Posts Tagged With: faith

Shop ’til you drop

We’ve finished drawing the house plans and calculating most of the supplies we’ll need. We’ve counted and calculated and crunched numbers ’til our brains hurt. Now, the really fun part begins…shopping!! We get to go around town, from store to store, trying to find the supplies we’ll need. There is no “Home Depot” or “Lowe’s” here, just a few hardware stores that sometimes have things in stock…and sometimes not. 🙂 We have figured out how much we need of different materials, so now we just find things, figure out the best deals, and start buying supplies.

Buying roofing iron

Buying roofing iron

We’ve ordered some of the “big” things, like corrugated roofing iron, wood (for part of the house; the Mouk are cutting the wood for the house frame), and a generator. The rest of the materials — like fly wire (for screens), 220v wiring, nails, cement, polyurethane, toilet, sinks, etc. — we’ll find, buy, load into a van or truck, and bring back here to Hoskins. I (Rachel) am not usually a fan of shopping, but buying supplies for housebuilding is actually pretty exciting, and I enjoy keeping track of all the lists, price quotes, receipts, etc as we shop. Josiah is great at finding good deals, or knowing the best place to look for those hard-to-find items.

After we bring home the supplies we’ve bought, we get to pack the supplies into boxes, totes, or storage drums. Then we weigh them and label them (with their weight, our name, and the location they’re going to) so that they can be transported into Mouk, either by single-engine plane or truck/boat/dump truck.

Learn more about housebuilding costs and how you can be a part

See our first post about housebuilding

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11 days

"We want to be a part of what God is doing through you guys"

"We want to join your support team"

"Hey, how do we support you guys?"

We’ve heard these phrases a number of times recently. Honestly, the last month and a half have been a blur. It seems like just yesterday it was the middle of May and we were at 39%, and now I turn around and it’s the end of June and we’re at 65% of our monthly support. To say God has blown us away with His provision would be an extreme understatement.

When we officially started our support raising journey in October 2014, we knew we were embarking on an adventure unlike anything we had experienced before. Even though we’re both missionary kids, and we’ve seen God provide for our parents countless times, it was exciting to launch out into our own journey of trusting God and watching Him show His faithfulness in our own lives.

The last 8 months have been like a roller coaster ride of emotions as we’ve had good days, bad days, and everything in between. Sometimes are stomachs are in knots, other times we’re just hanging on for dear life.

Besides feeling like a roller coaster, our journey of watching God raise up our support team has felt an awful lot like working out or training for a marathon. God is using this pre-field time right now to prepare us for what He has for us down the road. He keeps stretching our faith, bringing us to the limit of our strength and our ability to endure. As we’ve watched our support level climb slowly, it has strengthened our faith muscles. As we’ve gone through long stretches without seeing any tangible results, that also strengthens our faith muscles.

We’re now 11 days from leaving for Papua New Guinea, and God is still stretching our faith muscles. Sometimes it seems impossible in our tiny human minds to comprehend how in the world God will provide the 10% support we need in time for us to be able to buy our tickets and leave at the end of next week. But we have seen the track record that God has all throughout history — from Abraham, to Nehemiah, to Paul, to now. Over and over, He has provided for His work and His people in His own way and time.

God recently encouraged me through Romans 4, where Paul describes how Abraham trusted God to do what He said He would do. Abraham hoped "against all hope". He "did not weaken in faith" when he considered the impossibility of the situation. He "did not waver through unbelief" but "was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God" because he was "fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He promised." Sounds like God was stretching Abraham’s faith, too!

Seeing God’s faithfulness through time, and over the last 8 months of our lives helps strengthen our faith that God will provide for us. He will get us to Papua New Guinea this July. These next 11 days don’t need to be days of worry, anxiety, or stress. Yes, God is still stretching our faith right now. But now is not the time to weaken in faith or falter in running the race. God is on the move, He is working, and we (along with everyone else) get to watch God display His faithfulness in our lives yet again. And our journey of trusting God is just beginning.

