I have known fear and I have known worry.
And I have also known boundless peace beyond understanding.
– Morgan Harper Nichols-
Suffice it to say, 2020 was a looooong, challenging year and 2021 hasn’t been much easier. But, many blessings have come our way and I would love to take a few moments to share those with you.
In 2020, I coached a total of THIRTY-FIVE MISSIONARIES! And of those 35, TWENTY have been released to assignment! That means that even in the midst of a global pandemic, they were obedient to the call that God had put in their hearts and God showed His faithfulness by providing complete financial support. God is SO GOOD.
Reliant New Staff Trainings (NST) went virtual! Because people still felt called to the mission field, we still needed to train them to raise support! Even when domestic airports reopened, we didn’t feel it was safe or wise to do in-person trainings, so the fantastic folks at Reliant figured out how to do everything virtually! I had the privilege of “table training” three of these NST’s! Table-training means that I am assigned a table (in a pre-2020 world, there is literally a table) of 2-4 missionaries to guide through the training. As they learn to give their support-raising presentation, I encourage them, give them tips and at the end of the week, I get to Deputize them! Because Reliant is a 501c3 organization, anyone raising money through us must be legally deputized. Basically, it’s me checking that they are covering all the legal jargon necessary and belting out WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS at the end of the training. It’s quite fun! 😉
One of the missionaries I had the pleasure of coaching is Jake Rosser. He was raising support for a two-year worship residency at his church, The Well, in Abilene, Texas. Jake was actually part of the final in-person NST before everything went virtual! He began raising support in March and finished in August! He has been working and learning with the church since August and shared this little “golden nugget” with me recently:
I have learned that it’s so important that we gather together to worship together, hear the scriptures together, and take communion together, and as we form liturgies for our gatherings, we are teaching people how to approach God. Specifically, with the practice of confession in a gathering, we can take some time to lead people to approach Jesus confessing their brokenness that they need a savior. Growing up in a more charismatic church when I was younger, I found that a lot of the time I felt like I wasn’t hearing from God outside of a church service. I saw cool lights, loud music, a pump-up sermon, and a lot of energy, and because of my immaturity, I thought that was the only way God could speak to me. I thought I had to do something to earn his love. However, nothing could be further from the truth…God is with us, for us, and he doesn’t need fancy lights, a stage, or for us to spur up some kind of image for him to love us. There’s so much peace knowing that God loves me each day even though I let him down constantly. So when we intentionally lead people in a gathering, we want to practice approaching God together knowing that we are broken and need him daily. It’s a weighty, but joyful responsibility to lead people well in a church gathering. Everything we do together corporately correlates to our relationship outside the church walls with Jesus.
I am so glad to know that Jake is out there, working alongside God to draw people closer to Him.
It has now been almost a year since Reliant went completely virtual, and yet God continues to provide for His workers. In a completely unexpected miracle, we actually saw an INCREASE in giving from financial partners in 2020 than we did in 2019! GOD IS GOOD!
Reliant increased my hours from 30 hours/week to 40 hours/week! This is incredibly exciting because it means that I will be coaching even more missionaries! Not only that, but I will get to be more involved in the planning and communication sides of Reliant. And with that comes a fancy new title – International MTD Coach & Project Coordinator!
Since June 2015, God has provided me with a fantastic team of people surrounding and supporting me in various ways. Mario and I have been blessed in so many ways by this team. Because so many of you have been financially supporting me for years, my account with Reliant has been pretty healthy (yay)! With my increased hours comes an increase in salary (yay again!), which also means an increased support goal. My account is healthy, but if I want to do this job long-term (and I definitely do!), I need to raise more support. I am currently at 35% of my new goal of $3,287 in monthly giving.
If you have been a long-time, or even recently started supporter of mine, I am asking you to pray about increasing your giving. If you have never financially supported me or had to pause/end your giving, I would be honored if you considered (re)starting your giving this month. Since beginning in 2018, I have had the honor and privilege of coaching 48 missionaries, 32 of which have been released to assignment and are acting as God’s “boots on the ground!” The other 16 are still persevering through their initial support-raising journey!
Outside of work with Reliant, life has been pretty status quo. Mario and I have been quarantining pretty dramatically to avoid getting ourselves, or anyone else we love, sick. When quarantine first started and through the summer, it wasn’t so bad because we could still see people outside. Our new home has a lovely front patio where I spent most of the summer working, reading, and getting to know our wonderful neighbors. But now that we are deep into winter (almost 2 feet of snow!), I have felt much more isolated and lonely. I am ready for winter and quarantine to end, whichever comes first!
Here are a few highlights since last time:
- Mario started his new job with Veeam a year ago and after one month was working from home! He says when it’s safe, he’s ready to go back to the office (although I’m sure he’ll miss the sweatpants!).
- In July, Mario and I became first-time parents to our pandemic puppy, Amigo! We adopted him from the Franklin County Dog Shelter. He was three months old then and in April will hit the big O-N-E! We really have no idea what mix he is, so when people ask what kind of dog he is, we just say, “a black one!”
- Since moving to Ohio in November 2019, we haven’t been able to see Mario’s parents in person. We had hoped they would come last year, but Covid happened. Now that the El Salvador airport has reopened and traveling is much safer than before, we are hoping they will visit this summer!
- We continue to do virtual church at Ethos on Sundays with our dear friends Oakey & Victoria! We switch houses each week and enjoy brunch and church together!
I know that this was a long update, so I appreciate you sticking around ‘til the end! I’m not sure if it was moving to the States, the quarantine, and/or the transition of jobs, but writing regular email updates has become a challenge. I am hoping to improve on this in 2021 and share more “golden nuggets” from the field of the missionaries I have the privilege to coach!
Please join us in prayer:
- Continued health for both Mario and I and our friends & family
- Perseverance through quarantine! We miss our people!
- For the seventeen amazing people I’m coaching! That they’d continue to faithfully and courageously ask for support.
- To trust God even when (especially when) His ways are not our ways.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together,
will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
at His feet,