Thursday, March 27, 2008

Our 2008 Missions Support Letter

Make sure you put in your supporter's letter that you blessed many families in immeasurable ways. Let them know that your team invested not only their time and resources, but their whole hearts to serve the families of Christian Associates. We are so grateful for all that your supporters have given so that we could be blessed!
~MR, serving in France
Dear friends, family, faithful supporters and anyone else who is receiving this!

It has been nearly a year since we initiated realizing a dream of ours – to serve Christ together as a family in some capacity outside of the US, our comfort zone. Many of you, I’m sure, remember receiving our letter last year, maybe wondering if we were out of our minds! If that’s what you were thinking, you may wonder again as we are hoping to return this year in the same capacity as last only with the added responsibility of being the sole team in charge of providing a full fledged children’s program for this amazing group of church planters in Europe.

Our trip last year was a growing and learning experience in so many ways. We had opportunities to connect with families who had given up their comfy homes in the US to serve in some of the most spiritually darkened places in Europe. We learned of the struggles they had adjusting to new cultures, languages, and the obvious disdain for America amidst the Iraq war. But even more apparent to us was the effect this had on their children, referred to as third culture kids, as they try to comprehend the passion their parents have for the lost in Europe as that relates to their roots, their socialization and their futures. Providing a short escape from the often stressful and uncertain lives of church planters was so much more important, and took so many various forms, than any of us had realized.

This summer, as part of SPACE [Students Prepared to Act for Christ’s Empire] - Grace's student ministry mission component, we are returning to serve in Sopron, Hungary during Christian Associates International annual staff conference. We will be traveling from July 22 to August 3 with a total team of 26 students and leaders, architecting an experience for the kids of CAI staff. While the opportunity to serve CAI and their kids is immensely rewarding, we also know that this environment is a real time laboratory for our students to learn about global cultures, leadership development and creating Kingdom threads out of nothing.

Of course, we can't do this all alone and we would love your prayers and financial support. You can pray for our leadership, that the students on our team would create the future and that our children would continue to live lives bigger than themselves. You could also pray for our other SPACE teams for this summer – Baltimore, New Orleans, England and Cameroon. Financially, we need to raise $10,000 for our family of four and your financial support would also be a huge blessing. There are two ways you can financially support our team. First, you may send a check in the enclosed envelope with the response card. Please make checks payable to Grace Community Church and in the note section please specify, "SPACE Hungary - Shengs". You may also contribute via the Internet, by clicking the "Online Giving!" link at the top of the Grace Church webpage - Click the "eGive" link and after entering the appropriate donor and bank information, fill in the amount for "Short Term Missions" and specify for "SPACE Hungary - Shengs".

Thank you so much for your support and prayers. We have huge expectations for this team traveling to Hungary with us – that they will serve and sacrifice for many this summer and that the spiritual climate of Europe will be different because of many of them.
I don't know if y'all realize just how much you give to us in coming to serve. Our first year, we were beaten down, discouraged, frustrated, humbled and broken. We were also grown, stretched, challenged and provided for in ways we could never imagine. The gift you gave us was a chance to process this stuff for significant periods of time, knowing our kids were entertained, safe and above all LOVED. It's hard to express how much the week at conference means to us-how much we look forward to it each year. Knowing that there are people there who believe in what we are doing and are willing to encourage us in that is amazing. THANK YOU!!!!!

Related: Historical Mission Support Letters [2007, 2006, 2005]

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