Next Sunday we will be taking up a special contribution for the work in Ethiopia. As a part of this special day we will be sending $1000 as a special gift to Jerry Robertson in Atlanta, MI, Dale Duverney in Rogers City, MI, and David Kenney in Wadsworth, Ohio. We do this to show our appreciation for the work and sacrifices they are making and to help them with their personal financial struggles.
My first preaching job was 5 years with the church in Collingswood, NJ, a mission church. My support came from the North Seminole Church of Christ in Amarillo, Texas, until the church was able to pick up my support. Good times and we still are in touch with the church in NJ. However, they were rough years. Just starting out… 2 babies born… I remember our food budget was $12.50/week. There was no extra money.
From NJ we moved to Cadillac where we spent 10 years. Another mission church. I was sent there by the Highland Church of Christ in Detroit, a church of about 600 members who handled my full support. Over time we became self supporting at Cadillac. However, as a mission church money was always tight. Often no raises… often a struggle… another baby and as the kids got older they got more expensive. Finally, out of desperation I raise outside support from several congregation, one from Texas, the Grandville church and the Garden City church near Detroit. The Garden City church became a real blessing and often showed a genuine concern with how we were doing. They also supported about 8-10 other churches in northern Michigan mission points. One of the great blessing I remember to this day is that one year they sent $1500 to every missionary they supported in northern Michigan, just to show their appreciation. They recognized the financial strains we were under. That memory led me to make the suggestion to the elders that we give this special gift. Today we all are under financial strains with the economy. The demands on our money to help with many causes is endless. But hopefully next Sunday will be one of those feel-good days as we help a work in Africa and make a memory for a few guys working in small churches for the Lord.