Acts 2:44-47 describes the early Church thusly: And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
That sounds great! Pooling our resources, sharing responsibility, having all of our needs met. Sign me up! In my mind, that is what I was signing up for when I signed up to be a real live missionary. I think that because I think this way, that because honestly if you have a need and I have the means I want to meet that need (and if I don’t offer, call me out! because I’ve been blessed to be a blessing, not to hoard), I assume that everyone else is on the same page as I am. That if I need a plane ticket home or a new pair of glasses or a bed (you know, with need being a fairly subjective word) and that if you have the means to meet that need, then you should.
Gloria a Dios a lot of people do. That’s how I have things like a bed and trips home and food and stuff.
You know that “treat others the way you want to be treated” spiel? Well, it’s hard to do sometimes, isn’t it? It’s hard to trust people, even our biblically-defined-neighbors, with our happiness and our needs. It’s hard to trust people to actually send me money every month so I can go to the beach and eat ice cream (among other things). But here’s the thing. If I am treating other people like I want to be treated, and if I am putting your needs before my needs (Phillippians 4:2 style) then your needs are taken care of, right? Because I’m looking out for you, neighbor!
Which is great for you. But it becomes great for me when you do the same thing. When you treat me like you want to be treated and when you put my needs before your needs, then my needs are taken care of, too! Then we are all taken care of! And we all learned a little more dependency on God because sometimes my needs are real and imminent and scary. But when I take care of your needs before my own, even when mine are real and imminent and scary, and then my needs get taken care of anyway (because of YOU) then I learned trust and dependency of the best kind.
So here’s what I’m saying. Here’s the thing. I deep-down-in-my-heart PROMISE to (try really hard to) put your needs before my own. Whether that means giving you money or giving you a place to crash or giving you a kitten or a pep talk or a movie recommendation or a reality check, I’m pledging to you, my cyber neighbors, that I will treat you like I want to be treated. That I will put your needs before my own.
But here’s the other thing. I’m kind of expecting you to do the same. Especially if you claim to want this whole Jesus-thing. So here are my current imminent and real (but not too scary) needs.
$200 a month.
Not too big, right?
My (biblical) neighbors at United Baptist Church and my friends and family have been doing a kick butt job at keeping me alive and well cared for this past year and a half out on the mission field (as if Springfield, Ohio and Westland, Michigan weren’t the mission field! They were!) and I am forever and daily grateful for all of that. I am constantly blown away by the generosity of “neighbors.” Get this, guys. I have received more money from COLLEGE STUDENTS than any other set of people. And if there’s anyone who has real and imminent and scary needs (especially financial needs) it’s college students. But my college student friends put my needs (and often my wants) before their own time and time again and give me money for things like new beds and plane tickets and groceries.
Thanks, friends. I know and trust that God will bless the crap out of you for your generosity and others-first-ness.
In addition to being blessed by the generosity of my friends and church family, I have been blessed by God with jobs that pay me money! I get paid to teach preschool and kindergarten English at The Palms (just in case you’re new). After asking God last summer whether or not I should be seeking out more church partnerships (aka strangers to give me money – which believe it or not did not sound appealing to me), I was blessed with three tutoring jobs. Holler! Money in the bank. Or in my super-secret-money-hiding-places because I don’t have a Dominican bank account.
With my tutoring jobs, I have been trying my darndest to use all of my Las Palmas cash (money from teaching and tutoring) for bills and living expenses (like taco supplies and the wifi bill) and keeping my money from United Baptist Church & Co. in my bank account for emergencies/plane tickets. It’s worked pretty well. I’m still getting charged by my bank every month for not having a combined total of $1,500 in my savings and checkings (I laughed out loud when the helpful gal at the bank told me why I was being charged. I also said, “That’s not going to happen), but I’m getting by.
Here comes the trouble. And the awesome thing. This August (Lord/Palms administration willing) I will have my very own classroom! Hazah! Which is very exciting! The thing is, classrooms are a lot of work. Because instead of teaching one lesson a day to six classes I will be teaching like, six lessons a day to two classes. That means more planning and more grading and more actual teaching time during the school day.
I know quite a few full time teachers (with their own classrooms and everything) who have tried to do tutoring in the afternoon on top of their daily teaching and even though they are servants of the Lord and great teachers, every one of them has given up their tutoring responsibilities due to the fear of exhaustion-induced-collapsing and children-overload-induced-mania.
So I’m planning ahead. I’m assuming that teaching full time and then trying to do three hours of tutoring every day would lead to collapsing and mania. Right now I make about $200 a month tutoring, so this is what I am trying to raise before the start of the new school year (August).
$200 is way too much (in my mind) to ask from one person or organization or church body, but if I ask everyone I know for a collective $200 a month (via this blog post, obviously) that really doesn’t seem like a lot. Does it? So I’m asking you (via this blog post, obviously) to think (and pray, if that’s your thing) about giving me money. I will say that one of my real and imminent and scary needs is the need to NOT sell myself or my ministry or my life here as a missionary. I’m not doing anything extraordinary, trust me. I’ve almost watched the entire 30 Rock series twice in the past two months. All I’m doing is what God has asked me to do, which is the same thing God has asked you to do – love God, love people, and go and make disciples. The thing is, God has also asked me personally to do these things relying on Him (and His use of others) for my finances. Which is kind of extraordinary.
If you would like to make a monthly commitment that would be stinking awesome. Please let me know you are doing that and please don’t feel any pressure to start that commitment until August (when the new school year starts). You can send a check to (my awesome sending church) United Baptist Church at 236 Middlebelt, Garden City, MI 48135 with my name somewhere in there. You can also click on my handy dandy Pay Pal button, which is at the bottom of this page (you’ll get a receipt e-mailed to you).
If you would like to make a one-time donation that would be stinking awesome. You can send a check to (my awesome sending church) United Baptist Church at 236 Middlebelt, Garden City, MI 48135 with my name somewhere in there. You can also click on my handy dandy Pay Pal button, which is at the bottom of this page (you’ll get a receipt e-mailed to you).
If you would like to get paid to tutor really awesome kids in the Dominican Republic who are learning English as their second (or third) language, let me know! There are a lot of opportunities for that kind of thing down here and we need all the help we can get.
Right now any money given is going to my latest flight and visa needs. I will be flying home for three or so weeks in July in order to take care of some visa requirements and to hang out with some of my favorite people. Thus far The Palms teachers of the United States have been making it in and out of the country a couple times a year with no visas, but the Dominican Ministry of Education is making a work/resident visa a requirement. And guess what? In government fashion the things required for this visa are tricky to get and cost money. So that’s what current donations are going toward. Just so you know!
Thanks so much for everything you blog-readers do for me. Thanks so much for reading my blog, for helping me realize the God-in-me through my writing. Thanks to everyone who has ever given me money. You are the best.