Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trust and/or Obey

Trust and Obey. This is the latest song running through my head. If only it were so simple.

Sometimes I think it might be easier if we were on a regular furlough schedule with four mandatory years on the field followed by a year of “stateside ministry.” Instead, we live in a place where many families go to the US or Canada every summer. We would drive up every other summer to maintain our support base without having to set up housekeeping long term.

Our policy was always to raise support little by little before it became a dire need. However, like many of you, we have found ourselves slipping further and further behind with the economy downturn. Faithful supporters discontinued their giving just as we began to face an increase in the cost of living.

The added conflict is that it’s no longer so simple to drive up to the States from southern Mexico due to all the problems along the border. The cost of flying is prohibitive, as is purchasing or renting a car each time we make a trip. Then there are the gas prices for all the travel. We used to cover about 15,000 miles each mini-furlough.

Sorry if I’m depressing you. Many of you are in similar situations, I’m sure. Dh and I are contemplating spending a few months in the US this fall for the express purpose of raising some additional support. However we are indecisive. Can we really afford the time away? Dh would need to fly down here at least two or three times to honor prior commitments. And how would I manage to home school a 7th, 9th, and 11th grader while juggling extra stateside activities for a semester?

Then again can we afford not to go?

These kinds of decisions make me nuts. The past few attempts at “support discovery”—or whatever euphemism you want to call it—were unsuccessful. We returned to the field with credit card debt, and no additional monthly support to make up for what was lost.

Meanwhile friends and acquaintances at church are all tapped out. Their mailboxes are filled with pleas for financial assistance from every ministry and missionary they know. Maybe they don’t even want to see us. I can’t say I blame them.

All I can manage now is to trust or obey, but not exactly both. I’ll go where He wants me to go, but will He really provide? Then again, I’ll gladly trust Him to provide if only He’ll let me stay home in Mexico. Do I really have to do both?

IRL* To go or not to go? That is the question.


  1. Ah, that's a tough one! Sometimes it is harder to have options! Our schedule is 3 1/2 years on the field and 6 months of furlough. Easier in some ways than a year back in the States, and harder in some ways. We don't have the option to return to the field if we haven't gotten our support back up. Just have to stay in the States until it's back up to where it's supposed to be.

    I don't envy you having to make these decisions. But yes, you do have to trust AND obey (for there's no other way... and all the rest :-))

  2. Praying, JJ. I can only imagine what it must be like.

  3. With our company we, too, have options...and although I really like the freedom that presents, it does make it harder. We are facing a "when" question of home assignment right now, too. And, it is a hard decision to make!

    We need it (financially) as well... and yet, we don't want it (in the leaving of life, home and work), right? And, yet we want it (to see cousins and sisters) and yet we don't want it (to stay with friends and co-workers here). goes the dilemma. So, we push forward to trust and obey Him alone. ...and ask for His help in this decision. Father, give wisdom and Your plan, I ask. ...for Jamie Jo and me, too!

  4. You're in a tough spot. I'm praying, Jamie Jo!

    Be of good cheer,

  5. I had a comment typed out and lost it! aargh! Anyway, I totally understand! We came back to the US in May 2010 to get our son ready for and settled in college and to raise support. Because of family issues and lack of adequate support, we have had to extend our stay. Will be praying for wisdom for your family!

  6. Thanks, all, for your comments, prayers, and encouragement.

    @Junglewife, no, I imagine it would be equally hard in your situation, but for different reasons, as you say.

    @Stephanie, I will pray for direction for you and your family as you make hard decisions now, too.

    @Karen, your comment gives me shivers, revealing an underlying fear I had never recognized. What if something happens while we're there, and we can't come back any time soon? Ugh. Need to trust more.

    Isn't it weird how someone can have unshakable faith in one area, and be so wimpy in other areas of trust?

    Just as way of update, we got our monthly statement from May, which was amazingly encouraging. But does that let us off the hook to have one really super good month?

    My poor dh. He's like the pregnant lady in her tenth month having to hear people constantly say, "Any news yet?" I'm trying not to badger him with "Did you hear a word from God yet?" but I really, really, really just want to know what plans to make.

    (And thanks for letting me be honest here. This is one of those "Why did I ever write that?" kind of posts.)

  7. Decision has been made! We are staying here in the fall. As soon as we decided, we heard that another family needs to make a trip back to the U.S. for an emergency of sorts, and will need the house that we thought was God's provision for us this fall in Ohio. That was confirmation that we had made the right choice.

  8. Oh, Jamie Jo! I am sorry about this! I am happy you shared and will be praying for you all. My dh is a 'tent-maker' and is blessed with a good job. I see that the decision has been made for you and am glad but hope and pray that the monthly support picks up and that God answers above and beyond expectation.

  9. Don't be sorry. It's all good. We are delighted to be able to stay here at least another school year.

  10. I laughed at your saying this was a "why did I ever write that" kind of post. (I've had similar thoughts on some of mine!)

    But I'm SO GLAD you wrote this post. It is something many of us were dealing with. The last two years have been the first in our 16+ years of raising support that we've had deeper budget cuts and a bit more anxiety. BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL!

    I felt so embarrassed recently that my husband on our prayer letter asked for sponsors for our son to go to an expensive (for us) MK camp here in Turkey. We just didn't have the money for the camp, but people responded quickly, and we had more than we needed! But other times God has us wait.

    I'm glad God shed light on your decision for the fall. I pray right now for provision for you and your precious family.

  11. Just discovered this blog! Love it! Great articles. Looking forward to reading it regularly. Thanks!!!

  12. Good stuff. You know our situation as new missionaries. So it nice to know that a seasoned missionary like yourself still seeks wise council. Your post also helps me gain a perspective for our years to come. We only have a small furlough planned every 2 years, things may change though, you know " there are many plans in a mans heart..." paraphrase. I have found that this period of our life is all about "Be still and know that I am God." we seek wise council and know that He promises to give us a life free of stress and anxiety. That we can lay it all at His feet and He will bear the burden for us. I also find my self confessing my lips to Let Him Lead, but not allowing it in my heart. As soon as my heart gives it up, there it is, His will for us. God is good, all the time.
    Hope to see you soon, we are longing to be with our family there in Oax.
    Greg aka"Mr.Norton"


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