1. I'm excited to have the opportunity to do what I know God is calling me to do. There is no more satisfying place for any of us to be in our lives than in the center of God's will. Jesus is our great example in all things in life. So, I think there is a lot to learn from the words of Jesus as He was praying to the father regarding the suffering He was about to endure: "41 And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, 'Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.'" (Luke 22:41, 42 ESV, emphasis mine)
2. I'm excited to serve the people of Costa Rica. I did not grow up my whole life longing to go to Costa Rica. God never narrowed it down for me like that. He always just gave me a heart for people. So when we felt like God was telling us to go to Costa Rica, it was easy to start gaining a heart for the people. We even got excited when their Olympic team was introduced during the opening ceremonies. I didn't have a heart specific to Ticos when I was younger, but I definitely do now. I want to see young people come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and to see them make positive decisions in their lives. My heart breaks for little Costa Rican children who are being trafficked as sex slaves. I love Costa Rica (and I've yet to even go)!
3. I'm excited to serve alongside other missionaries and pastors for the purpose of God's glory. I didn't understand the scope of how much missionaries become a part of a family because now that I'm beginning to understand it more, I love it! We love seeing and hearing from other missionaries as they share their experiences. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Nobody wants to have to go it alone. We are no different. We long for and look forward to the opportunity to serve alongside others who share our hearts.
4. I'm excited to share in this endeavor with hundreds of other partners. Polly and I have been called to Costa Rica. We will be involved in many different ministries such as evangelism, discipleship, leadership training, compassion, and many more. Proverbs 25:25 says, "Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." (ESV) Polly and I are willing to come from a far country, and we believe that we have Good News to bring, but we need to be sent. That's the simple reality of it all. We cannot go unless we are sent. We need to have the prayer and financial support of people willing to partner with us. This makes the team that much bigger. By partnering with us through prayer and/or finances, you are a part of everything that we are involved with in Costa Rica. It's like you're going with us (except that you don't have to deal with 8 straight months of rain or get to climb the volcanoes, but that's the much less relevant stuff).
Now you may be reading this and saying to yourself, "Aha! I knew money would be mentioned eventually." Well, to be honest, it's unavoidable. Costa Rica isn't going to be free. Genevieve's diapers won't be free. We need money to live. That's just how it works. It always has and always will work that way here on earth. And since we're going as missionaries, we 1. won't have work visas and 2. wouldn't have the time to work a paying job and still do the things we're called to do there. So, we need to raise our budgets before we go. Why is "budgets" plural here? Well, because we have two budgets: one cash budget and one monthly budget. What's the difference? Our cash budget is used for one-time purchases or services (i.e. language school, flights to and from Costa Rica, a vehicle, etc.) while our monthly budget is used for recurring purchases or services (i.e. rent, groceries, insurance, gas, etc.).
Now you may be saying, "Well that sounds great and I understand why they need it, but I don't have enough money to meet all their needs for Costa Rica." Believe me when I say that I hear what you're saying. The great thing, however, is that I'm not asking you to give enough money to meet all our needs. I'm simply asking if you would consider being a part of the team of people working together to accomplish the goal. On March 28, 1990, the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-113. In that game, Michael Jordan scored an astonishing 69 points. Asked about the feat after the game, Bulls rookie Stacey King's famously quipped, "I'll always remember this as the night that Michael Jordan and I combined for 70 points." Maybe you don't have the financial flexibility to throw in $69, but maybe you can give $1. Maybe you can't give $100, but you can give $5 or $10. Maybe you can't give $25 or $50 each month, but you can give $5 or $10 each month. Maybe you can't commit monthly but could give $1,000 as a one-time gift. Or maybe you could give $100 or maybe $10 or maybe $1. I'm not asking anyone to partner with a donation beyond their means (that's for individuals to decide). I'm asking for people who believe in us and what we're doing to partner with a donation comfortable for them. Maybe it means sacrificing one Starbucks drink a month or something along those lines. Maybe it won't mean any additional sacrifice at all. Only you know that.
Is is hard to ask people for money? Well, that depends. I've been raising money for charities/ministries for much of my life. I've never really had any trouble asking. But when it's for the ministry we're involved with, it does make it a little harder. So, how can I do it? Because it's necessary to accomplish the task I'm so passionate about. And because I know that I have given/give to missionaries and other charities/ministries. I'm not asking anyone to do anything that I haven't and don't still continue to do.
You know what else is exciting? Assemblies of God World Missions just updated our giving page to be more user friendly. Donors can now:
- Sign up for recurring credit card donations, including monthly commitments.
- Opt to share their e-mail address.
- Do the above things immediately as a guest without setting up an account first.
- Using an account has benefits though, such as the bullet items below.
- People can use their AGPassport user name and password to log in to giving.ag.org.
- Manage their giving online without having to call the national office.
- Securely save multiple credit cards online and choose between them for future donations or give to past designations (“one click” checkout).
- Manage multiple recurring schedules.
- Optimize their giving on their smartphones/tablets.
- Track donations over time and graph them.
- Print off their own annual giving receipts. Please note that this will now be the only place where you can get your own receipt (for tax purposes) for giving to General Council accounts.
So, hopefully you can see my excitement for Costa Rica. And hopefully you understand my heart and the need to discuss the finances. Please know that I won't be offended by or think any less of anyone who chooses not to partner with us financially. We ask that you still think of us in your prayer and pray that God would send the right people to partner with us. We also would love to add you to our newsletter distribution list if you have yet to do so. We know that God will provide and we will arrive in Costa Rica when He chooses. Are you willing to allow Him to use you to be part of the solution in partnering with us!