Speaking Honestly

I praise God for Bryan’s graduation from Covenant Seminary.  He finished with an MA in Religion and Cultures, magna cum laude.  The year and a half that we were there went quickly and now I continue to finish the degree I have started from a distance in Austin, Texas.  I will finish in May 2012 and by that time we are expected to be in Tanzania.

What are we doing in Austin?  Aside from the fact that Austin is our home-base in the US and All Saints is our church family we are here because we cannot go to Tanzania until the TIMO Team is finalized and our full support has been raised.  This letter I am writing goes along with a dose of healthy gratitude to our financial supporters who have been with us on our journey.  We have been blessed and served by God through your gifting.

What about support?  I’m not exactly a “go to” person when it comes to advice on how to raise support.  Financial pressure and my personality do not exactly live in harmony with one another.  So, where does that leave me in our circumstance?  Under-funded, concerned and looking for part-time work while navigating the mental transition of our family to a culture where the reality is no running water, no electricity, no fridge, and how will we handle survival from day to day…

So what?  I have rebelled in various ways against our secondary calling to the African continent, wrestled with God in every area of my life and tried hard to challenge our family’s calling thinking that perhaps it’s some made-up commitment that we have attached ourselves to.  Only because of God and his grasp on me can I say that I am committed to follow where he leads.  Can Tanzania be apart of that leading?  Yes, and even in my pushing away from calling, I believe it is because of my husband’s vision and perseverance, my children’s interest in African culture, the TIMO Team coming together upon the completion of seminary and encompassing all of the above is the powerful awareness of the Holy Spirit’s movement of our family in the direction of Africa.

So what am I getting at?  Here we stand in Austin for what we expect to be between 6-9 months with a vision of life in rural Tanzania and we are struggling. Why?  Honestly, I think living within our budget would mean we need a $400 per month rental agreement.  I made a comment to Bryan the other day about us living on the streets while we’re in Austin.  He just laughed at me like he does…We are not money makers…we are not thriving support raisers…we are not professionals…but our mission’s reality with MTW requires funding.  Why does this matter to you?  We are a community…and we are literally dependent on our community…the universal church.  Bryan and I are called to serve in Africa…it doesn’t just happen…we need the community fully behind us.

Our lack of support raising strategy does NOT include being direct about asking you for money to support our ministry.  In other words, in the same way we seek to follow God’s leading in our lives we believe God will do the same in your heart for those of you who have been gifted to support us.  No one came to us and said, “Can you go serve in cross-cultural missions in Africa?”  Similarly, we will not be directly asking you for money but rather sharing the vision of TIMO, communicating needs, both financial, prayer and otherwise, and trusting God for the full supply of needs to be met.

We want to be “open books” and available to have discussion around any matters or concerns that anyone reading this might have including those who might challenge our lack of support raising strategy.  We welcome comments and enjoy an ongoing conversation with the hope that the discussion can lead to a greater understanding of who God is,  how that relates to who we are and what we do in Christ.

For those of you interested…

How might your vision of prayerfully and financially supporting missionaries both on and off the field be described?  (Simply a question to consider…)

Peace of Christ,

Rebe