It was almost a year ago now, but I can still clearly remember the night Cory and I sat in the living room of our little house in St. Croix, talking about how we knew we needed to come back again. The kids were fast asleep in their beds, we were munching on coconut biscuits and lemon cookies, and a cockroach skittered across the floor completely creeping me out. Honestly, we were both a bit surprised that God was calling us back to the same place. We thought our trip to St. Croix would serve as a “jumping off” point into other missions in other places, but we were wrong.
I also knew that our next time going back would be different financially. When we went the first time (February 2016), we thought it was important to finance the trip ourselves, so we used money from savings and sold items online and in garage sales to pay for our trip. I knew with certainty however, that our next trip would require us to swallow our pride and find money outside of our own means.
This summer I started brainstorming different ideas for ways to raise money…
Some friends of ours let us put up a table to sell baked goods and my hand-painted signs during our town’s GIGANTIC neighborhood garage sale. I learned that bake sales are A LOT of work and not a lot of profit. I did sell out though!
My other adventure in fundraising was painting parties. Painting parties are where I provide all of the supplies and teach a group of people how to paint a picture step by step.
When God gave me the idea for doing this, I felt completely unqualified, but ran with it anyway. I spent the first month painting canvas after canvas to see what paintings would be good for beginners to do. Then I enlisted the help of several friends, and even Cory, to see if I could teach non-artists how to paint. It was a success and so I started to book parties!
This was after my first “official” painting party.
I was fortunate to find a local business who let me do public parties after hours. The owner of the coffee shop went above and beyond helping me with everything.
I had many people ask me if I love doing the painting parties, and if I’m being completely honest, the answer is no. I was a complete nervous, stressed out wreck before each and every party I had. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that God gave me this idea, He provided me with the talent I needed, and all I could do was rely on Him to do it.
I taught about ten parties total, and we made about 2/3 of the money needed for our trip!
In addition to bake sales, painting parties, a generous donor, and garage sales, we also flat-out begged for finances. We spoke to our church and asked for financial support and also to help us with two projects we have planned. We are collecting toiletries and clothes to take with us to donate to the Lighthouse ministry, which is a homeless ministry on the island. We also asked for funds so we can purchase the needed supplies to re-do the YWAM base’s network as it was melted by a lightning strike several months ago.
For us, asking people for money is hard. We have had to swallow our pride, be uncomfortable, and trust that God will provide for us.
And He has. When it came time to purchase our plane tickets, we found a really good price on flights ($500 less than we budgeted for!), and we were only $2 short from our fundraising at the time we needed to buy them.
We are only two weeks away from leaving, and God has provided EVERYTHING we needed financially!
Through it all, I cried a lot, worried a lot, and even went to the doctor for chest pains from the stress at one point. I am a continual work in progress when it comes to worry, but I was always confident that God would provide.