Emily and I have been on the down-low for a while.
This year, the holidays were more significant than ever. As we sat around the Amberg dinner table at Thanksgiving, I realized this could be the last time in quite a while that I taste my mom’s savory hash-brown casserole. As we were leaving the Venable’s house for Christmas, Emily’s grandfather pulled me aside and with tears in his eyes, told me how much he will miss us, but how much he respects what we’re doing. As Emily and I stood on our balcony watching the fireworks burst overhead on New Years Day, we said goodbye to 2013 and so many things that will become fond memories very soon when we make a new home for ourselves in a foreign country.
Yellama and Nehemiah
But lest we get too nostalgic, we are jolted back to reality by the news that this Wednesday, thousands of little Indian girls who should be in school are going to be sold into lives of forced prostitution. You read that right. On the first full moon of every January in our region of India, a festival is held to dedicate young children as servants of a certain goddess who demands to be worshipped by sexual slavery. You can learn a little more about it here.
On New Years Day, I was reading the book of Nehemiah and I was struck by how this famous biblical hero’s journey began:
And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire”
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. (Neh. 1:3-4)
He heard of the shame and indignity brought upon God’s people by their enemy and he was broken completely. What’s more, I believe that what really tore at Nehemiah the most was the fact that these people were called to be the glory of God among all the nations of the earth. They were His image-bearers. In the same way, we realize that the children of India are called to be the glory of God. His wonderful image is within them, yet it is marred by the indignity and shame placed on them by the devil. It moves us frightfully. It puts a lump in our throats and a twisting in the pit of our stomachs. So like Nehemiah, we cannot help but to fast and pray. And like Nehemiah, we must gather the courage to go before the king and ask for the funds necessary to restore a people. And like Nehemiah, we must leave our home, travel across the world, and build.
The Final Push
So as 2014 begins, we have enjoyed our restful and bittersweet holidays and we now have renewed vigor to get to India. We are 60% funded in our monthly support, so we will be finishing that, but it is also time to raise the one-time startup funds associated with moving. This includes things like plane tickets, emergency funds, and the costs of setting up a new home overseas. The following is a graphic breaking down these costs:
Does $18,600 sound daunting? Not for our God it’s not! That’s why we want to build our faiths together, and keep you updated so you can watch these funds come in. You will find this same graphic on a new page here at theeverflow.com entitled “Start-up Status.” We encourage you to check this page often, because as God provides the funds for our move, we will color in one of the items. After you’re done reading this blog post, you might want to go check the page out… You might find that something is filled in already!
Lastly, as Emily and I have been thinking about raising this money, we’ve asked the question of God and ourselves, “How can we raise support that honors who God made us to be up until now as well as what He is calling us to in the future?” We think we’ve found an answer… You will notice another new page on our website, entitled “Giving.” If you visit this page, you will see a button at the bottom to give to our mission online, but you will also notice some advertisements for some cool gifts we will be giving to those of you who chose to make a one-time donation to our startup costs… Emily will be giving spice packets with recipes attached to help you make an easy chicken tikka masala and I have written a young reader’s novel. Anyone who gives $5 or more will receive a spice packet and anyone who gives $20 or more will receive a book. Gifts of $25 or more will of course get both! We encourage you to go there and check it out!
In closing, I want to say thank you to all the people who have already signed on to support us. I know that we say it every chance we get and that is part of the goal for Emily and I while we raise support; to say thank you until we’re blue in the face, because we want every one of our supporters to know that this ministry is theirs as much as it is our, and maybe more. But today, I want to end by saying this: We are not special for moving overseas. We are not different from you because of what we are called to. The fundraising process has reminded us of this over and over. We mean it when we say that this is a matter for the Church. It’s the newlyweds who are living out their mandate to build a Godly family and have found the generosity to give to us every month. It’s the business man who is providing for our needs while also building a business that is a light in a dark world of commerce here in America. It is the homeschool mom who put Emily and my picture on the wall so that part of her kids curriculum will be to learn a global perspective. These are the real people who have linked arms with us in this battle to see the children of India take their place as image bearers. It’s me and it’s you. We simply get to be along for the ride that you are making happen, and we are excited to be on this journey with you. So thank you. We pray that you are as excited and envisioned for 2014 as we are.