Sometimes things don’t work out like you expect.
Like the fact that we’re currently living in a guest room and cooking in our garage. Like the fact that we’re washing dishes in an ice chest. Like the fact that the contractor who started the demolition on our kitchen and bathroom didn’t pull the right permits and the police came and shut down the construction. Like the fact that the city says it will be at least two months until the paperwork clears. Ugh.
Nope… we didn’t expect any of that.
I know that all sounds like it stinks. And frankly, it really does. It’s no fun. We’re having a lot of days that are not at all like we wish they would be. But, life is like that sometimes.
There are other things that don’t go quite like we expected, either. When we opened La Mesa Turquesa, we had visions of refugees and immigrants filling our center and sharing tough stories with us on a daily basis. We were prepared for emotional days and how to work through trauma. There has been some of that, for sure. We have had our share of tough stories and tears. But there has also been a lot of good in the unexpected.
We never expected to make a new Syrian friend who also happened to be a champion horse trainer in the Middle East! He and Sarah have shared lots of stories. He has even been to see her compete and help at the riding club.
We never expected to fall in love with the twin babies that were born after their mother fled her country, pregnant and afraid. We never expected to become aunties and uncles and cousins to these precious little ones. We never expected to cuddle them every Sunday while their mom attends our church. We never knew that one day we would witness their first laughs, their learning to crawl, and the joy when they reach out for us to hold them.
We never expected to witness the first black man to ever pray from the pulpit in our church. A refugee from Nigeria stood up and asked to pray and he rocked the world that day. We never expected to see history made and a church forever changed by a humble man seeking a new life in a new country and new culture.
We never expected to meet Peruvians in our center! It’s like old home week when they come in! We never expected to be helping them settle in to our town, to be helping their children learn English, or to be reminiscing about everything we love and have in common about Peru.
We never expected to become “mentors in everything”, but we find ourselves negotiating rental agreements for immigrants, helping people find food, tutoring and helping with homework, teaching English and Spanish, and trying to help people navigate the rocky waters when cultures clash. We find ourselves in tough conversations about racism and world politics and global economies, all from varying cultural perspectives.
In some ways, we expected to have to fight for our place in the community and to stand our ground for helping refugees and immigrants. What we didn’t expect is the amount of love and support that we have received. We didn't expect locals to hang out here as much as refugees and immigrants do.
What we didn’t expect was the questions about, “Why do you do this? Why do you help people with out charging them anything? Why is the coffee free? Why do you accept everyone – blacks, whites, immigrants, refugees, Spaniards, Muslims, Christians, tattooed teens… why are you so open to everyone?”
What they don’t expect is our answer. “Jesus said to ‘Love your Neighbor’. He didn’t say to love the people who look like you. He didn’t say to love the people who are perfect or popular or accepted by society. He said, ‘Love your Neighbor’. All these people are our neighbors. So, they are welcome at our table.”
When we moved in to our house, we “inherited” a bunch of extra stuff that the previous owner left behind. He was a ninety-three year old widower, and he left us with loads of abandoned ceramic figurines that I’m sure had once been special for whatever reason. A ceramic clown riding a donkey, various little vases of plastic flowers, an entire heavenly army of ceramic cherubs and angels, a few random stuffed animals, some odd pieces of glassware and some mismatched dishes, and an entire forest of dusty silk greenery, just to name a select few. We boxed them all up and took them to the local second-hand store, along with some old furniture, cardboard posters, and velvet drapery. After all of the purging, one large silk plant remained. It stood in the corner of our bathroom, measuring in at almost 5 feet tall, and was “planted” in a triangular glass vase filled with blue and orange crepe paper confetti. I thought to myself, “How did this ‘beauty’ make the cut and manage to stay in my bathroom? Billy must like it for some reason.”
That lovely, silk monstrosity has lived in the corner of my bathroom for the past 2.5 years.
A couple of weeks ago, we began to do some much-needed repairs and renovation work in the bathroom and kitchen. As we packed up everything in the cabinets and moved things to the garage for a while, I casually asked Billy, “Since we are re-doing things and starting fresh, do you think maybe we could get rid of the plant?”
“Oh my gosh, YES! Finally!”, he said, relief spreading across his face.
A little confused, I asked, “Why do you say it like that? I thought you liked the plant?”
“WHAT? I HATE that plant! I thought you liked it.”
