I do not know about you but I am horrible when it comes to admitting need. I can tell you about the work that is being done or about the kids and families that we work with but when it comes to stating a need, I lock up. I remember when the doctor diagnosed my cancer 5 years ago, I did not want to tell my family. I did not want to admit that there was something in my life that was beyond my control. I knew that God was big enough to lead me through it but I denied the rightful place of believers to walk out the journey with me.
In missions I often find myself in similar situation. I love the work that I do and know that God has called me to it. I do not doubt He is the one that initiated the work and opened the doors for me to be part of it. I even know that He is responsible for meeting my physical needs when I am doing the work He calls me to. Where I struggle is in admitting that it is not just my work. He has called and is calling people to partner in this work to advance His kingdom. I struggle to admit that I need them in order to do what I am called to do and that they need me to do it because God has put this work on their hearts. He has called us to partner together for His kingdom.
When I look around, I see a lot of missionaries doing great work. They are sharing the Gospel and meeting the needs of others and doing it with a servant's heart. They love the people that they serve and do it in order for the Glory of Jesus to be seen in the earth. I hope that I too am reflecting Jesus this way in my work. They have so many needs and I feel like my asking somehow cuts into their support and many of them are friends. I would not want to hinder them by telling my needs. I should just have enough faith to let God provide.
That sounds altruistic but really I am beginning to see that it is a form of spiritual pride. The Bible tells us to bear one another's burdens. To want to help others without being open and vulnerable about my life is a form of holding myself in spiritual superiority. In reality, it is pride and fear. How can I lead if I have unmet needs? How can people see God working through me if I need something other than Him? Put on the mask of strength and do not let people see inside. You and God will get through this.
The reality is that God sets us in a body. He does not call us to independence or even to depend solely on Him. While He is our primary source, He calls us to live in a body and for each of us to supply, support and strengthen the parts of the body around us. He could provide every need without the body but then we would not develop the healthy interdependence that He desires us to have. We would not have unity if we are all off doing our own thing without relationships with one another. He designed us to live in community and to learn to lean on one another. I do not have everything that I need to do the work that I am called to and neither do you. We all were created to work together as a living and dynamic organism to accomplish the purpose of evangelism, discipleship and serving the world.
With this in mind I wanted to share a little bit about my upcoming year. I will again be in Guatemala working in the communities of Zapote and Membrillal. We will be working with about 13 teams over 20 weeks doing construction, medical clinics and food production. We are serving these communities with the Gospel and with physical help as well with the dual goals of community independence and a thriving Church in the community. These things are already taking place and growing. Zapote has 200 students in the school and about 270 people in the Church. Membrillal is just beginning to see the Church take off and the school will have about 110 students next year.
As for me, I am committed to this work and know that God has called me to be there. For next year I will have several expenses. The government of Guatemala requires me to have $12,000 of verifiable support to begin the process of applying for residence and so that is my baseline. It would provide for things like Spanish classes, daily living expenses and a few occasional luxuries like a weekend away from the work. It would also pay for my airfare to the States twice a year. Beyond that, I would like to raise $5,000 to $7,000 this year in order to buy some form of transportation. I considered a motorcycle because of affordability but there are to many limitations. Something with 4 wheels is much more suited to all of the things that I need it for.
I do not want to sound ungrateful for all of the past giving because I am not and I do not want anybody to give unless God is directing them to. I know many others that are serving also and want you only to give where God is directing you. I do want to ask you all to pray though and support fully the one or the few that God is calling you to support. In missions. we are happy to go and do the work that we are called to but we need the body to support that work for it to continue. Let God lead you but please support the missions that He calls you to.
If you are called to support me, you can mail your support to
Life Church Morris
C/O San Lucas Missions
P.O. Box 679
Morris, IL 60450
or if you feel led to support Jean and Lauren as they prepare to go you can mail support to the same address but C/O Santiago Missions.
Thank you all for your friendship, support and prayers.