Financial update – Where We Stand:

We enter March officially at 31.2% of our monthly financial need committed to live and minister in South Africa.  There are four churches and two families however, that have promised to partner for an unknown amount, or are still formalizing the process for a known amount.  With those six, it should take us close to 50%.  It would be my goal to be 60% fully committed by the end of April.  To qualify for field preparation seminar, a training class our mission board conducts once per year in July and a requirement to take before leaving for the field, we need to be at 70% to plan.  Failing to meet this deadline would postpone our departure until 2017!  Pray these deadlines would be accomplished in the next several months, and let’s watch the Lord work.  If you’ve been contemplating or praying through partnering with us through a regular financial contribution, now would be a great time!

Dear Journal: My public ramblings…

As I’ve gone through this process of deputation and of preparation, I’ve wondered what to do with this blog/website.  In one regard, it requires a lot of effort to update regularly and when I update, I wonder if anyone will really read.  I was at a sales meeting this weekend and a speaker talked about many profitable things regarding sales, but one thing that struck me was about blogging and the point I carried from the lecture was an opportunity to express the best version of my self, taking the time to gather my thoughts and publish them in a coherent way.  There’s a thoughtfulness that is involved in that process that is personally beneficial and if that is all that occurs, well, that’s a good thing.  By sharing my thoughts and dreams and fears, if you’re impacted in some way, more the better!  So today is journal entry #1.

Deputation is hard.  Assuming I can carve the dedicated time, I make dozens of calls and send dozens more emails to typically get a response or two.  Many of the responses, if I’m fortunate to get one, is that the church is “missionary saturated” (a term one pastor used I quite appreciated) and in no position to partner with a new ministry.  It’s an exercise in futility.  I have been discouraged many days through this process, I must admit.  I’m not looking for your pity, but it is a reality.  Yet through all the attempts, the Lord opens just one door in 30 or 40 and there’s an elation as good as any sale I’ve made.  It’s not so exciting in that it justifies my effort, rather it’s an enthusiasm for a ministry partner, knowing that we will serve them and when our ministry bears fruit, it will be credited to this new partner’s account.  That and we’re one step closer to Africa!  I made contact with the pastor of a church near my hometown in Pennsylvania recently and he scheduled to bring us in, just through a series of emails!  Wow!  That’s when I know not to be discouraged, to just keep sending the emails and making the calls to figure out who the Lord has already ordained for us to partner with.  Churches like this one are already part of God’s plan and this one specifically should be a great opportunity to have many family and friends in Pennsylvania hear firsthand my testimony and hear me preach.

Side frustration: some churches require a very long application to complete.  It’s understandable for a church to want to ensure the best possible fit for partnership, but from a practical standpoint on my side, it is difficult to give the time those packets require.  Maybe if I was on full-time deputation, it might be different, but combining part-time deputation with working full-time, taking seminary courses, independent study preparing for ordination, serving my local church and trying to be a good dad and husband, the 12-pager doesn’t get the priority of attention.  I’m very thankful for those willing to explore partnership with my ministry without that burden, frankly.

I’m on the road today, five hours from home and found a great church for a Wednesday night service.  A nice woman was exceptionally gracious in making me feel welcome, ensuring I had everything I needed for the study and service and asked me great questions to ensure I had a church home, quite confident if I did not, that this church would provide it.  I’d love for you to join me in a prayer of thanksgiving for Judy for the encouragement she was to me tonight.  When I visit Wednesday night services, I’m not always recognized or greeted.  I don’t say that judgmentally, as I’ve failed to recognize visitors many times.  Geez, sometimes I forget the names of people I know in my own church.  Judy was a wonderful example tonight of exploring fellowship and greeting a new neighbor.   Pray also that a door might open to represent Judy and this church.  It would be wonderful to serve them!

So here I am.  I hope this glimpse of my journey is in some way beneficial and your comments always welcomed.  Thank you for praying for me and for our family.  We need them tremendously.  I will try to post again much sooner.

Love, Zane