Keeping mission vision alive and growing A quarterly publication of Mission Data International

Archive for April, 2008

Davis Interview: Living intentionally

Friday, April 25th, 2008

by Paul Nielsen

This issue’s interview is with Chester and Amy Davis. I’ve known them both for more than ten years now. They presently live with their four young children in Lincoln, Nebraska while Chester works on a mechanical engineering degree.

They present some ideas here that are challenging and outside of the norm; I was hoping for this when I emailed them about doing an interview. In their own words, they are living intentionally. Their intention: To serve God in the area of missions that uses their gifts and fills a need. They are as dedicated as anyone I’ve personally known in living out this desire. While not everyone will agree with all of their observations or exhortations, the sacrifices they’ve made along the way are something every aspiring missionary needs to seriously consider.

This will be the first in a two-part series.

Propel: You’ve expressed concern about the amount of support required of missionaries by some mission organizations. Can you elaborate on this concern?

Chester: For some reason we, here in America, have bought into certain aspects of the “health and wealth” gospel, and it shows up in support raising. It’s simply un-Biblical to require that God provide exactly how we dictate in order for a person to be in full-time ministry. Secondly, it is outrageous to require that if God wants to use me in ministry that He must provide an income greater than that which be paid a worker in the most wealthy country in the universe.

Amy: It’s interesting to me that people in some vocations can make a lot more being a missionary than they could in the area of their training. For example, a degree in English or history or speech doesn’t generate high pay. But a missionary is paid not for his training or according to his skills, but what is considered a “reasonable living.” This seems (to me) to support a lifestyle roughly equivalent to $60-$70K USD annually. Also, a missionary’s wages increase with the number of dependants. What other field does this? 

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Living on less to give more

Friday, April 25th, 2008

by M-DAT executive director

Ask an eighty year old about victory gardens and ration coupons and you will hear some interesting stories. These programs were instituted during World War I and II to limit consumption and free up materials needed for the war effort. Average citizens sacrificed to achieve victory.

A few years ago I took a mission course, that introduced me to something called the “wartime lifestyle.” It takes the concept mentioned above and applies it to the Great Commission. Jesus left the Church the task of taking the Gospel to all people. How can we limit our consumption to free up resources for the completion of the task?

First, you must find out where your money is currently going. You can not adjust your diet unless you know what you are eating. Track spending for a month, then make a plan. It is sobering to realize that over the next 20 years the average American household will have one million dollars pass through their hands. You need a plan in place to tell that money where to go. No plan, expect waste. College students and singles often think they are exempt from needing a plan. This is simply not true. They are often times the ones that are the most susceptible to waste. Getting a plan in place and sticking to it takes a lot of courage and discipline. But if you are serious about living on less to give more, you have got to do it. I recommend attending a Financial Peace Seminar or the Financial Peace University to help.

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Lights, camera . . .

Friday, April 25th, 2008

 M-DAT Executive Director

I always thought steady cams were cool. Now, I know they are! Last week Paul and I made one out of a mono pod, a 2.5 pound weight, and a weed trimmer handle. We rigged up the contraption in preparation for a trip I take at the end of April. I fly to Atlanta to do a test video shoot at Operation Mobilization. If all goes well, it will be the first organization headquarters tour for the website we are developing for aspiring missionaries — a very exciting milestone.

For good reasons, selecting a mission organization to go with from the hundreds out there can be a daunting task. We believe these headquarter tours will take the edge off of that experience. Viewers will catch the vision of the organization, hear what God is doing through them, meet key staff, learn about the mission candidate process, and hear why people who serve with the organization decided to join up.

How we will cram all of this into a three to five minute video clip is a mystery. That is why we are looking for gifted video editors to volunteer their skills. Six have already stepped forward. We need at least six more so we can spread out the work and publish new video clips more frequently. If you have video editing skills you would like to apply to the Great Commission please contact us.

My trip to Atlanta will get us ready for a rather unique mission trip we are assembling a team for — a week-long mission headquarter blitz in July. Each day we will visit a mission agency and shoot the raw video for the tour. We will also conduct interviews with missionaries who are home from the field. We will inquire about key moments in their journey to the mission field and get their responses to questions commonly asked by aspiring missionaries. At night we will review our footage and start editing. In the morning we will move onto another mission agency. I anticipate this will be a challenging and fruitful week. If you are a cameraman or video editor and want to get in on the action we want to hear from you.

M-DAT News and Prayer: April 2008

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Prayer: Test video shoot — At the end of this month we will be at Operation Mobilization’s headquarters in Atlanta to shoot some video for the upcoming long-term missions website. Pray that equipment will work well and the footage he gets will be helpful.

Prayer: Summer Mission Team — In July a small team comprised of a cameraman, video editor and M-DAT staff member will take what we learn in Atlanta and put it to use. Pray for a few qualified volunteers to help out this project.

Praise and prayer: Volunteer video editors — We’ve begun recruiting volunteer video editors to help out with the long-term missions website. So far we have six willing volunteers, but we need at least six more. If you or someone you know possesses video editing skills and equipment, let them know we need their help!

Resource Highlight: Generous Giving

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The website called Generous Giving is aptly self-described. I’ve referred to it numerous times over the last five years, since my wife and I began a support-based lifestyle. It contains an incredible wealth of information from stories to statistics. One of my favorite anecdotes on the site is a story about two doctors living in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The first time the IRS audited the couple it did so thinking that no one could give as much of their income away as the Finchers. Read their story via this link.

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