Posts Tagged With: support raising

We need your help

One of the great joys of this life adventure, living and serving in Africa, is being part of a community that stands with us as we work at Kijabe Hospital.   Each month we receive emails from supporters, asking for prayer requests, staying in touch, and reminding us that we are the boots on the ground for an amazing group of people that cares about suffering here in Kenya.  When times are difficult, when futility and chaos seem to have the upper hand, we are lifted and encouraged by your prayers, and by knowing that you join us in advocating for the most vulnerable.

We have written blog posts before asking for help with a sick child whose family is devastated by medical costs, and you have responded.  We have been able to pay for hospital bills and a prosthetic leg for a teenager with cancer.  You have enabled us to travel into the most bleak, unstable regions of Africa, to provide medical care and compassion, to let those on the margins know that they are not, indeed, God-forsaken.  The monthly support provided by our dedicated community of supporters has sustained us over the last two and a half years. You have allowed us to serve at Kijabe Hospital, to train doctors, to pray with gravely ill patients and their families, to quietly pay a hospital bill for a dedicated pastor who’s leg was lost to infection, to try, in our imperfect way, to tell people, in word and deed, that God loves them.

But now, it is our turn to ask for help.  As part of our work here, we are sustained through one-time and monthly contributions from over 100 individuals, families, and churches, who allow us to serve here by supporting us financially and prayerfully.  There is a natural attrition rate as supporters’ situations change, and over the last 6 months, we have fallen behind in our financial support.  For the past two months, our account has been “in the red,” requiring us to urgently seek additional financial support.

The very responsible policy of Serge, our sending agency, is that if we carry a negative balance for three consecutive months, our “salary” is reduced, and if the situation is not remedied, we must temporarily return to our home country to increase financial support.  A good friend of ours, also working in Kenya, is currently in the US, not able to do his work here, for just this reason.  As a faith-based non-profit, Serge is responsible to both their donors and the IRS.

Due to this shortfall, we need $7,800 in one-time contributions, to bring our account balance even.   We also need 17 new supporters of $100 per month, to bring our budget into balance.   We are reaching out to you, to see if you, your family, your church, or your organization can come alongside us in our work here.  Please know that any financial support is put to immediate and hard work here at Kijabe hospital.

Here are the practicalities of how to provide support to our ministry.   All donations are tax deductible.

1) Go to the link: https://www.whm.org/give/missionary?ID=51553

2) This will take you to the Serge/World Harvest Mission page for donations to our work here in Kenya.

3) In the box, enter how much you would like to donate, and make sure you use the menu right below that to indicate whether this is  a one time donation, monthly, or annual donation.

4) After you click “Add to Donation Cart”, you’ll be taken to a registration page to checkout.

5) Your options are to donate by credit card, or by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).  EFT is the most simple and secure way to donate.  Setting up EFT allows Serge/World Harvest Mission to transfer your donation directly from your checking account to our mission account at Serge/WHM.

To do this you’ll need to look at one of your checks, to get the routing number and your account number.

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The routing number is the nine digit number to the left, and your account number is the next set of digits, after the colon.

Follow along the rest of the registration page, and you’re done!

We consider ourselves amazingly fortunate and blessed to be serving in Kenya, and we hope and pray you will join us in our work.  If you have any questions about our work here, or about financially supporting us, please email Mike at michael_mara@hotmail.com or Ann at annmoran2002@yahoo.co.uk.

Mike, Ann, Michael, and Jane

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Stuff, stuff and more stuff…

One of the biggest obstacles to our moving from Bend has been the necessity of clearing out our house and packing up our belongings.  The dread!  I have had nightmares about how we were going to fit all of our stuff into boxes.  This past month has seen that particular nightmare come true!

It is incredible how much stuff one can accumulate over a ten year period.  Last July, we held a garage sale.  The front porch, steps, driveway and garden were completely covered with toys, games, kitchen ware, books, and tools.  Our first customer arrived at 6am that morning after whom came a steady flow of passer-bys, neighbors, and “professional garage sale perusers.”  There really is such a thing!  They start the rounds as early as 6am – coffee in hand – ruthless and ready to steal a bargain!  We got rid of so much stuff in anticipation for our big move next month, and yet…it seemed as if in the last ten months, we accumulated just as much as we had sold!  The initial feeling of liberation passed all too quickly.

In facing this mammoth task in the last few weeks, I have learned a few valuable lessons:

  • Any packing materials that promise fun and laughter are setting you up for complete and utter misery!  There was very little smiling on our end of things!
  • Both Mike and I have very different ideas about what is and what is not sentimental…all giraffes, whether plastic, glass, or wooden, are all worth keeping! Yes!  Our 7 foot tall, solid mahogany giraffe has begun his voyage back across the seas to a new home…in a custom made “coffin” of sorts.
  • My attention to detail and fastidiousness about wrapping delicate items is far more trustworthy than Mike’s “just throw it all into a box and call it good” method of packing!
  • Moving is arguably one of the most stressful events that one can live through.
  • Reducing ones possessions to the bare minimum (albeit 47 boxes) is truly liberating.