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“I’m sorry, but according to our records, you still haven’t received approval for your visas,” the lady from the Papua New Guinea embassy explained. This was the third time I’d called to check on the status of our visas. The New Tribes missionaries in Papua New Guinea who were helping us with our paperwork had applied for approval for our visas in mid-March, and we’d applied for our visas through the PNG embassy in Washington, D.C. at the end of April. “Usually,” we were told, “the process only takes 15 business days”. It had been two months. What was the hold up? We kept waiting, kept praying. Our faithful prayer warriors were on their knees for us, asking God to grant us our visas soon. And then we checked the mail. We were looking for some packages that had items we needed to pack for Papua New Guinea. When we picked up our stack of packages, however, there was a white priority mail envelope in the stack. We opened it, peeked inside, and there they were. Our passports, with the visas stamped inside them! We had been so busy packing and getting ready to leave for Papua New Guinea. And then out of the blue, God provided our visas when we were least expecting it! Praise Him! Now that we have both our Papua New Guinea work permits, and our PNG visas, we are essentially done with our paperwork!

Josiah & Rachel with PNG Visas blurred

We have our visas!

So what’s left to do?

  • we need to set up our retirement and get some stuff ready to ship to PNG
  • we need to clean our email list (fix email addresses that have bounced, etc)
  • we need 19% more monthly support ($1,172)
  • then we can buy our plane tickets
  • then there’s some paperwork to fill out for New Tribes Mission
  • we have some last minute details to work out (canceling phone plan and car insurance)
  • pack our carry-ons
  • say goodbye and board the plane!

Thank you so much for praying for us over these past several months. Please keep praying for us in these last 4 weeks in the United States!

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Hold the Ropes!!

On January 19, 1888, the old historic Knox Church was filled to capacity.  [At the Goforths’ farewell meeting], one particularly memorable story was told there of a young couple bidding farewell to their home church as they were about to leave for an African field known as “The White Man’s Grave.”  The husband said , “My wife and I have a strange dread in going.  We feel much as if we were going down into a pit.  We are willing to take the risk and to go if you, our home circle, will promise to hold the ropes.”  One and all promised.

Less than two years passed when the wife and the little one God had given them succumbed to the dreaded fever.  Soon the husband realized his days too were numbered.  Not waiting to send word home of his coming, he started back at once and arrived at the hour of the Wednesday prayer meeting.  He slipped in unnoticed, taking a back seat.  At the close of the meeting he went forward.  An awe came over the people, for death was written on his face.  He said:“I am your missionary.  My wife and child are buried in Africa and I have come home to die.  This evening I listened anxiously, as you prayed, for some mention of your missionary to see if you were keeping  your promise, but in vain!  You prayed for everything connected with yourselves and your home church, but you forgot your missionary.  I see now why I am a failure as a missionary.  It is because you have failed to hold the ropes!”

–From Jonathan Goforth, by Rosalind Goforth in the Men of Faith series.  P.36,37


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never late

Over the past few weeks, one of the most common questions we get from people is, “do you think you’ll make it by July? Do you think you’ll have enough support to go?” I’m not entirely sure what people are trying to communicate by this question. Are they asking how big our faith is? Or if we have doubts as to whether or not we’ll have sufficient support? Or are they asking whether or not we think we can conjure up enough financial support to make it to the field in July? The answer to the first question is – it’s not how big our faith is, but how big our God is. Do we have doubts? Yes, we do. There are days that I (Rachel) am convinced that we’ll never have enough support to go to Papua New Guinea. But honestly, the closer July gets, the fewer doubts I’ve had.

