Adventure Graham

Snippets of Graham family adventures in faithfulness

Month: September 2015

Phase 2: Support Raising

Cross Roads Community Church, Farmington, NM

“On the road again…

Just can’t wait to get on the road again…”

Jaron is singing these words to me as we cruise down the highway with New Mexico’s wide open spaces and big blue skies in blurry high speed motion outside our windows.

We’re officially deep into Phase 2 of our transition process: support raising. Monday through Friday we spend working through remaining loose ends in the transition process like how to order food to keep the food pantry stocked or guidelines for maintaining a grant for the after school program or final details for an upcoming mission trip to the Congo. The weekends are spent speaking at different churches—often two a weekend, telling the story of God’s call on our lives, the sense of vision we have for the work of God in the world, and the call to faithfulness God is whispering in each of our ears.

On our first trip, we had the opportunity to speak at a Nazarene church just down the road from ours in a community very similar to ours. In New Mexico, that means 70 miles. It was exhilarating to see the way God is working in that faith community. We had a great time of fellowship and worship with them. This past weekend we drove 8 hours across the state to a church in Farmington for Sunday morning and then three hours to a church in Albuquerque for a Sunday evening service. It was an opportunity we wouldn’t have had under any other circumstances. An opportunity we can only describe as life-giving. For in each of those very unique settings, we have undoubtedly sensed that the Spirit of God is at work, healing, calling, and redeeming creation.

In the coming weeks, we’ll get to worship with several churches across New Mexico, at churches in our home community of Lovington, and churches in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. We couldn’t be more excited about what God has in store.

This support raising phase is a rather important one. Statistically, one of the primary reasons missionaries return home is financial stress. If we’re honest, it’s one of the reasons most frequently stated by pastors who leave ministry. Financial stress is often a very real factor for people whose income is dependent on the generous gifts of others.

In some cases, missionaries get paid a regular salary through their denomination or organization. In other cases, they’re responsible for raising 100% of their living expenses. As hybrid missionary-pastors, we will fall somewhere in the middle. Our church in New Zealand is providing a house (that we’re really excited about), utilities (one of the biggest expenses for Kiwi families), and a small salary that is expected to cover the cost of our food. According to the Financial Information Form we signed shortly after agreeing to relocate, we are responsible for raising the cost of our one-way plane tickets and travel expenses ($4,000.00) and about $12,000.00 per year of living expenses. In addition, we’re responsible for maintaining our retirement investments, Quentin’s educational savings, purchasing a family vehicle, and any other financial commitments.

If you know us at all, you know we’ve been making a financial plan. This one comes in three parts. 1. The portion that our New Zealand church is providing. 2. The portion that people graciously give as we raise support. 3. Rental properties. We’ve used the money from the sale of our house to purchase a couple of rental properties that will help us generate income while we’re engaged in ministry abroad.

We are grateful for all of these ways that God is providing. We are extremely humbled and blessed by other people who want to be a part of the work of God in the world by partnering with us. If that’s you, you can click here or visit our Financial Support page to make regular or one time contributions. Literally, every dollar makes a difference. Either way, we hope and pray that you’ll be a part of our support team by praying for us, for the work that we’ll get to be a part of New Zealand, and for the courage to say yes to whatever God might be saying to your heart.

Jaron in Ireland Part 3

We’re still enduring the blazing heat of summer in our part of the world, grateful for a little bit of relief in the evenings and early mornings. Q, in particular, is longing for days when he can choose to wear jeans, cowboy boots, chaps, a vest, and a hat without Mommy saying, “Sorry, Buddy, you’ll be way too hot in all of  that.” Jaron, however, is enjoying much cooler weather in Ireland, as these videos give evidence to. At the same time, we’ve been busy thinking about and planning to clothe our growing boy in a different hemisphere. Will these summer clothes last until “winter” hits New Zealand sometime around April or May? One thing is for sure: there won’t be warm Christmas sweaters for us.  Enjoy the latest installment of Jaron’s Celtic Pilgrimage vlogs.

