You get a lot of goodbyes when you go missionary.
Every other summer, we pack our bags and mixed emotions and leave our home for a summer in the States. The odd scorching days become a whirlwind of travel, speaking at churches, fast food, strange beds, long road trips, and great family memories. Along the way, you meet weekend soul mates and then you say goodbye.
This summer, we settled in Denair, California for 4 weeks and met with churches on the district. It was a risk. Less travel = less services = less prayer and financial support raised. But, less travel also = less expenses (significant when you are a family of 6) = more real money to put toward actual ministry. Experimentation. Stewardship.
And, it means the chance to develop deeper relationships. To share what we have learned living our missiology in central Europe and to re-learn what it means to live Christianly in our passport culture. That happens in afternoons with new friends at their house by their pool while the kids splash in the water and we talk about thrift store shopping because personal budgets are tight, and healthy cooking because we want our kids to grow strong, and teaching, and our teenage girls.
And deeper relationships mean harder goodbyes.
It’s Thursday morning. Packing
day. A last swim. Last moments
of sharing. The beginning
of goodbye. Again.
practical questions you might have.
What is the purpose of deputation? Missionaries raise financial and prayer support for their ministries and in the Nazarene church, it also helps to support WEF (World Evangelism Fund). Without WEF, Nazarene missionaries could not continue ministering. WEF = lifeline.
Do you work while on deputation? Definitely. The ‘office’ work still has to be done in addition to the travel and the services in churches. And services are not just weekends.
What makes planning an economical deputation difficult? Vehicles! In a furlough summer, you put a huge amount of miles on a car/van. Over the years, we have tried buying & reselling. Renting. Borrowing. It is our hugest headache = our biggest expense. Thank you to Jerry and Josie Wheeler who became soul mates last furlough and loaned us their truck this month. Thank you to Kathi Kinnaman, whose van is sitting in the driveway waiting to take us on the next leg of our journey.
And, housing. Where do 6 people sleep for 3 months? Hotels are expensive. A big family is a burden in a home. Thank you Tim & Kathi Ellis for letting us house sit this month.
Is it hard to raise the financial support you need? Yes. and No. People continue to be incredibly generous even in the difficult economy. Amazing. But, scheduling churches is harder. Fewer Sunday nights. Fewer Wednesdays. And, we are a pioneer field, which means a larger missionary team, an emphasis on church planting and pastoral education and compassionate ministries for vulnerable ethnic groups.
What does August look like? 14 services in 3 weeks! The family will split up. Some to Washington. Others to Idaho. Intense!
When is your next furlough? June – August 2015. We are scheduling now. Message TSunberg@me.com.
What is the most important thing I can do? Pray. Honestly. Pray.
And now, a question for you. What is the best way that a missionary can connect with you to communicate the story? Is it in the traditional missionary service? Is it a visit in your home? Is it a web page or a newsletter?