Friday, September 9, 2011

Munchies and Missions

Like dessert?

Like people?

Have a passion for missions?

If you answered yes to even just ONE of these questions, then a Munchies and Missions night might be the thing for you! You're probably wondering: "What in the world is that?" I'm so glad you asked! Munchies and Missions is one of the several ways in which we are getting the word out about how God is leading our family to serve in Africa.

Here's how it works:

-take one family that is willing to open up their home for an evening,

-mix in several scrumptious desserts and a pot of decaf coffee (& hot water for tea),

-throw in a bunch of people that are interested in Africa, missions, or just happen to like us,

-and finish it off with a story about how God is taking our family of five to Kenya!

It all makes for a lovely evening and if we haven't talked to you about one yet, then please talk to us.

...stop reading, pick up the phone, dial our number
We'd love to see you there!

****Disclaimer: although we would certainly welcome "out-of-towners", this is probably best served if you happen to live in the Western PA region of the country ;)

No really, call!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Support Raising

God is calling us to Africa! This doesn't happen without A LOT of help from friends, family, churches, and others who also feel called by God to partner with us in prayer and through their finances. We are currently in the "support raising" stage of the process. 100% of our support needs to be raised and pledged before Africa Inland Mission (AIM) will officially "release" us to do full-time ministry and move to Africa.

There are two funds that our financial support will fall into:
1. Outgoing Expenses - for a family of five to travel, move their possessions, be oriented to life in Africa, and be settled into a new home, it will cost $22,410. This is a one-time sum that we will need to have in cash before we go. Any gifts that are given before we leave (one-time gifts or monthly support amounts that are given starting ahead of time) will go towards this account.
2. Monthly Support - for a family of five to live in Kenya, including all expenses (room, board, spending money, health insurance, retirement, etc) the monthly pledge amount needed is $4,170. Before AIM releases us, we will need to have this number raised in PLEDGES, not cash.
As of right now, we are committed to a term of 2 years. After this time, we will have a 4-month furlough back in the states. Sometime between now and then, we will be deciding whether God plans to keep us in Africa for another 2-3 year term or is drawing us somewhere else. Neither Courtney nor I feel strongly one way or the other at this point, but that is EXACTLY why we want to stay connected to folks through this blog - when we know, we can tell people!

So why do we need to be fully supported and not simply get paid by an employer? In contrast to our American culture that increasingly praises independence, the Bible consistently sets up a model of humble interdependence, members of the body relying on one another to declare His praise and further His Kingdom. Being called to missions work (in the GOING or the SENDING) is being called to die to the craving of independence and cultivate, rather, an attitude of interdependence with one another and the Lord. In the giving of your firstfruits to the work of the Lord, certainly to your local church, yes, but also to ministries He is equipping, you are fostering the Biblical call to interdependence, out of which many pastors, missionaries, and support staff are paid. (excerpts from John Piper and Betty Barnett)

Paul says "I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named. . . . Since I no longer have any room for work in these regions . . . I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you” (Romans 15:20–24)

We welcome you to consider this a partnership. We've been challenged recently by the different accounts of the Great Commission given by Christ before His ascension. One of which is found in Acts 1, where Jesus is promising the Holy Spirit. In verse 8, He lets His followers know they will be witnesses of what they've seen and heard "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth." That is no less true today - God calls His followers to be His witnesses at home and abroad.

So this idea of "partnership" means that we can go to Africa and you don't have to (unless, of course, you come visit us)! And yet, you can play a vital role in getting us over there, praying for us, and encouraging us while we're there. In doing so, you're answering that call "to the ends of the earth". It's the same thing with sponsoring a child through Compassion International in Thailand or giving towards a short-term mission trip to Central America. In each case, your God-given gifts and resources are used in powerful ways for the Gospel all across the globe!

Think about how awesome this is: Missionaries in Uganda, Kenya, Central African Republic and all across Africa are working on the "front lines" with people who have never heard of the saving grace of Jesus Christ - translating Bibles, planting churches, training pastors, feeding orphans, treating AIDS patients. Taking a step back in the ranks, we get to help them by providing a good education and caring for their children at Rift Valley Academy. Then, a few steps back from that, our friends and family back in the States play an equally important role, helping us be who and where God has called us to be! Mission work is not just for the missionary in the grass hut - the Great Commission is a call to ALL believers, to share the awesome news of Christ's death and resurrection, the salvation that comes through faith to all who believe, and the eternal life that begins the moment our hearts are changed!

"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ." I Corinthians 12:12

Paul's picture here is awesome! I like to think of us as functioning somewhere in the wrist. Maybe a pair of tendons or something. While we're busy supporting the hand and giving the wrist it's functionality, we are desperately dependent on all the other parts of the arm and shoulder. Not much good can be done if the collar bone suddenly decides he wants out or if the tricep determines she's unappreciated. We're needed to support the palm, which extends to the fingers, which are needed to deliver the message of Christ to the people of Africa!

So won't you be an elbow with us? Or a muscle in the forearm? Or a shoulder joint? We look forward to the ways God will surprise us with the intricacies of His body and how it works as one to build His kingdom!

If you would like to support us prayerfully or financially, please check out this link (also found to the right under Join Our Prayer/Financial Team). Or you can read our most current newsletter, located on the right hand side of this blog under Learn More. We'd love to hear from you! Thanks so much in advance!

"He who testifies to these things says 'Yes, I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen!" Revelation 22:20-21

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