Up until very recently, I’ve been able to live my life in the midst of the plummeting economy without really experiencing, first hand, the unfortunate effects that so many have been subject to over the past 9-12 months. Peachtree has some incredible finance people with great foresight who have protected our staff from the prevailing culture of layoffs that is swirling around even the church world.
Recently, however, the economy has found its way into my life. Back a few months ago I started doing everything that I know how to get college students to sign up for our spring break mission trip to Honduras. Officially, no one signed up, but there was one confirmation on facebook … so I feel a little bit better about that.
In response to the lack of response, I stuck to my guns and tried to blame myself or the timing (college spring break tends to be more attractive than a mission trip to the run of the mill college student) for the failure of the trip. But when our Global Mission dept. sent the e-mail to our partners in Honduras informing them that the trip was being cancelled, they suggested something that hadn’t even crossed my mind; that “In this economy families are much less willing to raise support and less able to pay out of pocket for international mission trips.”
And that makes sense! They’re not cheap, and the thought of asking people to help pay for your trip when so many are struggling financially is almost sickening … believe me, I understand.
Well, right on the heals of canceling the Honduras trip, we’ve begun planning a summer mission trip for college students … to Kenya. It’s further away, it’s going to be a longer trip in terms of number of days, and most importantly, it’s going to cost more money. But our church believes that we are hearing a call to lean into our partnership with the Presbyterian church in Kenya.
I’ve already heard from a few students that, though they really want to go, the economy has taken a toll and their participation is unlikely … and again, I understand.
So here’s what we’re going to do: I’m going to ask for a 3-tiered platform of commitment from everyone connected to this ministry.
The first tier is asked of everyone and it is simple: Prayer. It is when we are brought face to face with our own inability that our willingness to rely on and ask of God seems to grow. And though they may not be ideal, it is Biblically consistent. We’re going to be praying that God would help us to trust in Him financially and sincerely ask the question, “Lord, what would you have me do?” We are also going to pray for the significance of the trip and our relationship with the Church in Kenya. And finally, we want to pray for the students and leaders who will be going and planning; for safety in travel, for the Holy Spirit to be at work preparing us and while we are there, transforming us more into the likeness of God.
The second tier of participation is giving. As I have already said, this is a pretty expensive trip and not the best time to be raising a lot of money. But we have a community of college students that is sending out this group … in other words, the 10 or 12 of us who go are representing the PPC college ministry, and so one of the ways that a community supports its missionaries is to help fund them. So I will send out a support letter to all of you and hope that you will honestly pray about whether or not, and how much you ought to give towards this trip
The third tier is pretty obvious … going. I know that this will be a stretch for most anyone, but I also know that God will not call you to something and then fail to bring adequate provision. And this really will be an incredible trip. I hope that a number of you will consider going with us!
So spend some time in prayer and keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to the whispering of God. Hope to hear from ya’ll soon!