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.