Mission Update – March

Hey everyone! Time for another update. And boy, do I have news! Not only do I have less than two weeks before I move to the Czech Republic, but I’m now a licensed minister under Grace Covenant International, and … engaged to be married! If you like pictures and extra details, then keep reading. I’ve included enough and to spare.

Conference and Licensing 

On February 21, I threw my suitcase into the back of my newly repaired car and headed off to Kansas City. I made it to Keifer’s parents’ house without incident, where Keifer and I were reunited after five months apart. That evening, and for the next couple days, we attended Grace Covenant’s annual conference. Keifer and I were responsible for filming the sessions throughout the week. I’ve never enjoyed sitting in the back of a room during a conference. I prefer being up front, especially during worship sets. But sitting on my stool in the back by the door gave me a whole new perspective on conferences, and the people who tirelessly work behind the scenes to keep things running. It was an awesome experience.

My View from Next to the Camera Man (aka Keifer)

Thursday afternoon was the time set aside for missionaries to speak about their work. Keifer and I were given fifteen minutes for a presentation. At first we planned to split those fifteen minutes between the two of us, but then we decided to pull together and give the presentation as a team. Keifer created a few slides as visuals, and when it came time to speak we tag-teamed back and forth, each telling different pieces about our work and the kids that are so important to us.

That evening, after a time of worship, a few of us were called forward to be recognized. Tyler and Callie Franca and myself were officially licensed under Grace Covenant International, and Keifer was commissioned as a Grace Covenant missionary to the Czech Republic. The ministers and the congregation prayed over us, and the evening ended with an awesome message and more worship. I felt honored to be recognized as part of the Grace Covenant family, and excited about moving forward into the mission work that lies ahead.

Licensing – Tyler, Callie, Dallas, and Me

Funds and Fundraising — Two More Weeks!!!

Now, with less then two weeks until Keifer and I fly back to the Czech Republic, my mission work is getting closer and closer. I’ve sorted through my belongings, packed what I can’t carry with me into boxes for storage, and gathered together almost everything that I want to take with me to Europe. Next week will be spent trying to make it all fit into my suitcases.

As far as fundraising is concerned, February has turned out to be the quietest month of all. As you can see from the chart below, I’ve received $55 more in monthly support pledges between January and February, and I still have $1,265 left to raise before I can consider myself a fully-funded missionary.

Though I am well below my support goal, I will still be moving to the Czech Republic on March 22. God has a plan for me there, He knows what He’s doing, and I know that He can provide. My hope is to close the gap a little more before I leave, and raise at least half of my support. If you, or someone you know, is interested in partnering with me in my work in the Czech Republic, would you please let me know? You can find information about supporting me in the “Partnering with Caity” tab above, and I’m always available to answer any questions you might have or send you any other information you might need.

Visiting Supporters

After the conference, Keifer and I and his best friend Andrew made a special trip across country by car to North Carolina to visit as many of Keifer’s supporters as we could. We stayed in a different city and a different bed each night of the trip. We visited Huntingdon, IN, Louisville, KY, Nashville, TN, and two different towns in North Carolina. Everyone welcomed us with kindness and hospitality, and I made so many new friends and enjoyed so many good conversations.

Traveling to North Carolina

The final stop on our supporter trip was my hometown in Iowa, where Keifer preached at my church on Sunday and I got to show him off to a few of my friends. I’d never had the chance to hear him preach before, and wondered what it would be like. Perhaps I’m biased, but I thought he did an excellent job. He preached from his heart and made things very clear. I’m glad I get to be teamed up with such a good speaker.

Keifer Preaching

Marching Forth Together

Just before heading to Iowa on March 4, Keifer proposed to me. We’d made a quick stop at my favorite place in Kansas City, the Mid-America Nazarene University campus where the One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop is held each June. I thought we were making the trip for old times’ sake, and his proposal took me completely by surprise. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am to have him in my life, and how glad I am to be moving forward with him into all that lies ahead. He’s taught me so much over the years, not just about mission work, but about what it means to follow the Lord and how to be a friend. We haven’t set a date yet for our wedding, but we’ve got some ideas in mind. Please be praying for us as we discuss details and make preparations.

