30 July 2009

How does one juggle money and people?

Well, it's crunch time, folks. I fly out in just under five weeks.

I've taken a serious look at my financial situation, and I have some work to do. Lahash would like me to be funded at 80% before I leave. At this stage of the game, if all of my pledges come through, I need to raise $510 per month in additional support before I leave. That works out to about $100 per week between now and departure. Currently my average recurring donation is around $45. If twelve people see their way clear to make that donation, I'll be more than set! Now how, in a recession, do I go about finding these twelve people?

I have had a chance to meet with a number of people about the work that I am privileged to do, but I recently realized that most of the time I get too caught up in the stories of our clients and partners. I go on and on about their lives and how wonderful they are, and get to the end of the meeting, then feel unwilling to make those stories perverse with discussions of money, so I never ask. I never let people know that I need their help, and thus never give them the chance to participate in the work with me.

At the same time of needing to raise money, I'm saying goodbye to many great friends. How does one go about communicating that a friend is valuable, that one is grateful for his or her friendship, and oh, by the way, would said friend be willing to give me some money every month? In addition, to that awkwardness is the matter of only having limited time (four weeks, six days) before leaving. Do I make a list of people who I want to say goodbye to and start scheduling them in? Do I wait to hear from the people who want to see me? Maybe I shouldn't worry at all (in which case, I'm sure I'd receive an array of text messages the night before I leave bemoaning the fact that we didn't get together ever).

If you are able and willing to help me with the money debacle, I'm very grateful. If you want to hang out with me before I leave, please take the initiative to plan something with me. Thanks for reading this, and thanks for being my friends.

24 July 2009

Parties upcoming

It's time to plan the official exit! There will be two going away parties to be attended. There were two Facebook invites sent, but if you're reading this and want to come, you're welcome. There are still details being nailed down, but mark your calendars.

Portland-area Party
Saturday, August 22nd, 7pm to 11pm
Location to be determined, either NE or NW
Watch for more formalized details.

Newberg-area Party
Sunday, August 30th, 5pm to 8pm
Windrose Conference Center, 809 W 1st St
BBQ and African food

Hope to see you at one (or both)!

15 July 2009

Might be actually going crazy

I've done a couple of stupid things in the past week or so. I've also had moments when I absolutely forgot basic information like the address I've had for the past four years and which speed dial is my brother (7, just like it has always been).

There are probably a number of reasons for this, especially the fact that I've been saying yes to pretty much everything. I want to take advantage of all the fun opportunities available to me before I leave, thus last week was:

Monday - Dinner with Dana, dessert with Sara and Shannon, stuck in traffic on the home, arrived home around 10:30pm
Tuesday - Home Community, late night walk with Karyn and Aaron (making three blogs in a row where Karyn was mentioned), home around 1:30am
Wednesday - worked late, until about 10pm, then headed home, arriving around 10:30pm
Thursday - went line dancing with a group of people, got to sleep on Karyn's couch around 1am
Friday - had a presentation at the Reeser's house, stayed to chat with them, got home around 1am

With seven weeks to go, this frantic pace makes some kind of sense, right? No regrets, right? Unfortunately, I'm a pretty introverted person, so I need time by myself to re-energize and refresh.

At Lahash, we're going through the traditional Christian disciplines, and this week was my turn to prepare a discussion on the discipline of solitude. I learned so much, and when we practiced the discipline for twenty minutes yesterday morning, it was insanely refreshing. I could have lain there for an hour staring at the ceiling, concentrating on releasing every thought on the exhale, and basking in the love of God.

If you're interested in this discipline, Mars Hill Bible Church is also doing a series on the Christian disciplines, and they also did solitude this week. Check it out: http://www.marshill.org/teaching/pcast.php

02 July 2009

63 Days and Counting...

It's only 63 days until I am on a plane to Dar es Salaam! Shortly after, I'll be on a bus to Dodoma, my other home, for at least the next five or six years.

A good friend asked me yesterday: What are you looking forward to? Most people ask what I will miss, so I was thrilled at her question, and as I thought through my answer, I grew more and more anxious to be on that plane leaving!

I am excited for the chance to be a real big sister to my sponsored girls and boy, Potina, Anjela, and Kibiro. I am excited to sit outside the converted brothel that is Iringa Road Mennonite Church and have the children in our sponsorship program talk to me about school and life and the English words they're learning and the games they want to play. I am excited to sit with HIV+ people in their homes, share a cup of tea, and hear their stories. I am excited to work hard at my Swahili and see the faces of my friends light up as my vocabulary expands and communication flows freely for the first time. I am excited to visit families and deliver mattresses, blankets, clothing, food, and other gifts from friends in the West. I am excited to have photos and stories to share with my community in Portland, and to hear their encouragement as they pray for me over many miles.

I am excited to have the opportunity to be a vehicle of love, dignity, grace, and respect in the lives of the poor, ill, and vulnerable of East Africa. I am excited to share their lives, to live simply, to be challenged by their challenges, to rejoice in their joys, and to mourn with their losses.

*sigh* Still 63 days to go?