If you are coming from the link in our newsletter then you already know the situation, but for those of you who don't let me catch you up. When Jo and I came back to Japan in January of 2016 to work with CBI we were at 100% of our monthly support goals. It took about a year of support raising to get to that point and we were quite excited.
I think for a lot of missionaries support raising is an unpleasant task they just have to do. When we started I think I had that same mindset. However, I soon realized that I was in a unique place to share the burden for the Japanese people that God had placed on my heart and give people an opportunity to give in a direct and sacrificial manner to the growth of the Kingdom. It changed how I thought about support raising, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't all too excited to be done and ready to head back to Japan.
Since January of 2016 we have been working with CBI and Heart & Soul Cafe and I have to admit that I haven't put much thought towards support raising. Jo and I would try to meet and talk about our budget regularly but I was quite consumed in the work here. Since that time our our costs have increased and we have lost some of our monthly support. In this post I want to take some time to explain both of those situations.
Some of the increases in our monthly expenses were expected and some weren't. To put an exact number on it our monthly costs have increased 17%. One of the predictable costs was our rent. When we first arrived we moved into an apartment and then when a larger one opened up we moved into that. It was going to cost a bit more than we had budgeted but we felt that having a larger space was really important for Jo's hospitality ministry and meeting with mothers and their kids as well as hoping to grow our family. It has proved to be exactly that. The space has been a wonderful blessing when having people over and meeting with groups.
An example of that was the girls' joint birthday party we had this last weekend with 37 people in attendance. Our family has also thoroughly enjoyed having more space, and it will be a huge blessing when our third shows up this November.
Another increasing expense was our health insurance, we expected that it would increase but not as much as it did. We are also about to add one more to our family so that will also increase our insurance as well.
Another increasing expense in that same category is for schooling. Nora is in preschool now and Judy is getting ready to start. When she starts that will be another monthly expense that we need to budget for.
As well as increasing costs we have also lost some of our monthly supporters over the last year and a half. As all of you know life changes in ways that you can expect and, more often than not, in ways that we cannot expect. For some people their financial situation has changed in a way that makes supporting our ministry no longer a thing they can do. I totally understand that and I am in no position to question anyone's motivations. But nonetheless, our monthly support has gone down by about $500 in the last year and 9 months. Which leaves us some ground to make up.
All of that said, we are now trying to raise $1,000 in monthly donations (we have a detailed breakdown of our budget changes if you are interested). That can sound, and feel, like an overwhelming amount of money but God is good and he has provided in the past and he will provide in the future. Just to put anyone's worries at ease, Jo and I are not in danger of having to leave the field right now. There is a ticking clock but we have time and we trust that God will provide for us and our ministry.
If you are currently supporting our ministry, and are in a place financially to do so, I would ask that you pray about increasing your support. Any amount would help us towards our goal. If you are reading this and you do not currently support our ministry I would ask that you take a moment and pray about support us financially. You can find our more information on how to do so by clicking here.
Financial support is what keeps Jo and I in Japan. When we first came to Japan we came as full-time teachers. We worked and supported ourselves, but we constantly found ourselves feeling as though we didn't have enough time to devote to the ministry that we so desperately wanted to be engaged in. As the years went by people supported us so that I could move into part-time ministry. It was a wonderful opportunity, but again we found ourselves feeling as though we wanted more time to be in vocational ministry. It wasn't until we connected with CBI that we had the chance to do that.
In the year we spent support raising I was truly humbled by the sacrificial giving of believers who wanted to see the Gospel spread throughout the world. There will come a time when supported missionaries are no longer needed, a time when all tongues and tribes lift high God's name. But that time is not now, the fields may be white with harvest but the laborers truly are few.