The Sweet Goodness of Giving

Did you know it is good to give to others who are doing full time work for Jesus?  Did you know it is honorable in God’s sight?  I came across this in the Bible this morning.  From the third letter of the Apostle John, writing to his friend Gaius:

“Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you.  They have told the church about your love.  Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God.  It was for the sake of the Name that they went out…We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.” – 3 John 1:5-7a (emphasis mine)

This relatively unknown man, Gaius, is now forever known as a man who cheerfully gave to the needs of other Christians simply because they were doing full time work for Jesus.  The people he supported or helped raise support for may have been missionaries, or traveling preachers, or church planters, or social do-gooders seeking to help communities.  He didn’t know them as a friend.  Maybe he only heard reports about them from other towns, but he knew they were in the business of working for Jesus.  They were doing some kind of work that did not allow them to also hold a side job that could pay all the bills.  That’s not to assume that none of them had side jobs, but their main focus was giving away the free gospel of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, they needed additional financial or material support from fellow believers.  Gaius saw the goodness of the gospel and became an advocate for the on-mission Christians who passed through his city.

The Stewarts can identify with both parts of this verse.  It is “for the sake of the Name” of Jesus Christ that we go to Tanzania.  We have also received the sweet hospitality of believing strangers.  There are many people who have given to us their hard earned money, hard learned wisdom, practical support, and material gifts and some of them we never knew before our preparations began.  While many on our team are long time friends, some are acquaintances, and some total strangers.  Yet everyone has given for the same reason: they believe in the cause for which we go and they are faithful to support it.  They, like Gaius, know that it is a good thing to support others doing good work.

For those who on our team: we are deeply thankful and grateful.  Your encouragement and support are used by God to keep us moving forward even when the mountainous task ahead scares us.  You are being used by God to declare his love and his pleasure for us in a tangible way.

If you want to join the Stewart team we would love to have you.  But if not, we want to encourage you to see the huge significance in supporting anyone who devotes their life “for the sake of the Name”.  Every Christian ministry around the world is supported by the faithful and generous giving of others who believe in the Name or believe in the cause.  Whoever you choose to support, John’s letter to Gaius reminds us that shared hospitality and support is needed and most importantly is it good.

Want to join the Stewart team?  Send us a message on Facebook, or email, or through this website.  We want to talk with you.  If not, pray and ask God to show you who else you might support.  There are many strangers out there and it is a faith-full thing to support them.

As you give, you will find your faith rising, your joy increasing, and an ever growing desire to keep going after Jesus.

~Evan

 

 

Advertisements

Woohoo! New Monthly Partners!

Yesterday, I checked the ever growing list of monthly partners and saw we have two more to welcome to the team.  Our Harvest Partners continue to increase!

At the beginning of January we passed the cash goal with over $37,000 raised.  Today, our monthly support goal stands at 26%.  We are already in talks with other future partners and once they send in their pledge support we could pass the 40% mark before the end of this month.

If you’ve thought about joining our monthly partner team, right now is a good time to join!  You can do so online today.

There are still 14 days left in the month and it is VERY POSSIBLE to pass the 100% mark in monthly commitments before these two weeks are done.  The online site starts your commitment giving today whereas the pledge card is a commitment to start giving later.  Either way, you will be counted towards the goal.

Already, we have partners pledging from $10 to $500 a month.  If you feel inspired to give, ask God for a number.  Whatever dollar amount comes to mind, take that as the answer and pledge it.  If it’s $10, faithfully give ten.  If $50, give it with joy.  If $100, celebrate the goodness of God with your partnership of one-hundred.  If more, then declare God’s provision with that amount too!

Before Autumn and I even knew about Base Camp Tanzania, we both sensed that God was preparing us for a change and January 2019 was a target date he gave to us both.  It wasn’t that he said “You’ll be leaving in January 2019” but more like he put it on our minds “Be ready in January 2019”.

When we first received our financial goal target from AGWM last Fall, my heart sank as doubt began to rise.  I thought, we can’t do this by January – raising this level of money is impossible!  How are we supposed to convince enough people to give us their hard earned money?  It was in that week that God taught me to ask.  He gave me a spark of inspiration to trust him, to rest in his love for me and his plan for my family.  It was like he said, “Evan, when I give you a task to do, don’t you think I’ll also give you the ability and the resources to do it?”

Within a week of that prayer, we had huge surprises in support.  A radio interview, offers of partnership from people with whom we had never talked about mission support, and the first commitments from people moved by God to support us.  The support steadily poured in.  Within four months we passed the $37,000 mark.  Over 100 people from around the country have provided support in either financial, prayer, or direct encouragement support (or all three!).

Consider how Jesus is asking you to follow him.  As you follow Jesus, your faith will rise, your joy will increase, and a desire to keep going will fill you.

~Evan

Seeing Like Jesus

Good leadership and vision is important to Autumn and I.  These were two of the things God used to guide us to Tanzania.  Below are summaries of the leadership visions of both Base Camp (Tanzania) and the Africa House (the whole AGWM mission field in Africa).

THE AFRICA HOUSE – ONE HOUSE

VISION: Pursuing God together in the power of the Holy Spirit for an increasingly redeemed and transformed Africa.

​MISSION: We are sent to plant, to nurture, and partner with national churches.

BASE CAMP TZ

VISION: Base Camp is a community where our participants can discover Africa, discern their call and develop their capacity to serve as a missionary.

