Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Thursday, October 11, 2012

As Time Continues...

...I feel like I am standing still.  Actually, I sort of feel like I'm moving backwards.  I had high hopes a few months ago that this month of October would be a relaxing one before I had to begin packing in November.  I've lost all hope of that.

Less than three months from now we hope to be in Africa.  And before last week, that was seeming more and more like a fact and less and less like a hope.  Now, there is one thing standing in our way.  There is a word that makes people squirm in their seats.  There is one thing that I am increasingly tired of talking about.


Over the past months, I have gotten very used to discussing money and our needs in order to move to and serve in Africa.  I'm still tired of it, but at least it has gotten easier.  And I have seen God provide for our support through many unsuspecting avenues.  And yet now, as we sit a little over a month and a half from the financial cut off date for leaving in January, I see the dollar signs and my faith seems as big as a grain of salt.

To me, our monthly support seems so close and yet so far away.  We have about $550/month that still remains.  A few weeks ago, we were much closer to being set on our monthly support.  Now we have second Baby Saint on the way and our monthly requirements went up.  I am trying not to be anxious about that and trust that God knew we would be expecting at this time and He will provide for our needs.

Our outgoing expenses have been a big headache.  For starters, the ~$37,000 target was like sticker shock at its worst.  About $22,000 of that covers everything we need in order to move to Africa, including our medical exams, shots, support mail outs, airfare, extra baggage allowances, language acquisition course, house set up (to furnish our rental home) and appliance set up (since rentals don't come with any), our orientation school, and I think that is about all.  On top of all that, we also have to purchase a rough and tumble vehicle for traversing the Lesotho mountains.  That's an additional $15,000, which includes the $2,000+ in taxes we get to pay for it.  Right now, we have everything except for the car fund covered.  That means we still have around $15,000 more that has to be raised before we can be cleared to leave.

Both our monthly and outgoing numbers seem high to us.  I've had people tell me that I shouldn't feel guilty about the amount of money it requires to be a foreign missionary and that I shouldn't expect to survive on next to nothing simply because we live on "other people's money."  We don't look at it as other people's money; it's God's money.  We understand that people give to the Lord and the Lord provides for our needs.  I've also heard it asked why our targets are where they are since the cost of living in Africa is significantly lower than it is here in the US.  The only way I can explain it is, as missionaries, there are many things within our budget which wouldn't be necessary for the average American.  For instance, we have to put a significant amount of money away each month to eventually bring our family back for furlough.  We also have to pay a ~12% administration fee to cover the services AIM's offices provide for us.  And we have factored into our budget money to cover ministry expenses like regular country-wide travel.
I will say that although the numbers seem high, when I see the itemized list, I understand perfectly why so much money is required.  Believe it or not (and I didn't), the ~$1,000 allotted in our outgoing for medical expenses appears to be less than we're gonna need for physical exams, blood work and shots for just Jonathan and me.

I like a plan.  I like to be prepared well in advance.  I like all my ducks to be in a row.  Having no idea where the money is going to come from puts me in a tough situation.  How many times have I heard, "God is never in a hurry, but always on time"?  While I believe that, I have a really hard time accepting it.  I don't want to be nervous on Thanksgiving that our money isn't going to be there on December 1st.   I'm finding it nearly impossible to not be anxious about where the money is going to come from.

We really are trusting that God will provide in time.  We have to because we can't wait until December 1st to begin getting shots, packing up our apartment, planning what we'll need to take or leave behind.  We are planning to move out of our apartment in the middle of December to save on rent since we'll be traveling a lot between the holidays and visiting with our families before we move.  Another reason it all seems so unnerving is that for over a year I've been anticipating a move in January.  Now that things look unsure, I'm struggling as I try to prepare to leave everyone without really knowing if we'll be leaving then.  The remaining funds seem like a giant cloud following me around daily.  We are praying big things and expecting big answers.  Will you join us?

**I wrote this blog on Tuesday.  Then Wednesday happened.  To be continued.....**

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