This weekend, Jason, Emilia and I loaded up the car for an overnight trip to the General Baptist Internation Missions Headquarters in Poplar Bluff, MO. There was a meet and greet dinner on Sunday night for all SIX Missionary candidates who are currently working towards getting on the field. According to the Missions Director, this is the most people to be sent out at a single time maybe in GBIM's history! How awesome is that?! What's more- none of these missionaries were recruited. That means God has been stirring in each of our lives individually and brought us all together to start this journey together.
One couple is going to the Philippines, probably Fall 2013. There is a single lady and a single college graduate man both going to Honduras- I didn't get a chance to ask them after their timeline meeting to see when they will leave. There are a few events in the next several months that we will all attend together, so it was really great to meet them and start making connections. Plus, it's really cool to be around other people who understand exactly what we're working towards.
Monday was a VERY informational day and my head is still swirling a little...the morning was spent going through some practical information regarding raising support- Dos and Don'ts of Fundraising, Prioritizing lists, Contact lists, Support letters, and so on. It was a lot of great information- exactly what I have been trying to locate for a while now. Jason and I have quite a bit of homework to start on! We have our basic support list put together (thank you, Christmas card list!), but now we have to start looking at who to contact, how to contact and when. In addition to that, one of the directors will be setting up meetings for Jason at area GB churches to ask for support as well. By local, I mean Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, and Minnesota. Whew! Do you want to see some pretty exciting numbers??
OK, our Launch Date is officially JULY 24, 2012! That means 196 DAYS until we board the plane headed for Saipan. WOW!!! Another exciting number- the number of Shares we must raise in order to go = 200. Let me explain how this works- a "Share" is $10/month or $120/year. GB works their support in shares. So, a person who wants to contribute $50/month to our ministry would commit to 5 shares. Make sense? (Different than what I've even been used to, but everyone in the General Baptist Association understands it, so why mess with a good thing!) Our number of shares is exciting because we know through God's blessing, this is definitely attainable! Yes, it is roughly 1 share per day until we leave...but we hope for our Support Team Members to each contribute at least 2 shares, and more as they feel led. In addition to the 200 monthly shares, we also have to build up $20,000 in overhead. This will cover our travel, shipping (yay!), other expenses once on Saipan as we get settled. This number seems a little more daunting to me, but I know God will provide and I'm praying the churches we visit (as well as our friends and family) are as passionate about this ministry as we are!
Now, since our launch date is quickly approaching, and Jason has a list of 37 churches to hopefully visit, that means our time is going to start Flying. Sam, the director we are working with, counted that we have 19 Sundays to visit churches. We hope to be able to visit 2 in one day, depending on locations- one in the morning and one for the evening service.
(Are you feeling overwhelmed and/or excited yet??) I am!! On my agenda for today (besides working and paying bills, yuck) is putting the finishing touches on our support letter and update our support list with the additional names Jason and I discussed on our trip home last night. Something that hit us during the training was that we shouldn't exclude people from our list because we know they "won't give". How can God bless us through someone if they are never even asked? Not to mention, we need the support and prayer of ALL our loved ones- whether they decide to support our ministry in Saipan or not is not up to us. All we can do is explain all the exciting things we hope to do for God and ask them to join us and aid in this ministry.
Another task I have to start preparing myself for...Public Speaking (insert scary music here...). It was my hope to let Jason do most of our speaking at the visits, and he definitely still will. But, I need to be ready and willing to speak at Ladies' Groups, small groups, etc. Not to mention, I will have a number of opportunities to discuss everything personally with my girl friends. I don't need to push that all on J to talk to their spouses. Plus, I have girl friends who aren't married- so if I don't buckle down and talk with them, who will? My level of responsibility has increased, and I'm realizing I should have been working on that well before now. (Scared!)
Ever present in my mind is making sure Emilia's life remains stable. So far, we are working harder to keep our attitudes in check and good energy in our home. Kids can sense Every emotion of their parents, and they feed on them. We want to keep the enthusiasm and excitement of what we're doing, and hopefully those will be the emotions she clings to.
So, like I said, it was an overwhelmingly exciting weekend! There is a lot, a LOT, to do, but God is faithful. Now, let's get busy!!