Here we are in this phase that we both dreaded for the longest time. We’ve made this huge decision to uproot our family and life as we know it and move overseas. We are absolutely thrilled about the fact that we get to go and live in Austria. It’s a beautiful country with wonderful people and we get to tell them the most incredible message of all. But there is this huge gap in between us making the decision to go and us actually getting on a plane and living and doing ministry there….FUNDRAISING.
In the missions world there are many things that you will hear fundraising called. There’s people raising, friend raising, building a ministry support team and the list goes on. No matter what it’s called the truth is, however, that it’s one of the hardest things that we’ve ever embarked on as a married couple. It is by far harder than the decision to actually live overseas. I think we have both hoped that there was another way to do this but after years of praying, hoping and waiting here we are taking this big step of faith and all we can do is wait.
Almost daily we are getting the question of “when are you leaving.” The honest truth is that we don’t know. We HOPE that it will be next summer. The reality is that we have to wait patiently until God provides everything we need to get us there. At our missions training conference, we heard the comparison made between the story of Ruth and Boaz and this fundraising world of which we are now a part. Although the provision was out in the fields, Ruth still had to work each day to obtain it. That’s the picture that I keep bringing up in my mind. The resources are out there, but there is work to do in order to obtain them. The tricky part is figuring out how much we do and when we wait…
About a month ago we sent out nearly 200 letters inviting people to be a part of God’s story in Austria through partnering with us. In those letters were return envelopes. Every time one of them actually returns to our address there is a little bit more fire added to our spark. There have been days when going to the mailbox has been like Christmas and then there are days where there is nothing and a little bit of that spark goes out.
I realized, this week, that I have been way too dependent on the United States Postal Service to solidify our call as a family. I spoke with a friend that there needs to be some kind of book out there to help offer encouragement to families during this tricky season of the “inbetween.” I think it needs to be called Beyond the Mailbox. If I were to write such a book I think I would begin it with a focus on Philippians 4:13-14. “ I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Every time I read those words I feel a little bit of that spark come back and I remember where my focus should be. The focus and the prize is Jesus himself, not fundraising, not money not even Austria. After all, He is the reason that we’re even on this journey.
So, no, there is not much fun in fundraising when I look at it through my own natural eyes. I do believe that this is a ministry in itself and one in which God will be glorified. When I look at things in the natural, I can easily become distracted by thinking about my abilities, the number of people that I know and the amount we have to raise. In the midst of it all, I hear my Savior asking me to surrender my insecurities, doubts and my pride to step out in faith and trust in him. We do indeed have a long road ahead of us and it seems like no 2 days are exactly alike, but I take comfort in knowing that the Creator of the universe who could take a girl from South Carolina, pair her up with a basketball loving boy from Georgia and give them a heart for people in Austria, can provide all that is needed to continue His work there.