So I have been asked more than once to clarify about the trainings I am going to be attending and why I am fundraising now if I am not leaving for another year. I hope to make it clear for everyone but if you still have questions please feel free to ask me!
New Missions Systems International (aka: NMSI) is my missions agency. As my missions agency they will be taking care of many of my logistical needs as I get ready to go, while I am in Uganda, and when I eventually return. As a "long-term" missionary with their agency, they require that I go through 3 different trainings:
1. COAT (9 weeks in Florida) - Cost $3,400 approximately
2. SPLICE (3 weeks in Colorado) - Cost $2,000 approximately
3. PILAT (2 weeks in Colorado) - Cost $1,300 approximately
Missionary statistics are not so good... I have heard that approximately 90% of missionaries that are sent out return within the first year of serving overseas. The reasons for this vary but for the most part it has to do with not having all of the logistics worked out before you leave (finances, fiscal responsibilities at home, etc.), not having a support system once you are in your new country, or not understanding or being prepared for what you will face once you are there.
Sending missionaries out is not a cheap endeavor and in order to be responsible with the money God has provided, it is important that I leave with as much preparation as possible so that I am successful and fruitful in the work God has given us (me and my support team) to do. NMSI is in place to insure this happens and makes sure that I will be a good candidate to serve overseas.
So what will these 3 trainings teach me?
1. COAT which stands for Community, Orientation, Assessment, and Training is the 9 week program. This program helps me build unity with my missions agency through formal/informal mentoring & bible studies. It also helps me learn the administrative details and programs that will be provided to me when I am abroad and will allow NMSI to get to know me better so that they will be familiar with my ministry and ways to make it more effective. In addition they will also focus on my spiritual foundations, goal planning, support raising, financial stewardship, global issues and practical aspects of living cross-culturally(Visas, transportation, housing, etc). All of this is set in place so that I am not surprised or unprepared once I arrive.
2. SPLICE (the 3 week program) is run through NMSI's partner ministry MTI or Mission Training International. This is a pre-departure training that stands for Spiritual, Personal, Lifestyle, Interpersonal, Cultural, Endure/Enjoy. The purpose of this training is to build skills and develop character in these 6 vital areas of missions while giving me the practical skills and attitudes that will help me move from one culture to another. It includes strategies to adapt to a new culture and value differences so that I do not become just another missionary drop-out statistic.
3. PILAT is also run through MTI and stands for Program In Language Acquisition Techniques. This is a two week pre-departure training that gives me Phonetics, Language Learning Techniques, and Language Study Methods that will give me the necessary skills to learn another language (in my case, Lugandan). While English is the national language in Uganda, those that can communicate with locals in their first language are more effective and able to reach more people in the community than those that only speak English. For those of you who know me...you know that I not only flunked out of Spanish in High school but I also didn't do so good in sign language in college either...Obviously I need more help in my language learning abilities and this training is designed to do just that.
So what expenses do you have THIS year while you prepare to go?
1. The 3 trainings...................................Approx $6,700
2. 10% NMSI administration costs.....Approx. $920
3. One way flight to Africa....................Approx. $2,500
TOTAL NEEDED..........................Approx. $10,120
Which breaks down to approximately $900 a month for the next 12 months
Why is it so expensive?
1. When you think about the trainings the prices are pretty reasonable...they are a total of 14 weeks or 3 1/2 months and the costs include housing, application fees, airline travel costs as well as the course costs.
2. As a NMSI missionary, all of my funds will go through them. As a result I have to raise an additional 10% of anything I need to cover the administration costs this incurs. This 10% helps pay for my access to their services, including printing costs and the financial aspects of the ministry I am involved in.
3. Prices in ALL airfare is up because of our economic situation therefore any travel (whether it is domestic for trainings or international) is more expensive than it has been in the past and requires extra funds
So how much have you raised so far?
So far I have had a few people pledge support but only one person actually sign up with NMSI. If all of the people who have verbally told me they will support me follow through with their commitments I will have a total of $380 per month coming in. That is an awesome start but still $520 per month short of what is needed.
Are you worried about raising the money you need?
NO!!!! God provides! I have seen Him do it before when I was going on short term trips and I have no doubt that I will see Him do it again! I just need to remember that my timing is not His and that through this experience He is teaching me to trust as well as to be patient. I am excited to see Him work!