I went on my first Outreach with Jewish Voice Ministries International (JVMI) in 2013, and my life hasn’t been the same since. It was a weeklong Medical Clinic in northern Ethiopia in the city of Gondar. Because I’m not a medical professional, I wasn’t sure what role I could play in blessing the Jewish community there, but I went anyway.
I spent the week outside of the Clinic working in Line Management. A team of local workers and I were tasked with keeping hundreds of patients in orderly lines while they waited to see the doctors. In this role, I interacted with thousands of Ethiopians, praying for them and learning about them. When I left at the end of the week, I felt sure I had just tasted a bit of what the Lord had in store for me – more of the same kind of work! There was just one problem…how? How could I afford to be part of this kingdom work going forward?
Working full time and with a family, disposable funds weren’t available to pay for another trip like the one I’d just finished. On the plane, flying home, I strategized ways to save enough money to return to Ethiopia as soon as possible. One idea that seemed to make sense was to give up purchasing special coffees, and put that money toward my next trip. Every bit helps. But when I arrived at the Washington, D.C., airport and immediately went to Dunkin’ Donuts for an iced coffee, I quickly realized that I needed another plan.
I prayed right there in Terminal 2 of Washington Dulles International Airport and said “yes” to the Lord. Yes, to reaching His precious Jewish communities in Ethiopia with the Good News of Yeshua. Now, I just needed Him to direct me on how to do it.
God quickly pointed me to the book of Philippians, where I read Paul’s thank-you for the support he received from that group of Believers.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.– Philippians 4:10
Fundraising has always been a challenge for me. Whether it was because of pride or fear, it never crossed my mind to ask people who love me to help me return to a place I love. But the truth is, most people in our lives want to be involved. People love the idea of reaching out to the world, yet so many of them lack the opportunity. They may not want to travel themselves on an Outreach but are interested and willing to support someone who does.
When we don’t involve those around us, we block them from a blessing. Paul’s words in Philippians reflect this fact.
Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.– Philippians 4:17 NKJV
So, I listed the first 20 people who came to my mind that I thought would like helping reach Ethiopians with the Gospel. I didn’t list those I thought would give but those who had the heart to reach the lost.
Through letters, phone calls, emails, and social media IM’s, after I got home, I began to reach these people with JVMI’s vision and what I experienced on that Gondar Outreach. The results were amazing! My next three Outreaches with JVMI were fully funded by the people I listed that day. I know that it wasn’t my words that persuaded them. It was the Lord’s provision for my response to His calling and my willingness to step out of my comfort zone. Simply, I said, Yes!
Do you feel called to join JVMI on an upcoming Outreach and be a part of proclaiming the Gospel to the Jewish people and their neighbors in Ethiopia or Zimbabwe?
Is funding the trip your major obstacle? Here are a few helpful tips:
Be Encouraged – First, know that in wanting to serve in this way, you are aligning yourself with the heart of God; His blessings are sure to follow. Pray and ask Him for direction, discernment, and wisdom.
List – Make a list of all the people in your life who either have the heart to proclaim the Gospel or are invested in you. Then:
- Reach out to them with the purpose of JVMI and how you feel called to the mission. Ask them to be part of the blessing of reaching God’s Chosen People with the Good News of Yeshua (Jesus)
- Contact congregations in your local area that support such overseas work, and share with them about what JVMI does and the trip you want to join. It doesn’t matter if it’s your home fellowship or not; many want to support someone willing to serve in ways they can’t
Pray – Pray for the people on your list. Pray over each one and all who join you through prayer or finances. Use Paul’s heart for the Philippians as a guide (Philippians 4:18b–20):
…having received…what you sent––a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. My God will fulfill every need of yours according to the riches of His glory in Messiah Yeshua. To our God and Father be the glory forever and ever! Amen.
And get ready for an outreach experience that will change your life right along with the lives you help change!