For ten years I have been traveling to Uganda once or twice a year and doing several different mission projects. Each trip is a little different in strategy with a little different roster, but it seems that the main focus of each trip has been teaching. Teaching pastors and church leaders, teaching children, and teaching women. Not only have we built a rather extensive teaching program, but we have also invested in other areas of Ugandan life by providing food, clothing (mostly shoes) as well as health and agriculture training. During each of these trips we have managed to learn something new about our hosts and their everyday life.
Planning for these trips is often very tedious, which means that each part of the trip not only be prayed over, but also must be considered both financially and logistically. It is during this time of planning that decisions have to be made concerning the extent of our ministry, which usually result in unexpected increases in financing rather than cutting back on different programs.
It is common for us to feed the Ugandans when they come together for any of the teaching, which becomes a large part of the cost for doing missions. We also must operate in very remote areas which require generators and sound equipment to be rented and transported to the ministry site. Then there is the team and all the expense of housing and food along with transportation for nearly 14 days, which can also become quiet costly.
One of the benefits that has come from making two trips a year as well as making trips for 10 consecutive years is the relationships we have made with the people and businesses that fund the missions. Most people have learned that we consider them part of our team even if they do not leave their home. It gives us a sense of security to know that we can count on the same people year after year to provide for our financial needs.
These faithful blessings have allowed me to boast on the Lord many times, knowing that it is really God’s provision supplied through the willingness of His people to sacrificially serve by obedient giving. Not once in 10 years have we stepped on the plane in the United States with less funding than what was needed for the mission plans that we were attempting to carry out in Uganda. Not even once did we come up short (most of the time just the opposite) when we needed more money for an unexpected expense.
But what if they didn’t? What if those faithful supporters said no? Would we cancel the trip? Would we say God isn’t in it? Seriously what would we do about planning, what about strategy, or about the necessities? That is what I asked myself a few weeks ago just before our trip. Yes I was asking myself that very question, “what if”?
This time just like every other time I started making plans for the upcoming mission trip. A large percentage of the funding for these plans were supposed to come from multiplying the number of people that would join the team, by the amount of the team fee in order to provide everything needed to carry out the mission, but neither the people nor the money were coming forth. All too quickly I started to question whether the trip would happen or not. Soon the only two team members who had joined began to question their participation because of the lack of funds they were receiving. Actually at one time I found myself considering making the trip on my own in hopes that we could fund just one team member and cutting the ministry programs in half. Was this going to be the year that we called it quits due to the lack of God’s provision?
Much too often it is my nature to be realistic rather than hopeful, which is of all things the hardest for me to understand. Why would I question God when I have so many stories about His faithfulness in providing the needs for this ministry? I can actually spend hours sharing stories of His provision, which contain what I believe to be actual miracles from God. This time was different for some reason, not only were the funds not there, but the people who have been so faithful in giving seemed to be avoiding me (my perception with no actual merit). Things had become dismal to say the least and it was nearing the time that decisions had to be made.
I am not sure which of the sermons I had heard in those weeks that had left me questioning the very core of my faith, but the miracle for this trip came in the form of Holy Ghost conviction. It was during those convicting moments that I realized that the level of faith I once had displayed would not suffice as these new challenges would arise. For me personally it was a matter of relativity between my faith in God and my faith in my ability to hear God. It was as if God said something more and then I began to understand the problem. I really just needed to forget the doubt and worry and display more confidence in the power of God. Yes in the end it was that simple.
That was my battle cry, which I shouted out to my team mates, more!!!!! It takes more faith to keep moving forward and that faith is what produces the strength to keep us moving forward. I am happy to report that our needs were once again met and through the Lord we accomplished the tasks that we set out to accomplish. We have once again traveled to Uganda, and returned under the provisions of the one who sent us.
There is nothing more amazing than looking at a bank deposit receipt that just a few days ago displayed a third of that total. As God began to provide I just seemed to stand there in awe of Him and His people. What was the difference this time? I think this time God taught me a lesson in faith by using the most unlikely people to fund our trip, which showed me that to often I had been relying on the same certain people to fund the trip rather than God. This time God seemed to say to me, “you just need to say yes then step back and let Me take care of the rest”. He also seemed to be saying “Danny you are not so smart and you did not figure it out on your own”.
Yes God does have people everywhere who can fund this work if He asks them to. And He did!!!!!!!