Accepting Help, Experiencing Grace

Accepting Help, Experiencing Grace

It’s time to begin using some vocabulary that makes me feel uncomfortable.  It’s the word “missionary.”  More specifically, when it’s used as an adjective to describe me.  Actually, it’s pretty easy to dismiss the notion because I will be receiving a salary from the school.  I want to be very deliberate here, because the salary is respectable and I am both grateful for it, and I can promise you this would not be happening without it.  My skeptical self would never have considered the idea of moving to Honduras in the first place if there weren’t compensation in it.  That’s part of the reason why I’m having such a hard time with this word.  But the fact remains that it won’t be enough to support a family of four and two round-trip sets of airfare (including coming to the US over Christmas).  And it really shouldn’t.

If it did, I’d have no reason to trust God.  I’d be self-sufficient.  Man, that would be great, but it’s not part of the plan!  I’m still learning that I can’t do it all on my own.  None of us can.  And if I were self-sufficient, I wouldn’t be reaching out to you – which is what is happening now if you hadn’t already noticed.  And I mean this quite seriously, that that would be depriving you of an opportunity to share in that way in this journey, which I truly have been led to believe will make an impact on other people’s journeys.  That is my great hope and prayer.

Now you can “share” in many ways.  Two stand out as critical.  I’m going to list them in order of inverse importance.

The first is financial.  When people use the word “financial,” they mean money.  We need money!  A lot of people have trouble saying that (including me) due to the culture we live in where money talk is bad manners.  This is God teaching me that money is something that people use, not something that they are.  When I value myself based on my financial income, I’m setting myself up for disaster.  Because I don’t care who you are… you are worth so much more than what’s in your checking account.  It sounds cliché, but you’re worth more than all the money in the world.  Seriously, you are, you’re invaluable.  When parents say this to their children, it may be true, but even that sentiment is only a dim reflection of what our heavenly father is trying tell each one of us.

The second is prayer.  This is even more important.  If you had told me I would be writing this a couple years ago, I would have said you’re crazy.  If I had read this a couple years ago, I would have said I’m crazy.  But today, I really believe that prayer is not only powerful, but it is meant to be our highest station in life.  Personally, I’d rather have the financial obligation than the one that says I have to move that mountain by faith alone.  And the best part is that there’s no uncomfortableness when it comes to announcing the need for prayer, like there might be around money.  So please, if you are praying for us, feel free to tell us.  At the very least, prayer is a powerful encourager.  At the very most, prayer is utterly transformative.  At its essence, prayer is relationship with the one being that values our relationship the most.

So brass tacks… We just got approved with a missions organization called Modern Day, and they can receive tax-deductible donations on our behalf.  Links are available HERE, and also in other places around the site.  You can even set up a small recurring donation (which you can cancel anytime), and they can also receive checks, and their mailing address is available on our ABOUT page.  They just approved our application last Thursday, and we’re so grateful to be on board.  They have helped so many who have done similar things before us (spoiler alert… there’s about a bajillion missionaries out there already), but they have the capacity to understand the unique requirements of all the different places in this big world we live in.

We don’t currently have a specific fundraising goal, and we may not even set one.  I will say that we will be needing thousands of dollars, but we don’t want to put our restrictions on God’s plans.  I definitely don’t mean to slight anyone with an established fundraising goal, as whatever they are doing, they are probably doing it better than we are.  I’m not shrugging it off though, either, as we do have a projected budget that I continue to revisit and revise, perhaps occasionally dwelling on it too much.  So the majority of our budget will be living expenses: rent, groceries, toiletries, phones, wifi, some travel, and tithe.  Yes, our Honduran budget has all the same categories as our US one.  It’s really not that different, just a different scale.  Airfare is the next largest area.  We are looking to book our flights there on August 2, and those should get booked within the next few days.  And then there will be some one-time expenses of getting our home set up in Gracias, but I really can only ballpark those, since I don’t know where exactly our home will be or what it will look like!  And we’ll probably buy a car while we’re there, but we plan on using the money from selling Stephanie’s car here before we leave.

So if we raise less than what we need, we’ll find a way to make it work (by trusting God).  If we raise more than what we need, we’d be thrilled to be able to contribute to the organizations we’re going to be working with, or possibly discern that God is implying that our work in Honduras should continue longer.  But primarily, we will be looking to one place only when discerning what our future should be… the throne of God, to which we have direct access through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus Christ.  Did I mention earlier to pray for us?

So even if you don’t think I’m going to be a missionary, that’s fair; I kind of agree with you, but don’t forget about Stephanie.  She’ll be volunteering at the clinic, and taking care of our entire family, myself included.  Oh, and she knows Spanish fairly well, which is the only reason she’s even being accepted as a volunteer.  When I go into town, I plan on following her around and depending on her for everything, much as I do now, only there won’t be grass for her to mow or snow for her to shovel in Honduras.  She’s gonna have so much free time.  But truly, I’ll be leaning on her… In February, when I tried to buy a pop, the clerk said “quince,” so I grabbed a fifty (fifty lempira, about $2) out of my wallet and handed it to her, expecting to be on my way.  She handed me change, and I acted like I knew what was going on and left.  Quince is fifteen (less than 75 cents).  But at least the clerk still thinks I knew that.  Cincuenta is fifty, obviously.  Everybody knows that.

Stephanie may still teach a class at the school, and I’d really love to have that all figured out before I post, but that’s simply not the way real life works.  We are in flux, we are in flow.  We just pray that the Spirit is flowing with us.  One of the greatest joys I have in learning to understand God, and also one of my greatest frustrations thanks to my OCD tendencies, is the notion of God as fluid through time.  He is eternal and unchanging, and so so good outside of time, but once you introduce this time element, he’s a madman!  It kinda seems like he’ll change stuff on you midstream just to mess with you.  Speaking of which, our planned fundraising events are a pancake breakfast at our church on April 15, opening at 7:30AM, and a daffodil sale which will take place around the same time period.  God analyzed my habits and skillset and said, “Yep, I’m gonna make him get up early on a Saturday… and then he’s gonna sell flowers.”  I’d be inclined to be upset if I weren’t so respectful of his playful irony.  Well played, God.  I’m with you.

And thank you for being with us.  So many people have already stepped up to help, it’s really quite overwhelming.  It can be a challenge to accept help from others when our culture has been preaching to you the righteousness of independence your entire life.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are some good lessons there, but it’s not the lesson.  The lesson is to learn to accept help, more specifically to learn to accept grace.  To admit that you can’t do it.  You can’t redeem yourself by your own thoughts or actions, donations or good deeds.  But there is one who can.  One who already has.  One who is waiting for you to accept his help… the kind of help that’s so powerful that it needed it’s own word, grace.  I pray that through our journey and our struggles and frustrations and successes, that you may learn to accept the grace of God ever more in your life.  None of us deserve it, and yet it’s extended to each of us out of the infinite love of our creator.  There’s really nothing we can do in this life to help ourselves, beyond simply accepting the help of the one who loves us.

So thank you.  Thank you for donations, thank you for prayers, thank you for reading this.  And thanks be to God for this journey and the joy that comes along in sharing it with you.

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