The Elephant in the Room

eisforelephant

E is for Elephant by Starla Michelle Halfmann

I am just going to talk about it. My least favorite thing to deal with as we prepare to leave in June. FUNDRAISING.  I hate talking to people about this.  Maybe other missionaries don’t mind it but I feel so super uncomfortable about it.  I have even read three books about the topic. I felt like I either had to paint some perfect picture of our family to people or needed a great power point presentation. That just isn’t us. Every time I tell people about where we are going and what we are doing, they ask what they can do to help and then it happens. I swallow my tongue, my eye begins to twitch, a little shaking in my legs and I ask them to pray.  Seriously, what am I supposed to do?  Well, we need about $30,000 to make this thing happen and then it becomes all about the NUMBER. I can’t make it about the number and I don’t want anyone else to either.  The thoughts swirling around in my head: “will they think that is too much?”, “will they understand this is an investment in the Lord?”, “Should I explain that?”, “Does it seem like I am begging if I do?”… It can be overwhelming without the Holy Spirit to talk me down.  I don’t want to speak for other missionaries but I can imagine they have been through a similar struggle.  I am content to pray and trust that God will bring the right folks forward to support us financially. I feel no need to ask and frankly, I am more comfortable forgoing the fundraising conversation all together.  Then there is my Daddy God gently telling me to get over myself.  I need to deal with the elephant in the room and get over my fears of what everyone will think.  For the last five years, on and off, we have been selling our belongings and receiving financial help from others to survive. This should be easier and in some respects it is.  This just seems so big.  We went to a DTS 4 years ago and couldn’t finish. How can our God be so gracious to send us back?  I am a little overwhelmed by His love, I guess. So, I will say this: The need is great and we don’t have it ourselves.  The last five years since God called us to missions, we have pushed and scratched our way to pay off debt and save only to face layoff after layoff.  Our intention was to save this all ourselves and never have to ask.  When He opened up this opportunity for the DTS in June my first response was to tell God that we hadn’t been able to save yet, we were still running after being debt-free.  He brought me to a certain portion of scripture to show me the “why”. In the book of Judges, Chapters 6 & 7 is about this man named Gideon. He was the son of Joash who had built altars to Baal. Then Israel ended up under the rule of the Midianites (Bad Stuff).  Anyway, the angel of the Lord came to Gideon and told him that he would deliver Israel from this oppression.  Gideon was not so sure about this and tested God by laying out a fleece and asking God to make it wet, then asked Him to make the ground around it wet, blah blah blah.  You guys know how that is.  “God if you want me to do this, then prove it to me first and I’ll go.”  Once Gideon knew for sure that he was the right guy for the job and the Lord didn’t mistake him for someone else stronger or smarter, he went into battle against Midian.  But first! God had to prepare the army and it wasn’t what one would think. Here, I’ll just type it out for you:

Judges Chapter 7 –

“Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley. The LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’ Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained. Then the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of who I say to you, ‘This one shall go will you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of who I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.” Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water.  The LORD said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.”

I want to stop here for a moment and just give my personal “take” on this… first of all; I wouldn’t want to go to war with people who have been oppressing my family for years.  Most likely, I’d be pretty intimidated by them but God just needed someone willing to stand for His people. Secondly, around about the time that God was having Gideon separate everyone by the method they drank water. I would be praying “please let it be the guys kneeling, please let it be the guys kneeling”.  It makes sense, when going into battle to get rid of the “soldiers” who are scared (let face it though, these were farmers).  From there, you just want as much man-power as possible, right?  This is how I was looking at our financial needs for missions.  The more money saved, the better off we are.  Then God revealed to me that He will be glorified in this because it will be His plan that works. Through the revelation of a dream, the Lord gave Gideon his battle plan, the enemy was confused and that little army of 300 defeated the enemy!

Judges 7:20-22 “When the three companies (300 men) blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying our as they fled. When they blew 300 trumpets, the LORD set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Bethshittah toward Zererah, as far as the edge of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.”

I know we all work hard for our paycheck, I get it. I am not asking you to give but instead to pray over what God has for that check. If you don’t tithe, start there. After taxes and tithe, it feels like you have been dwindled down to an army of 300! I know! But let’s confuse the enemy, shall we? The devil expects us to hold on to what we got not to give it away joyfully.

So there you go, I said it, and I got this out.  I am hoping since I wrote this, it will be easier for me to talk about this face-to-face. Hope you guys don’t mind me practicing on you all!

** You can donate via our PayPal donate button or send checks to P.O. Box 26 Biddeford, ME 04005 **

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