And where are these boxes en route to, one might ask?   They are currently making their way to Dublin, Ireland.  We will be making our “home base” in Dublin for the foreseeable future.  Yes!  That makes me very happy.  The boxes will sit in a storage unit for as long as we figure out the next step of this crazy adventure. We intend to stop off in Dublin on the way to Kenya so that we can stuff the contents of 16 of those boxes into duffel bags to carry with us as luggage to Nairobi. Ann, Mike, two kids, and 22 pieces of luggage battling their way through airports and navigating airport trolleys.  I am anticipating a little stress during that particular phase of things!

Our house is now devoid of any character due to the absence of photos, pictures, and various different knick-knacks.  It’s not really our house anymore, however, as we closed on the sale over a week ago.  As the shipping truck pulled off and away from sight, I had an urge to run after it and say that it had all been a big mistake!  Mike and I still look at one another and ask if all of this is actually happening.  It is a very surreal feeling to be packing up, saying goodbye, and moving onto new experiences and places yet unseen.  In one way, it seems as if this move has been such a long time coming.  In other ways, it’s hard to believe that we get to embark on this adventure together as a family.  So many emotions pack themselves into a single day…excitement, fear, being overwhelmed, joy, terror, disbelief, enthusiasm, sadness, anticipation…it’s hard to hold so many feelings at once.  Our over-riding feeling, however, is one of Peace.  Contented that we are on the right path.  Satisfied that we are following our calling.  Trusting in our God to never leave nor forsake us.

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Raising Support

Neither Ann nor I come from missionary-type backgrounds, so this whole process has required a pretty steep learning curve for both of us.  Bursting with enthusiasm and energy, we were accepted into long-term overseas missions last December by World Harvest Mission. Within an hour of accepting a five-year commitment to serve in Africa, we were presented with our monthly budget, given a hearty slap on the back, and told to go out and “raise support.”  I think my exact response was: “huh?”

In fairness to our esteemed sending agency/new bosses, that’s not at all what happened!  We have, however, had to get our heads around some concepts which are distinctly different from the way we were raised, and perhaps even at odds with some aspects of Western culture itself.

The basic concept of “raising support”, or living off of support, is this:  the one who is sent is really just an emissary, a representative, of a large group of people who are committed to the work being done.   As such, the one being sent is as much in the service of those sending him as he is to those in his host country or project.  Our role is to be the “boots on the ground” for a group of people who believe in what we’re doing, but are not in the position at the moment to do it themselves.

There are both spiritual and financial components to living off of the support of others.   The great Polish pianist Ignacy Paderewski is quoted as saying “If I miss one day of practice, I notice it.  If I miss two days, the critics notice it.  If I miss three days, the audience notices it.”  We feel that way about prayer.  We can’t go a day without it.  As stumbling, broken, imperfect followers of Christ, we depend on prayer.  Our motivation, our energy, our reasons for what we do, are spiritual. The most vital role of our team is praying for Kenya, for us, and for each other.

Raising support also fills a very pragmatic role.  As you read this, there are thousands of people serving around the world  in developing countries.  Whether they are teachers, preachers, pastors, doctors, hydro-engineers, or agricultural experts, they all have in common that they’re working at something that doesn’t inherently allow them to make a living in their host country.  Some work for non-governmental organizations, some for government agencies, some for faith-based agencies.  All of them, however, are supported financially either by others’ generosity or tax dollars.

This alone is a strange concept:  living off of others’ generosity.  This doesn’t sit comfortably with such tenets of western thought as rugged individualism, autonomy, self-sufficiency, and success.  We’re told from a young age to pull our own weight.  Our definition of success almost always includes financial independence.

Conversely, the formation of a team of benevolent supporters pushes back against some of the greatest ailments of our society:  isolation, boredom, loneliness, and purposelessness.  As humans, we’re inherently social creatures, and many feel the calling to be associated with something larger than ourselves.  Faced with natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, or famine in Africa, many are moved to respond to help those in need.  As we move to Kenya, we take seriously this role as emissaries of those who send us.  We look forward to maintaining a dynamic relationship with our support team.  We believe that inter-dependence is a higher calling than independence.

All that being said, we are continually humbled, amazed, and encouraged by the outflow of prayer, enthusiasm, and generosity we encounter.  Only a few weeks after making our needs known, our budget is already 45% funded for the next five years!  In the middle of an historic recession, with homes in negative equity, and no one feeling particularly secure about their future, many have already recognized a way to reach out to those with less.  We’re hoping to be 100% funded in the next 4-6 weeks, which will allow us to depart for Kenya in early August.

I’m a big believer in the Jewish concept of “Shalom.”  Far beyond our usual translation as “peace,” shalom refers to individuals, societies, and nations being in harmonious relationship with one another and with God.  We’re hoping that our support team represents a tiny manifestation of Shalom in this world, and we welcome you to join us.

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