June 25, 2009

Should I Stay or Should I Go? -- part 2

If you’re just joining in, you might want to read Part 1 before you read today's entry. Sorry for it's length...

Each day I repeated the hopeful journey to the mailbox and each day I returned disappointed. Yes, we received a few greatly appreciated donations, but they left us far behind the almost $2,000 we still needed. Many people had told me they planned to make a donation, but still the mailbox remained largely vacant. I tried not to get discouraged and avowed to trust God to make this happen. Lord, we’re doing this for you. I know if it’s your will the money will come.

But as the weeks went by and our next fundraising deadline approached my prayer pleas got more urgent. Lord, um, can you hurry? A couple more donations trickled in, but the deficit loomed large.

Dan and I had already contributed a good amount and counted on fundraising to cover the rest. Did God want us to give more? As we pondered that thought, a major home repair cropped up wiping out the possibility of covering the shortfall on our own.

To add to our stress, my husband received news about a program he was scheduled to work on for most of the summer. Earlier in the year he’d taken himself out of the rotation for the two weeks we’d be gone in July. (Being self-employed, saying “no” to known business is a real sacrifice). Now, according to the just-released schedule, since he wasn’t available for the two weeks of our trip he hadn’t been given ANY of the July dates. Just like that, an entire month’s income evaporated.

Lord, why?! We’re we moving backward financially, not forward! What are you telling us?

I talked to a couple of friends about our difficulties raising money. Independently they both they suggested one of us not go. It’s funny, but I hadn’t even considered that option. Sure, leaving one person at home was the easy answer and provided an immediate solution (although how would we decide who?!), but it didn’t seem like the right answer. Inside I just knew we had to press on and have faith.

But, doubt, self-pity and even anger started to creep in. Why is it so difficult? Why isn’t God coming through for us? Why aren’t we receiving the support of family and friends as I expected? I knew I couldn’t let these toxic thoughts take root, so I sought wisdom from our pastor.

He listened to my tale of woe. “Maybe God doesn’t want us to go,” I rued. “What should we do?” After hearing me out, he counseled, “I don’t think God's telling you not to go. Remind people about the upcoming deadline because often they intend to give, but forget. And keep praying.”

The trip organizer extended our deadline and Dan and I hunkered down. Honestly, I hoped for a dramatic solution. You know, the kind of answer that leaves you with goosebumps and a sense of awe—like receiving an unexpected check from the insurance company for exactly the amount needed.

That didn’t happen, but a few days after my chat with our pastor, we received two large and unexpected donations. Then several “sorry, I buried this under a pile” checks arrived. And a few more followed. I even offered one-on-one training sessions for my technologically challenged friends in exchange for a donation.

Amazingly, within about a week we went from questioning our ability to go to being within $16 of our minimum goal!

Then came the donation that put us over the edge. It was from a dear friend who has a heart for missions, but is in a very difficult spot financially. I was so moved because I know her offering came from a place of sacrifice and love. Thank you Lord, for her generous example.

Again and again we’ve seen this example played out. Those struggling financially, out of work and living on a fixed or reduced income represent the majority of contributors to our trip. Like the woman at the well who gave two coins, each has set an example of generosity I hope to demonstate for years to come.

As if on cue, God just provided an unexpected ending to this story. . .

Needing a break from writing, I just went outside to check today’s mail. Amid the bills, circulars and junk I saw an envelope inscribed with my 90-year-old grandmother’s familiar writing. I sat at my desk, anxious to read her note and a check fluttered onto my lap. My grandmother lives a modest life without any extravagance I’ve ever seen. I glanced at her check and saw that it was about what I would have expected…until I looked again. I’d dropped a zero. As I write this, we just received our largest donation to date!

I am awed by her generosity and at a loss for words.

In God's abundance and faithfulness, we are now well over our minimum goal. Every additional dollar we raise will be put directly to the project, allowing our group to do even more when we're in the DR. We pray God multiplies these offerings into an overflowing bounty, both physically and spiritually.

