If I Had a Million Dollars...
I never really wanted to be rich. Oh, sure, I've dreamed about what it would be like to have serious money, but when I think about it. I mean REALLY think about it, I'd be happy with a modest home, my family's needs met, and have the opportunity to bless others with some serious cash.
I'd love to endow scholarships at my high school alma mater, the high school where I taught for five years, and my undergraduate alma mater, all in the name of my maternal grandfather. He never went beyond eighth grade, but he so valued education, and encouraged me until he passed away nearly 20 years ago.
I'd give lots of money to my church. We're looking forward to building our own church and being able to minister and bless others.
Most of all, I'd go to Haiti. Our church is part of a mission organization that is working hard to bless some very poor villages. I'd love to be a part of a mission team working for a few weeks down there.
But since my chances for winning the Mega Millions aren't looking so good, I'll do some smaller-scale giving. Most of my friends are in similar situations and probably do the same. Of course even though big money gifts are always appreciated, Margaret Mead said it best.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
With that in mind, I'd like to share a letter with you. A dear friend of mine has been called to do a 10-day mission to Perm, Russia. She needs assistance in raising the funds necessary for the trip. Even the smallest gifts will help.
Most of all, she needs prayer. Prayer for the trip, prayer for the team, prayer for the people who will be blessed. Please read her words, and if you feel called to bless her with funds, leave a comment with your email address and I'll pass along her mailing address.
Imagine a place where atheism was the formal statement of faith of the government for most of the 20th century, where the population is dying faster than they're giving birth. Imagine a country where life expectancy for men has decreased by six years, and where alcohol is said to play a role in the deaths of nearly a third of the population. Imagine living in a place where your faith is determined largely by your ethnicity instead of the state of your heart, and where less than 1% of the population is comprised of evangelical Christians. Imagine going to a city that was right in the heart of the Russian Gulag and trying to bring light into darkness.
I've only once missed Thanksgiving with my family, and this year I will forgo my single annual pilgrimage home to go where I believe the Lord is sending me. To Russia. In the middle of winter. November 20-December 1, I will be traveling to Perm with a team from the Atlanta Vineyard Church. The purposes of the trip are:
1. To encourage the believers in a dark, lost part of the world and pour out spiritual refreshment from the Lord.
2. To allow God to work in our own lives as we watch Him transform hearts and lives through testimony and rhema word.
3. To pray "on sight with insight", setting foot on Russian soil and letting the Holy Spirit inform us of how to pray for this nation.
4. To develop and foster relationships with local believers, to make the world smaller geographically but explode it relationally.
I am excited about going on this my first mission trip. I consider it no coincidence that I started learning Russian in April and decided to apply for a passport in June, and then was asked to pray about this trip later that same month. I am writing to ask for both prayer and financial partnership.
While I'm comfortable asking for prayer support, asking for financial support is a bit more difficult. As you can imagine, a trip like this requires support from a number of people. I need to raise $2,000 by November 15, with $1200 due by October 1. If you'd like to be a part of this mission financially, checks may be made payable to the Atlanta Vineyard Church and mailed or given to me. A receipt for tax purposes will follow. I covet your prayers as well, knowing that this trip will not accomplish its God-intended end without covering. If you'd like to commit to praying for me as I prepare for the trip, please let me know. I so value your friendship and support.
Passionately Pursuing the Kingdom,