“NO!!! I can’t stand it!”, I replied.
“Then why didn’t we get rid of it when we moved in?”
“Because I thought you liked it. I wasn’t going to make you get rid of something you liked.”
“Seriously?!” He started laughing hysterically. “I thought you liked it, so I never said anything about it.”
Then I was laughing, too. “I hate that plant! Every time I get out of the shower, I think about how ugly it is and I wonder what it is that you like about it. Every time I open the window and have to reach over it, I secretly say bad things about it. I hate that it’s always catching dust and how it’s faded and sad looking. And I really hate the blue and orange junk in the vase! It fell over a while back and I prayed that it would break, but of course it didn’t. And then I cursed it even more for being resilient!”
Now we’re both dying laughing. “Why didn’t you say something and get rid of it?”
“I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. And I didn’t think it was worth having an argument about it. So I just let it be and figured that one day, when the time was right, we would replace it or throw it out.”
So, today’s the day. The plant is leaving. We felt that a photo was in order – you know, it has been a part of my family for two and a half years now. We laughed all the way to the dumpster.
In a nutshell, that has been our approach to conflict for most of our 34 years together. We’re pretty bad at it. We would rather live with something we hate, even something that is a part of our lives every single day, than have an uncomfortable conversation that would possibly lead to conflict. Even over something as stupid as a hideous plant in the bathroom.
We’re hopeless. How on earth have we stayed married for 34 years? I wonder what else is in this house that we both hate?
How are you with conflict? Share your story and teach us how to do it!
PS... I decided to share this story with you because Billy is currently in a course of study on Conflict Resolution, and the irony of this plant story coming to light during his work with conflict and preparing to lead cross-cultural workers through conflict management and resolution was just too perfect. The first step is self-awareness and admitting that you have a problem... hahahaha!!!! Well, here we are!
Thank you for joining us in prayer. You can help this month by praying for the following:
· Prayers for financial covering for the ministry and work we do. We are grateful for the many ways that we have seen God’s provision in the past month and for those who have stepped up to help.
· Pray for our family as we step in to new leadership roles and learn to navigate new responsibilities alongside our local work and international outreach. Pray for us to find healthy rhythms and ways to stay strong as a family amidst lots of change.
· Pray for Sarah as she works toward finishing this semester and taking finals. It has been the toughest course load yet, but she is hanging in there and working hard.
· Pray for the people at La Mesa Turquesa. Many are spending their first holiday season away from family and friends, in a new country with new customs. Pray for them to feel loved by our team and to find “home” in our center.
· Pray for us as we weather another round of big family holidays away from our boys. Thanksgiving and Christmas are always hard on us, each in our own way. It doesn’t seem to matter how many years we are overseas, it never gets easier to be apart on these big holidays.
· Praises for the people and groups that found extra ways to help with the economic struggles of the ministry last month! People hosted bake sales and fundraising dinners and passed the collection plate for special donations for La Mesa Turquesa and for our family. Thank you so much!!!!!!!
· Praises for heat!!!! We were able to fix our chimney and fireplace this month!!! We haven’t had heat for 2 years! We are now cozy and warm with our working fireplace!
We are thankful for all of the amazing teammates we have serving alongside us in this work! Although many of them will never actually walk on the soil of Spain or any of the other places where our team serves, they are ALL a HUGE part of sharing the love of Christ with the world! Without these incredible, faithful superheroes, we could not serve the people that benefit from this ministry. Thank you to all who have stood beside us in 2019!!! We are proud to have you on our team!
