My husband’s last day of work at the Department of Justice was March 8th and we closed on our home March 15th. But, there was no RV, or any real plan for the future outside of spending time in Texas to raise money for Make-A-Wish. Thankfully, one of Jamie’s co-workers offered us his rental property at Pine Point, Maine. Even in this, the Lord placed His hand and extended His favor.
The Lord constantly brings non-believers into our lives. It’s usually people with true animosity towards the institution of church or those who feel they have strayed so far off the beaten path that entering the doorway of any holy place would cause it to burn down. (I always assure them they don’t have that much power. God can handle anything they throw His way.) This co-worker in particular holds a special place in my heart. I have prayed for his salvation more than anyone else. I know the Lord is chasing him… and using him.
Here’s a confession: Those two weeks at his rental property were hard. We questioned everything. Especially how we were going to finance this expedition. We tallied up the cost for living on the road for months. The cost: $30,000. Yep. (We immediately began wishing our saving practices were more on point. We’re not big on saving. We’re big on giving.) Since being on the road, we go through about $1,500 a month just on gas! We’ve already traveled over 10,000 miles in less than four months. This expense alone will cost us approximately $9,000 for those six months.
So, how would we cover those costs? We decided to break it down into thirds. Our family would contribute $10,000. We would also fundraise (ask for financial support) for $10,000 and then take love offerings on the road to cover the remaining third. It was a great plan. Our part was pretty straight forward. We sold our home, so we had the money to contribute. However, asking for fundraising support was a little more difficult. Yes, it’s hard asking people for money. But, it was more than that. How do you ask people to support something… when you have NO IDEA what that “something” is?
We knew the Lord was calling our family to speak to the collective church about the importance of receiving and encouraging children, but we also knew there was something deeper He was calling us into. And once we realized what it was… there was part of us ready to retreat. I remember standing before the audience at Sydney’s farewell event, telling them how the Lord was calling our family to sit down with people across the theological spectrum to talk about our divisiveness. To talk about abortion, immigration, racial and gender equality, our obsession with national identity at the potential expense of our kingdom identity. I knew how uncomfortable some of them were… and I told them so. I asked them to push into the discomfort and rest in it for a bit. And, in that moment, our mission, years in the making, was solidified.
We raised a little over $2,000 that night, including all the gift cards to Target, Walmart, and Starbucks. (The latter was never included in our budget, but has been such a blessing. Especially when I write. It’s a first-world luxury, but it has kept me sane the past four months!) Since being on the road, we have raised the remaining $8,000. The Lord had been so incredibly faithful in placing generous people in our path. Several of them give to us monthly. Some weekly. (I’ll share more about this later, because God has used these people to answer prayers… prayers we were afraid to pray.)
Right now, I’m sitting at a coffee shop in St. Louis, Missouri. Almost four months, to the day, into this adventure. The remaining $10,000 seems a little irrelevant now because so much has changed. The six month time fame has been extended to 10 months. Be The Change Youth Initiative is becoming a family affair, each of us finding our place and our voice. The ministry has expanded beyond any of our expectations. We can’t plan or prepare for almost anything… we can only hold on. We’ve said it at least 100 times over the past two months: We thought we knew what it was to follow Jesus before this adventure began. We didn’t. Not even close.
Get ready to follow a story that we pray offers hope to those who have walked away from the church. This journey is for you.