Monthly Archives: September 2013

Raising Support…The Time Is Here…

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One of the most daunting tasks for a missionary can be raising support. In fact, most missionaries list raising support as their least favorite thing to do. We received a book from MAF entitled “Funding Your Ministry” by Scott Morton. The book gives great insight about the biblical basis for raising support as well as dismissing some of the fears that are common. One of the points that stood out to me is that when people give, they are giving the money to God. They are not giving to us, the gift is to God. Then, God is the one who provides for missionaries. I know that it may sound strange but this is the truth. As missionaries, we must realize that it is God who is our provider. Since this is the case, we do not need to stress and worry about the support coming in. 

“Why is Phil talking about raising support?” I am glad you asked! We are trying to raise support and develop ministry partnerships with people so that we can hit the ground running when we go to MAF in January, 2014. If we can get enough commitments from people to give financially, then we can go straight from Candidacy (when we will receive our country assignment) to Standardization (an 8-week training where I learn to fix and fly the MAF way). This would be awesome! Our goal is to leave for the mission field next fall, which is the soonest we could leave because of the different trainings required by MAF. We can’t complete the trainings until our support has come in. 

With no further ado, here is the amount of support required by MAF…

  • $7,600/month to pay for living costs, travel expenses, school for the kids, medical insurance, and retirement. We currently have around $4,000 already committed!!! 
  • $40,000 for a one-time fee to help pay for all of the training before we leave as well as covering the cost of flying overseas, shipping some personal items, and getting established with a house and a vehicle. We already have over $20,000 of this raised as well!!! God is SO good! 

We still have a ways to go but we know that God is going to provide. There are too many promises in the Bible, too many examples from our owns lives to doubt that God will provide and make a way!

So, I have two things to ask of you as you read this blog.

First, if you are interested in supporting us financially we would love to sit down with you and tell you about our vision for our ministry with MAF. We are hoping to develop ministry partnerships with couples and individuals so that the ministry is not just ours but yours and theirs as well! Please email Phil at philvana@gmail.com and we can set up a time to meet!

Second, we need people to pray about raising support and developing ministry partnerships. We are praying about our time with MAF and the support coming in, and we would love to have a host of others joining their prayers with ours. Please pray that God would raise up ministry partners from the families who know and love us. We desire to have partners who will have a vested interest in our lives because we know that we will need a lot of support and encouragement when things are difficult on the mission field.

Thank you all so very much for your dedication and love for us. We are so blessed to count you all as friends!

Have a blessed day!!!

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Exciting Opportunity…

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Jessica has been working on a children’s book and we have found publisher who is going to publish the book!!! We are extremely excited and it is an incredible opportunity. Jessica has some work to do in the next few weeks in order to get it ready for print, and it is going to be worth the effort. I can’t give too much away because that is for Jessica to share, but I wanted to ask for you all to pray with us for this book. Our hope is that it would be an encouragement to missionaries, MK’s (missionary kids), and the Church as a whole. 

Here are some things that you might want to know…

1) The book will be ready before Christmas of this year!

2) We will be hosting a few events in the Reno/Sparks area to get the word out and allow people a chance to hear a live reading!

3) The book will be sold by us personally and on Amazon! 

4) Yes, Jessica is amazing, but I am sure that you already knew that!!!

So, this is one of a few things that is keeping us busy this Fall! Will you please join us in praying for this awesome opportunity?!?!

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Another thing is a dear friend, Amanda Seibel, from Wisconsin is visiting and helping out around the house for two weeks! She comes from a family of 12 children. If you were looking for a modern day Von Trapp family, the Seibel family would be number one on your list! There are many things that make their family great but one that I want to highlight is one way in which they use their gifts to bring glory to God. Every Christmas they put on a concert paired with a gospel message preached by the patriarch of the family, Tom Seibel. Tom owns a dry-wall business and pastors a church. His wife, Amy, home-schools the children and works with them to organize the concert. Each child can sing and play an instrument and the concerts are awesome!!! It began in their basement and they would invite their extended family and their neighbors. After a few years, the small concert grew and grew. Now, they hold their concert in the largest building in town and play for a couple thousand people every Christmas season! The Seibel family hosted our family when we visited an EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI in 2012. It has been such a blessing to have Amanda spend time with our family and hang out with our kids. She has been a consummate servant and we have enjoyed picking her brain about large families and how to do things well! (Being one of the older siblings, she has plenty of experience to share!) We are looking forward to one more week with Amanda!!!

Thanks for praying with us and for us! 

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God And Groceries…

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One of the things I enjoy most about working at Trader Joe’s is I have a lot of interactions with people who do not follow Christ. From some my co-workers to the customers who come in throughout the day, I have the opportunity to share the love and light of Christ.

I usually start my interactions with customers by saying, “How are you doing today?” Pretty generic and vanilla but it gets things going! They will usually say, “Good,” which is grammatically incorrect but I usually let it slide. Then they will say, “How are you doing?” I will respond with “Terrific,” “Excellent,” or my favorite “Better than I deserve.” Some people don’t want to talk and others love to have a good conversation, if only for a few minutes.

This last Sunday I had a great conversation with a woman. We shared our general pleasantries and then I asked her if she went to church that day. Most people who are shopping on Sunday morning did not and will not go to church, but it can certainly get a good conversation started!!! She said, “Oh, I don’t go to church much these day. I like religion and stuff, especially because it means that shopping here is less crowded on Sunday mornings, but I haven’t gone in years. Did you go to church?” I guess she was assuming that I didn’t since I was working on Sunday morning. I answered, “Yes, I go on Saturday nights.” Then she proceeded to tell me about how a friend invited her to go to her church and she might go next weekend. I told her I thought that might be a good idea. Then she said, “It is weird. This kind of thing has happened quite a few times in the past few weeks. Someone keeps telling me about God and church. Maybe someone is trying to tell me something.” I said, “Yep, might be trying to tell you something.” I finished bagging her groceries and she said, “Thank you for the candid conversation. I really appreciated talking with you.”

That…was…awesome! It was a simple conversation but I was excited to see one more little seed planted. Who knows if it will sprout but one more seed from one who cares is always a good thing!!!

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After my shift on Sunday, I surprised Jess and the kids and we traveled to Santa Rosa to visit Living Roots and all our friends who live there. We had a great time seeing the Living Roots family. We attended a block party and met some of the local members of the two gospel communities in Santa Rosa. It was a great visit and an encouragement to see the work God is doing with Living Roots. Adelina was able to spend some time with one of her favorite people in the entire world, Hannah “soon-to-be-Sexton” Ediss. We had a great trip and it was good to break up the rhythm of life, as well as escape the smoke for a few days!!!

Thank you everyone for your love and prayers. We continue to press on toward the hope that we have received! Have a great week and God bless!!!

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