By now you know the Burnetts are moving to Uganda to work with Helping Hands Foreign Missions. We’ve had to privilege of bringing a few people on board the support team at this point. But, why haven’t we asked you to join our team? It’s simple really, so here goes:
We are among the majority of long-term missionaries who are required to raise 100% of the funding it takes to live and do ministry in the place we are serving. And let me tell you, it’s a big number. Let’s go ahead and get it out there… $80,000 for our first year! Yep, I told you it was a lot. I have scrutinized this number and asked the question “how can we do ministry on less?” The truth is, this is how much it will take to maximize our ministry in Uganda the first year. We believe that if God calls us somewhere, he desires us to maximize our ministry in that place. He is fully capable of providing since he owns everything anyway. Here are some of the initial expenses:
-1996-1998 Toyota Prado(purchase and maintenance): $17,000
-Emergency Travel Fund for a family of 3: $10,000
-Cottage Furnishings(bed, dresser, fridge, stove, etc…): $4000
Y’all, that’s $31,000 before we can even think about Monthly support! But, let me tell you what God has shown us…
We spent 2 weeks in Uganda at the beginning of the summer to prepare for our 2 year commitment. If you saw all the pictures, you know it went incredible. Malachi loved it, we thrived as a family, God simply gave us a peace about serving at the Village of Eden together. When we got back, I travelled for a couple weeks with Chick-fil-A working with a handful of stores. Then, 2 weeks ago began FULL-TIME FUNDRAISING! We began reading a book Helping Hands is requiring of everyone on staff, and it is incredible. It’s called The God Ask, by Steve Shadrach. This is where I learned we aren’t asking for handouts, but inviting people on a journey of ministry in the world. But still, what about that GIGANTIC number for our first year. One night at church, one of our monthly supporters came to me, after knowing our first year will require $80,000, and said “My wife and I would like to support y’all at $250/month if that will help.” What. A. Dagger. All I could think is this guy is committing $250/month and it doesn’t even seem to them like it makes a dent in the total number! Through some great conversation with a trusted friend, God showed us it would probably be best to separate the $31,000 from the monthly support, which is $4000/month. This would allow our monthly supporters to see the difference their support was making. But, we still had to figure out how to raise the initial $31,000.
Our plan was to ask friends who we knew had the means to support some or all of the $31,000. After all, we know God wants us to go and to maximize our ministry, there was no question about this. We decided to travel up and visit some great friends in Tennessee, have some conversation about how to take care of this initial amount. The place is called Cumberland Wilderness Retreat(CWR), and so many of our friends we haven’t connected with recently were going to be there. It was the perfect opportunity to let God work on taking care of the $31,000. I was right, but not in the way you may think. I actually didn’t get to have much conversation at all about anyone joining our financial support team. The couple who began CWR live in Loisville, KY where he is in seminary. He preached a message on Saturday night to the 70+ people who came to spend the weekend. The message was simple: God gave you all you have including gifts, talents, money, belongings, time, energy, etc… How much of that are we using for eternal purposes? If the answer is anything less than 100%, there needs to be a change. He issued this challenge to all families who were there, “Take an inventory of everything God has given you, and ask how can we get closer to using 100% of this for eternal purposes?” He closed with saying when we do something that is not being connected to an eternal purpose, it’s a waste of time! The scripture he quoted was Matthew 6:19-21 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Amy, Malachi, and I packed up and headed home the next morning. It was a much needed weekend. We talked and prayed throughout the day and night, considering the question asked on Saturday night. What has God given us? How can we use it ALL for eternal purposes? God had already provided us with the $31,000. WHAT!?! We had it all along, but hadn’t been looking in the right places. We believe God provided this funding through Amy’s retirement account. When we asked each other “Is this really what God wants, to take out the last bit of financial security we have and use it in Uganda?” It was a resounding yes. God began revealing through our conversation these things. If we believe 100% in this mission, enough to ask people to come alongside us, then we must be all-in! Thank you Jesus for showing us this truth! This is why we couldn’t ask for your support, because God wanted everything we have. He wants us to trust him with it all!
With that, we will be cashing out the retirement account and coving the Emergency Travel Fund as well as the cost of the vehicle, giving us $3,000 to finish paying off our debt(another blog coming about our debt!) We will roll the cottage furnishings into our monthly support to bring it to around $4,343/m0nth. God is so faithful, look where we are in just a couple weeks!
Current funding: $1,842/month which puts us at 42.4%!!! This means $2,501/month more will put us at 100%!!! Our goal is to reach 100% funding by August 25th, which just happens to be Amy’s Birthday and the Helping Hands GALA. This will allow me to spend a few weeks working in the Helping Hands U.S. office, and our family to depart for Uganda by the middle of October.
So now we will ask you to be a part of this team. We are working diligently to contact all of you to share the vision of what God is calling us to in Uganda and to give you the opportunity to join in on what God is doing at the Village of Eden in Uganda. We desire to sit and share with each of you. If you would like to call or message us, here is our contact info:
If you would like to go ahead and join the team, you can give here: Join the team! Or you can call the Helping Hands office at 678-765-6999 to set-up monthly support. We look forward to sharing this journey with you!