When the Checks Stop Coming
When the checks stop coming. . . .
This is a longer than usual post, but please take the time to read it all and then, PRAY.
When I started advocating for the Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf around the year 2007 there was some things I realized pretty quickly. One was that we had a long, long way to go before it was going to be a viable and effective educational/training location. The other was that money from the west is going to become more and more difficult to come by. I believed then, and everything I have experienced and observed since then has confirmed my conviction, that the great missionary support “bounty” that has come from America and Europe will soon dry up.
As our economy slows at an alarming rate, available funds for charitable work are going to be thinner and thinner. Already, many churches are finding it more and more difficult to appropriate funds for ministry outside their own geographic areas. Individual donors are finding personal funds more and more precious with regard for caring for their own needs and the needs of their families. Add this to the facts that there has been a huge jump in natural disasters that have consumed billions and billions of dollars and that most westerners are largely “emotional” givers (shifting charitable giving quickly to the most recent disaster) – funds to support ongoing projects are increasingly difficult to secure.
My convictions are cemented as I have watched the school’s primary support organization, Deaf Ministries International, increasingly challenged to meet their obligations around the world. DMI is a fine organization which has a heart for the Deaf around the world. International Director Neville Muir keeps an unbelievable schedule, hopping from continent to continent encouraging and supporting Deaf schools and churches around the globe. My admiration for them grows with each passing month I have contact with Neville and DMI. And yet, funds are more and more difficult to secure and more often than any of us would like to hear, they have to send out reduced checks, providing only a small percentage of the required funds for the monthly budget at the school.
I believe God spoke very clearly to me several years ago when I was challenged in my spirit to focus on self-reliance and economic sustainability. If the Deaf School is going to be able to remain a viable educational and vocational institute in the years to come, they MUST be able to support themselves, because sooner or later the checks from the west are going to stop coming. In the past two days, I have written two checks for over $2,100 to DMI for the school. One of those checks was to buy an additional dairy cow for their growing herd and a second just to pay bills that are overdue. I’ve had to put an important project on the back burner to get us through yet another financial “brush fire”. I am more convinced than ever that we are in a race against time to develop and implement a workable plan toward economic sustainability and self-reliance. I’m not a clock watcher, but I can hear the grains of sand slip through the hour glass at a steady, unrelenting pace. We don’t have much time!
This afternoon, after writing out the second of two checks for the school I contacted via email a number of good friends in Kenya. They are members of the church and business communities, each one a brilliant man in his own right. I have asked them to meet with me at the school in February to pool our creativity to develop a business plan that will help the school move forward toward sustainability. I am in hopes that the wisdom of God will descend upon us and reveal to us a plan and the resources to implement that plan so that in a very short time, the school will become less and less dependent on outside funding; fully able to house, feed, and educate these precious children and train the young men and women in the skills necessary to compete in an increasingly challenging job market.
The realities are stark. I need to raise money now to complete important construction, farm land acquisition and equipment purchases in order to establish adequate infrastructure upon which to build and expand. I have found it more and more difficult to raise funds given the financial challenges we face in America. It is almost impossible to convince Pastors to let me visit their church to present our needs and most grant funding limitations are so restrictive it is difficult to find a sleeve to fit in. And yet. . . .
And yet, I believe God. I believe I heard God when He set me on this path and my zeal for the task remains unabated. I continue to make phone calls, write letters, and inundate the internet seeking opportunities and donors. I am looking for donors to help me create an environment where we will no longer have to seek donors. I am turning to friends who will meet with me, walk over the landscape, get to know the school, its leaders and their incredible potential and help me develop a scheme that will render fund raising for this school unnecessary. I am believing God for wisdom from above that transcends the wisdom and cunning of man; wisdom that summons the miraculous and empowers the supernatural. I want to see something grow up out of nothing and become something that cannot be, except for the grace and mercy and intervention of Heaven itself!
This afternoon as I wrote out that check to pay back bills I was feeling a heavy weight of discouragement, as I am sure was Wesley at the school and the folks at DMI. However, as the evening has progressed something slowly has began to rise up in me; faith. Faith in a God who rains manna from heaven, commands quail to walk through the camp, and finds coins in the mouth of a fish; faith that causes water to pour from a rock and fish and biscuits to feed the multitude; the same faith that stood with Hannaniah, Azariah, and Mishael in the fiery furnace, closed the mouths of the lions in their den and set Peter free from his prison. I am EXCITED tonight because I suddenly realized that we are in the place where human wisdom, flesh, nor blood can succeed. We are in a place where God either moves or we fail.
I will send this note out in a newsletter in a few days with a more detailed report. However, as I typed these words, I realized that I have hundreds of praying friends of Facebook and Twitter who themselves represent thousands and thousands of praying people across the internet and I decided to post this and ask for a tsunami of prayer to go up before the throne tonight and all this week on the behalf of the children of the Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf. I am asking that the Body of Christ cry out on behalf of children who have no help if God does not provide it asking a loving and compassionate God to give that help.
Will you pray with me?