MISSION: Providing opportunities for people to engage in missions, grow in leadership and work together with a team, making a difference in Africa.

Autumn and I recognize that in order to effectively fulfill the vision God has given AGWM for the continent of Africa, more workers are needed. Not just bodies, but people who are trained for the task and sent out in teams to engage the critical opportunities God has given us.  That is what Basecamp is all about: stewarding our resources through preparing and launching missionaries to fulfill our vision for the continent.

We are thrilled to be a part of this mission.  Jesus came to save all people around the globe.  Do you have a desire to be a apart of his mission?

You don’t have to travel around the world to join his team.  The Holy Spirit might be guiding you to be a gospel light to people in your neighborhood, your business, your town, your city, your state, your country, or another country.  The point is, when you join God’s team (the Church – the world wide collection of believers) you have a position on the playing field.  It might take a while for you to clearly see where God wants you to play, but from day one consider yourself a team member and until you see your role more clearly every opportunity is like practice.

Where do you desire to go?  Let us know in the comments.

~Evan

Progress Update – God is Moving Us Along

It’s a new year and we have a renewed vision for missions.  As of today, we have met our cash fundraising goal and we are 25% towards our monthly partner goal!

Not only did we hit the 100% cash goal, but we are at 105%.

We welcomed six new monthly partners for the month of December.  At least six more are already in conversation with us about joining the team this month too.  To celebrate the new monthly partners in December, the Stewart kids will eat crickets, meal worms, scorpions, and ants as a part of their Facebook Partner Challenge!  Six new Harvest Partners is certainly something to celebrate.  Watch our Facebook page for the live bug eating video (coming soon).

God is so amazing!  In less than four months of fundraising we passed the $37,581 cash goal and have over $1,300 in monthly commitments.

Our faith is rising, our joy increasing, as we go after Jesus.  We hope yours is too as you journey with us.

 

 

A Baby Creating Follow Me Moments

Star of Bethlehem

Even as a baby, Jesus was in the business of creating ‘follow me’ moments.

Some time before he was born, a star shone brightly catching the attention of wise men from eastern lands.  They began a long journey and “arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’” (Matthew 2:1-2)  The Bible says that everything invisible and visible was created through Jesus and for Jesus (see Colossians 1:16).  He used a star he created to call out to anyone who was watching the heavens for a sign.  The star called out to the wise men, “Follow me and I’ll show you the Author of Wisdom.”

Later on the night Jesus was born, the angels appeared to shepherds to tell them that the Savior of the world was born in Bethlehem.  The announcement itself was enough to entice the shepherds to hurry to find the new born baby.  “When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’” (Luke 2:15)

Eight days after Jesus was born, the Spirit led the old man Simeon “to the Temple.  So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there” to speak blessing over the new born King (Luke 2:27-25).

Once you meet Jesus, he gives you the offer to follow him.  Whether to follow him to a foreign land or to follow his teaching, Jesus always challenges someone to consider His way and to follow it.  It’s never an easy choice, yet once you make it you’ll think that it was the most natural choice you ever made.

This Christmas, what will you do with Jesus?  His way is a life changing way.  How does he want you to follow him?  Has he put a desire in your soul to travel to a foreign land?  Has he inspired you to leave everything and journey to a nearby town to meet with him?  Has he called out to you from the heavens wanting you to consider a change of life?  Is he inspiring you to give a gift to help someone else?

Jesus will offer you a follow me moment.  What is he asking of you and what will your answer be?

The Stewarts are finding that the more we say yes to Jesus the more our faith rises.  The more our faith rises, the more our joy increases.  As our joy increases, the more we want to continuing going after Jesus.

Have a Merry Christmas as you find a new joy in following Jesus Christ.

 

More than a Success

The #GivingTuesday Facebook fundraiser was more than a success.  We set a goal of $5,000 and over 50 wonderful, generous people blew past the goal for a total of $9,550!

God is so good.  When we started the fundraising journey, we felt so overwhelmed by the goal.  We prayed and told God that there is no way we can raise this by ourselves.  He said, “You’re right.  You can’t.”  He left us with a challenge to trust in him.

There’s a tension in waiting on God.  While he wants us to wait for him, he still wants us to do the work he brings us.  This is the mystery of abiding in the Vine.  Wait for the work God provides and then do it with joy.  When we admitted we needed God’s help, he responded with ideas for us to try.  Mostly it was to start asking people to join our team.  But even the asking wasn’t the key to the success.  Plenty people ask for help from others but don’t receive it.  Yet, when you ask God first you can trust that help will come.

He doesn’t always work as quickly as he is working to help raise our fundraising goal, but make no mistake that when you ask for his help he is faithful to come through.  We didn’t convince anyone to give.  If you gave, you responded to an idea God gave you and a opportunity God brought to your attention.  We thank you for saying yes and joining our team.  You get to experience the faithfulness of God just by being a part of the journey with us.

Keep finding ways to say yes to opportunities God bring to your attention.  Following Jesus will cause your faith to rise, a joy to increase, and give more desire to go after Jesus.

-Evan

*If the fundraiser qualifies for any of the Facebook/Paypal match, then the total will be even higher.  Since Facebook and Paypal were matching so many wonderful fundraisers to a maximum total payout of seven million, we’re not yet sure if our fundraiser received any of it before the match was fulfilled.