Giving Stuff

When I started in my new role with Wycliffe, I was a bit startled to learn that 90% of the assets of the average American are non-cash–things like vehicles, real estate, furniture, etc.  Ninety percent!  In thinking about it, I realized our family wasn’t that much different and it started to make sense.

Then I met our staff who specialize in working with people who wanted to give through creative means.  Maybe their cash assets were low and didn’t think they could participate financially in the Bible translation movement.  However, God uses all of our gifts.  Just in the past few weeks I’ve learned of people who have given iPhones, RVs and even land–all for the sake of advancing Bible translation.  I’m grateful for the way so many have responded to give creatively to this movement!

If you have something, valued at $75 or more, would you please consider donating them to Wycliffe, even to support our own Wycliffe ministry?  Click here if you’re interested.  It’s quick and easy and puts your stuff to use in God’s Kingdom!

Some of the more common things to find around that could be donated:

  • Smart phones: Maybe an iPhone if you’re upgrading to the new iPhone 6s.
  • Gift cards: We might remind you about that one again after Christmas.  🙂
  • Vehicles: Your motorcycle that has gone unused or the inherited boat that never sees the water.

Thought of something sitting in your garage or storage unit that could be put to work spreading the gospel?  Here is that link again for donating toward our ministry with Wycliffe.

The image below is a link to a blog post written by my colleague Melissa which looks at this in more detail:Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.02.50 AM

10 years in…

This is a season of anniversaries.

A few months ago I celebrated 10 years as being a member of Wycliffe.  I received notice back in July 2005 from my recruiters and friends, Ed and Linda, a day before I got the official notification from HR.  At the time, I was in the midst of a crazy busy summer working with youth groups coming to serve in San Francisco.  My acceptance into Wycliffe kicked off an incredible season of transition where I moved (by train!) back to Michigan for a short season before moving to Orlando, starting my first Wycliffe assignment, and then meeting and marrying Christie.

Then just a few weeks ago, I marked one year in my assignment as the Vice President for Advancement.  It’s been nothing short of a thrill ride–working through staff transitions, a major restructure, overhauling the physical layout of our office, and planning our first major event.  Not unlike the ride I was on with my father-in-law recently:

Manta at Sea World Orlando

Just prior to my one year anniversary I conducted performance appraisals for my leadership team.  I always enjoy these but this round seemed pretty special because it gave us all a chance to reflect on the first year of working together and how far we have come.  I know leadership transitions can be a challenge so I’m so grateful for the way that our staff has rallied around Christie and I over the past year.  I sincerely feel that we are clicking on all cylinders and I’m so grateful for a tremendous team that God has given us to serve the Bible translation movement for this season.

Looking back on 10 years also gives us the chance to think about how many people have made it possible for our Wycliffe ministry to thrive over this time.  Some of you have given financially–generously and sacrificially.  Some of you pray–faithfully and lovingly. Others of you have visited us, sent us notes of encouragement, brought food to us, and been the church to us.

WE ARE GRATEFUL!

Here’s to another 10 years together in ministry!

Coming “Home”

“You can’t go home again.”

Never has that statement been more true for me than this past 16 months. It has been about that long since our family left Nigeria for the last time and settled indefinitely in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Christie has lived in Central Florida most of her life; I lived here for three years before we moved to Nigeria in 2009. We had communities and networks of friends, family and colleagues that we knew well and that knew us. We had our favorite haunts–those stores and restaurants that we gravitated to. Orlando was our home (or at least one of our homes) and when we said farewell to our life in Jos, Nigeria, we were coming home.

Or so we thought.

Our

Our “home” since February 2014.

Many of our friends in Orlando had moved. All had, to some degree, moved on with their lives (not that we would have expected anything less). Our haunts had closed or were under new management. Colleagues had changed roles. Even the look of my commute from the downtown area (where we lived before and now) to the Wycliffe office had changed dramatically.

We, too, had changed. Five years living in west Africa has a way of re-shaping your worldview. Our mannerisms and diction were different. The kids did odd things (like take power outages in stride as if nothing happened). I was a different leader and manager, and in a different role with Wycliffe, than when we left five years prior.

While there was some semblance of familiarity in our life, it certainly didn’t feel like home!

We all struggled with missing our community in Nigeria. This was particularly hard for Christie and the kids, probably mostly because I’ve had the benefit of going in to the office every day where I am surrounded by people who have made the same transition we’re facing. Skype calls and visits with our friends in Nigeria have been nice but didn’t quite cut it when it came to being a part of each others’ lives, day in and day out. We haven’t yet found any replacement for that community–and we may never find it again–and we are grieving as a result.

A reunion with two other

A reunion with two other “Nigerian” families earlier this year.

There are reasons why counselors are desperately needed on the mission field. It’s not just because of the PTSD, cross-cultural issues and interpersonal challenges that are so common. It’s also because of the transitions we face and the need to balance having multiple homes. It’s a psychological struggle and one that we (both Christie and I, plus the kids) now face every day.

Would you pray with us? Pray that God would help us to reflect upon and remember our time in Nigeria, while helping us find the community He has for us here in Orlando. Pray that He would help our kids understand the new reality we are in, while not losing their life lessons and cross-cultural experiences from our time in Jos. Pray that we would continue to have sweet reunions with friends from our Nigeria life!

