Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I've had some people ask me what exactly I'm doing with WWW since I'm not actually in Abilene taking the class twice a week. Well, I'm going to be attending their Missions Focus weekend in May and I'm working on trying to get there for a few days during spring break. I'm also on the list as auditing the class, meaning I have access to the readings and information that they post online for the class which has been most useful.

So what exactly does my training involve? Reading. Lots of it. Some of it was suggested to me by the director of WWW and some of it I'm doing on my own because I think it would be useful. I'm currently making my way through the book Eternity in Their Hearts. This book is about how people have been prepared to receive the gospel message before people actually came to share it with them. Since it's broken down by cultures, I'm trying to do one a day and treat it as a devotional. I'm also trying to journal about my impressions and thoughts on what I read.

In addition to using that book for devotional time, I'm also reading The Eternal Kingdom by F.W. Mattox. This is a book I'd heard about and thought would be useful to read. I feel like it fits nicely with my other training. This book is basically an overview of church history from the time of the apostles up through the Restoration movement. It's really interesting so far and I'd recommend reading it. One of the most interesting things that I've learned from it is that there really is nothing new under the sun. There was a part of me that always thought the early church was "purer" than Christianity today. But through reading this book, I've come to realize just how quickly and easily the early church became corrupted. It's kind of terrifying if you actually think about it. I've read up through the establishment of the Papacy so it's getting pretty intense.

I know many of you are thinking that you can't just do missions training from a book. You need some interaction with people and I am inclined to agree with you. It's why I'm working on getting out to Abilene next month and I'm going there in May. I'm also doing a little extra as well. Through the end of February and most of March, the churches in my area have Christian Training School. For five weeks you can go and take a class. It just so happens that this year, one of the classes they are offering is about women in missions. I've managed to rearrange my work schedule so that I am able to attend these classes. I'm really excited for them to start and I'm hoping that I'm able to get some good insight from these ladies.

Well there you have it, all about my training. I'm doing spiritual exercises ha ha. Anyway, if you all have any questions about this process or anything please feel free to post them in the form of a comment or drop me an e-mail and I'll do my best to answer them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Hardest Task

Saturday night, I went home in order to talk to the Elders at my congregation on Sunday about being my sponsoring congregation and maybe taking up a special monetary collection for me at some point. I'm not going to lie, I was terrified.

It doesn't make any sense that I should have been. I mean, I've known these people my whole life. They've watched me grow up, they've been key people in my spiritual growth, but it's hard and scary to ask people for money. Especially when I feel like I have so little confidence in myself sometimes. I was up until almost 2am the night before, praying and thinking about what I was going to say and then writing out an outline and practicing it out loud.

We met after service yesterday morning. I had written up a little brief about the Church on the Neva and also an outline of my expenses. I basically just outlined my training with WWW, then talked a little about the congregation over there. This transitioned into why I should go.

I feel like the hardest thing about my fundraising is going to be trying to get people to understand why I need to go. What I mean is that the Church on the Neva is a pretty vibrant and active congregation from what I can tell. Most people, when they think of Mission work they think of church planting or they think of serving, i.e. English lessons using the Bible, digging wells, etc. So I feel like I really have to emphasize the fact that I have a unique skill set which will allow me to reach people over there that no one else can.

After discussing why I should go, I asked them to consider being my supporting congregation. They have a regular meeting next week and I told them they could discuss it then and get back with me. The five elders were present at the meeting as well as our three preachers. When I finished, they had some really good questions and suggestions which made me happy because they were things I hadn't thought of. Our one preacher even told me that he would be happy to put me in contact with some other congregations who might be willing to help financially. That made me so happy!

My next step is to finish my fundraising presentation and then start on the creation of my packets.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

New Blog

So there's a blog I've been following a bit for the last year or so and I thought I would share the link with you. Eileen is originally from my area and she's been working with the church at Rostov-on-the-Don for quite a few years. Enjoy!

From Russia with Love

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Oh. My. Word.

I was supposed to blog about the Domodedovo bombing. But I can't bring myself to do it. I keep trying to avoid it. Why? Well because it affected me deeply and really bothered me and I'm having trouble forming thoughts about it.

So, instead I'm going to talk about what's been going on with the St. Petersburg plans. As I recall, we last left off where the Church of Christ on the Neva said they would like me to come work there. I feel very honored about this.

A while back, WWW sent out an information packet to Joel to fill out with all kinds of information about the mission site, the congregation and so on. I received a copy of this filled out packet yesterday or the day before. I was pretty excited to get it. Why? Well, because it has some details that I didn't know and also because it included an estimated expense report. What does this mean? Well, it means that I can now start fundraising.

This weekend, I will go home in order to talk to the Elders at the congregation in Alliance to see if they would be willing to be my "bank." Okay, that sounds cheap. Let me explain what I mean. They aren't really going to be my bank. Basically I'm going to talk to them about being my supporting congregation. This means that they will hang on to the money I raise, and dispense it to me as I need it. They will also pray for me, offer guidance and so forth. In addition to holding the money for me, I am also going to ask if they would be willing to take up a special collection for me from the members of the congregation there to help support my work in that way.

I spent a good chunk of this afternoon and some of this evening after work compiling a one page summary of the Neva congregation as well as an outline of my expense report. It was kind of exciting to see where the numbers were going. And also a little scary. Let me break it down for you:

$15 Public transportation (per week)
$100 Housing (per week)
$100 Food (per week)
$5 Bottled water (per week)
$5 Laundry (per week)
$50 Other weekly expenses

$0 Airport tax (total)
$500 Travel within the country (NOT counting the international air travel)
$(variable) Entertainment
$500 Other one-time expenses
$1,000 TOTAL

$275 per week x 4 weeks = $1,100 per month.
$1,100 x 12 months = 13,200
+$1,000 One-Time Expenses
+$2,000 (Airfare to and from country)
= $16,200

Yup, so that's where we're at. And maybe I shouldn't share with the world wide web how much money I'm going to have to raise, but I feel like in order to accurately document the experience of a missionary, I should include fundraising. It is rather important after all.

That said, if you or anyone you know would be willing to help support my work in Russia, please drop me an e-mail at languagelove at gmail dot com.