As to whether or not we’ll be able to raise enough support by July, that’s the wrong question. We’re not raising support. God is. There isn’t a thing we can do about our support level. It’s not like if we have just the right amount of meetings with the right churches, and we speak eloquently and passionately, then the support will start flooding in. It’s not like we can say the right things, answer all the questions, and build relationships with people in such a way that we convince everyone to support us. It’s not us. It’s God. We travel and travel and travel, we speak in churches, Josiah preaches, we share about our ministry with anyone and everyone, we answer dozens of questions, we meet hundreds of people. But when it comes down to it, we are not the ones raising up a team of people to send us over to Papua New Guinea. Our job is to be faithful in planting seeds, watering, and exposing people to the huge need for missionaries to go to the unreached. God is the One who will work in hearts to challenge them to be a part of what He’s doing around the world.

So do we think we’ll make it in July? Yes. For the last two years, it seems that God has been directing us to leave for Papua New Guinea in July 2015, so who are we to doubt Him now? We’ve been praying for several weeks that God would bring in our financial support in such a way that only HE gets the glory. We don’t want people to be able to think or say, “oh, Josiah and Rachel were the ones who raised enough support, so now they can go.” No, the only way we can make it to Papua New Guinea in July is if God shows up and provides for us. We want people to be blown away by how God provides for us. We want HIM to get the glory for getting us to Papua New Guinea. And whatever His timing is for providing that support is totally fine with us. As someone recently encouraged us: “God is always on the move. He is seldom early, but never late.”

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Missionary Myth #2: Missionaries are always begging for money

This is probably one of the most common myths we encounter while traveling around and speaking in churches. Another way to put this myth would be the belief that when missionaries are raising support (a.k.a. “on deputation”), they are just going around to friends and churches asking people to give them money. We really started encountering this belief once we transitioned from being missionary candidates in training to being missionaries headed to the mission field. Once we officially entered the phase known as “deputation”, or “ministry partnership development” or whatever you want to call it, some people began to avoid us like the plague, as if the fact that we were getting ready to go to the field meant that we were going to be begging every person we knew to sign on the dotted line and commit to giving us half their income each month.

To be honest with you, we don’t go around begging people for money. In fact, most of the time, we don’t even mention that we need financial support in order to live on the mission field. If people ask “do you need support?” we answer them, but we’re not going around shoving offering plates in people’s faces or trying to manipulate people into giving money to us. For us, it’s often hard to talk about even needing support because we’ve encountered people who believe that missionaries on deputation are just begging people for money, and that’s not at all how we want to come across. I don’t deny that there may be missionaries out there who beg people for money, but the vast majority of missionaries that I know don’t.

However, one thing God has been challenging Josiah and me with recently is that we shouldn’t be afraid of letting people know that we do need financial support. If this whole venture (being missionaries in Papua New Guinea) were about us, then it would be selfish to ask people to partner with us financially. But going to PNG as missionaries isn’t about us, it’s about God and about spreading His glory among the unreached. Reaching the unreached is on God’s heart, and He’s just given us the privilege of being a part of what He’s doing. Beyond that, He gives churches and believers here in the U.S. (and elsewhere) the privilege of being involved in what He’s doing in Papua New Guinea. God funds His work through His people giving generously and sacrificially. Believers here in the U.S. have the privilege and opportunity to be a part of what God is doing through giving, praying, encouraging, being our friends, etc. This is not about us needing money, it’s about God bringing the unreached to Himself. We get to be a part of what God is doing through being ones who are going, and you get to be a part through sending (and going). And God is the One who gets all the glory.  1 Corinthians 3:7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”  So, “Go, Send, or Disobey” – John Piper

Read our previous Missionary Myths

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roller coasters and rain

If you’ve seen me the last couple of weeks, you may or may have not have been able to tell that I’ve been pretty discouraged. Not just discouraged, but doubting. A couple of our meetings fell through, a church that I felt like we had bent over backwards for seemed to lost interest in having us come, even some of our housing arrangements were up in the air. And I got discouraged. I doubted. I doubted that our monthly support level would ever get to 75%. I doubted we’d ever reach our goal of 500+ people praying for us weekly. “At this rate,” I despaired, “we’ll never make it Papua New Guinea.”

