I am sitting in Newark, New Jersey writing part 2 of my raising support story, which is ironic because this is the airport I landed at when we started our missionary career with Trans World Radio.
Anyway back to the story…
(These pictures don’t have anything to do with my support story because I’m not at home to scan any, but these are some of my favourite landscape photos from my travels.)
As I said in part 1, we were living in Kenora and travelling to Winnipeg on weekends trying to raise support to go to the mission field. After a year, we had 37% of our support and were stuck. Sandy and I stood in our kitchen discussing the way forward.
Finally, Sandy said she knew what the problem was. I thought great, now she is going to have some simple-sounding solution that involved more meetings and more driving.
Sandy looked at me and said, “We are never going to get to the mission field until you surrender everything to God.”
I stared at her, eyes wide. “What are you talking about? I have surrendered everything.”
“No, you haven’t.” She took a deep breath and continued. “You haven’t surrendered your money or your wealth–”
“God can have anything, but He can’t have my money. I worked hard to pay for our house, our car, our boat, our travel trailer.” I was thirty years old and it was all paid for. (I had worked in the high Arctic for 3 years – read that story here.)
More precisely, those things were my backup plan if God let us down.
The discussion ended and I carried on with my day. I was not upset with Sandy — I was upset with God. Was He really asking me to give up everything? Did He mean everything? I thought and I prayed and God spoke to me. I didn’t like His answer. He meant everything.
A day later, I humbled myself, apologized, and told Sandy that she was right. If we truly believed God was calling us to ministry, then we had to have the faith to believe He would work out the details. We came up with a plan within a few days.
And God Showed Up
I had finished the renovations on our house, so we listed it for sale because we thought that would take some time. Two days later, we sold our home for more than we were asking.
Where were we going to live until we raised our full support? I can’t remember who came up with the idea, but within a few days I was building an apartment for us in my sister-in-law’s basement. I was working full time, speaking on weekends in Winnipeg, and building an apartment in my free time. I don’t remember getting tired, but just thinking about it now makes me tired.
Sandy and I took half of the money we had and set it aside for ministry. I told myself that if we ran out of money and still had not raised our support, I was going to rethink our future.
About this time, a good friend told Sandy and I that we should move to Toronto to raise the rest of our support. It was a bigger city with more churches and resources than Northwestern Ontario.
I objected, again. I had a whole list of reasons why it wouldn’t work, but God worked in Sandy’s heart – and especially in mine. We decided to put everything we had into this process of raising support. Before, we had been raising support as we had time and on weekends. We decided to become a lot more pro-active about meeting people and speaking in churches.
I told God I would move to Toronto if I found a part time job and a rent-free apartment. In the back of my mind, I thought that this could never happen. The Toronto real estate market was exploding and I had no idea how I would find a part time job before leaving Kenora.
We moved into the basement apartment I built on September 1st. We were told about a pastor who had moved out of a church manse, and the church wasn’t selling the house until spring. We were able to stay in the church manse in King City for the cost of utilities.
Another mission heard about us and hired me to do maintenance on their properties as I had time. God was at work.
We left for Toronto on September 21st.
I’ll write the next chapter in this story soon. I am travelling this week and next week and talking to lots of people, so I hope to share some of my adventures from this trip soon.