Have you guys lost your minds? Are you having a mid-life crisis?
LOL! We get that a lot! We haven’t lost our minds, but we have lost our hearts to God. It has become increasingly clear to us over the years that we want to dedicate our lives to growing God’s Kingdom. So we can either go for it, or wonder “What if?”
Why Europe – and not the United States?
It’s true that the United States is one of the largest mission fields in the world. But it also has some of the greatest resources available. Just think of your community. There’s probably a church within walking distance of your home – perhaps more than one. Pastors have any number of training materials and books available. There are organized resources at their fingertips.
That’s simply not true in many places, including Hungary. We are joining United World Mission (UWM) to assist teams in planting churches in countries that desperately need them. We will develop materials for pastors who are intent on spreading the gospel. We’ll attempt to communicate to young people in a way they understand – through digital media.
Finally, we’re willing to go and serve. There are a lot of people and churches interested in global missions, but they can’t go themselves. Instead, they’re willing to invest a portion of their financial resources to people like us, who are prepared to make the leap of faith to serve overseas.
Are you scared? It seems kind of risky.
Sure, we’re nervous, scared, apprehensive. But we’re also incredibly excited, determined, and eager to get about doing God’s work. We have complete faith that He will lift up people who will support us prayerfully and financially.
When do you leave?
Our goal is to get to Europe in thefall of 2011. Before we go, we’ll attend the Center for Intercultural Training (CIT) in North Carolina, which will provide our pre-field training in cross-cultural ministry.
After CIT, we’ll move to Hungary and spend the next six months getting acclimated to our new life and meeting with other teams already in Hungary and other countries in Eastern Europe. Our children, Chloe and Sarah, will attend school at the International School of Budapest, an accredited school located in a suburb of Budapest.
Will you be gone forever?
Well, we’re not disappearing off the face of the earth! We’ll be home every three years or so to reconnect with our family and friends, and visit our supporting churches. We also invite you to visit us once we get settled and have a grasp of life in Hungary.
How will you tackle the language barrier?
Great question! We’ve learned that Hungarian is one of the hardest languages to master – harder even than Russian! Thankfully, there are translators available to help us in our ministry. We’ll also spend several months learning Hungarian, because we know that in order to effectively build relationships, mentor people and grow God’s Kingdom, we need to be able to speak the language and understand the culture.
How does raising support work?
Well, although it’s not easy asking others for financial support, we strongly believe God calls us to ask others to invest in His ministry. It’s not unlike supporting your own church. The pastor(s), staff, and building expenses are all paid for with the tithes and offerings from members of the congregation. Without their generous giving, the church would not exist.
So it is with missionaries, who typically develop relationships with churches and individuals who are interested in seeing God’s Kingdom expanded not just in the United States, but throughout the world.
We are humbled and privileged to be able to use the gifts and talents God has given us, to reach the people of Hungary and beyond. We have complete faith in God that He will raise up supporters who will contribute to this ministry financially and with their prayers. By doing so, we’ll be able to invest all our time and energy in ministry.
All contributions are sent to United World Mission, and earmarked for our account. United World Mission provides the financial accountability, and assists us administratively.
Who supports you?
Several churches support us, but the vast majority of our supporters are people who believe God can use us to make a difference in Central and Eastern Europe. Many people decide to offer financial support because they’re unable to directly serve themselves, but they have a heart to see God’s work in action overseas.
How much should I give?
There is no gift too small, and no gift too large! Seriously, God wants a cheerful giver, so there is no rule to how much you should give. Give the amount that blesses you, whether it’s monthly, annually, or with a one-time gift and know that we are grateful for every amount.
How does the process work?
When you decide to join our Support Team, all you need to do is send your contribution to United World Mission and indicate you want the funds directed to our ministry. UWM ensures the funds are distributed properly and in accordance with all the appropriate rules and regulations.
Once you send your first check to UWM, the agency will send you envelopes to continue your contributions. UWM also offers the option of electronic funds transfer (EFT), so you can set up a monthly gift to come automatically from your checking account.
How long am I committing to supporting you?
Many people commit to a three-year term. At the end of that term, we encourage you to pray about it and give as your heart leads you.
Of course, we understand that circumstances change. So if, within that time period, you experience a change in finances, please know that you are not “locked in.” You may change your support giving at any time.
When do we begin sending support?
Our goal is to be in Hungary in August 2011 – or sooner! There are many expenses associated with serving in the field, so it’s critical we build our financial base now.
I’m still not clear. Does UWM pay your salary?
No. UWM is a non-profit organization, and therefore does not produce any revenue of its own. All of the money we have for our living and ministry expenses comes from our supporters and supporting churches, which give to us, assisted administratively by UWM.
Are my gifts tax deductible?
Yes. United World Mission is a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization, so donations sent to UWM are tax deductible.
What about financial accountability?
UWM is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and abides by its strict requirements. An independent certified auditor conducts a full audit of all UWM's financial records every year. Additionally, an independent Board of Directors conducts a budget approval process and review of finances annually. UWM complies with all federal, state, and IRS regulations, submitting a 990 form annually.
On a personal note, when we met with UWM representatives, we were impressed with their determined commitment to comply with all laws so as to maintain the agency’s standing as a non-profit organization.
We will also make available our annual budget so you can see how we spend the money you so faithfully give. We are deeply committed to financial accountability, and we commit to spending the resources wisely.
What if we don’t have the financial resources to support you right now?
We understand times are tough. But there are many, many ways to support us!
First, we need your prayers. Keeping us in your thoughts will go a long way toward helping us succeed in support raising and in cross-cultural ministry.
Second, if you know others who might be interested in hearing about our ministry, let us know. We would enjoy connecting with them, and we’d like to invite them to join our ministry team. Also, if you think your church might be interested in hearing our journey, we would appreciate an invitation to speak.
Finally, we are brainstorming “outside-the-box” ways to raise support on an ongoing basis. If you have any ideas, just let us know! Here’s one: A UWM missionary approached a restaurant owner about committing 10% of the proceeds one day each month to his ministry.
So, do you know any restaurant owners?
How can I learn more about United World Mission?
UWM has a vision to see nations saturated with worshipping, serving, disciple-making churches that reproduce themselves and transform their societies for God's glory! To learn more, click here!