Monday, September 27, 2010

Ministry Partner Update

Hi all! So currently, I am still right around 19% and need to be at 50% by this Friday.  Please be praying for the Lord's provision for that and remember that giving something is more than giving nothing.  That may seem like a silly statement, but I've realized that a lot of people feel like because they can't give 'a lot', that they shouldn't give anything at all.  No amount is too small.  It's a blessing to share this ministry with others, this ministry isn't just me it's all those who give of their financial resources and their prayers.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Boldness in Asking and the Three Parts of Missions

Possibly one of the most humbling experiences I've ever had is Ministry Partner Development.  I talk to people I have never met and couldn't pick out in a crowd, I talk to people I've known for months or years.  But one of the strangest challenges in MPD is boldness in asking.

Basically, I'm supposed to ask everyone; which, at first, didn't seem so challenging.  But the more invested I got into MPD, the more of a challenge it was for me to simply ask people, familiar or not.  Don't get me wrong, I love people (I'm such an extrovert), and I love talking about what I'll be doing, but asking people to join me in this ministry is pretty tough for me at times.  It's not the sharing what I'll be doing and those details that makes me nervous, it's the asking people to financially support this ministry that can be quite the obstacle.

The truth is: people are defensive about their money.  If they/we feel like someone is trying to finagle money out of them, they get pretty offended and offensive.  I understand, I can get the same way if I feel like I'm being scammed...but the great thing is that I'm not finagling money!

There are three parts to missions: praying, giving, and going.  I have been fortunate to be a part of each of these and intend to continue forever and always in some capacity!  Prayer is important because satan doesn't want the Gospel to spread and so we must "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication..." (Ephesians 6:13-18a).

Lets face it, 'everything' needs money, missions isn't excluded from this.  Transportation, shelter, food, visas, etc, all these things take money and who else to fund them but people who have the resources and/or who are willing to make sacrifices so that they can give to God's Kingdom.  Giving to missions is just as important as physically going to missions.  It truly is a partnership because without one, the other would not exist.

Finally, there's going...which is what I'll be doing this coming year.  I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory, I mean people GO to the far corners of the earth.  Jesus told us to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20a).  John Piper said "Missions exist because worship doesn't", this means that because there are people and parts of the world that do not know the Living God and who do not worship the True God, missions are necessary to help make this happen.  Missions are the Heart and Hands of God going to His beloved Creation and offering His Love, Grace, Forgiveness, Mercy, and best of all a relationship with the Creator of all things good!

So when I'm asking people if they would like to join me in this ministry, I'm not asking them to fund a soul-searching-post-graduation trip for me (this is, in fact, not about my soul, but about the lost souls), I'm asking them to help advance God's Kingdom by taking part in missions.  I'm asking them to be a part of something bigger than any of us could imagine.  I'm asking them to help fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day

As I write this entry, I am dealing with a lot of emotions, mostly (if not all) unpleasant ones.  Today was Labor Day, my long weekend was the best in a while, but there was one big spoiler: today the Argentina STINT teams left for Argentina.  Obviously I am not with that group tonight as I have student teaching this last semester and will be joining them post-graduation in January.  "Oh well, that's only a few short months away" some have said to me; but the truth is, it doesn't feel short to me.  I have wanted to be a missionary in this capacity for my whole life, so having "a few short months" in my way is a bit too suspenseful for me.

Today Bridgette (who will be STINTing in Chile come January) and I went up to Raleigh-Durham Airport to see off two members of the La Plata, Argentina Team.  I've known this day would come for several months now, but it actually happened!  At the airport, were the STINTers' mom's and brothers, and some friends, and then Bridgette and I.  I didn't expect for it to be as emotional for me; I didn't cry like others there, but I certainly wanted to go with them on that plane!

Perhaps it seems strange that I would be so emotional, or you wonder what emotions are plaguing me right now.

At STINT Briefing a few weeks ago in Chicago, the Argentina (and Chile) STINT teams spent every moment together.  It was like old friends getting together and making the best of their short time together.  To me, it felt like we had been friends forever and that we were all simply meant to be together.  In four words:  We make sense together.  I can't recall a time when a team that I was a part connected so easily and so organically; it's beautiful to have that type of relationship.  So when I say stuff like "I miss my STINT team", I legitimately do.  I don't just want to be down in Argentina, I want to be with them in Argentina.

And now the more complicated part, the emotions!  It's hard for me to put my finger on one exact emotion, there's a whole slew, even ones I don't know words for.  I feel sad that I won't be able to join them until January.  I feel frustrated because I still have a lot of support to raise (around 80%) and I have been working hard and feeling very little progress.  I feel scared because I don't know what these next few months entail with student teaching and Ministry Partner Development; I'm also scared that it'll be too much for me to handle and balance.  I feel disappointed in myself because if I had been better in school I would have graduated in May and would be on that plane right now.  I feel anticipatory of how the Lord will provide the $33,000 total; and I look forward to seeing what this semester does to His and my relationship.  I am hopeful that I will continue to learn what it means to truly trust Him for everything and to authentically live that out each day.  There are more emotions that I can't explain, but these are the big'uns!

When I returned home from RDU (airport), I finally cried.  I felt embarrassed that I would cry over something so unavoidable and predictable, but then I realized I wasn't just crying because I would miss my team, I realized I was full of somewhat unresolved and unrealized emotions.  After a brief (but still too long) pity-party I turned to the Lord for comfort and guidance.  I told Him a little of how I was feeling, about how badly I wanted to be in Argentina with my team right now and how I want to trust Him with everything.  He told me this: "Beloved, I have you here for a purpose.  Let your life shine while here, this isn't a holding tank/room.  Be obedient and love here. I AM in control, you can trust Me.  I AM faithful.  Coléa, I know you're sad, but I bring joy not sadness.  It's okay to want to join them, but don't feel like you're not supposed to be here.  I have you right where I want you.  Trust Me!  Jeremiah 29:11, trust Me with every bit of you, beloved.  It'll be okay.  Stay focused on Me and everything will be fine.  I love you, My child, and I am sovereign.  Trust Me." After hearing from Him, I felt much better; He comforted me.

I still am bummed that I'm not leaving now, but it delights me to know that God is still using me here in Greensboro.  I am now happily anticipatory of looking back at what the Lord has done in my live and others this semester.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

funny video about Ministry Partner Development

Here's a funny music video someone made who is in the process of support raising (Ministry Partner Development) to join staff with Campus Crusade for Christ.  It's pretty funny, but this is how it feels at times.  Enjoy!