Engagement

The next time I post, I’ll be in the Czech Republic! Thanks for being part of our journey.

Until Next Time!

Mission Update – February

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Hey everybody! As of this posting, I only have six more weeks until I arrive in the Czech Republic! Time is certainly going fast. Here’s a look at some of the exciting things that happened over this past month, as well as an update on my fundraising progress.

Answered Prayer

I asked a bunch of people to pray about this, so if you didn’t see my Facebook update, I just want to make sure you know that I did buy a ticket to the Czech Republic! I’ll be flying out from Chicago on March 22. This is a huge blessing right now. I no longer have to wait and wonder and feel unsure. The date is set in stone, and I can plan accordingly. A big thank you to everyone who prayed for wisdom for me. Please continue to be in prayer as I plan and pack and prepare for travel.

Another answered prayer request is that I did have opportunities to speak in two churches this past month. The first church I spoke to was my own home church. I gave an update on my plans and how fundraising was going, and had the chance to ask for their support. My second opportunity came when I spoke at a local church that many of my friends attend. I had that “newcomer’s nervousness” at first, but they welcomed me with open arms. I talked about my calling to the Czech Republic and showed pictures of the area, friends, and the mission work itself. I loved being able to share with a whole new audience, and was blessed by how many people came to talk to me afterwards. What an encouragement.

On a different note, just yesterday I spoke to a kid’s club in a church in a nearby town. There were eight kids, all different ages. I showed them my Czech money and Bibles and fun stuff, told stories about my adventures, and talked about how we can all live like missionaries no matter how old we are. We had a ton of fun playing some of the games I’d learned at the Rock Solid Club, and one of the girls even gave me this card.

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I came away feeling very blessed and loved. Paul was right when he said to Timothy, Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 ESV). The kids I met yesterday really inspired me to keep doing what I’m doing, and to keep going hard after God. 

Fundraising

Another month of fundraising has come and gone, and God has blessed me with several more financial partners. Together we’ve managed to reach $780 of pledged monthly support. Over a third of my goal! As you can see from the graph below, the progress over these last few months has been pretty steady, but there is still much to do if I’m to meet my goal in the next six weeks.

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Growth of Monthly Support Pledges

If you, or someone you know, is interested in supporting me monthly over the course of this year while I am on the mission field, would you please let me know? I need to have an idea of how much support I have before I head overseas. You will find an automatic withdrawal form and a link to the PayPal donation site under the “Partnering with Caity” tab above on my blog. And if you ever have any questions about how to donate, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I’d also like to say a really big “THANK YOU” to all of my financial partners, those who gave me one-time gifts, and those who took the time to make their pledges a reality over the past month. No matter how big or small, your donation made it possible for me to afford plane tickets now, when I needed them, and will make it possible for me to live and work and eat while I am in the Czech Republic. I couldn’t do this without you.

Prayer Requests

I left my job at the coffee shop at the end of January. It was hard to leave my awesome coworkers behind, and also hard to leave behind a reliable source of provision. But I know that God is calling me on, and I’m trusting Him to provide. Please be in prayer for me as I move forward. There is so much to do and prepare that some days I feel off balance, wondering what I’m forgetting or upset over what I didn’t get done. Please pray for peace, God’s wisdom and guidance, and that I would use my time well.

Please continue to pray that I would receive the monthly support I need for my mission work.

Please pray that I wouldn’t give in to stress. Some days life feels too big for me to handle, and I start to get anxious and bite peoples’ heads off. But that is NOT the kind of person I want to be right now. Please pray that I would choose joy over stress, and that I could view each day as an adventure instead of an inconvenience.

I’ll continue to keep you all updated as time goes by.

Until Next Time!

