July 6th I accepted an invitation to join the Brazil Servant Team with Word Made Flesh in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 17-December 17th. That means I have a lot of preparations and not a lot of time. So far I have applied for a VISA though I haven't received any indicator yet that said VISA has been granted. I have tried to find a plan for managing student loans, car and credit card bills while away and unemployed. And lastly, I'm trying to make a plan for fund-raising.
Fund-raising is not that difficult but it does take some planning. For instance, I have had a list of places to call to see if any restaurants or bars could help with setting up parties where proceeds would go to Word Made Flesh. I have a support letter drafted but not yet finalized or distributed. I have plans to make little cards with my information and address for funds and care packages. Mentioned today was the idea of having a car wash...if you know anyone who could help to arrange this let me know.
I am going to post my support letter here and begin over the next two days to email it out to see what kind of initial response I am getting. Please send ideas and encouragement this way because planning to leave the country for four months as an adult (rather than as a student) is a bit challenging. Perhaps it would be more difficult if I had a house, kids, spouse, but one reason I don't have those things is because I want to be available to serve in the places God opens the door to, not excluding my backyard or the other side of the world.
Support letter, draft 1:
Oi Amigos e Familia,
Many of you may know that I moved back to the Wheaton, IL area in March 2009 and have been working as much as possible in hopes of being able to return to Brazil. I am excited to announce that the invitation to return has been extended and I will be returning to Rio de Janeiro this August.
Once again, I will be working with Word Made Flesh. They are an ecumenical community of Christians working and living among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor. The Word Made Flesh community in Rio targets women and children living in the favelas (shanty towns). “Our witness to the hope and transformation Christ brings is offered through ministries among the excluded and marginalized, especially children living on the streets. Our ministries include mentoring and modeling relationships, education and recreation programs, partnerships with local ministries and supporting the local church’s mission to be a light to the community and the world” (an excerpt from the Brazil vision statement).
This trip will be a time of intense exposure to one of the world’s poorest population. In the context of a dying world (both physically and spiritually), our team will be seeking God’s heart for the poor and how He would have us respond to the suffering of this world.
Many of you might be willing to go and serve alongside us if it were not for other responsibilities in your lives. So, I want to stress the important role you play back home. By giving financially and supporting me with your prayers, you are allowing families to be fed, clothed, and loved. No gift is too small. I cannot do this without your support, and Word Mad Flesh would not exist if it were not for the gifts of supporting people back home. I urge you to prayerfully consider what God has called you to give and partner with me as we follow His call.
I am responsible for raising $5200 by September 1. Already I have received
$1516. Above the program costs I am trying to raise additional funds to use to bless the missions community in Rio so they can continue to bless their neighbors ($650) and continue to make payments on my students loans while unemployed ($650). If you feel like God has called you to serve with financial gifts you can send checks to the Word Made Flesh office in Omaha (address on the next page) or to me personally. Please do not write my name in the memo line but do write my name on a separate paper attached to the check.
As I said, no gift is too small. To know that you are mindful of those serving among the poor is very encouraging to us. Please be prayerful of our travels, expenses, and that God would impart to us wisdom and sensitivity to His Spirit. Care packages can be sent to address on the back of this page. We always enjoy American junk food (not excluding Jiff peanut butter). Thank you for your time and concern. I look forward to sharing with you all that God will accomplish in the months to come!
Addresses for sending support:
Word Made Flesh
P.O. Box 70
Omaha, NE 68101
859 E Lawrence Ave
West Chicago, IL 60185
*before Aug 15
6012 73rd Street
Lubbock, TX 79424
*after Aug 15
Please post a comment or email me if you want my address in Brazil for sending letters or care packages.
Thanks for reading. Looking forward to your advice/suggestions/support!