This is the second part in our #ConradQ&A series. (Read the first part here)
We wanted to ask our partners, sponsors and followers on Facebook and Twitter what they wanted to know about us and what they wanted us to blog about.
We got a great response, and here are more answers to your questions.
ONCE AGAIN, It is a bit long, I apologize, but these are important questions and have important answers of which every word was needed.
Question (Series) #2 – From: Chris Peters
How is God growing and stretching your family and you personally?
Where do you stand financially?
Are you getting enough support?
#1 – How is God growing and stretching your family and you personally?
The last 13 months have been an adventure to say the least, although in some respects, we knew what we were in for. But the unforeseen things that happened throughout this past year in the midst of transitioning our lives was what were most challenging.
If all we had to deal with this past year (or two) was learning how to depend on God through financial support from others, moving away from family and our country, starting a new career, adapting to a life of full time ministry and the spiritual attacks and oppression that come with it, and learning how to deal with a toddler, it would have been a stretching year in which God taught us many things.
And he did teach us many things through these circumstances and we were stretched greatly and grew a lot, both as individual people and as a married couple.
But it was the unforeseen this year, that happened in the midst of all of these things that God really pushed us to the edge with.
In August, we had a miscarriage.
I know many people have experienced this and know well the pain and anger that accompany it. Accusations and questions, anger and sadness. It still is hard to deal with even today, with Anna 15 weeks pregnant with our third child.
This sadness of death and loss was magnified greatly just 2 months later when Anna’s father, Carlos, passed away at the age of 56 in late October.
There are few things in this world that bring us face to face with God more so than death. And as Pastor Jim Keller shared at Carlos’ funeral, “death can make you better or it can make you bitter.”
When we were faced with two losses in those two months, combined with everything else we were facing at the time, we had a choice to make. It wasn’t as easy as you think it should be for a missionary either. There were angry accusations and claims of misplaced trust and everything you would expect out of a child who thinks their Father is not taking care of them the way they think they should. Many nights spent crying and asking “Why God?”
I can’t tell you that God answered with a resounding word, or gave us a great vision, or moved in a physically manifested way. But I can tell you that He was there. I can tell you that even in the midst of the anger and the hate, and the pain, the peace that passes understanding was constant. And just because we felt him there, does not mean that the pain was any less poignant or acute, it just means, that through it all, there was love and hope that only a Father who knows our innermost being can provide if we are open to it.
Better or bitter.
We all have that choice in every circumstance. We choose to allow Christ to make us better, and that only happens through, trials, pain, and allowing him to remove those things which we think we need rather than depending on him completely.
So as we look into this new year, with fresh eyes, and a renewed sense of purpose and belonging, we are so excited to see how God will stretch us and use us this year as well, knowing that in all things, he works for our good, because we love Him so dearly. (Romans 8:28)
#2 & #3 Where do you stand financially? Are you getting enough support?
I lumped these two together, as the answers are so closely related.
We were blessed greatly last year in the way every committed partner of ours faithfully gave either what they committed to or graciously went over! This kind of faithfulness, according to non-profit statistics is nearly unheard of and we know that it is because of the wonderful people with full hearts for what God is doing through us here that He blessed us and our supporters in this way.
That being said, we are looking at a new year of ministry and as with everything in this world, costs rise. We had a wonderful December of 2012 and had many large donations come in that we are so thankful for.
However, we are still about $800/month short of where we need to be fully funded without having to depend on large year end donations to keep us afloat.
We want to thank each of you who partner with us already and just express how much you truly are a part of our ministry and thank you for your faithfulness for sowing seeds in the Kingdom through us and these kids here in Cancún. We are humbled by your generosity.
If you are blessed in any way by our updates or are interested in what we are doing, I do want to ask that you would prayerfully consider joining our support team with a monthly partnership.
We would love to Skype with anyone who would be interested in this, or if you are a current supporter and would like to increase your donation, that would be super helpful as well.
I thought coming into this position that asking people to invest in our ministry would be the hardest part. I was wrong.
Honestly, yes, it is difficult to have to ask for people to support us, but when you are in the center of God’s will and working at what he has called you to do along with every other Christian, it becomes an honor to allow people an opportunity to invest that which does not belong to them into the work that God has called us all to as His children.
For more information, you can email us at email@example.com or to update your giving or ACH donations you can contact Karen Holliday in the home office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also donate online and put “Conrad” in the memo line at http://donations.back2back.org
Thank you again for your investment in bringing care for today and hope for tomorrow for the orphan and widow in Cancún.