Then a few people started supporting us on a monthly basis. God started providing money for our plane tickets. We got our housing arrangements figured out. And I was encouraged. Then I started thinking about how fast July is coming, and how much we have to do before we leave for PNG, and how slow our work permit and visa process is going, and I got discouraged again. As I was talking to God about my discouragement, it hit me: I was allowing circumstances to determine whether I was encouraged or discouraged. And that meant my focus was in the wrong place. Circumstances are always going to change. Finances will come and go, churches will get excited and then lose interest, people who care about us may forget about us, but these things shouldn’t define my emotional or spiritual well-being. As long as I look to the things going on around me, I’ll be riding a roller coaster – encouraged one minute, and discouraged the next. But if my focus is on God, who He is, and who I am in Him, it doesn’t matter what happens, I can find peace and joy in Him.

So not only do I not have to be discouraged right now, I also don’t have to doubt. “What would it look like,” I asked Josiah, “if I actually did believe God could get us to Papua New Guinea in July?” “Well,” he said, “you could prepare for rain. If you really are trusting God to provide the support we need and the paperwork to get into Papua New Guinea, then we’d better start getting ready to go!” So that’s what I’m doing. I’m believing that God wants us in Papua New Guinea this July (that is how He’s led us so far), so I’m getting ready to go. I’m writing our packing lists, getting our finances all in order, and looking into plane tickets. Like the story of the two farmers, I’m not just going to pray for God to send rain, I’m going to get out there and prepare my fields, ready and waiting for God to open the heavens and start pouring.

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my feet touching the water

“God, how do I know if You are really directing me like this? You still haven’t provided what I need! If You haven’t provided, does that mean this isn’t Your will? Or are You just trying to stretch my faith? What if I step out in faith and then You leave me hanging and don’t provide for my needs? What do I do then?”

That’s a quote from my journal, written about 2 weeks before I left for the Missionary Training Center. I had graduated from college debt-free (in May), but without a cent to my name. I worked at camp for a summer (running the Gift and Coffee Shop), and that money was going to help cover some of the funds for training ($2600 a semester), but I knew it still wouldn’t be enough. Plus I still didn’t have a car for training. I really wrestled in my heart, wondering if I was really doing what God wanted me to do, wondering if God was really going to provide. I asked God to hurry up and provide for me so that I could then step out and follow Him. I didn’t want to step out in faith unless He first showed up and provided for me.

But is that how it works?

In my reading through the Bible in 90 days, I recently came across the passage in Joshua 3, where the Israelites are getting ready to cross the Jordan river (at flood stage). The priests are instructed to step into the water so that God will part the waters before them for the Israelites to cross the river on dry ground. God doesn’t part the waters and provide a way for them through the river until the priests actually step out in faith and their feet touch the water.

In essence, that’s what I had to do when I came here to the MTC. I finally quit doubting God and decided to step out in faith, trusting that He would provide for me once I took that step of faith. My feet “touched the water”, and I felt the panic rise in me–would God provide? Would He show Himself faithful this time? Or would I get swept into the raging river?

I stepped out, and He showed up. God provided for me far beyond what I ever could have imagined. The night before I left for training, God provided a car. Throughout the semester, God has provided for my training expenses in ways that blow my mind. I’ve never known where the money for the next month will come from, but God has proven Himself faithful over and over and over again.

Even now, as I write this, I am in the midst of seeing God provide for me in some incredible ways. My computer died on Tuesday of this week, and right away, I told God, “Well, God, I know You’re going to have to provide, because I don’t have the money to even finish the semester here, much less buy a computer.” And He has provided–in fact, I’m overwhelmed by His provision. He’s provided a computer, the rest of this semester’s training fee, money for food and gas, help with getting the information off my dead computer, and the list goes on and on.

Though some may consider it foolish to live so dependent on God, my feeble faith has grown so much through all this. I know God has led me here, so I will continue to step out in faith and see how He provides. I can’t see what lies on the other side, but this is where I am…feet touching the water in faith, watching and waiting to see God show up and do incredible things.

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