Aldersgate UMC, Chuck and Julie, Phillip and Peggy, David and Jeanne, Roberto, Jeanne, Bernie and Paula, Brandon and Cathy, Jackie and Susan, Scott and Cynthia, Shannon and David, Doyle and Sara, Ambrose and Doreene, Nancy, Jerry and Connie, Gerald and Robyn, Myra, Steve and Ann, Neel and Lisa, Trey and Meg, J. K., Bryan First UMC Adult Bible Study Sunday School, Adam and Dana, Kim and Glenda, Leon and Dana, Sharon, Tracy, Christ United Methodist Church, David and Joanne, Norman, Kathleen, Connie, Leroy and Wanda, Bob and Deborah, Richard and Claire, Allen, David and Jayne, Thomas and Karen, Covenant UMC, Homebuilders Class CUMC, Chris and Randi, James and Cathy, Mark, Jeffrey and Laura, Dripping Springs UMC, Deryl and Ann, Mike and Debby, Jeff and Kristin, Sue, Rick and Dianne, Dean, Jim and Cheryl, Kirk and Regina, Frank and Carol, Dan and Shari, Sam and Carol, Mike and Teresa, Faith and Deeds Class CUMC, Jennifer, Dennis and Katey, Sharon, Louis and Sherry, Don and Barbara, Paul and Kim, Stephen and Marty, LeGrande and Ann, Mark and Liz, Dianna, Jeri, Lee, Steve and Janis, Andrew and Ange, Bill and Komang, Patricia, Jerome and Lana, Mick and Jane, Gary and Gwen, Jim and Charlotte, Don, Jack and Cindy, Ray and Margaret, Scott and Donna, Totsy, Charlie and Gwen, Paul and Sharon, Susan, Wes and Beverly, Nancy, Rob and Shannon, Vern, Royce and Mary, Mike and Janet, Chris, Walter and Cindy, Richard and Ginger, Frank and Tami, David and Diane, Ronnie, Linda, Tom and Sherry, Aaron, Larry and Carol, Bill, Tom and Susan, Bobbie, Terry and Karen, Heath and Jo, Wilson and Julie, Harry and Judy, Jim and Dianne, Josh and Amanda, Irene, Janet, Redith, Averyt and Randi, Hank and Liz, Chris and Susan, Deborah, Ferrel and Sue, Dan and Kim, Jim and Cathy, Larry and Gail, David and Glenda, Eddie and Denise, Chuck, Dale and Kathy, John and Nan, Bill and Carol, Marilyn and Ernie, Fred and Allison, David and Jana, Tommy and Donna, Cliff and Sonia, Sally, John and Lisa, Bill and Jackie, Garner and Coece, Gail, Chris and Angela, Midge and Betty, Maretta, Matt and Terri, John and Shelaine, Kris, Cindy, Dave and Donna, Peggy, Richard and Becky, Don and Candy, Ron and Amanda, John, Buzz and Katy, Rob and Rhonda, Raymond James Financial, Inc., Kelli and Jim, David and Susan, James and Sheila, Barbara, Don and Lynita, Jim and Vergie, Ronald and Pam, Darwin and Charney, Sanctuary Class CUMC, Michael and Jeremie, Polli, Richard and Beverly, Hendrik and Cindee, Neal and Lois, Bob and Suzanne, Leah, Shiro Presbyterian Church, Alan and Jennifer, Nancy, Ross and Donna, Aaron and Megan, Brian, David and Jamie, Forest and Kelly, Harold and Rebecca, Johnny and Courtney, Ronald and Priscilla, Sondra, Trudie, St. Lukes UMC, Ken and Carolyn, Michael, Judy and Ralph, Sid and Vicki, Randy and Kim, Jim and Ginnie, Jim and Lynne, Carol, Les and Debby, Tommie and Ashley, Greg and Cathy, Tom and Linda, John and Linda, Andrew and Shelley, John and Barbara, Shelly and Kevin, Trinity Lutheran Church, Walter and Cindy, United Methodist Women Lafayette, Andy and Susan, Steve and Sue, Tom and Annette, Jim and Cindy, Jon and Michelle, Todd and Linda, William and Tracy, Erwin and Susan, Roger and Anna, Wheelock Methodist Church, Glinn and Marlilyn, Jim and Paulette, Michelle and Ken, Jim and Phyllis, Dick and Linda, Gerald and Shirley, Chad and Darla, Pascual
We are headed in to the Christmas season in Spain. Christmas continues to be a paradox for us… both wonderful and also a little painful. No matter how long we are out of our home culture, it seems that holidays always hit us hard.
We miss the customs from our church and family back home… the Hanging of the Greens service, the advent candles, the Christmas carols, and the live nativity scenes. In stark contrast, our church in Spain has no Christmas decorations in the sanctuary, no singing of Christmas carols each week, and they do not celebrate the season of advent. There will be no Christmas Eve service, no nativity scene, and no candles for singing Silent Night. Someone a long time ago came in and taught some of the protestant churches that they shouldn’t do anything that the catholic church does, so, sadly, a lot of church traditions became taboo. That is the case in our particular town.
