

October 27th-November 10th – Toledo area

November 11th-November 18th – DC area

November 19th(ish) – depart for Germany

 

Originally I had hoped to be in Germany much sooner, but I am living every day in God’s plan. I am working towards the goal and am waiting for those people He has called to join my ministry partner team. Please join me in prayer for my current and future ministry partners.

Let’s Catch Up! Oh, it’s been 9 years? Awkward!

 

“Let’s catch up!” I said, not completely realizing what that would entail. I didn’t realize that the two people I had said this to, would take me up on the offer and then catching up meant covering the last 9 or 10 years. Yeah, that’s the kind of friend I am and yeah, that’s the kind of humor God is using during this time of ministry partner development.

I am pretty darn horrible at keep up with friends. It’s not because I don’t care, it’s mostly because I just forget to call people or e-mail people, or hand write a letter to people, or carrier pigeon people or even smoke signal people. Ok, now I see the problem, I suck, plain and simple, but that is not the point.

The point is that while planning my current MPD (ministry partner development AKA support raising) trip I was not sure who I could meet with on my circuitous route. I felt God impress on me that I should reach out to people that I hadn’t thought about reaching out to before because it had been “too long.” I started to look at facebook and checked to see who lived somewhere near my route. I found nine different people, all of which I had not talked to in at least 3 years with the majority being 9 or 10 years and a few being since I graduated high school 13 years ago (Yikes!).

Here comes the awesome part! I contacted a bunch of people to see if we could catch up and/or if they wanted to start receiving my newsletter. A few got back and said they would love the newsletter and a few said they would love to meet with me and catch up. Last Friday I met with a girl I went to college with and hadn’t talk to her in 9 years and we had a great time catching up. The other girl I only knew through volunteering for a month at a Young Life camp 10 years ago next month. I met with her and her husband and it was amazing!

God was definitely in both of those meetings. I don’t know what the results of those meetings are quite yet as far as support goes, but I do know that I have a new found appreciation for catching up with people and being more intentional about my relationships with other people.

Thanks God, I needed that!

East Coast, here I come!

Tomorrow is day 1 of 23 of my trip to the East Coast. This trip will include stops in Charlotte, Charleston, Raleigh, Virginia Beach, Waldorf, DC, Altoona and Pittsburgh. It will involve over 200 miles of driving, four awesome hosts, possibly a commissioning service and meetings with people I know and people I have never met yet.

The main goal of this trip is to partner with people in those places to help get me to and keep me in Germany. The planning for this trip was like no other I have done. I have been relying on God to lead me more than just about any other time. It started a while back when two of my ministry partners in Charleston said they would set up some sort of meeting for me if I came back down. I never need an excuse for a trip to Charleston and since my step-sister  is awesome and graciously allowing me to stay with her I did not need anyone to talk me into that part.

The only problem was that I couldn’t really justify the expense of going to Charleston for one meeting. The next part was a total awesome God thing. I had been invited to two weddings in May that I did not think I would be able to attend because of the distance, but one is in between Charleston and Washington DC and the other is between DC and home with only two weeks in between.

Those two weeks in Waldorf (where I lived for 7 years, near DC) will allow me to reconnect with some partners, stay with three ridiculously awesome hosts, meet with some new people and possibly have my commissioning service from South Potomac Church. I found myself giving God a theoretical high-five on that one.

I decided to push forward with the plan and let God help me work out the details as they came. I knew I wanted to set up more meetings with people, but I didn’t know anyone in Charleston or anywhere on this trip really, except in the DC area, or so I thought. I felt led to re-look at all possibilities from my past, no matter how long it had been since I had talked to them. That led me to facebook and checking out where people lived. I found 9 more people with whom I had either graduated high school or college and a few from my time as a cook at Young Life Lake Saranac nine years ago. I contacted them and have a few meetings set up in a few different locations along the way. That, was awesome!

What is amazing is how the rest of the trip is coming to fruition, but not totally cemented yet and I am totally alright with that. If you know me or have read some of my old posts, you know I am a planner and love to plan out events to ensure success (like I can ever actually do that). I know God has got this trip and surprisingly I’m good with that.

What I would love from you all is prayer. I would love to have meetings every day during my trip, but right now that is not the case. I am working on not limiting God and His awesomeness so I would also love your prayers for God to provide all of the rest of my monthly support. That would be stinking awesome.

Thank you.