Sunday 3 July 2016

Loosening Our Grip

"For our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose." 

- Oswald Chambers (in his book My Utmost for His Highest)

Hi friends,

We wanted to share with you today what's been going on lately with our preparations and let you know about some of our upcoming needs.

We've had a busy week full of phone calls, emails, and making arrangements, and it's been exhausting. We had to change our flights slightly because of complications with our visa process which resulted in a huge fee (thankfully we purchased travel insurance so we'll be able to get this fee reimbursed!) and a huge headache. We've also been ironing out details regarding which country we'll be paying taxes in, etc. which has been a challenging process, not to mention all the work Jerry has been doing in preparing our house for renters, etc. Not a day goes by where we don't have something important to accomplish and life is weighing heavily on us because of this. We feel the time before we leave slipping away...there are only 6 short weeks left!

On the bright side, we are feeling more and more detached from our "stuff" every day. As we think about packing suitcases and shipping some things ahead of us we're realizing how little we actually do need. We're finding it much easier than we ever expected to loosen our grip on our possessions and take only that which is required for our daily life (which, to some people in the world, is still TON of stuff!). It's so freeing to be rid of things we don't use, clothes we don't wear, and anything that isn't absolutely necessary.  We've both read Oswald Chambers' book My Utmost For His Highest before, but I (Chrissie) am reading through it again this year. It's a daily devotional book with a short meditation for each day including one scripture verse and application and it almost always gets me right in the heart. This is not a feel-good, fluffy devotional book by any challenges me to the core and often gets to the heart of the matter in a way that I so desperately need every day. Two passages stood out to me this week, and they are very much related - the first I shared at the beginning of this post and the second is below, and both are about letting go of things that hold us back in our relationship with God and things that distract us from our true purpose and calling as followers of Christ.

"There has never yet been a saint who has not lived a maimed life initially. Yet it is better to enter into life maimed but lovely in God’s sight than to appear lovely to man’s eyes but lame to God’s." 

- Oswald Chambers (in his book My Utmost for His Highest)

As we continue on in this journey and as we continue letting go of our personal possessions it has felt as though we're living a maimed life, as Oswald Chambers describes it. God continues to prepare us for our move to Romania by refining our hearts and our attitudes, and though it feels so strange and awkward to be depending on others, borrowing things from people because we no longer own much, and letting go of critical relationships as we know them now, it is such a good reminder that a life maimed in this way, because of obedience to God, is pleasing to Him. The further on in our spiritual journey we go, the more maimed our lives should appear to the world because there is so much in all of our lives that is not pleasing to God.

Oswald Chambers' words are based on Matthew 5:30, in which Jesus tells his disciples just how serious He is about us ridding our lives of anything that doesn't please God: "And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."  While this verse may seem dramatic at first glance, it is a great reminder that living our lives with a big gaping hole is better than living a life of disobedience to God, however that looks for each of us in our own lives. And as drastic as this move to Romania feels at times (okay, almost all the time), for us, this is how God is asking us to live, regardless of how maimed our lives feel or appear to others.

And so we continue walking out this journey in the coming weeks, loosening our grip and looking ahead to what God has for us.

Fundraising Update

We have some new numbers to share with you and an updated "thermometer" below, which shows our monthly support amount. Please continue to be praying for new monthly supporters for our ministry in Romania. We are praising God for how He has provided for us so far and we're trusting that he will continue to provide for all our needs.

Our monthly support amount is now $1650 (our minimum goal is $3300). If you're interested in partnering with us as a monthly supporter, please head on over to our donation page to find out all about how to do that (link is below).

CLICK HERE to go to our donation page!

Once again, you can view our draft budget HERE but just to give you an idea, it includes things like ongoing language lessons, travel expenses, health insurance for our family, and very basic living expenses (PDF is subsidizing our rent and utilities).

In addition to our monthly support raising, we have a crazy big ask right now...we weren't planning to travel to Vancouver to visit Jerry's family before we leave for Romania, simply because of the expense it is to go there as a family of 4. We haven't seen most of his family in over 2 years and aside from the importance of saying goodbye to them, we have been presented with a fundraising opportunity with a church in Jerry's hometown. It would be ideal for us to be able to travel to Vancouver for a few days before we fly to Romania to visit Jerry's family and his childhood church, but it would cost us $1500 to fly all 4 of us there. Right now, this is absolutely not a possibility for us as it would take a big chunk out of the little we have set aside for furniture and household items for our home in Romania. As with everything else on this journey, we are putting this situation in God's hands and trusting that if He wants us to go there, that He will make it happen. So we're just putting it out there, as crazy as it might seem, if there's anyone who has $1500 just laying around (or a whole bunch of air miles!) and you feel led by God to help us with this please contact us.


Please continue to pray...

- and thank God for his provision through our monthly supporters and everyone who has given a one-time donation! We are so thankful for how He is providing and for all the amazing people He has surrounded us with!
- Praise God that we have enough luggage for everything we have to bring/ship!
- Please pray for our kids. Specifically for how they're coping emotionally with all the change in their lives and for a fun-filled, enjoyable summer for them amidst the chaos.
- Please pray for our financial needs. We are well on our way to raising support but there is still much more we need to raise in the next 6 weeks.
- Please pray for buyers for our 2 vehicles. We really need to sell both our van and Jerry's truck before we go so we can buy a vehicle as soon as possible after our arrival in Romania.
- Please pray for renters for our house. We plan to put our house on the rental market very soon and we are trusting God to provide reliable renters for our home.

We need:

- Of course, we are still in need of monthly financial support and one-time donations. All information on how to donate is below, and if you were one of the people who pledged to us in the beginning stages of our fundraising, feel free sign up for your donation anytime by clicking either of the links below.

- YOU to come to our going-away barbecue!! We'll be hosting a party on Sunday, July 17th starting at 2pm for all our family and friends to say goodbye to us. We look forward to having a great time with you all. If you need directions, just check out our event on Facebook HERE, or email us.  

Click here to make a donation online!

If you are one of the people who pledged monthly support to us over the last few months, we are completely set up with The Great Commission Foundation to begin registering monthly donors and taking donations. You can CLICK HERE to head over to our donation page for more information about how to become a monthly supporter or to make a one-time donation. 

That's all for now, friends! Thanks so much! We look forward to seeing you at our going away party!

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