Sometimes, history causes a lot of pain, misunderstanding, and division. Ugh. And no matter how you try to explain or change things, traditions and culture run deep. Truth be told, it's just not ours to change. *sigh* Therefore, we try to carry on with our own customs and culture and do those special things that we love within our own home. We have our tree and our carols and our advent candles. We have our nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus.
Yet, a part of me longs for my home church in Texas. I long to be sitting behind the pew of The Evans Family watching little Taylor almost catch everyone on fire with her candle. I long for a sanctuary filled with poinsettias and people singing Christmas hymns. I remember the days of too many Christmas parties and school programs and concerts and decorations. Of Secret Santa and cookie exchanges and crazy Christmas sweaters and driving around to see the lights in town.
Christmas Eve will still be hard for us, because there is something special about standing and singing Silent Night with your church family and holding that candle and being with family and friends. It's a paradox... it will still be Christmas and we will still celebrate the birth of Jesus. It will be beautiful, and also difficult.
Enjoy those traditions and hold them in your heart! Merry Christmas!
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1-2 ESV)
This part of the nativity story has struck me in the last few years. I cannot wrap my head around the idea of someone taking off on an epic journey to follow a star; a journey to find a baby that was promised in sacred writings. The wise men came from a great distance to worship a baby; a baby who was a king; a baby who would be the Light of the World.
In our American tradition, we call them wise men. In Spain, these men are called los reyes (the kings). If you look in the original Greek, you will find that they are called μάγοι (magoi) or magi which could be a sorcerer, wizard, magician or astrologer. Being magi, they were not following Jewish law which strictly prohibited these types activities. That leads me to think that they were not of the Jewish faith or cultural background and were probably not worshippers of the one true God. What really fascinates me about this story is that these men followed a star, a shining object in the sky, to the source of freedom for the entire human race - not just for the Jews, but for everyone. They could see what others in Jesus’ own culture could not. They saw something that stood out from the ordinary. It was different and gave them hope of things to come. A star, a light in the sky, directed them, even though they were “non-believers”, to the place where they felt they would find something special, a king worthy of worship.
Think about that… this star, this light, was shining and was attracting people of all races and religions to come and see.
That reminds me of another story. I have a friend that is a relatively new believer. Umar* was raised in the Muslim faith. One day he was in his room and he saw a vision of a light so bright it was indescribable. It didn’t hurt his eyes to look at it. In that moment, somehow he knew that the light was Jesus (he had heard about Jesus in the Quran) and he sought to find out more about Him. Umar* was attracted to something that was different, something he didn’t understand, but he knew that he needed to learn more and to understand who Jesus really is. He continues to walk in that Light today, learning and growing in his new faith.
Last week, I was reading an article about Mr. Rogers in the New York Times online. It recounts a story Fred Rogers told to a gathering a few years ago:
“I know of a little girl who was drawing with crayons in school.
The teacher asked her about her drawing, and the little girl said, ‘I am making a picture of God.’
The teacher said, ‘But no one knows what God looks like.’
The little girl smiled and answered, ‘They will now.’”
I found myself weeping after reading that story in the article. I was thinking about the star and the light again. I think that our lives are meant to be like that little girl’s drawing of God, helping people to catch a glimpse of what He looks like. Our lives are meant to be like that star, something different shining in the darkness. It makes me wonder if I am shining a light to point others to Jesus. Do they see something different in me? Do others see the way to Jesus when they see me? If they look at me, can they see God’s light shining through?
Jesus said: "You are the light of the world. …let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16 ESV).
I think that we are to be light - like stars - for others. We were made to shine, to glorify God and to point others to Jesus.
Even thought you live 5000+ miles away, you can be involved in ministry outreach and serving in Spain! Yes, you heard me right! You can be a member of our team and make a difference in the lives of people from Syria and Venezuela, from Algeria and Georgia and Spain, from Poland and Pakistan and Nigeria and Morocco and more. And you can do it all right there from your own community!
1. Share the News! Every time you get a newsletter or an email update from us, share it! You can share it on social media or share a story from the newsletter with a friend. You can take this paper copy and share it with your office, or read a portion of it aloud in your bible study or Sunday school class. You can use our blog posts and share with friends and family. There are great things happening in Spain, and everyone wants to hear good news! So share it!
