The journey of support raising or Ministry Partnership Development (MPD) is an interesting one. I've found myself being so excited after conversations with people, but there have also been times of being completely drained. Nevertheless, I think it is a true blessing to have this time where I get to connect with so many people and tell them about the amazing work God is doing. Here are some of the great and difficult things of MPD:
1) Connecting with Old Friends
So many people that I probably wouldn't have reached out to otherwise, are now growing closer as friends. Those old relationships have been brought back and I'm thrilled that they have because I love these people and want to be in relationship with them still. Just time and distance has pulled us apart, but is that really an excuse?
2) Meeting New People
Part of this process is meeting new people, because the circle I have is not large enough, and I don't think God wants it to be. He wants other people to learn about what's going on and jump on board with it, He want's me to be sharing about the work He's doing around the world. Although it's intimidating to call a stranger that a friend has connected me with, or cold call a church and ask them about partnership, it has led to me meeting some really amazing people.
3) Affirmation of God's Call
I am blessed to know and meet so many people that get excited about this work as I share with them! The positive encouragement from friends about the way they see me following God is uplifting. The way that complete strangers have caught the vision for this work and jumped on board with all enthusiasm is amazing and something that can only happen through the work of God. He is using this process to show me that I am following His will and that He will provide, I just need to be faithful in reaching out in boldness and trusting Him (though often that's easier said than done).
Although there is great reward, it comes with great challenge. These challenges are a process and a true stretching of me. God is calling me outside of my comfort zone and asking me to walk in faith, and although the road is sometimes hard, because God has called me to it, I will follow. Often the challenges center around spiritual and mental battles. Here are a couple challenges I've encountered on the way:
Whenever someone says no, either to having a meeting or joining my support team, it's a real challenge not to take it personally. At first the Enemy convinces me that they are saying no to me, because of me, because I'm not good enough. But that is NOT the truth. The truth is that people are saying no to this particular opportunity to join in God's work in this way... and that's totally fine! Not everyone needs to be passionate about Europe or Anti-Trafficking. God calls all of us to use our resources in different ways and I need to trust that He is bringing the people to this team who are supposed to be on this team. All of that to say He has been over and over again reminding me that this is not about me, it is about Him and His work and Him bringing many to glory.
2) Living between Two Worlds
I have roots in the USA and in Berlin, I have life and community between the two as well. The transition between the two is always a challenge and the longer I spend it one place and start to get comfortable, the harder it is to uproot again. I so badly wish that all of my friends in Germany could experience my life in American just as I wish that all of my friends in America could experience my life in Germany. Both are so special to me that I want to share it! In the MPD process I talk about Berlin a lot, about the culture, the people, my friends, my work, my mission, it makes me excited! But it also makes me sad, because I want the people who I'm telling about it to come experience it. And with the thought in mind that I only have 2 more months in the States until I'm supposed to head back to Germany, it's hard thinking of the goodbyes that are coming. All of those rekindled old friendships and new friendships, I'm going to have to leave, and it's hard. But thinking about the way God want's to use me in Berlin to help victims of trafficking and draw the worlds of the church and anti-trafficking together, that get's me excited.
The idea of living between two worlds is hard to explain, unless you've lived it yourself. But what I all want you to know is that, if you're in the US or Germany, I care about you deeply, regardless of where my physical location is at the present time and I'm thankful to each one of you for the ways you have invested in me and shown me love.