Mission Update – January

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Hey everyone! Welcome to the first post of the new year! I’m excited to update you all on my fundraising progress, and what I’ve been up to this past month. It’s been a great holiday season, and I can’t wait for the many new adventures waiting just ahead.

Life

During a busy holiday season, it’s easy to neglect time with friends and family. But as I prepare to move to the Czech Republic, family time is more important than ever. I’m grateful for the chance I had to spend Christmas and New Years with my parents and siblings. We didn’t keep all of our holiday traditions. We usually spend more time traveling. But the chance to welcome in 2017 with my family in the comfort of our own home was very special. Thank you to those who were praying for me during the holidays.

Now that it’s January, it feels like the countdown has begun. I’ve been looking at my calendar and counting the weeks until March 22, and … there aren’t very many of them left! I keep writing down in my planner all the things I need to do before moving to the Czech Republic, and the list grows longer and longer. Please continue to pray for me as I make the necessary preparations to move overseas.

Before Christmas I was able to create and mail a bunch of Christmas cards to friends and supporters, along with the mission brochure I recently created. Making those cards reminded me how much I love scrapbooking, and also how much I care about all of you. Having so many friends to write to at Christmastime is very special. Writing each note reminded me just how far we’ve come together. Know that I’m very thankful for all of you, and that I’m so happy to get to make this journey along with you.

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Christmas Cards – Some Assembly Required

Fundraising

You might remember that the amount of monthly support I need to raise before moving to the Czech Republic is $2,100. Well, I’m pleased to report that over the past month my total amount of monthly support pledges has increased. It grew from $480 at the end of November, to $640 by the end of December. I’m just $60 short of being a third of the way to my support goal.

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Growth of Monthly Support Pledges

Of course, these are still mostly pledges, but a few of you have started turning your pledges into actual donations starting this month, and I am very grateful. Because of your generous support I am able to continue to pay rent on the apartment in the Czech Republic I will soon be living in. My hope is to be receiving enough support by February to be able to pay for the plane tickets I will soon be needing, along with all the other travel and moving expenses that will occur before arriving in the Czech Republic. I may not seem like I need your support now while I am in the States, but I really do.

My hope is still to move to the Czech Republic in March 2017. The earliest date I would leave, March 22, is only ten short weeks away! If you know that you are interested in providing monthly support for my mission work, would you please contact me and let me know? Even if you aren’t quite able to give yet, or aren’t sure about an amount, I’d love to be able to connect with you. Your support is making my mission work possible.

Prayer Needs

I’m looking for opportunities to speak to churches about my mission work before March. If you or your church are interested in hearing from me, please let me know. I’m excited to be able to share pictures and stories of how God is working in the Czech Republic. Please also pray that the Lord would help me to make the connections He wants me to make, and that He would open the doors He wants to open. I am excited to see where He leads.

I have an opportunity this Friday to make some new connections as I continue to sell off my large collection of books. I can’t take them all overseas with me, and I’m hoping to find good homes for them. All the proceeds will go to my mission work. Please pray for wisdom as I prepare, that others would be blessed, and for some good conversations as well.

Thank you all for your prayers and support!

Until Next Time!

It’s Time – A Mission Update

Before my scouting trip in September, I announced that my future goal was to move to the Czech Republic as a missionary. And since I returned home from my scouting trip, this goal has been the driving force in my life. I’ve been praying for God’s timing and wisdom about how to move forward. I’ve been seeking training through mission classes as well as doing everything possible to win the battle against skin cancer. And with every step on this journey the Lord has continued to bring new clarity. His guidance has been fantastic.

So let me announce that, yes, I will be moving to the Czech Republic in the coming year. I have a fundraising goal, a possible timetable, and even … an apartment!