2. Become a Fundraising Superhero… Fundraising doesn’t have to be a dark and scary word that brings images of expensive trinkets you don’t want, being sold by precious peanut butter covered neighbor children. It can be as simple as a Sunday school bake sale or a “Give it Up” campaign (challenge friends to “give up” their Starbucks for a week or eating out for a month, etc. and donate the cost to La Mesa or The Drum’s ministry in Spain). Google “easy fundraisers” for a million other simple ideas.
3. Turquoise is the New Black… This is actually a fundraising idea AND an informational outreach rolled in to one. How about setting up a table at your next church Wednesday night meal or on Sunday morning before church / Sunday school. Decorate everything in turquoise - tablecloth, napkins, etc. and wear turquoise clothes. Have turquoise iced cupcakes, cookies with turquoise chocolate chips or frosting, coffee or punch in turquoise cups… so many options! Don’t forget to have information about La Mesa Turquesa ministry available and be ready to share stories! Set up a donations jar and voila! You are now a Turquoise Superhero!
4. Prayer is Powerful… We believe in prayer! Please pray for La Mesa Turquesa and the ministry in Spain. Please pray for specific stories and specific events by name (you can read about them here in the newsletter or on our Facebook page). Please share La Mesa and our family during prayer requests in your bible study or small group or Sunday School. Print out a photo from La Mesa Turquesa (get one from our Facebook posts) and put it somewhere you will see it everyday… in the kitchen or in your car or on the bathroom mirror. Every time you see the photo, pray for the people who are touched by this ministry every day.
5. Hero of the Month… Join our Monthly Hero Club! Every month, normal every day people partner with us by giving financially to keep this ministry going. Some give $10, $25, $50 per month, and some give more. These folks are our heroes! You can give online at https://www.tms-global.org/give . Just follow the instructions. When you click the “recurring giving” option, you will join the Monthly Heroes! (Mail-in options are also available)
You can do it! We have faith in you! You can become a Superhero for Ministry in Spain!!!
It’s a normal Friday evening and the doors of La Mesa Turquesa community center are open. The room is full of people and of laughter. Tea is poured, coffee is brewing, and various cookies and sweet treats are on platters on the giant turquoise table that is the centerpiece of the room. The table is crowded tonight and every chair in the center is full.
There is a group of teens playing Uno at one end of the table. All are immigrants to Spain. One is from Poland, one from England, one from Brazil, and one from the USA (Sarah). Two of them are recent transplants within the last two months. Just a few weeks ago, they started a new school year in a new country - no friends and no Spanish, no one to sit with at recess, no one to make plans with on the weekend. Sarah invited them to hang out at La Mesa Turquesa and play games, meet other immigrants and community members, and just relax and have fun. Their language skills are slowly improving, and they are bonding to each other and to the center. Watching them laugh together as they play games is heartwarming. Building community and friendships… this is why we are here.
There are two women who join the teen’s Uno game. They sport full head-coverings (hijab), as is customary in their cultures. *Nahla only recently came to Spain and still speaks very little Spanish. Timid and embarrassed by her language skills, she would never respond to invitations to come to the center. That was until our friend *Amira went to here. Amira is from the same country as Nahla and speaks her native Arabic. Amira began bringing Nahla to La Mesa in September. Little by little, Nahla has begun to open up and relax and enjoy the community in the center. She regularly thanks us for having the center and for inviting her. Just yesterday, she threw her arms around me and gave me a huge hug and said, “Te Quiero” (I love you). This morning, she saw me on the street in town and ran to hug me. Feeling welcome and loved… this is why we are here.
At the other end of the table, a rousing game of cards is happening. I’m not sure what the name of the card game is. *Oumar is teaching everyone how to play a popular game from his native Burkina Faso – a war-torn country in western Africa. Also playing are *Shayla (Venezuela),*Ami (Ghana), and Billy. Lots of laughter happening at that end of the table as they try to understand Oumar and the rules of the game. Laughter… this is why we are here.
Sitting on a sofa off to the side is *Hassan (Syria). He comes in each day to practice Spanish and use the free internet the La Mesa provides. He makes himself at home when he arrives each day, going straight to the coffee and tea bar and making himself a warm drink and picking up a couple of soft cookies. He speaks some English, so we have conversations in both English and his new Spanish. Hassan is a survivor. His body bears witness to the unspeakable things that have happened to him over the past couple of years. Most of his family did not make it out alive. Today, he is glued to the news as he watches the unfolding events of more war and a Turkish invasion in his native homeland. He isn’t interested in games today. He just needs a place to be connected and a place that feels safe when his homeland is not. He needs comfort. This is why we are here.
