Boot Camp Week 1

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(If you haven’t already read the Missionary Boot Camp page for an explanation of what I’m talking about here, you might want to do so first).

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Ephesians 6:18-20  (New International Reader’s Version)

18At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful, so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all of God’s people.

19Pray also for me. Pray that when I open my mouth, the right words will be given to me. Then I can be bold as I tell the mystery of the good news. 20Because of the good news, I am being held by chains as the Lord’s messenger. So pray that I will be bold as I preach the good news. That’s what I should do.

Discussion Points:  

  • The Bible tells us that we need to pray at all times.  Can we do that?  How?
  • Who are “God’s People?”
  • Paul ask the Ephesians to pray for him – that the right words will come out of his mouth and that he’ll be bold to tell people about the “good news”.  What is the “good news”?

Act on It:

  • We are asking people to pray for us in the same way (discuss the Prayer Covenant), but we also need to pray for each other.

This Week’s Challenge:

Everyday this week, pray for a different thing about our trip.  

  • Sunday – Getting everything ready (passports, tickets, communication with Dave and Andrezj, etc.)
  • Monday – Raising financial support
  • Tuesday – Safe travel
  • Wednesday – That the people we meet will see God in us and come to know Him.
  • Thursday – That the Rockville Christian Church VBS kids will learn about missions and serving around.
  • Friday – That those who read our blog and talk to us about our trip may grow in their faith
  • Saturday – That we will grow to know God better ourselves through serving Him

Financial Update

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We made a little progress this week toward covering our trip expenses with the launch of our bracelet fundraiser, announcing our trip to our home congregation and receiving Ben’s pay for assistant baseball coach.  We now have 27% of our expenses covered.  If you feel led to help us cover the remaining 73%, please visit the Financial Support page to find out how.  Thank you to all who have purchased bracelets and given donations!

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Bracelet Fund-Raiser

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To help raise funds for this mission trip, Anna and I have begun making bracelets.  These are our versions of the very popular Chan Luu bracelets that sell for $100-$200 (ours are much cheaper – $20 for adult versions and $10 for the child’s bracelet, but if you’d like to pay that much it would certainly help us reach our goals!).  All proceeds from the sale of these bracelets go toward the cost of the trip… starting with our airfare!

The gallery above contains all of the designs we’ve created so far.  However…. I’m taking advantage of sales and clearance asiles as I purchase supplies, so some of these cannot be duplicated exactly as shown and may no longer be available.  I guess that means they are one-of-a-kind!  To see what is currently available, please visit the Etsy Shop.   If what you like isn’t there, please contact me to discuss what I can or can’t do!

Ways To Purchase

  • You can purchase online through our Etsy Shop ($20 + sales tax if you live in Indiana + shipping).
    • If you are local and purchase through the Etsy Shop, I’ll be happy to refund the shipping when I deliver your item to you at church, school, etc.
  • Visit the Financial Support page and make a donation through any of the methods listed.  Be sure to include your bracelet request with the donation or contact me to let me know what you want.
    • A few have told me they want to donate more than our asking price (may God bless you for that!)  This option allows you to do so if you wish.
    • If you are unable to donate the full $20 asking price, I’d still love to make a bracelet for you for whatever you are able to give.  We aren’t trying to get rich here, just get to Poland!

Ways To Contact Us

  • Post a reply on this page
  • Facebook (if we know each other… I don’t friend strangers on Facebook!)
  • E-mail 
  • Snail Mail to:  210 N. Jefferson Street; Rockville, IN 47872

God Is Cool

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So… we received an e-mail from Dave this week giving us his estimate of our expenses for this mission trip, which includes getting us where we need to be, lodging, and the cost of the actual things we’ll be doing while we’re there (projects, places we’ll go with the campers, etc.)  It isn’t too far off from what I had estimated myself, but it was more.  My previous estimate was already pretty overwhelming, so I found myself feeling a little discouraged that morning.  I just really hate the fund-raising aspect.  I hate asking people for money, I hate the feeling that I get that some people think we’re trying to get them to pay for some sort of family vacation, I hate everything about it.  I know I should view it as giving people an opportunity to contribute to world missions when they are not able to travel themselves, but that’s not really how it feels.

