Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Full-Fledged FAQ post!

In the past 24 hours I have received a lot of good questions, ones that I probably should have thought of already (but hey, that is why I have you guys to keep in check!). So here we go with a full fledged FAQ post! Hopefully this will help out.

Q: Yo Meredith, this is cool and all, but what exactly are you going to be doing there?

A: Wow. Solid question. I will be working with Apache Youth Ministries which is basically an awesome youth center. The high school students come hang out everyday after school for a few hours, come to a youth night on thursdays, and to d-groups (bible study) on tuesdays. As part of the team I will be building relationships with the high school girls, leading d-groups with the other female leaders, and I will be the person in charge of organizing, developing, and planning all of our retreats and trips. This will include a fall and spring retreat, a trip to a conference for Native teens in Missouri, and hopefully a lot of cool trips for the kids to see different concerts or things outside of the reservation. 

Q: Cool! So you will be like a youth minister?

A: Sort of. The difference is that I am part of a team and I also have studied poverty and development. So in addition to the youth ministry part I will be working to engage the students in transformational development, that is developing them both spiritually and economically. My goal is to help these kids know Jesus and also help them rise out of poverty. I want to understand their culture, help them retain their native identity, and also enable them to rise out of the generational poverty in which they are stuck. 

Q: That is pretty neat. 

A: That is not a question, but I agree with the sentiment. 

Q: Ok, so you want me to give you money, but what is the money going towards? Pizza? 

A: The money that I am asking for will be broken down as follows: 
One Time Outgoing Budget                        $1500

Monthly Budget $43,200  annually

$3,600 monthly

Living expenses $3050 monthly
Housing $500
Salary $2000
Benefits $550 

Ministry expenses $550 monthly
Materials $100
Fees $75
Student care $175
Office $100
Transportation $200

Q: How helpful! Tell me again why these kids need my support? 

A: These kids are stuck in generational poverty, meaning their families have been poor for many years, and it is very hard to rise out of that. In addition, these students deal with a lot of hard stuff. Every one of my students knows someone who has either killed themselves or been murdered. They deal with sexual abuse, abandonment, drugs/alcohol, and really any terrible thing you could think of pretty regularly. So the only way to start a process of change is to walk alongside them and engage them in understanding the saving power of Jesus Christ. I want to combine that with transformational development in order to combat the multi-faceted poverty that exists on reservations such as this one.

Q: Ok, this has been enlightening, but I still want to know more. How do I do that?


A: Email me (meredithscarpenter@gmail.com). Let’s set up a time for lunch, dinner, or coffee, and I would love to express to you my deep passion for this ministry and my vision for how to help these teenagers. Also, email me your address! And I will send you the beautiful packet of information I have printed out. You know you want one. 

Q: Ok, I'm in, but I don't need your packet, I just want to give money right this second! ASAP! Instant gratification! Can I do that? 

A: Well sure! Thanks to a very helpful suggestion I have set up a campaign on fundly.com. If you want to give a one-time donation you can do it there. Also, you rock. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Fundraising Train is Leaving the Station!

The time has come my friends! After a lovely weekend in the North Georgia mountains celebrating love and friendship it is officially time to kick-off the fundraising campaign for my work with the Apache!

Here are the deets:

I am planning to move TO the reservation on JUNE 28th, but to do that I need YOU to help me! I am trying to raise $1,500 in order to pay for the moving costs. Without you I can't actually go anywhere...

Then the next order of business is my ACTUAL move date to the reservation. I will be in Georgia later this summer raising $3,600 of monthly support. My goal is to have that raised and be at home in Arizona by September 15th. I am trusting God to bring this in, and I hope that you might join me with your support.

So you are probably saying to yourself, "Wow, Meredith. This is so cool. I would looooove to join in this journey and support the spiritual and economic development of Apache teenagers, but where do I send my check?" 

Well, you actually have 2 options:

1. Email me at meredithscarpenter@gmail.com and I will send you my support packet, complete with pictures, vision statements, and a commitment card to send back in.

2. Or you can simply mail your check/commitment to:
Christ's Church at Whitewater
1577 Hwy 85 S, Fayetteville, GA 30215. 
Please put "AYM" in the memo line and also send your name, email, phone number, and address so I can put you on the communication list and personally thank you for joining with me.

I am excited to begin this support raising process and to see the way that God provides. My hope is that you will pray about supporting me financially, and that you will feel free to contact me at my email address if you have any questions. I am so grateful for the love that surrounds me and I am so excited for my upcoming work with the Apache.

Let the fundraising.....begin! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Being Busy=Less Blogging. Oops.