Fundraising Goal

Fundraising now looks slightly different than it did in the past. Where before I sought one-time gifts to fund three-week to two-month trips, this time, in order to remain in the Czech Republic for an extended period, I need to raise monthly support. This requires a new level of commitment from me, and from those interested in partnering with me. I’m committing to serve month-by-month in the Czech Republic without quitting, no matter how much I struggle or how homesick I become. Your commitment is to continue to pray, encourage, or donate month-by-month. Neither commitment is easy. It requires sacrifice. But it’s part of the journey, and part of walking together.

Before I can move to the Czech Republic, I need to raise $2,100 of monthly support. This money will pay for my apartment rent, food, visa expenses, insurance, travel expenses, start-up costs, training, ministry expenses, etc. It will also insure that I am able to carry out my ministry goals. My plan is to work with young people as much as possible, whether at the weekly Rock Solid Club, at weekend camps, or by inviting them into my own home for fellowship or Bible Study. Monthly support provides a home to share, food to place before my guests, funds for traveling to camps and activities, and the documents required to live and serve in the Czech Republic.

One of my partners had a special reminder for me about fundraising. She told me to remember that every donation, whether large or small, is equally important. And she was right! If you find yourself wanting to give to my ministry, but wondering whether your support will actually make a difference, then know that it does. Every monthly donation brings me one step closer to my goal.

My fundraising goal already looks like this:

Monthly Support

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Almost a quarter of my total goal has already been pledged! And just think how much that could grow before the end of the year. No monthly donation is too small, and every gift goes to advancing the work of Christ’s Kingdom.

If you’re interested in making a monthly support pledge to my ministry, or have any questions, you can contact me personally through the contact info on my blog, or on Facebook. I’d love to connect with you and give you whatever forms or advice you need to navigate through the donation process. My mission organization, Grace Covenant International, is continuing to collect and steward the money I raise. If you’d like to contact them personally, their address is: Grace Covenant International, PO Box 588, Platte City, MO 64079. You can also reach them by email at gc@gracov.com, or by phone — 816.431.6217

Timetable

As I’ve sought the Lord about my ministry, this possible timetable of events has presented itself. I’m sharing it with you so that you can see the goal I’m aiming towards.

I’ll spend December, January, and February preparing for my move to the Czech Republic. This will involve fundraising, work on my mission class, learning the Czech language, selling most of my possessions, and connecting with mission supporters. Grace Covenant International will host a ministry conference February 21-24, 2017. I’ll be commissioned as a missionary during this event. If possible, I’ll move to the Czech Republic on or around March 22, 2017, and remain there until December. I plan to return for a visit to America in time to spend Christmas 2017 with my family.

If I am unable to reach my support goal before the mission conference in February, my proposed moving date will need to be postponed until I have more funding. I’ll keep you updated about my progress as time goes on.

One important  development that makes the process of moving much easier? I recently rented my own apartment!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

My New Apartment!

During my scouting trip to the Czech Republic in September, I took this picture of the river that runs through ValMez while I was prayer walking. On my return to America I showed it to a friend, and he said, “I love that bright red house! That one is definitely my favorite.”

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Little did I know at the time that I would someday be renting an apartment in that same bright red house. But that’s exactly what happened! My friend Zuzka is living there now, and we’ll become roommates once I move. The story of how Keifer, Zuzka, and I found the apartment is a real testimony to God’s goodness, and I’ll be writing about it in my next blog post. But for now, take a look!

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In the top left picture, our window is the one jutting out of the roof. The top right picture is of our bedroom space, and the bottom left picture is of our living room. The bottom right picture shows our tiny kitchen.

Oh, and this next picture? This is the view from our bedroom window. 🙂

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I am very excited about moving to the Czech Republic, about living in my new apartment, and about seeing my friends there and beginning the ministry work God has for me. Please continue to pray for His guidance as I raise funds and seek Him for my next steps. I want to follow Him on this journey however He leads.

Until Next Time!

 

Mission Update – August

As of this post, I now have sixteen more days until I’m on my flight to the Czech Republic! These next two-ish weeks are going to go by super fast. I still have so many things to do, plans to make, stuff to pack. But I wanted to take this chance to update you all on how I’ve been doing, and on how things stand financially.

