Since our adventure to be missionaries with Chi Alpha has begun we have been studying a lot of different materials on how to successfully raise funds to support our ministry. We have learned so much but most importantly, our studying has caused us to have a healthy view on asking for support. We have learned supporting missionaries is a biblical practice and something we should not be ashamed of. It has also caused us to use our faith muscles and allow God to show himself to be faithful. We have learned to look vertically to God for our finical support and not horizontally to humans. There is nothing better than being in the center of God's will and allowing him to show himself faithful.
One book we read on support raising gave the advice to start with the people in our lives who we feel the most comfortable with and who we know already support us in all that we do. We began to make a list of such people in our lives and we were overwhelmed with the quality of people we already feel supported by. So last weekend we went on a road trip to meet with each of these "giants of faith" to talk to them about our call to Chi Alpha and see what advice we could get from them. We would like to share a few of their stories.
The first people that we chose to share our presentation with were Becky and Larry Lang. Becky and Larry were Brandon's jr high and senior high youth pastors. They were the ones who taught Brandon how to lead worship and encouraged him to follow in his gifting’s towards being in full time ministry. Becky has some interesting stories of Brandon as a kid, and let’s just say that Brandon was not an easy teenager, but Becky saw something in him and never gave up. Becky and Larry also did our premarital counseling and I remember Becky looking at Brandon during one of our meetings and saying “I always knew God was preparing you for a partner in ministry and it is so good to finally meet her.” Becky and Larry live in San Diego so it has been a major blessing to reconnect with them since moving here and continue to glean from their wisdom. They still work as youth pastors in San Diego and continue to raise up worship and ministry leaders. A few Sundays ago we went to church with them and as we were introducing ourselves to their pastor, Brandon shared that we knew Becky and Larry because they were his youth pastors, the pastor said "It seems like almost everyone I meet had Becky and Larry as their youth pastors" Just goes to show how many kids lives they have touched over the years. How blessed we are to be among the many who have been changed because of them.
Our next stop was to Indio to meet with Ed and Julie Tyler. Ed and Julie were the pastors who hired us to be the youth and worship pastors at Christian Life Center in Santa Cruz. Brandon will tell you that working with Ed in the church office for three years he grew under Ed's leadership in the area of prayer. Whenever he would go to Ed with concerns for his ministry at CLC, Ed would always tell him to go to prayer first. Brandon and Ed would often meet in the mornings to pray together and this made a huge impact on Brandon and how he does ministry today. Over the last year Ed and Julie have been through some tough times as they have transitioned from Santa Cruz to Indio and are looking at starting a church in a very tough area, but their faith has never wavered. We had such a wonderful time with them (as we always do) as they glow with the Love of Jesus. No one would ever know the trials they have endured because their faith goes before them. They are a true testimony of what a beautiful life can look like when putting God first.
From Indio we drove to Highland to meet with Dave and Sue Robson. Dave and Sue were the pastors who hired us for our first full-time ministry job as worship and youth directors. We will be forever grateful for them for taking a chance on us because at the time we had very little experience and we were very young and immature. We grew so much under their leadership and still to this day view them as mentors. Our time at Highland Hills church will forever be monumental to our ministry as our faith, our marriage and our relationships grew stronger under their leadership. We learned from them that being a pastor means being a servant as they have dedicated their lives to serving others and desire to see people in a healthy place. I will never forget talking with Sue one morning during one of her surprise pop in visits to my living room (oh how I miss those visits) She said to me with tears in her eyes that she believes that Brandon and I are destined to do BIG things in our lifetime for the kingdom of God and our time at Highland Hills is training ground for the future. How thankful we are to this couple for seeing something in us and being willing to train us for our future in ministry.
Our last stop, among the 10 others we made that busy weekend was with Rick and Sue Clark. Rick and Sue have over 30 years of experience as missionaries. Over the years we have learned from this couple to dream big when it comes to reaching people for the kingdom of God. They currently run their own mission organization called TEAM international whose purpose is to train up leaders to start churches in unreached people groups around the world. Their mission is to start 100 churches in 100 different cities and they are well on their way to achieving their goal. Needless to say they know a lot about raising support. Brandon actually lived in a room in their garage during his college years as he was helping Rick with the beginnings of TEAM. This couple is the ultimate in hospitality their home is truly a sanctuary to so many. They always have at least two or more people living with them from all over the World. They have adopted so many international students and call them family. We are just one of many who have benefited from their love and wisdom. We were excited to meet with them to tell them about Chi Alpha and we left with a page full of notes to guide us through our first steps in this ministry.
We are humbled that ALL of these“giants of faith”have committed to be on our prayer and financial team with Chi Alpha. With these mentors behind us we feel equipped to be successful in all that we do. As we met with each of them we were beyond blessed by their excitement for us and our ministry and we came away with great ideas of how to make it even better. God has been so good to us that as we continue to say“yes”to him he continues to surround us with people who encourage and uplift us to be all that we can be.
Just for a quick update on our support raising we are humbled and amazed at what God is doing. Currently EVERY person we have met with has committed to partnering with us financially. We are currently 25% to our monthly goal and we have only just begun. Continue to pray for favor in this area. We feel so encouraged that we are exactly were God wants us to be.