So, I sent a text to two of my prayer friends just asking them to pray that God will provide, and that I will not allow myself to doubt or question that.  I know in my mind and believe that He will (because this is His plan), but today I’m feeling weak.   Here’s the cool part… are you ready for it?  Later the same day, I get a call from Ben who has just found out that his stipend for coaching baseball hasn’t been added to his paychecks yet, meaning there will be a lump sum addition to his next check.  Now, I’m thinking that this news could have come weeks ago or at the end of the year.  But it didn’t.  It came today, when I read the update on our expenses and was feeling a little overwhelmed at the task of saving/raising that much money.  It came today, when I humbled myself enough to admit that I was struggling and asked my friends to pray.  I know there are some who would say that is just a coincidence, but I find that a little far-fetched.

There’s still a long way to go, but my faith is feeling stronger.  Thanks for praying, friends.  Thank you, God, for showing me how much you have this under control, even though you shouldn’t have to prove yourself to me.  I’m hearing the “Oh you of little faith” message loud and clear.

Taking Steps

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This last week has included some further discussions about our upcoming trip to Poland and some action steps towards preparing for the journey.   It also brings some specific things that we’d like to ask you to be praying about.

First, we exchanged some e-mails with David Hatfield about the possible dates and our concerns about some of the travel details – specifically navigating Warsaw and getting to Ostróda with the children!  From these communications, we’d like to ask you to pray that God will give us direction about how he wants to use us for His plan while we are there.  There are some opportunities to serve that would require a longer stay than we originally planned.  On one hand, we have the children with us and the time off work – why not stay longer?  On the other hand, it is a long time away from home and other summer activities.  Please just pray that God will help us to hear his voice and follow his leading.  Another component is that one way we could serve might mean being away from Camp Ostróda for the last few days of the Holocaust Survivors camp, but would allow us to become familiar with some other aspects of the ministry and churches in Poland.  Since Ben is now on the board of Polish Christian Ministries, we are feeling pulled toward this even though the Holocaust camp was our original draw to this ministry.

The second thing we need your prayers for is our fund raising.  Taking a family of four across the ocean is unbelievably expensive.  Sadly, the airlines do not discount for flights that lead to expansion of the Kingdom of God.  I think they should, but they don’t listen to me.  We have been saving and have calculated what we can save between now and our trip.  Everything is based on estimates, but we think that we can cover all the trip expenses (ground transportation, food, lodging, administrative costs, passports, etc.) except for the air fare…. but this expense will be significant. We are very grateful for the financial supports we’ve received so far, but we are a long way from meeting our need.  We know that money matters are small obstacles to God and He has always faithfully provided, but it is hard not to worry about this aspect.  Please pray that we will cast this anxiety on Him and that he will speak to the hearts of those who are able to help.

Finally, we ask that you pray for wisdom as we prepare our children for this trip.  We want them to understand why we are doing this and what their role is.  We also know that they need to have a little understanding of the history of this country, but we need to give them only what they can handle at their young age.  Please ask God to give us the words to help them know what they need to know, but protect them from that which is too heavy for them to carry.

Thank you for caring enough to read this post and for your prayers as we begin making bigger strides toward spreading God’s Word to the people of Poland.  Thank you to Michael Frame at CVS for taking Anna and Ethan’s passport photos.  Next step… applications to the post office!

    You think it's hard to get a picture of everyone smiling? Try telling them they CAN'T smile!
You think it’s hard to get a picture of everyone smiling? Try telling them they CAN’T smile!