Mission Trip to The Voice of the Martyrs

As a leader in my church’s young adult discipleship group, I got the chance to spend last week with them on a mission trip volunteering at The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. VOM is a non-profit organization that supports the growing number of persecuted Christians throughout the world. Their free newsletter shares the stories of the persecuted church, raising awareness and encouraging Christians to pray. As volunteers, we worked in the Operation Center, doing projects like signing receipts, stuffing envelopes, mailing newsletters, and shrink-wrapping prayer cards. Even though we spent eight hour workdays on repetitive, sometimes physically demanding, projects, the young people never complained. Their love for each other and for their persecuted brothers and sisters never ceases to amaze me. I’m thankful to be working alongside such a wonderful group of world-changers.

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The Wall of Martyrs

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If you’re interested in learning more about The Voice of the Martyrs, and how you can get involved, you can follow the link to their website HERE.

CZ Mission Trip Details

Since my last blog post, I’ve mailed over 40 mission letters, and personally handed out several more. My thanks to everyone who took the time to read them, and to those who’ve asked me about my trip. The feeling of disconnect that I had from all of you at first is slowly starting to disappear thanks to your kind words and encouragement. And I’m hoping to make more connections in the next two weeks. I’ll be speaking at two churches this coming Sunday, and I’m always open to emails, messages, or personal conversations. If you have any questions at all about my trip, please feel free to ask. 

Another important update is that I only have the finishing touches to add to my “Leadership in Ministry” coursework before I can send it in for grading! I loved studying for this class, and I’m hoping to do a blog post soon on some of the things I’ve learned.

As for the trip itself, the biggest detail to come together so far has been the airplane tickets. Thanks to a few early givers, I was able to buy my international tickets quickly, and for a very good price. I’ll be flying from Chicago to Prague both directions, but with a layover in Frankfurt on the way in, and a layover in Toronto on the way back. I’ve also purchased a ticket to get me to Chicago on August 31, and one to take me back from Chicago to Kansas City on September 22. My hope right now is to attend the last half of Grace Covenant International’s “Ignite” conference before returning home on the 24th, but plans are still under discussion.

Finances

As for my financial situation… while I’ve received enough donations to pay for my plane tickets, I still have quite a ways to go. I still need money for food, lodging, in-country travel, and any additional expenses that might pop up. My goal is to raise $3,000 for this September scouting trip, but as of yesterday morning I only had $750 in my mission account, and only seventeen days left to go. I’ll admit this made me rather nervous and discouraged. I spent yesterday morning pacing up and down our backyard, asking God for provision and giving my fears to Him. No sooner had I stepped back inside when a phone call came right out of the blue. A friend not only wanted to meet and talk, she wanted to know what my financial need was, and how she could help. I returned home from our meeting, bubbling with encouragement, to find that the mail had brought a letter and check from another pair of supporters as well! I can’t begin to tell you how amazing that felt. God answers prayer, and He does it through each of us as we continue to love and support those around us. 

So as of this morning, I now have a little over 33% of my $3,000 goal. Please continue to pray for the Lord’s provision for this upcoming trip. Pray that the details will come together, and that I’ll be a blessing to others while I’m in the Czech Republic.

If you’re interested in donating to my trip and helping me reach my goal, there are two easy ways you can do it. The first is to mail a check to Grace Covenant International, PO Box 588, Platte City, MO 64079. The check should be made payable to “Grace Covenant International,” with “CZ – M” written in the memo line.

The second way is to donate online. You can do this via the PayPal link on the Grace Covenant Donation page (http://www.gracov.com/#!donate/c1t5w). Please make sure to include “CZ – M” in the note to seller on PayPal. (A small PayPal fee will be deducted from donations.)

All contributions to Grace Covenant International will be tax-deductible.

Thanks everyone for your prayers and support! I couldn’t do this without you guys. Together we’re making a difference, and I can’t wait to see how the Lord is going to work.