What You Can Do For Your Missionary on Giving Tuesday

Since 2012, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday is the kick off to the charitable season called Giving Tuesday. It was originally begun as a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy. As the world begins its mad dash to gear up for Christmas, Giving Tuesday encourages us to enter the holiday season with the right focus – a reminder and an opportunity to give where giving is needed most.

If you are reading this, you likely give to and support me or another missionary, either financially or prayerfully. And while your missionaries would definitely appreciate a financial contribution this Giving Tuesday, we wanted you to know that there are some other ways to give and show your support this Tuesday.

First off, let me speak to some non-financial ways of showing your support:

Send an email/letter to a missionary/ministry you know and let them know you are thinking of them, ask for prayer requests, etc.
Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is close at hand and trust me, your missionary misses people, so send them a note reminding them you are on their mind.

Volunteer to stuff and address envelopes for newsletters.
No one really enjoys stuffing envelopes, do they? I know I don’t, and you probably don’t either, but instead of paying someone to do this service for them, ask if you could take care of this for your missionary.

Introduce them to your friends/churches who might be interested in partnering in the ministry.
We love to talk about our ministry, ok maybe I just love to talk in general, but we want people to know what we are doing and we hope they will partner with us. The problem is, we don’t know everyone you know, so introduce us to your friends who you think might be interested in at least hearing more. No pressure included!

Go on a short-term team with your missionary partner (this won’t always be available, but if it is!)
Not every missionary has a short-term mission’s trip happening, but if they do, they could probably use help, so if you aren’t sure if they have one… ask! It will help your missionary and, I can guarantee, your life will not be the same after!

Offer places to stay or a car to borrow when they are visiting your area.
Most of us don’t have a house waiting for us when we come back to visit. If you have an extra room in your house or a car just sitting around, ask if we can use one while we are back.

Donate your airline miles, hotel points or rental car points.
Flights, hotels and car rentals are expensive. When your missionary is back visiting, travel is a guarantee.

Record a video of their family and friends and send it to them.
I just watched a video that was shared with me and while it made me sad that I missed a specific event, I was so happy to see my family!

In addition to those options, there are some financial options that would also show your support:

Send an extra gift to their ministry account.
This should be self-explanatory, but if it isn’t, well, sometimes we need extra money to cover taxes, unexpected expenses, etc.

Ask them for a wish list they have on Amazon, another site, or buy them a gift card for iTunes or Google Play (ask them which one).
Amazon is in a bunch of countries and you can easily purchase something for a lot of missionaries and they may already have some things in mind. A little gift to say thank you goes a long way. Whether it is a book, a subscription to an app/site or even more extravagant purchases like a tablet, whatever you give will be appreciated.

Send a care package of stuff your missionary misses (I’d ask what they miss before guessing.)
No matter where in the world your missionary is, they probably miss something from wherever you are. Shipping isn’t cheap, so ask them what you can send before you spend the money.

 

The bottom line is, if you feel so inclined, use Giving Tuesday as a reminder or excuse to show the missionary in your life that you care for them and appreciate the work they are doing. These are but a few of all the possible ways you could show your support. I hope this post can provide a jumping off point for you to go out there and give!

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.

Traversing the Chaos

In life we all go through transition. We all have times that we are dealing with changes in our lives. Adjusting to a new job. A new home. A new relationship. No matter what, we are going to have periods of transition. When you go through periods of transition you go from settled, to unsettled, to chaos, to resettling, and then to a new settled. The picture we were given was like crossing a bridge from solid land to solid land.

How each person interprets each stage of the bridge crossing is vital to the way they cross the bridge. This is how my bridge broke down, one word for the strongest feeling for me a that stage.

Settled – Contentment
Unsettled – Progress (My current stage)
Chaos – Busy
Resettling – overlooking (I meant it’s easy to ignore the minor difficulties here because they pale in comparison to the chaos you just went through)
New Settled – Relief

How would you describe each stage for you? What stage are you currently in?

While learning about this we watched/participated in a demonstration. There were four chairs, three bosu balls, and then four more chairs on our “transition bridge.” The first two chairs were normal, the second two had blocks underneath that made them wobbly and then the last four chairs were the same as the first four. The people traversing the “transition bridge” were members of a team, two singles (one leading and one in the rear) and a family all tethered together with “relationship ropes.” Everyone lining the the sides were the support, the ministry partners, the headquarters staff and anyone else who is willing to provide some help while this team is dealing with change.

Here is a link to the video.

https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10151352898373977

Everyone reading this blog is my bridge support. I will need some of you more than you know. I want to thank you in advance, because without this team I would not be able to do any of this.  We are a team, hand-picked by God and together we can do amazing things!

Mom, this is for you!

My mom, step-sister Kim and I after the Charleston half-marathon.

As some of you might now, my mom and I are training to run our second half-marathon in 4.5 months. We ran her first and my second-ever half-marathon this past January in Charleston and we signed up to do the Glass City Half-marathon in Toledo at the end of April.

Our training involves three morning (as early as 5:30, gross!) runs every week. This means that in addition to seeing each other other times throughout the week we are almost guaranteed to hang out with each other for at least 3 hours a week, just the two of us. Now, I’m not saying that all of the time is “quality” time since we can’t always carry on a conversation while running, but to me all of it is quality.

While we were running today I was thinking about how blessed by God I have been to be able to do this with my mom. You see, as of five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to run 1.31 miles let alone 13.1. As of last year, my mom hadn’t run more than 5 miles in her life and some weeks that is our shortest distance.  Had God not allowed me to lose weight or had He not put the idea of running a half-marathon into my mom’s head we wouldn’t be doing this. We would not see each other multiple times a week and be able to truly enjoy interim time before I go to Germany for at least four years. I am so thankful that God has given me this time with my mom and I will never forget this time.

Beyond the fact that I never imagined my mom and I running together I cherish this time, because I get to train her. My whole life my mom has been my biggest supporter. She has cheered me on in sports when I was incredibly mediocre, come to my side when I was in the hospital, taught me how to treat every person with love and supported me even when I was destroying myself with food. Now I get to be her strength, I get to cheer her on, I get the opportunity to run by her side reminding her achieve her goal. I would not trade that for anything.

Thank you God for giving me an amazing mom and for allowing me this opportunity to be her support.