Thank you for praying!

Interactive Bible Translation Open House in Orlando

The Wycliffe Discovery Center, located in the Wycliffe USA offices in southeast Orlando, is an interactive, kid-friendly center to learn about the Bible and the worldwide Bible translation movement.  We highly recommend visiting if you have never been before!  For those in the Orlando area, we are looking forward to hosting you at the Discovery Center next Saturday, September 20, for an interactive open house!  Following is a brief outline of what our morning should look like:

  • 9:45 a.m. — Arrive at the Wycliffe Discovery Center, located at 11221 John Wycliffe Boulevard, Orlando, 32832  We will meet you in the lobby.
  • 10-10:30 a.m. — Tour of the Discovery Center with a Wycliffe staff person
  • 10:30-11:30 a.m. — Interactive presentation and question/answer time with Chris and Christie (Light refreshments will be served.)
  • 11:30 a.m.-12 noon — Free time to explore more in the Discovery Center or visit with us

Please RSVP (It’s fine to e-mail or text.) by Friday, September 19 so that we know how to plan.  There is normally an $8 charge for adult admission, but as our guests there will be no charge to you.  Feel free to join for all or part of the morning.  Families and children are welcome and encouraged to attend.  We look forward to seeing you and exploring with you!

One new feature in the Discovery Center is the ability to explore clothing from different cultures around the world–come join the fun!

Time to get involved!

A few months ago, a friend–who I hadn’t talked to in quite some time–sent in a gift for our ministry.  When I was corresponding with her about the gift she wrote, “I’ve enjoyed reading your newsletters over the years, and decided it is time to get involved!”

Does this describe you?  Maybe you’ve been getting our newsletters, following our blog or tracking us on Facebook over the past couple of years but have yet to join our ministry team?

It’s not too late!  Now would be a great time to commit to praying for us or giving financially on a regular basis.  We can’t start our new assignment until we reach 100% of such commitments; currently we are only at 73%.  The sooner we begin the assignment the sooner we can start to have an impact, through fund development, on the nearly 2,000 language communities around the world who are still waiting for God’s Word.

If you would like to join our team, please click here or let us know if you have further questions.

Gifts Adding Up

I was visiting with a friend recently who said something to the effect of, “I really want to help you out financially, but I can’t give much and don’t think it will make a difference.”

Was I ever quick to jump in and correct her thinking–“Whatever you can give WILL make a difference for worldwide Bible translation.  One of the great things about our partnership team is that there are lots of people giving what you might consider ‘small’ gifts…and it adds up quickly!”

Not long after that, we received word of her commitment to give monthly to Wycliffe with preference for our ministry.  Commitments like hers are getting us closer to our goal of having 100% of our ministry budget pledged.  Don’t think you can give enough to make a difference? Think again!

However, despite new partners and others who have increased, we are still only at 73% of ongoing commitments–leaving a gap that must be closed before we can start our new assignment.  An empty office (see this recent post for a photo) remains at Wycliffe until we reach 100%.

If you want to help us get started in our new role please let us know of your desire to partner financially with us on an ongoing basis.   You can also set up gifts online through the Wycliffe website at https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/7921ED

Your gifts play an important part in reaching the nearly 200 million people still waiting for even one verse of God’s Word in their language.

30% in 30 Days Update

A few weeks ago we shared about our 30% in 30 Days campaign (Click here for the original post.).  An update is overdue!

We started the month of June feeling rather uncertain and discouraged.  Still needing 30% of our financial partnership goal with only one month to go until the anticipated start date (July 1) of our new assignment, I suppose that was to be expected.

Today, June 25, though we still have a ways to go before we meet our goal, we nonetheless feel hopeful.  We have gained a few new partners and some current partners have increased the level of their partnership.  (A big thank you to those of you who fall in these categories, as well as to all of our partners!  We are so grateful to each of you!)  We also had the opportunity to spend last weekend with a wonderful congregation in Sarasota that has a vision for worldwide Bible translation and understands how our new assignment can be used to transform lives — and several verbal commitments for financial partnership were made.

Office at Wycliffe just waiting to be filled!  (Hmm - some people fill in thermometers for a visual of their progress... Maybe we will gradually decorate the office as we get closer to our goal!  ;)  )

Office at Wycliffe just waiting to be filled! (Hmm – some people fill in thermometers for a visual of their progress… Maybe we will gradually decorate the office as we get closer to our goal! 😉 )

Not counting those verbal commitments since we don’t know details yet, we are at 72% of our financial partnership goal with just one week to go until July 1.  We are getting a little nervous that we won’t be able to start as planned, but we know that God has performed far bigger miracles than this and that He has big things in store.  (If you missed it before, we cannot start our new assignment until we have monthly/quarterly/annual commitments reaching 100% of our goal.)

If you would like to join our team please let us know as soon as possible (even if you do not set up your gift immediately), as this will help us to plan our start date and know where we are with commitments.

You can easily set up a gift online using the NEW Wycliffe.org site; click here to check that out.  We appreciate all of you and look forward to seeing how God grows our team!