St. Brigid’s Cathedral– St. Brigid must have been quite possibly one of the coolest women ever to live.

Down Patrick Cathedral–Watch this if you want to know a little bit of how a boy Donamed Patrick became St. Patrick.

Down Patrick Cathedral (from the outside)

St. Patrick’s Well–Can you say, “Brrrrr?!”

Struell Wells (where St. Patrick’s Well is located. Cold bath, anyone?)

Jaron in Ireland Part 2

Jaron is over halfway through his time in Ireland He has spent every day visiting different sites significant to the life and development of the church and then worshiped with an Irish church family on Sunday. In this post, you’ll find short video blogs of a burial ground, a cathedral, and a library. And, just to melt your heart a teeny bit, I shared his sweet little goodnight video for Q.

We’re definitely missing Daddy on our end, marking off every single day on the calendar, and extremely grateful for the technology that has made it possible for us to talk everyday, if even for just a few minutes. There will be more video blog posts (vlogs, if you’re super hip) this week. If you’re like me, they’re good for living vicariously through Jaron and plotting my future trip to the land of the Irish.

The Burial Ground: Newgrange

The Cathedral: St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin

The Library: Trinity Library (home of the Book of Kells), Dublin

The Sweetest Goodnight Video

Pilgrims’ Walk: Jaron in Ireland Part 1

 

I shook the water off my rain jacket as I prepared to shove it back into my day pack. After one day in Ireland this has already become the routine, one I anticipate for the duration of our entire 11 day intensive class. The weather changes from sunny, to cloudy, to rainy in the blink of an eye. It’s a small wonder the countryside is so beautiful.

20150901_061944 20150901_045150

20150901_044637

The rain isn’t a problem though. We’re on a pilgrimage after all and part of pilgrimage is intentionally taking things as they come. The focus is on God, not on my own comfort. We spent the day at Glendalough (which means valley between two lakes), a former monastery that now serves as a cemetery. The monastery buildings were built in the 11th century entirely of stone. There’s a complete church, a tall tower, and several semi-ruined structures.  These buildings stand as a testament to a monastic community that existed here for over 1000 years. You can catch a glimpse of our view in the video below.

St Kevin was the first to bring the Christian message to this part of Ireland about 1400 years ago. Having been rebuffed in an earlier attempt he persevered and returned to spread the light of Christ to these people. His journey and faithfulness eventually led to the formation of the monastery here.

20150901_043824

Back to our pilgrimage. We started by walking part of the Pilgrim Way, over relatively rough terrain to the monastery grounds. This path has been traveled by thousands if not millions of pilgrims over the course of history. We contemplated the beauty of God’s creation as we passed waterfalls, prayed at the few remaining stones that had been St Kevin’s home, and were challenged to embrace forgiveness on the shore of the lower lake.

20150901_07113420150901_075927 20150901_063007

After a quick lunch break we enter the monastery grounds through the archways of the main gate.

 20150901_100237    20150901_075250 20150901_074925

As we walked through the gate, our guide Father Mike, points out a stone to the right of the gate with a cross carved in the middle. This is the sanctuary stone. Check it out in the video below. Glendalough is a sanctuary, a place of safety and rest. Anyone who enters these gates, will be welcomed and protected, no matter what their past holds. No matter what they are running to or running from.

This struck me as incredibly profound. The community of the people of God is intended to be a sanctuary for all people. A place that provides welcome and safety to all people. I’m reminded of the lyrics to an old worship song.

“Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for you.” 

My prayer is that as I continue this pilgrimage, God would create in me a sanctuary in the midst of this turbulent world. I pray that through my faithfulness, God will shape a people into a community formed by the grace and love of Christ. A people whose words and actions become a sanctuary stone that assure people that they are safe and loved no matter where they have come from or what they have done.

Oh Lord, please prepare me!

© 2017 Adventure Graham

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Skip to toolbar