A Journey Back… Again

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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 10.09.43 PMAfter Ben’s trip to Poland in 2009, he occasionally mentioned that that he wanted to return as soon as we could do so together.  He “journeyed back”, this time with me (Rachel) and many of you followed this blog of our experiences ministering to the Holocaust survivors and encouraging Christians in Ostróda and other nearby cities.  When I’ve returned from short-term mission trips in the past I felt it had been a great time of service that I would always remember, but it felt complete.  When we returned last spring, however, it didn’t feel complete.  We had this sense that there was more involvement in this mission to come.  We began talking about not only returning, but taking the kids.  Crazy, right?  They’re too young, it would be too expensive, they won’t eat the food…. a hundred objections.  Yet that was the nagging desire of our hearts.  Anna remembers Ben going in 2009, “To tell people Jesus loves them.  People need to know that.”  Both children learned a little more about serving God through missions when they saw both of us go last year and we discussed with them the reasons and the stories of the people we met.  Yes, they are young, but we want them to experiencing ministry… starting now.  While at Ostróda Camp we kept thinking that there wasn’t any reason they couldn’t have come with us.  Andrzej and April’s kids would make them feel right at home.  But more than that, there is no reason they couldn’t be serving along side us… cleaning, working on the grounds, forming relationships with people and showing them God’s love in action.  So we began asking God if he wanted us to continue to serve the people of Poland.

As we prayed for God’s leading on this decision, wanting to make sure it was His plan and not our own, Ben received an invitation to serve on the board of directors for Polish Christian Ministries.  Shortly after, we received notice that he was given the vote of approval and officially begins fulfilling these responsibilities in the spring.  We feel this is God’s resounding “Yes!”, that this is indeed a way in which He wants us to serve Him.  We asked both Dave Hatfield (PCM Executive Director) and Andrzej Korytkowski (Ostróda Camp Director) how they felt about us involving the kids, and that too was received with approval.

As a family, we will work to prepare Ostróda Camp for the upcoming season – landscaping, fixing things, construction, cleaning, making cards for the visitors… whatever is needed.  (We may even get the opportunity to plan and build a prayer walk through the camp grounds!) The kids will be involved in every way they can be at their young ages. We hope to have the chance to be involved again with the Holocaust survivors, and may also be able to help with a week of children’s camp as well.  We’d like to reconnect with those we met in nearby Christian churches to encourage them and help support their ministries.

IMG_0466We invite you to join us in two ways.  First, we need your prayers.  If you are willing to commit to praying for our trip, the ministry there, and the hearts of those who will hear the message, please sign the Prayer Support page by posting a comment at the bottom.  We can’t tell you how important your prayers are.  Second, financial assistance is also needed to make this family mission trip possible.  It is very difficult for us to ask for dollars, but our personal budget cannot make it happen despite our willing hearts.  We do not yet have an estimated cost, but we know that it will exceed the $5000 we needed for last year’s trip.  If God places it on your heart and you are able to financially contribute, please visit the Financial Support page for more information about ways to donate.

Through this blog, we’ll share with you as we experience God’s amazng plan at work.

We are blessed to have you as part of our family.  
Thank you for supporting us.

Ready to be His Feet,

The Porter Family

International Conference On Missions

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Anna Porter & Dave Hatfield
Anna Porter & Dave Hatfield

About a month ago now (it’s been a busy month, sorry!)  We got the chance to attend the International Conference On Missions, as it was held in Indianapolis this year.  It was a great opportunity to see lots of people from old churches, family members and missionary friends.  We got to visit with some of our Polish friends as well.  Andrzej Korytkow (Ostróda Camp Director) was there, along with George Bajenski (Impact Europe) Dave and Sandy Hatfield (Polish Christian Ministries).  We attended a reception in which Dave was officially welcomed as Executive Director-Elect of PCM.  It was a wonderful celebration of what God is doing around the globe.  If you get a chance to attend, you should.  The 2013 Conference will be held in Kansas City.  Go Check It Out!