Once again, in my impatience, God's timing was not my timing, but in his great faithfulness He has worked all things for good. And made straight the path that leads my family and I to the Domincan Republic . . . in less than four weeks.
"Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.'" (Mark 12:42-44)

Stay tuned for more as our departure date approaches.


Anonymous said...

Lovely story! So, are the both of you planning to go, or will one of you need to stay behind? (sorry if I missed that)

I love mission trips. I only hope that when my son is older, I can go on many more! I just don't think a toddler would be best suited on a mission trip ;)

Terri Tiffany said...

Praise God! Your post gave me a wonderful sense of renewed hope that God answers and takes cares of us even in the difficult places.

Sue J. said...

I am so glad that you didn't hold back a thought. Because, too often, reading our Christian magazines, we read these stories that have that almost too perfect God factor that, for some, almost makes you doubt. Like, it's TOO perfect....could never happen again.

To hear your internal dialogue--C'mon! If we're honest, we're all thinking similar thoughts--is what allows us to truly see God working, not just in your provision but in increasing your faith.

Although I know He will bless you all on this trip, and you will have stories to share upon your return, I will remember how God prepared you so that you could make this trip at all. He's got plans!

I remember your posts from the New Year, wondering about where God was going to lead you. This ties right in, doesn't it?

Carol said...

Hey Kelly,
I've not been by in awhile, and so glad I stoped by to read this story. As our youth group prepares to go to Nicaragua and raise funds. You prompted me to remember that their are always opportunity to share what God's given us with others.

Thank you.

Cheryl Barker said...

What an amazing testimony to God's faithful provision! So glad it's a "go" for all of you. Will look forward to hearing more about it in the weeks to come.

Dan said...

Grandma Weiland rocks! I didn't know this until I read it myself just now. God does occasionally mess with our heads, but He always comes through, doesn't He? Amazing. (But, it shouldn't be, should it?)

Peggy said...

Dear Friend.....
Thank you for helping me house clean on Wednesday. The morning was spent with great joy with you and I am so very happy that the family are all able to go to the DR. together.
I know that you will be truly blessed while there.
As I have sponsered a young girl there for many years, I know of the joy, bright spirit and Love of God that they all share there.
May God richly bless you and the family as you venture on this mission together,
Blessings and Love....Peggy

Mary DeMuth said...

Wow, that's a wonderful, faith-building story! Thanks for sharing your journey!

Chatty Kelly said...

Yay Grandma! What a great story, and I love the Bible verse you picked to go along.


Sassy Granny ... said...

What a testimony to God's faithfulness, and to the love of friends & family!


Anonymous said...

I'm smiling, crying, laughing and have the goose bumps!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

What a blessing to be able to go as a family of missionaries this year. My son is desperate for me to go back with him to Bolivia next year. I'm seriously considering the journey!

On another note, congrats on your article in P31. It was waiting for me in my mailbox today, and I immediately sifted through to glance at contributors. How thrilled I was to see your name in print.

And thanks for the reminder to "buck up."

A well-deserved honor, friend.


PS: Our God is faithful to provide, whether to the DR, via a magazine or in a beautiful moment of a grandmother's receiving.

Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...

Hi, Kelly! I read part 1 and part 11....love this testimony of His faithfulness and His plan! I so believe that He builds our faith with deep roots in those "11th hour answers to prayer". (and He fleshes out the "my way" in our hearts) And God bless your grandmother! Wow!

I know...often we want the goosebumps...and sometimes we get them...but often our awesome God answers in very precious and ordinary ways...through unexpected vessels.

Very excited for your family missions trip! Will be lifting you up in prayer and watching for all that He does in and through you all! What a precious time!

Saleslady371 said...

I enjoyed reading how God was faithful but also your faith to wait on Him!

bettyp said...

May God Bless you!!!!