Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Words Cannot Express.... So, Listen to the Heart

Sometimes words just cannot express what needs to be understood. Pictures are said to be worth a thousand words. But sometimes we need something audible. A missionary recently sent us an e-mail that basically said "Hey, if you ever see a Doppler available it would be a great asset for our pregnancy program." With the heavy burdens already facing parents-to-be in areas where there is great poverty, a baby can be perceived as more of a problem. So the prayer of the missionaries is to be able to help these parents-to-be see their unborn baby as a little someone more real and therefore more of a precious blessing as opposed to a problem. Their hope is that a Doppler, a medical device that will allow the parents-to-be to listen to the heart beat of their unborn baby will help with the mentality switch from problem to precious. The missionary sent us this special request e-mail for a Doppler on June 10th. I have a friend who works at a hospital. So I sent an e-mail to this friend on June 10th as well letting him know that should the hospital decide to get rid of a Doppler I knew a missionary who would like to have one. I have to say I really thought it was a long shot. 7 days later, yes, only 7 DAYS later... this friend called to say he had a working Doppler on his desk! The missionary has a friend flying in for a visit who is willing to take the Doppler with him. So in about one month from the day the request was made by the missionary, he is going to have a working Doppler for their pregnancy program! Can you visualize it? Two sets of ears inclined towards that little pocket Doppler, and then, they hear the sound, the sound of a tiny little beating heart.....precious, precious, precious.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Forever in their Future

Today's shipments are going to Zambia and Japan.

Japan's shipment includes items used for ministry in a coffee house type environment. These supplies include K cups, cookie & cake mixes and frosting. Okay to be "real" I have to say that most often folks don't question the supplies we send. But every once in awhile I get a raised eyebrow at item(s) we advertise that we are collecting. Part of our vision here at God's Share Program is to help educate people on what the needs are in various parts of the world and why. The missionary in Japan explains that "culturally in Japan coffee shops have very high standards so in order to keep their Japanese guests coming, we try our best to operate on the same cultural expected standards." In their Gathering Outreach where the K cups are used for the coffee house atmosphere, relationships are built and guests are introduced to Jesus. The Japanese people have time to fellowship and grow together in their Christian walk. So over a "K-cup" a life is changed and living forever is in their future! So if you find yourself with some extra K-cups especially Gloria Jean's Butter Toffee or Eight O'Clock Hazelnut we will gladly accept those as a donation to send to Japan. While every person who reads this may not be "on board" with this type of evangelism we have to appreciate the fact that the missionaries who serve in cultures so diverse from our own have their "boots on the ground". It is their job as called by God to find the best means and methods for reaching people with the Gospel message. It is okay to ask questions and educate ourselves as to the why. We all have to be sure that we are being good stewards of the funds that God has given us. But it is not our job to judge another persons ministry. And it's unfathomable to do so if one hasn't taken time to understand the ministry, walked in that person's shoes under the same calling, on the same land and within that culture.

Zambia's shipment contains 46 more brand new pencil bags for a pre-school. We sent over several boxes of supplies, mainly school supplies via boat in March. Those supplies are just now reaching Zambia and will be in the hands of the missionaries within the next couple weeks. The boat shipment contained supplies for 3 different schools in Zambia. The one item we didn't have enough of to meet the needs was pencil bags. The missionary in Zambia does a lot of ministry in women's prisons. Most often, women sent to prison in Zambia must take their children with them to the prison to live. So one of the schools we provided supplies for is an Officer's Preschool at a prison. The missionary is under the impression that she is the only one reaching out to this school at this time. Now we at God's Share Program are helping her to help them. Imagine being of pre-school age, living in prison and having nothing to store a few small belongings in like a pencil, pencil sharpener and erasers. (Items we most typically supply.) Through these basic needs being met, these pre-schoolers are going to experience the love of God. Through our missionary friend they will be introduced to Jesus and therefore have "forever in their future".

