“I really enjoyed our time with them.”
“I love them so much!”
“I’m so grateful to have people like them in our lives.”
Those are just a sampling of some of the phrases that Bekah and I continually said to each other over the last two weeks while we were in the United States. Clearly, we said many things like that in regards to our families. We love them all very much, and we enjoyed spending time with them, but we are always surprised by the number of times we found ourselves saying that sort of thing after speaking with people whom we only met through speaking engagements and fundraising.
When Bekah and I first decided to become self-funded field personnel, if you had told us that fundraising would be one of the most meaningful parts of our ministry I think we would have laughed in your face. No one likes asking for money; it’s still very difficult for us to do so. We’re simply not used to doing that, but what we have learned through this process is that, when fundraising, we are doing so much more than asking for money. We are building relationships. We are connecting ourselves to the Kingdom work that is going on in the churches we visit, and they are connecting to the ministry we have in Chile. Both sides are mutually encouraged, and the money is almost of secondary importance.
We were in the United States for a very short two weeks. During those two weeks we visited five different churches, both of our families, and made a whirlwind trip to Atlanta and back to visit friends. Even though the trip left us exhausted it also left us feeling better than ever. Part of the reason it left us feeling so great, is that we got to visit many of our fundraising partners. We decided ahead of time that we weren’t going to make pleas for money; at this point we just wanted to touch base, to give updates about what we are doing, and to give one more physical connection to the work they are supporting.
As always, we were humbled by the outpouring of love and acceptance by those we met with. Not only that but we were able to be ministered to by loved ones, by pastors, and by friends. It was, and always will be, a humbling yet encouraging experience as we see how large our family is becoming. In Matthew 19 Jesus said, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much.” That has always been a hard statement to me, the idea of leaving family for Christ is something we often try to soften. I understand that the context in which he said this was very different than ours. For us to follow Christ I don’t have to actually turn my back on those I love, but Bekah and I have had to place a large distance between ourselves and our family. But this passage has been proven true already in our lives. We still have and love our families and are grateful for their support, but at the same time our family is growing everyday, with partners in the US we love to visit and newfound friends here in Chile who also love, support, and encourage us.
Thank you to all who form part of our spiritual family. If you are reading this, you most likely are part of that vast network that sustains, encourages, and ministers to us on a daily basis. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.