Sunday, February 22, 2015
I remember sitting where you were last year, I was excited about the prospect of going on a missions trip and all of the work Lakewood was doing, then I started looking at the price tag. I thought I would save up and go on a trip another year. Then I was approached by someone I respected asking if I would be interested in going on the women's trip to Israel. I thought again to my banking account and waivered, thinking how in the world am I going to afford this?! I think I even said as much in our conversation but what stuck with me was the confidence she had that God would provide. After praying about it, I felt certain that God had placed me on her heart for a reason and if he was leading me to go, he must be able to provide the finances!
Saying yes to missions and stepping out in faith is the start to the ministry for your mission trip. You see, I thought the ministry started once we got off the plane but looking back just as much ministry happened through fundraising as it did on the trip. Through fundraising I was able to share my heart for missions and have conversations about my faith with non-believers that I had known my entire life. All of a sudden co-workers would reach out to me after seeing my YouCaring site and start asking me questions about my faith. Great things were happening but up until the last week before the trip I still had two thirds of my funds to raise. I was worrying about whether I could raise the money in time and even thought about not going.
I'm so glad that I decided to stick it out because if I hadn't I would have missed one of the most influential moments in my faith. I had been continually praying for finances and feeling like I wasn't making progress. I was talking with a friend who was fundraising for a trip for India and we were trying to encourage each other. The very next week, I received a call from a group I had taken on a work trip to California saying that we needed to debrief and discuss how the trip went. When I arrived in their offices, they told me my group had nominated me for an award and handed me a gift card for $500, I was so caught off guard. I had been so discouraged, feeling like I hadn't made any progress in fundraising and here was this great gift! I was so thankful, I emailed them to say thank you and tell them I was going to be putting it all towards my fundraising goal for my mission trip. Within the next three days, each member of my work trip donated to my mission trip and put me above and beyond what my goal was. They had given the exact amount to pay for not only my trip but the remaining amount of my friend's trip.
My encouragement to all of you would be to trust God with your finances. He uses fundraising as a way to touch the hearts of the people around you and even when they can't financially give, you can inspire their faith and encourage them to step out in areas of their own lives. So step out, believe big, and trust God to provide for your trip.
Information about Lakewood's 2015 Mission Trips are located under the Resource section at lakewoodchurch.com/missions or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.