We’re back with Ashlee to present Part 2 of an Interview with a Missionary! (Not as exciting as an interview with a vampire… but I digress… and I’m totally kidding. Way more interesting.) You can read Part 1 Here.
A couple weeks ago I got an email from Ashlee announcing she was going to be moving to Germany, God-willing, this January, to begin working at a school with her husband, Nick. She’ll be fund raising and is a newly wed (one year in August!), and was kind enough to answer some of my questions for an interview here on the blog! You can find her blogging her adventure over at Always Learning.
Q. In your letter, you mentioned “God’s will for your financial health.” I like the idea of being financially healthy – what have you learned about what that looks like?
A. Giving and saving!
I think financial health begins and ends with giving. Everything we have comes from God: he gives to us, generously! Nothing we have is our own: we should give it freely.
I love reading about the early church, how they had all things in common and no one wanted for anything. I believe this is still a viable model in our day and age and I hope Nick and I are moving ever closer to a lifestyle that looks like that. But, it’s going in baby steps because we both definitely have a lot of consumer-driven habits and weaknesses that we’re still working on!
There are several Proverbs about ants, and taking heed of how they store food for the Winter. Like I said, this is definitely our weakest area, so I admire people who save and sometimes resent their amazing discipline! But the point being, that it’s wise to save, to store away for hard times and for your old age. It’s like saying “I want to continue to be giving and generous in the future, not just today,” because if you do have money put away you will be able to help out in emergencies and maybe have extra, allowing you to be even more generous.
Q. The book you’ve been reading as you prepare to fundraise, Funding Your Ministry by Scott Morton; what would you say is the biggest thing that you’ll take out of this, into the rest of your lives?
A. The concept of Vertical Giving.
It’s the idea that giving and receiving does not happen from person to person – that’s horizontal giving. It really happens between God and a person. Someone gives an offering to God, it goes up to Him. Then that offering is used to meet someone’s needs, they receive the gift from God. Gifts go up to God, then back down from God to those who need it. It’s vertical!
Morton goes on to say:
“If you view people as your source of funding, you have a horizontal view. That’s merely worldly charity. Furthermore, you alternately may feel deserving or undeserving of donor gifts.”
You should feel neither entitled nor burdened by others supporting you financially because ultimately it’s their gift to God and his gift to you.
This helped me get over my fundraising qualms in a big way!
Q. What are you most looking forward to through this experience?
A. To learn! We are so excited to be trained as teachers and learn from more experienced teachers. And not just as teachers but to learn more about ministering to teens and about living in community, since the students and staff make up a small, tight-knit, Christian community.
We’re also so exited to continue working with teens. We love teenagers and have a passion for preparing them to have their faith tested by “real life” as adults. Hopefully we can help our students work through some of their faith questions and feel grounded in their faith.
I am really excited for Ashlee as she embarks on this adventure. I have a number of friends who have gone into full-time ministry and the process of fund-raising is definitely one that begins reshaping you and transforming your heart way before you ever reach the mission field. It’s been such a blessing hearing from you, Ashlee, and I pray that your adventures continue to bring you wisdom and joy as you learn about God’s economy and his purposes for your life!
Read more about Ashlee’s adventures at her blog, Always Learning.