It is a busy time for me here in Pasadena. The quarter is rapidly coming to a close, meaning papers, research, procrastination, and more papers. Lots of exciting things are coming up too though, such as:

1. Travelling back to GA for one of my best friend's wedding this weekend.
2. The AYM team bringing some of the students to SoCal for a weekend of adventure in June.
3. GRADUATION with my mom and brother coming to town.
4. Oh, and did I mention I am trying to move to the Apache reservation? So that means packing, praying for the funds to come in so I can move, support raising, worrying about support raising, and thinking lots about my future there.

Life is a crazy ride people. Being so busy I barely have time to dwell on the fact that in just a few weeks I will be leaving the place I have called home for the last two years. Its probably better that way, as I have taken to tearing up at Hallmark commercials these days.

I guess life is a series of hellos and goodbyes. Both can be hard, but I can tell you that all of the in-betweens make it worth it. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

First Stop on the Support Train!

As they each prayed for me I could feel the binding that was happening through their words. It was as if by the power of the Holy Spirit their lives were becoming bound with mine, as if in that moment our hands became inextricably linked. The words they spoke over me poured blessings and promises into my worried soul. These declarations of peace, provision, and a fulfillment of God’s purpose seemed to travel through their arms and down to the tips of their fingers, each one burrowing its way into the crevices of my heart. It was in that moment that I truly knew and understood the power of the body of Christ. I understood that throughout my ministry on the reservation these people would be there to pick me up when I fall. Though not with their physical bodies, it would be their prayers, their support, and their thoughts that would sustain me.

This was the first stop on my support raising journey, and I never imagined being so blessed by the people to whom I explain my vision. I never imagined that I would be so encouraged and filled by my church family here in Pasadena, who have known me for such a short time but who love me like they have known me my whole life. It was a beautiful reminder that I am on a road of provision, of more than simply financial support. I am being filled up with wisdom, suggestions, words of affirmation, and love. Each person, each encounter, is another buoy added to my little boat in this large ocean, so that when I reach the Apache reservation I will be able to bring others into my boat, and we will not sink. We will rise above the waves and the storm, and we will be held afloat by those I have met along the way, those whose prayers and support have made all the difference in the world. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Moses, Jonah, and Me

I used to read the story of Moses or the story of Jonah and scoff at their reactions to God's call. There was Moses standing in front of a burning bush that was speaking to him and his first reaction was basically, "no thanks God, I think you've got the wrong guy." Who does that?? If it was ME (I always thought) I would be grateful for such a direct quest from God. I would be like, "yeah God! I'll take off my shoes and go where you call. Thanks for being so specific!" And of course there is Jonah. Who tries to run from God? He had a specific call and he ran the other way. Come on man, you deserved to get eaten by a big fish.

It always seemed like a direct call would be the best gift God could give because then you would be sure. You could let go of the decision-making and the guessing games and follow.

But then it happened to me. 

Driving down the road I get a call from God. Loud and clear. It started off as my idea and transformed into a new vision, and at first it was exciting. Here I was given a call. As I prayed about it for a few weeks I remember writing in my journal and asking God, Is this what you want me to do? Is this my calling? And I heard that voice, the one that comes from that place where I know it is not my own, and it said just one word: Yes. 

So here was my Moses moment. Here I was being called to a place just like Jonah. What would I do with it? Having read my bible and learned from the mistakes written there I knew I had to go. But I also realized that receiving a call was a lot more scary than I had assumed. With a call you have to go. You can't say no. You can't politely say, "Are you sure? That kind of seems like a lot of work." Though I never considered not going, every now and then little desires popped up. For instance, someone mentioned Canada and my first thought was how I would really like to run away there for a little while (Um, hello. Did I just find my inner Jonah?).

So it seems that I am a little more like Moses and Jonah than I had hoped. Just as they got a little nervous about their call, so did I. I think what the three of us have in common is that most of our apprehensions came from a place of fear. I think for a while there I was romanticizing the reservation. I forgot about how much my heart hurt and how angry I got at God in the midst of the suffering. I forgot that it is a dangerous place, where I can't walk by myself in daylight, and where terrible things happen at the drop of a hat. And when I remembered all the hard, scary parts of working on the reservation I started to get antsy. I started to dream of Europe or Latin America, of going on a cruise or simply hiding away at my friend's house in Georgia. I started to get nervous.

Yet every time someone asks me about my vision, I remember. 

I begin to talk about the stories of the reservation. I begin to explain the vision God has given me to help these girls move toward a better future, and as I talk about my calling I get excited. I start to smile and talk a little faster because in explaining where I am going I get chills. I almost want to stand up and do a little dance because God has given me a passion and a path and He will do the rest.

And so just like Moses and Jonah, I turn around and I answer the call. Because as nervous or apprehensive as I may be I know that the One who sends me will walk there with me.
I know that He will never let me do this on my own.