I am on a roll today writing. Thanks for taking the time to read!
Once the wedding bells were over and the gifts were packed away in storage, we hitched up the trailer to the old Mercedes Benz we had bought to replace my Toyota Celica and the 2-seater MG that Jerry drove. It was a painful parting, between him and that little red MG. They were quite a pair! For all practical intents though, the old yellow Merc was solid, reliable, and most of all- the right price! There was just one problem. The mechanic that gave it a good work over in Houston before we left for our long journey took a look at all the grease spots inside the hood and said in his broken German accent, “Jerry, every picture tells a story.” So off we went, forewarned, on our journey across the USA to unchartered territories. We were off to raise money for our life’s calling; Africa- as soon as possible. We decided early on that we were not going have to succumb to the methodologies of missionaries of old which was, to beat on doors and ask for help and handouts to fulfill the Great Commission. We would handle it ourselves and work for our money. So our plan was in motion. Off to Southern California to host a Christian Expo, which would feature countless Christian businesses and ministries, showcasing their services and products to the wider Christian community. A hall was rented, ads placed and the work was ahead of us. We decided to take the “shortest distance between 2 points” route, which turned out to be a big mistake. Though the rolling mountains of Utah, complete with the Grand Canyon were breathtaking. But we found ourselves praying for the ol’ merc on most inclines and every time we made it over, we would breath a sigh of relief! At long last we rolled into Anaheim, California where our dear friends, the Humphrey’s, our hosts, were waiting for us. We had a nice little room just off the kitchen with a private bathroom, well, almost private, it also was the way out to the swimming pool, which was just outside our bedroom window. Now we are newlyweds mind you! And though this arrangement was only temporary (a few months) it was compounded by the fact that there was no lock on the door! The family had 5 precious children, 3 of which were under the age of 5! I found myself in a state of shock. This Christian girl who had kept herself pure all those years for the man of her dreams, now was at the mercy of a situation with NO PRIVACY!!! When we married, Jerry was not much of a handyman. But after 20 years in Africa he makes McGuiver look bad! He can now fix anything- or get it fixed, But the priorities of a young married man are a little different than the girls’! And privacy was not one of them. We got through those first months and there were some romantic times. Every evening we sat in the front lawn of the big house and watched the fireworks light up the sky as the spectacular grand finale of Walt Disney World displayed itself before us just blocks away. While Jerry was out drumming up business for the show, I was busy helping out the lady of the house, a godly, awesome woman named Sheila. I was privileged to be present at the home birth of her baby, who is now a grown man! I learned so much from her during our time together. Things that stayed with me into my early years of marriage and motherhood on the mission field where I didn’t have a mentor. Things just came back to me that I learned during those early months of marriage. So, even with the challenges of all I experienced, I came away from the experience much richer than before. After the show was over and all was said and done, we had enough money to get to Denver, Colorado where we were being sent to do our own show. We were so excited and happy to be on our way so we could make enough money to get to Africa for our first trip. We would do a show twice a year in 2 different states, and go do mission work in between. At least that was the plan. We spent 3 months in Denver putting things together and held a great expo there. We filled the hall with vendors, had some great Christian entertainment, and met many new, wonderful friends, including Wally and Marilyn Hickey, and many of those with their ministry, who remain friends to this day.
But when all was said and done, we had a great show, thousands of dollars came in and thousands of dollars went right back out and it was a break-even in the end.
Watch for the next post to see how it turned out. How do you think it should work with fund raising for missionaries?