There is a deeply intense game of chess happening at a small side table between Ryan and *Jack (England). Another side table is rolling dice and moving Parchisi pieces around the board and playfully arguing about which country’s game rules they are following, because each country seems to have different rules for the same game. Puerto Rico and Slovenia and Spain and Georgia are all battling it out for game board domination. Kat and I are playing with children and holding babies so their parents can enjoy a couple of hours of adult conversation and fun. The youngest in the room tonight are 6-month old twins, born here in Spain after their mother fled political unrest in her country to protect her unborn babies a year ago. Suddenly, a cake arrives, and everyone erupts in an impromptu singing of Happy Birthday for a young man from Brazil who is turning 19 today. A small birthday party spontaneously ensues, and everyone shares in cake and festivities. Several versions of birthday songs are sung in various languages.
As I look around the room and scan the faces, I reflect on their stories. Each one comes to the table with their own tales, their own difficulties and heartbreak and struggles. But tonight, for these few hours, they are safe and warm and with “family”. They are known and cared for and loved. They are ‘at home’ at La Mesa Turquesa. Home… that is why we are here!
Spoons and aprons and baking pans in hand, these kitchen superheroes are swooping in and doing their part to save the day and change the world!
St. Luke’s UMC (Bryan, Texas) held a bake sale to benefit La Mesa Turquesa community center on September 29th. Led by Kristin and Jeff Dungan, this group of baking wonders filled tables with goodies and shared the stories that happen around our turquoise table in Spain. In the end, they raised enough to cover expenses for one month of La Mesa Turquesa’s ministry! A giant thank you to all who mixed and rolled and stirred and baked (and ATE!)!!!
Coming soon… In Novemeber, the Kitchen Superheroes from the Faith and Deeds Sunday School class at Christ UMC will be holding a Benefit Potluck for La Mesa Turquesa! We look forward to seeing photos and hearing all about how these Super Chefs rise to the occasion and save the day, one spoon at a time!
Yesterday, a few folks from the church (our local church in Spain) came by La Mesa Turquesa community center to visit and see what it was all about. We shared in front of the church when we opened in April, and we frequently share about upcoming events during church announcements, share photos on Facebook, etc. We shared that we need donations and volunteers. But many people from the church still haven’t come by the center or volunteered or checked us out. So we were excited!
They were interested in all of the goings on and in what we do, who uses the center, and how it works. They know our work with the church and other initiatives in town, but the center is fairly new. Billy was sharing with them the fact that a local internet provider is donating internet to the center as a service. Mari* said, “That’s good. And the building is donated, too, so that’s great.”
“Umm, no, that’s not how it works”, Billy replied. “We pay rent on the space. We pay the rent, utilities, and taxes to keep the doors open. We pay for everything EXCEPT the internet.”
Mari and the others were surprised. Somehow, she had gotten it in her head that this was all free and that our team was just working in the free ministry space. Well, maybe that explains why we only have one local monthly donor helping with the center!
It’s not uncommon, really. We share about the work we do all the time. We share with folks here and with folks back in the States. We are always fighting to keep our finances in check and keep our expenses to a minimum. We ask for support and partners so that we can keep doing what we do. But people don’t always hear or see all of what is going on or how it happens. And they don’t really think about what it takes to keep all of the ministry initiatives going. Sure, it takes a team of cross-cultural mission workers to live here and run the center and to do the outreach, to teach and lead and share. But it takes more than that.
It takes a budget.
Just like your home and your business have to have income to function, mission workers and ministries are no different. Your church has an operating budget, too.
Our work requires a monthly budget of $10,500 to keep all the wheels running smoothly. It’s not much compared to your company budget or church budget back home. That covers the community center work that we do with refugees, immigrants, and the community. It covers the outreach events that we put on each week. It covers bible studies and neighboring initiatives and activities with youth from the school. It covers our presence in the field: housing, utilities, vehicle expenses, maintaining visas, legal fees and government fees in Spain. That budget also covers the work we do to care for workers who come to stay in the La Posada care apartment for debrief, care, and counseling. It covers our travel to train other workers, or when we respond to a crisis on another field and go in to assist. It covers a lot of things! We manage to stretch a small budget over a lot of ministry work and needs.
