My Butt is Numb

We’ve been slowly selling off our belongings, most for only a few dollars. It’s quite depressing to know that you’re virtually getting nothing for something you slaved your guts out to save for.
Tonight, someone bought our 2 and 3 seater couch for $30. After sitting on the floor for the last 20 minutes my butt is numb already. The next 5 days before we move out will be a bit uncomfortable, especially since I’m still doing all my admin work from home.

 

It kind of reminds me of how we have got used to being comfortable in Sydney and how cruisey it can get. Not that there’s anything wrong with comfort, I highly recommend it! We live a 4 minute walk from the beach, a 30 minute bus ride to the city, a supermarket 2 minutes from our house and stacks of cafes to choose from should we want a quick caffeine fix.

Living in Nairobi, while we will have a great place to live and the mall just up the road, will be uncomfortable in some ways. If locals want to rip us off, all they have to do is speak in Swahili and we wouldn’t know any different. We can’t earn money on our particular visa, so will be living frugally as possible. While there are eftpos machines, at most places you can’t use a credit card. A majority of the roads are unsealed so you often feel like you’re in a milkshake machine. We have to make a whole lot of new friends because we only know about 5 people in total.

 

So, we can either shrink back and say it’s all a bit much, or we can take the challenge head on and see what happens. As Pete just said ‘If it all fails, what have we got to lose?’

 

But what happens if we succeed?

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Why we are a good investment

At present our support level is at about 55%, which is no problem because we serve a BIG God and He knows exactly our needs. I’ve once again started spending endless hours emailing everybody I know, asking them for $20 a month. Then I started thinking about why we are a great investment. It’s a good question to ask because why should people give us money to go and live in another country and totally depend on people for our survival?

So here’s 6 reasons why we’re a good investment:

1. We’re in it for the long run.

Travelling to East Africa every year is easy. You’re there for a couple of months, have quite a few comforts and know even if it’s tough there’s an end date for returning home. While this has been great, the effectiveness of your work is limited. The only way for a community to be developed is for people to be on the ground long term. It’s going to take us about a year to get used to how things really work, settle into our home and then another few more years before we get a good grasp on Swahili. While Rome wasn’t built in a day, we’re realistic that time is what we need to devote to our work.

I just read this quote from Paul Osteen who is a short term medical missionary currently in Zambia and it rang true for us:

The fact that wherever there was a significant, lasting work for the Kingdom, there were these kind of people faithfully serving.  People who have stayed the course.  People who have run with perseverance.  People who have fought the good fight and have not given up.  People who have put their hand to the plow and not looked back.

2. We’re honest and respectful.

I’ve always taken the aspect that we are stewards of what we’ve been given and it’s not really our own. Whether that be counting the offering at church, taking donations for water projects, working at the office from home, studying individually or using supporters money in the most effective way.

It’s this respect for others that has taken us a long way. If someone gives money for a particular project e.g. a camp for kids, then that’s what the money goes on. I’ve always taken accountability as a good thing, not something to be feared.We’re an open book about our finances and try to be the best stewards as possible.

3. We’ve got the goods to deliver.

We’re not going to Kenya because we have something to prove, to feed our egos or show people that we have something to prove. Pete’s 49 and I’m 43, if we haven’t got over ourselves by now then there’s something seriously wrong! It’s not actually about us at all, it’s about serving the leadership of Afri-Lift and bringing what we have to the table. We’ve learnt a lot and have some skills that can strengthen the work there. When the rubber hits the road, we’ve got the assets to make a difference. We are confident not because of our abilities, but because of the God we serve.

4. We know what it’s like to live with much and little.

When we came to Sydney nearly 11 years ago we did so with $3,000, no jobs, nowhere to live and knew one person. We lived for 9 days at the backpackers, Pete got a job within 4 days and we started over again. We had to go and buy a pot and some plates and cutlery to cook with. That one pot did an amazing job. Since then we’ve been to the other extreme where we’ve been able to bless people who were in need and even fly people to Australia for holidays. Personally I prefer to have much rather than little, but regardless we’ve learned to be satisfied with either.

People often quote the scripture in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” When you read it in context, it’s about living with lots and with little.

It’s about knowing who is the source of everything you have – Christ.

5. This is our calling from God.

While it shocks most people that we intend to go to Kenya for 20 years, few are shocked that we’re actually going. It’s been over 25 years in the making. There is no other option for us. Anything else would be dead set boring! It’s not like we’ve heard some voice from Heaven saying ‘You should give up everything and go live in Kenya’. It’s a knowing, a journey, an unfolding plan. Sure, there’s scriptures but they are more an extra bonus along the way. Are we called – heck yeah!

6. We’re tax deductible.

Okay, so it only matters for this if you live in Australia. What people don’t know is that to get tax deductibility status is a nightmare. Only about 1/4 of those who run charitable services actually get this status. Over the years we’ve built a good relationship with Global Development Group in Brisbane and now partner with them. What it does say is that we are credible and so is the work we do. They keep us both financially and project accountable. They visit us on the ground and make sure we’re doing what we said we would do. Every 3 years we have to submit a business plan and every 6 months a project report to see what we’re up to. These guys have really high standards and we’re proud to partner with them.

To reach our target goals, we need your continued support. It would be great if everyone who ‘liked’ our work on Facebook or read our blogs/newsletters/tweets transcended that into a few dollars. It means that we can achieve so much more. I’d love to have annual camps for kids who live in poverty, develop more youth leaders, hold more seminars and host more visiting teams.

Here’s an easy way to give:

IN AUSTRALIA:

Account Name          Afri-Lift

BSB                          032324

Account Number      235873

IN NEW ZEALAND:

Account Name           Pete and Sharon Crean

Account Number        03-1509-0037038-025

Please use your name as the reference so we can track your donation. If you live outside of these two countries drop me an email (sharoncrean@beyondwater.org.au)  so I can tell you the best way to support our work.

There’ll be no sitting around here mate!

I was kind of shocked last week when someone we know was concerned that we would arrive in Kenya and be sitting round twiddling our thumbs.

That would be the biggest joke of the century!

So, what will we be up to you may ask?

Here’s a list of just some of the things we actually will be doing:

  • Monday morning meetings with the Afri-Lift team
  • Training of administration staff
  • Book writing
  • Photographing and videoing promotional material
  • Running youth camps
  • Hosting visitors from overseas
  • Taking teams to places such as Mount Kilimanjaro, safari parks, bike riding tours etc
  • Overseeing creation of buildings
  • Teaching agricultural trainees
  • School ministry trips
  • Facilitating the building of a boarding school
  • Involved in supporting all the different ministries of Afri-Lift
  • Two days a week working on water projects for BeyondWater
  • Last weekend of the month out in the field working with communities about water projects

Our main objective is to serve the ministry of Afri-Lift (www.afrilift.com). Part time we will continue our work with BeyondWater (www.beyondwater.org.au). It’s the perfect combination really.

So, while we will be having the odd coffee at the mall, there won’t be much time sitting around!