Update on our status

Greetings to all from HOT-lanta, Georgia

One thing we really miss right now are the cool summer temperatures of Norway!!!  Although, we do enjoy being able to wear shorts and flip-flops while leaving the jackets and sweaters in the closet.

We want to update you on our current status.

Jo’s role

On June 1, Jo became the Area Personnel Officer for OM’s Catalytic Ministries (Cat-Min).  This is a group of 8 different ministries located in different parts of the world.  They are called “catalytic” because they act as catalysts for ministry within the countries they support.  The ministries included in Cat-Min are specifically focused on: AIDS relief, arts in ministry, business for transformation, justice (human trafficking/slavery), Muslim focused ministry, relief and development, and sports in ministry.

These ministries have been part of the OM world for many years, but they were only organized under the umbrella of Cat-Min three years ago.  As with many re-orgs, there are still pieces of the puzzle that are missing.  One of those pieces was her role, which means she is building it as she goes.  Her role will mostly provide administrative and personnel related help to the individual team leaders because they don’t have the capacity or personnel to do this themselves.  She will be based out of the Tyrone office and will be able to work remotely when we finally decide where we want to live.

Our apartment

On June 9 we started house-sitting for an OM family that went on furlough.  This has been an enjoyable time for us for several reasons; it gave us some space to spread out, it came with a lovely little dog that we both adore, it was rent-free.  The family will return the end of July at which time we will move into an apartment in Peachtree City that we have rented for a year.  The apartment is: about 10 minutes from the office, walking distance to the local grocery store, and will provide us a stable place to finally call our home! 

The day we move into the apartment will be the end of 10 months of living out of suitcases and house-hopping.  Even though we know the apartment will also be temporary (a year +/-), it will allow us to have all our “stuff” under one roof, use our own kitchen gadgets, and finally unpack our clothes.  These may seem like trivial things, but when you’ve lived like we have these past months, they will bring us a tremendous sense of peace and stability.

Dave’s next trip

Three days after we get the keys to the apartment I will pack up again and travel to Germany for OM’s annual teen conference in Europe called TeenStreet:  https://www.om.org/teenstreet/en

I have been invited back to serve as the Team Dad and spiritual counsellor for one of the elements of TeenStreet called Global Experience (GE).  Global Experience is an interactive environment that will expose over 2,500 teens to the need and opportunities for global missions.  The GE team is made up of 50 adults from all over Europe who volunteer their week to serve the teens.  It is 12-14 hour days living in cramped/loud quarters, working under tight time limits, with people you don’t know (yet).  I will provide daily devotional times and be the shoulder to cry on, as well as the person to vent to during the 6-day event.  This will be my 5th year serving with GE and I truly enjoy being part of seeing that many teens challenged about how they will live their lives.

Our church

We have plugged back into the church we were attending before we left for Norway and we are enjoying it very much.  We have joined an engaging small group that meets weekly and it has become a safe place that we look forward to each week. I have also joined the production team at church as a photographer, Jo is still considering how/when she will serve.

Our financial support

To be honest, this is the most difficult part to communicate because I know there are many people serving around the world who are in much more difficult situations than we are.  However, we must also be honest with ourselves and you about the reality we find ourselves in.

In Jan-May 2018 our gross average monthly support was $2806.  During the same period in 2019, our support dropped to $1816.  That is a monthly gross loss of $990 per month and OM USA deducts 13% for admin costs and taxes from the remainder.

The reality for support-raising missionaries is that supporters come and go.  They have real-life situations, too, and for one reason or another, they stop supporting you.  Some notify you in advance and some don’t, some give reasons, and some don’t.  This leaves us very much trusting in God’s monthly grace to them and us. We have been aware of this downward trend since the beginning, but when we were planning to go to Ireland, it wasn’t a major concern because our budget for Ireland would have been much less than here in the US.  Additionally, our start-up expenses for Ireland would have also been much less than here. So far, we have been able to absorb this loss through our savings and adjusted life style.  However, due to the high cost of living in our area, we are no longer able to continue this negative trend and we are asking your prayer support for wisdom. 

Steps we have taken so far:

  1. I have stopped taking a salary from OM and am now a full-time volunteer.  This allows Jo to continue receiving her salary which will increase her social security payout when she retires.
  2. I am continuing to find ways to produce a sustainable income from photography, but that is very slow going while still maintaining my OM role.
  3. We are working very closely with our financial advisor on how to best use the funds in my retirement account.  He advises us strongly not to use these funds until I am age 59.5 to avoid tax penalties.  That is why we are renting an apartment for a year instead of buying a house now.
  4. We are considering one (or both of us) leaving our OM roles to find a secular job that provides more income.
  5. We have shared all of this with our church mission contact and we are looking for new financial supporters.

Our desire is to raise an additional $1000 per month.  This would allow us to serve OM full-time for two more years which would fulfill our current commitments.

We would be tremendously encouraged if you would:

  1. Pray for this specific and time sensitive financial need we have.
  2. Share our situation with anyone you feel would be interested in partnering with us as we serve through OM.
  3. Contact us to hear more about what we do and why we do it.

As always, thank you for your faithful support.  We are absolutely sure that our efforts with OM are helping to establish vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached.  We are also absolutely sure that without partners like you, we would not be able to do what we do.

May you be blessed for your faithfulness.

Dave and Jo

You can see some of Dave’s photos at:

davemckissick.com

@davemckissick