Don’t look now, but 2008 is about to be over. Somehow we have come to the end of another year. This year has been pretty important for our team (obviously!) since a number of things have happened. We lived and worked with both of our main supporting congregations. We formed support teams to aid us at both churches. We sold, stored, or gave away virtually all of our material possessions in preparation for our move to Arequipa. We packed six suitcases, said goodbye to family and friends, and boarded a plane to our new home. We completed three months of intensive language learning while finding housing and establishing ourselves in our new city. We prayed and prayed and narrowed our target area to the Miraflores/Alto Selva Alegre areas of Arequipa. We secured office space for 2009 and bought a “Mauve-Taupe” (not pink!) van. And that’s just the “big stuff” list…
To list out everything we accomplished would probably bore you to tears and take a very long time. I’d rather just say thank you. Everything we accomplished in 2008 is thanks to you, our supporters, and our amazing God. Doors were opened, signs were given, money was provided, prayers were answered. For all of your prayers and well wishes, for your contributions, known and anonymous, of time and money we say thank you. We could not be here right now without your love and support and that is a very humbling fact. I know saying thanks in a newsletter doesn’t do your support justice but the great thing is that you haven’t supported us for a pat on the back. You’ve supported us because you feel connected with our mission, God’s mission, and realize that to reach the world for Christ it will take all of us working together, with our own skills and talents, to succeed. We praise God for the way he provides.
Because of my part in our bookkeeping, I often have something to say about our fundraising status. This time around, I want to give you a quick update and then highlight some new, and old, ways we have for you to join with us in the work. As of December 23rd we have not only received the $20,000 budgeted for our working fund but have exceeded it. This was providential because we have had, and will soon have again, expenses greater than we budgeted for. One quick example is our van; we budgeted $8,000 but due to selection and quality ended up spending $9,400. While some items in 2008 will cost more than expected we believe our planned 2009 need of $20,000 to be accurate. As of now we have received pledges for $15,080. Think about it—we’re so close that if 30 people gave $15 per month we would exceed our goal. We’re confident in God’s provision. He has provided for us time and again and we feel good about our position heading into the new year.
On to the new. We have come up with some new ways for you to support our work. Sure you can still send money directly to us, thanks!, and our Pay Pal option has been tested and works very well, but it could be you’re still looking for something different. For a long time we have planned on setting up a Cafepress.com store. At this store you are able to browse a number of different teamAREQUIPA products to purchase. At present everything from a tote bag (no more wasted plastic bags at the supermarket) to a baseball cap are available. This site sends a portion of each sale directly to us that we can apply to our working fund or, if that need is met, to our developmental projects. It gets better. If you first go to our Squidoo.com lens (www.squidoo.com/teamareqiupa) you will see a page devoted to our mission.
Squidoo is a networking site devoted to raising awareness, and funds, for non-profit organizations and charities. Through our Squidoo lens any money earned through advertisements on the page sends a portion to our working fund. On that page you’ll see a link to our Cafepress store and items. If you follow those links and make a purchase, not only will Cafepress send us their usual portion but we will also receive a portion of the money Squidoo receives from Cafepress for advertisement. Obviously we are talking small numbers here but we all know that numbers add up very quickly.
While we would love to hear that some of you have decided to help meet our 2009 work fund goal, we hope you’ll commit to supporting us first and foremost through prayer. The coming year will be full of even more firsts and we will need a lot of help. Pray for us as we continue to adjust to our new culture. Pray that we find the housing we need and that God will open doors in our new communities that will lead to people celebrating and serving in Arequipa. Pray that God’s will be done here on earth, in Arequipa, as it is in heaven.