Friday, June 3, 2016

My Failure to Consider the Cost (and yet God is faithful).

Some truths we know all our lives, but we don't understand until we've violated them. Jesus often communicated truth in the context of common knowledge. 

He was speaking to a large crowd about what it meant to follow Him, about how nothing else could come before him, and then later about how those who really hear his words and commit to them, will go on to be change elements to the world.

He was explaining that the highest of prices had to be paid to follow him, and in the context of considering that cost, he told a story that would agree to the crowd.

Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 
Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, "This fellow began to guild and was not able to finish."

I've sat in plenty of corporate meetings and church services where the speaker uses a common example to make his point... and everyone chuckles and agrees. Certainly I've always done the same when hearing this story...

... and yet, today I find that I am that fellow.

I was approached with a generous donation a couple of months back and given the idea of a team house on our property. We believed the amount to be enough to construct a wood frame structure on a concrete pad, complete with: two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchenette, and a full bathroom. We also thought we could then furnish it with 4 sets of bunk beds, appliances, a dining room table, a couch, and then top it off with WiFi.

It was the perfect idea and it would be wonderful to house our student teams in this summer. We believed that we had both ample time, and ample money.

I was wrong on both accounts. Our first team arrives June 11th, and I am out of both funds and time. 

Fortunately, the house is not critical to the success of the team. We have a smaller apartment that is complete that we can place the ladies in, and the men can "rough it" a little in the partially completed team house. 

We hope to have it plumbed and have a toilet, shower, and sink ready for installation. With five guys... this is without a doubt the highest priority! I also anticipate electricity to be installed, and will need to put 4 ceiling fans with light kits on a credit card.

We spent the final $400 on a set of french doors for the main entrance, and I've ordered a single door for the bathroom. The bedrooms are just going to need to be doorless... after all, it's a group of guys... surely they can handle that.

Beautiful windows were on order that would frame the incredible view of the city below, but we've decided to simply tack screen over across the empty view to keep out mosquitoes.

We had to cancel the order of beds because the $1500 price tag simply is no longer a possibility with our blown budget. Fortunately, our student team Emmaus, is traveling with cots and hammocks, prepared to stay in extreme environments throughout Central America. 

Appliances and furniture can wait for another day, we are thankful to have a table in our main house, and a beautiful kitchen that was funded this year by Mt. Victory & Ridgeway United Methodist churches in Ohio. 

Without question, 2016 has been a banner year for our work here in Guatemala as God has richly blessed us. Our partners and supporters have donated funds as we've purchased a beautiful 15 passenger Chevy van, a motorcycle for my friend and employee, Antony, we've relocated Journey Church to a wonderful rent-free environment, we've scheduled our first furlough after 3 years of service in Guatemala, and we've been blessed with interns.

The easy answer here would be to turn to our supporters and ask for money to complete this project... but after prayer and consideration, I distinctly hear the voice of God saying, "No." I've learned to follow His voice.

This situation is do to my own lack of planning. It's due to my own failure to consider the cost... and it has a natural consequence. It simply will not be completed. I must subject myself to ridicule that I have laid a foundation that I cannot complete, rather than to try to shift the path that God has clearly laid before my family. 

My parents taught me long ago that one mistake does not fix another... it just compounds to create a habitual pattern of poor judgement.

And so... I write about this because we value transparency. You all know us, and you know us to be imperfect. In our imperfection, may we remain humble, and obedient. 

We'll take a look at this project for our 2017 budget, and we'll approach it with a better consideration. I can tell you that Kellie and I are at peace with this situation, because we are confident that God honors faithful steps, even when we bungle a situation. I have no doubt that this project will either be completed or not... in His time, by His will. 

As we hit the US this fall, we will be meeting with our partnering churches and giving an update. We'll also be talking about our two non-profits, Journey Church Guatemala, and the Guatemala International Christian Education Foundation, and our partnership with Catalyst Resources International, Emmaus (check out the information packet here). 

God has great things in store as we provide US students opportunities to serve in Guatemala with Emmaus, connect people to Christ and the Church with Journey Church, and provide sponsorships through people like you to break the cycle of poverty and provide a child here in Guatemala with an education and a path to university in the US.

Kellie and I thank you for your prayers, partnership, and we deeply appreciate that you walk with us... when God does great things, and also when we encounter situations that enable us to be more faithful and wiser servants moving forward.

We give thanks to God for all these things, and we give thanks to Him for you daily. We consider the cost, and it is always worth the price.

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