“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you, wherever you go!” Joshua 1:9
We get different reactions when we tell people that, in just a few short months, we’re moving to Eastern Europe, with our very active seven-year-old and our dog, to live out the Gospel as we work with orphans, outcasts and the homeless as part of the local church in Sofia, Bulgaria. I’m pretty sure most people (if they weren’t already convinced) think that we’re crazy. I’m pretty okay with that, but I also think it’s good for us to be able to explain what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and why we need you to think about joining us in one way or another.
While God has called our family to drop everything and move to the other side of the world, we are only one small part of a much bigger story—a story that was written before time began, and that includes real-life characters from all across the planet and from all walks of life. Every one of those characters (and yes, this means you!) play equally important roles in this incredible tale. All of them will be on their knees, constantly praying that God would open doors and guide steps so that his Name would be glorified every minute of every day. Some will sacrifice to invest financially, knowing that none of us may ever see the return on their investment this side of heaven. Some will be called to devote the time and energy to prepare and travel to serve with us on short-term trips. Some will tell the story to everyone they know—family, friends, in churches, at work, on social media, everywhere. Some will play roles that we haven’t even thought of yet, and some….some will do all of these things!
Since God has called us to be on the front lines of this incredible journey, there are a few things we wanted to make sure you know:
We need partners, not funders. Yes, there is a huge financial component to this ministry, and quite honestly we are depending on people to provide for us to do this. For us, this is the scariest part of this whole endeavor, because it’s the part that requires us to completely and without looking back step out of the boat and trust in God’s provision. However, we aren’t looking for people who will simply write checks and forget about it. We’re looking for people who will partner with us. People who will be on their knees in prayer for us through the good and the bad. People who will stay in touch with us and be active in serving with us, whether from their own living room or by coming to visit us in what we think is a pretty amazing place.
It’s Not A Competition. We know that many of you are already serving and contributing to ministries all over the world. Some of you are involved in ministries where you’re already trying to raise funds, or even raising money to help you adopt kids from places like Africa, Haiti and even Bulgaria! It’s easy for us to forget that we serve a BIG God, who has promised that he will bless us when we give him the best of our time and our money. When we keep our eyes on him, God gives us exactly what we need to serve him faithfully in the places he has called us to serve. All we ask is that you pray about how God wants you to be involved in this ministry, and do what he asks, even if it scares you to death. In fact, we double-dog-dare you. Whether it’s with us, with another ministry, or with us and other ministries, going all-in when God calls is worth it. Every time.
It’s Not A Vacation. If you’ve heard us talk about Bulgaria much (okay, at all), you know that we think it’s a pretty awesome, amazing, beautiful place. Mountains. Beaches. Fields full of sunflowers. History. Incredible people. Adventures around every corner. However, you need to know that this will not be a vacation for us. We’re literally selling our house, our cars and most of our belongings, giving up a great job, saying goodbye to family, friends and all the comforts of a home we love. We will absolutely love the journey, but it will have a lot of bumps and frustrations, too. We are doing this because God has called us, and we can’t and won’t ignore him. No matter how difficult or scary the next few years may be, our faith, our trust and our hope are in the solid foundation of Christ, and in him and him alone we find our home and our peace.
It Matters. Over the past twelve years, we’ve seen God do amazing, incredible things—and we’re positive that we haven’t even seen a small part of the surface of the vast ocean of what he’s doing in Bulgaria! This ministry matters because of the way God is being glorified through it, and because of the lives that God is touching and restoring and redeeming through it. Lives that people have discounted, discarded, and given up for lost, but that God has reserved a spot for in eternity. Lives that the angels rejoice over. Lives that have names and stories.
So those are the basics. I know that you probably have other questions, and we’re happy to answer them. In fact, we love answering them, so please ask! And if you still think we’re crazy, that’s okay, too. As Paul said,
“If we’re out of our minds, it’s for the sake of God; if we’re in our right minds, it’s for you.” 2 Corinthians 5:13