A friend recently told me, “I thought you got paid to do the missionary care work and to be the team leader and to lead the trainings that you do all the time.” She was surprised to hear that we do all of those things out of our budget… the budget that we have to raise each month.
During a conversation about stepping out in faith, a local friend in Spain said to us, “I thought the church (in Spain) pays you to work here and do things in the community.” He was shocked to find out that we work by faith and the donations of others and that we are not paid by the church.
We raise 100% of our monthly budget. 100%. If donations run short, we have to cut expenses. Just like in your home in the USA, when the paycheck runs out, you have to cut back. Groceries get tight and all non-essentials get shut down. If you have extra one month, you put it away in savings.
Lately, we have run short. A lot short. We’ve had several months of low account balances. Several reasons: People haven’t kept up with donations over the summer – vacations usually make a few people withhold their financial giving. Others have had to cut back or stop giving for various reasons. We had some big expenses when we opened La Mesa Turquesa community center (The Turquoise Table) – it takes cash upfront to put up deposits for rent and utilities and outfit a ministry space. We had some big expenses when we traveled to the USA to share in churches and see our donors and connect with more people who might support the work.
Bottom line, we’re running about $2000 short each month right now. That’s a big hit. Huge. There are only so many cuts you can make and still keep things going.
The gravity of the situation is this –
We want you to know the seriousness of the situation and we want to be transparent about what is going on. We are reaching out to any and all possible means of support at our disposal, both locally in Spain and in the USA. We are cutting back on expenses. We are working on a shoestring budget and trying to keep everything going. The last thing we want to do is cut our ministry and outreach initiatives!
How can you help?
If you are not a monthly donor, this would be a great time to start! Your monthly support of any amount is greatly needed. We have monthly donors who give $10/month. We have others who give $20 or $50 or $100 or even $300/month. It is all wonderful, no matter how much! Go to www.tms-global.org/give and click on the Give to a Missionary box. Type in our name (Drum) and acct #0321 and join us as a monthly partner.
If you are already a monthly partner, you are a superhero! Thank you for your faithful giving!
If you are a member of a class or group, could you share our work and ask your group to partner with us? Sunday School classes, office groups, clubs... anyone could decide to become partners with us and take us on as their special project! Go to www.tms-global.org/give and click on the Give to a Missionary box. Type in our name (Drum) and acct #0321 and join us!
If you have been a partner in the past and you dropped off or took a break, now’s your chance! Jump back in and join the team again! Go to www.tms-global.org/give and click on the Give to a Missionary box. Type in our name (Drum) and acct #0321 and join us again. Come back!
Don’t want to be a monthly partner? Would you consider covering a specific expense and helping us out?
For example, could you help cover our expenses for an upcoming required training in January? ($2300 for all three of us to attend) Or help to cover Sarah’s school books for this school year? ($200)
Maybe you would like to help by paying for a worker to stay in the La Posada care apartment and receive care and counseling for a week ($280) or by covering a month of the rent on the community center ($600)? Any amount you can give would help us cover the expenses incurred in doing the work we do. Go to www.tms-global.org/give and click on the Give to a Missionary box. Type in our name (Drum) and acct #0321 and give any amount to help with the expense of doing work and ministry overseas.
Thank you for your prayers, for your support, and for considering how you can help. We need partners who are superheroes - people who care about the work that is happening overseas and want to be a part of transforming neighborhoods and communities and people's lives around the globe.
In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a soccer mom, a horsewoman, and the neighborhood hospitality queen. I did "Joanna Gaines farmhouse style" before Chip and JoJo were even a thing - we restored an 1884 Victorian farmhouse in small town Texas and did shiplap walls until I thought I'd go crazy. I taught at NASA, scuba dived with astronauts in training, and studied animals at Sea World for educational purposes. I've tried just about everything, because I have an insatiable need to know if I can do it! Never underestimate a Texas girl in cowboy boots!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers via teaching and training and care, and helping displaced people to navigate their new reality in Europe.
I'm passionate about fostering personal growth, growth in community, and growth in The Kingdom. Walking alongside others and helping them to use their unique design, their gifts and strengths and maximize their abilities to fulfill their God-given purpose - that's what makes my heart sing!