Mission Trip Funds
What did I do to deserve this?
I’ve been asking myself that for two weeks. I’ve been blessed “above and beyond” (to quote Ephesians 3:20). But let me back up a minute…
Less than a month ago I kicked off a mission trip fundraising campaign. [original post here] What I didn’t mention in that post was the urgency. When I posted, I was $1,000 short of the deposit. I was $2,400 short for the entire trip. The deposit was due a week and a half from the date of that post.
In the next week I raised a total of $57 by selling pictures. I also learned a lot about my own heart. I don’t like asking for money (which I knew). I also don’t like selling stuff. Even to people that I know, even to people that have expressed an interest. I also can get discouraged about it pretty quickly. I’ve never been so close to a deadline with so little hope for making it. That wasn’t a good feeling. I’m often quick to doubt — even God — even knowing all the amazing things He has already done in my life. I was there. Fully.
On February 12th, something changed. I realized what was going on in my own heart. I was trying to control the situation instead of letting God work. I was almost becoming possessive about the pictures. At church that night I ran into a dear friend who always encourages me. He prays for me fervently, particularly while I’m on these trips. I gave him a photo. I didn’t even mention that I was fundraising. Then I gave another one to my pastor. Then another to a fellow missionary. I felt a weight lift. As I drove home, “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns played. It was the first time I had truly heard it. I was almost shedding tears of joy.
The next day I shared all this with a friend. This guy is one of my absolute best friends. I can tell him anything, even unbelievable God stories. I hadn’t told him I was raising money, though. On that day, I wasn’t really sharing about that, only about the breakthrough. Only about the voice of truth and how I was finally listening to it. But he heard about the money. He knew I was still $943 short of the deposit that was due in three days. Later that day, he sent me a message. “David. This year you’ve got to trust a little deeper into the forest.” That’s kind of our code for “God’s got your back, just keep on trusting.” “Yep, I know. He’s got this. Thanks!”
He is light, breaking through
The next day I got an email from the church. Someone had anonymously donated money for my trip. Exceedingly and abundantly. More than I ever expected to happen. Just like that, my entire deposit was covered. I was blown away. I was completely at a loss for words. God is so good. So are His people. But the story doesn’t stop there…
Sunday at church, a dear friend handed me a check. Once again, I was humbled and in awe. The next week, I told my friend from the forest about what happened. He seemed a little nervous at first but loved the story. At the end he asked how much I had left to pay for the trip. I told him I had no idea. He said, “whatever it is, I’m covering it.” What? After he told me to trust deeper into the forest, God told him to do the same thing. He didn’t know if the amount would be $2,400 or $400 (and he didn’t know how he’d cover either amount) but he said yes to God, in faith.
In a span of 6 days I went from “maybe I’m not supposed to go this year” to “Wow, this trip is fully funded.” That’s a pretty amazing feeling. Yes, I feel humbled. Incredibly. A part of me wants to hide, knowing that I don’t deserve all this. But a much bigger part of me feels thankful and loved. I’m thankful that God shows his love for me in so many ways. It’s not just about the money, it’s about the incredible people he has woven into my life that continue to invest in me. Once again, not just in money, but in prayers, speaking truth, and faithful encouragement.
So is the fundraising over? No. I’d like my friend to pay as little as possible, of course. I’d love for his faith to be rewarded with his own “Paid in Full” experience. Plus, our church has committed to funding the construction of the new church. Also, we have quite a few other missionaries going with us that are still raising money. Once my trip is completely paid for, any additional money that comes in will either be distributed to the other missionaries or go to the construction costs of the new church.
Brazil, here I come!
What did I do to deserve this? Since I’ve found Christ that question comes up again and again. What did I do to even deserve His love? His companionship? Nothing.
None of this is about me.
It’s all about Him. I know I didn’t earn this. I know I couldn’t earn this. But I also know that God loves me immeasurably more than I could imagine, and this was one of the ways He has shown His heart to me.
One more thing…I’m going back to Brazil!