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Today is the Day

So today is the day we sign the papers and close the deal on the purchase of our current property. I was excited to know that our closing costs "today" were only $27.71. However, this is really a skewed figure..... The reason this dollar figure is so low is because the property tax amount for 1/1/15 through 6/15/16 is credited against the expenses of our title insurance and transfer taxes. Even though we are a non-profit organization we are not exempt from transfer taxes. We can file for property tax exemption starting tomorrow however, we would not be exempt from the current tax bill since the property was owned by a taxable entity as of January 1. So, while our 'closing' costs are minimal, when property taxes are due this year we will have to come up with the $1245.00 credited to us for the first half of the year's taxes along with another $1245.00 for the taxes for the last 1/2 of the year. So while purchasing the building is a great investment for God and we will be building equity along with lowering our monthly expenses there are some quite large upfront costs that we will have to endure. It's been a tough day. I can tell the "enemy is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour"... Our trust is in God and we submit this whole business deal into God's hands and literally into His name!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Opt Into Opportunity to Outfit Orphans

Every year we provide each child at an orphanage in the Philippines with a shoebox sized Christmas box filled with new: clothing, school supplies, toiletries and small toys. Generally we provide 40-60 boxes. These Christmas boxes are placed inside Balikbayan boxes and shipped via boat. Shipping costs are $340. We always ship early but this year we are shipping extra early! Due to port delays and a typhoon, last year the Christmas boxes did not arrive in time for the orphan's Christmas party. That was heartbreaking to all who provided items and packed the boxes. So our Balikbayan boxes will ship in July in 2015. Which means the month of June will be busy collecting items that we need for the Christmas boxes and getting them filled. Once we pack the Christmas boxes inside the big Balikbayan shipping boxes there is always space to fill so we also collect new: twin and queen sheet sets, bath towels and wash cloths for the children's home. Plus, we include items the missionaries can use for birthday presents for the children throughout the year. We have just 3 weeks to finish this project! We will accept donations of the items mentioned and/or monetary donations to purchase the items needed. Please mention project CSB15 when sending a monetary donation so that we can make sure 100% of your financial gift goes towards the correct project!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Whose Name is on the Door?

Out of a very difficult time for me personally and amidst a down-turn in the economy God spoke to my heart to open the North Ave Thrift Store. I am continually amazed at how carloads of clothing and other people's household "cast-offs" provide the funding for God's Share Program to have a nice building and decent location to house not just the thrift store but the ministry of God's Share Program. God's Share Program has always belonged to God. Sure the calling was placed on my life to be the founder and yes I get the opportunity to oversee the business and missions side of the ministry but it all belongs to God. Therefore the apostrophe 's' in the name is to show possession of this Share Program as belonging to God. And yes my pet peeve is when people refer to us as The God Share Program but I digress... When praying and searching for the location I promised God I would put His name on the door. As soon as we secured the building a local sign shop was my first call to have signage put on the front door. But I had to laugh because along with our building came a huge tall sign out by the road. I guess God wanted His name up there too, for all to see. A lot of people see just the North Ave Thrift Store side of this organization. Then a host of other people only see the ministry side of the organization. The thrift store is very demanding time wise. If one ever thinks we here in American don't have enough "stuff" just spend a day at a thrift store where the carloads of donations of "unwanted" stuff arrive all day, every day. The biggest challenge is getting the most out of every item that comes through the door and only throwing away what truly is trash without cluttering up the entire building. The thrift store provides a great deal of our funding as the usable donations received are sorted into 4 categories: sold in the thrift store, sold on e-bay, used for missions projects, recycled for cash. With a small volunteer crew compared to the amount of work to be done the focus between the two aspects of the organization can get unbalanced. So I can be known to issue the reminder that our missions projects are the reason we are "here". Over the years I have had people question the aspect of our ministry in one area or another. Why don't we help children here in the U.S? We do. Why don't we provide school supplies in our local community. We have. Why don't we do humanitarian work. Umm, we do that too. Why don't we have teams carry in all of our supplies to avoid shipping costs. Yeah - not feasible for a myriad of reasons. Dealing with all these judgmental attitudes can be difficult. God is so much bigger and so all-knowing. So, I am glad it is His name on our front door, His name on our ministry, His name on my heart. Those that work and volunteer here are working for God. (Yes and those who steal from our store, steal from God....) It's great to know I am here for just a time as this, doing all that He has enabled me to do. Everything else that is beyond my control I give over to God. It's His Share Program, His North Ave Thrift Store, His building. Thanks to many generous supporters of this ministry who donated the funds for the down payment, we will sign the papers and close on our current property changing from leasing the property to purchasing it. So now God's name will be on the Deed as well, now that is truly awesome, indeed!