Aside

Lessons in the Journey of Fundraising.

Fundraising can be awkward, difficult, and frustrating. It can also be beautiful, encouraging, and fun. In the past month and a half, i have experienced both sides of this.

In applying to go on the trip to Guatemala, i knew that raising the money wouldn’t be an easy thing. i also knew that my God is bigger than any amount of money i could ever have to raise. i knew that if He was actually calling me to go and serve Him there, then He would provide. No matter what anyone said, no matter how discouraged i was, His will would be done.

Man, am i thankful for the truth in that.

About five days after i was accepted to go, i found out that i had less than three weeks to raise half of the money for my trip. Initially, i was terrified (which was not of The Lord). Then a peace came over me (which was of The Lord). The Lord used scripture, encouragement from friends, and my knowledge of who The Father is, to calm my nerves, to grow my faith in Him (special thanks to all of you who were a part of that). i trusted Him to do what was needed, despite the financial mountains i had to climb in such a short amount of time. i knew that it would be okay. i believed it would be.

Then my deadline came and the money wasn’t there. i was hundreds of dollars short and i didn’t know what to do.

Thankfully, i am traveling through an extremely gracious and Christ led organization, and they have shown me a Christlike amount of grace in the fundraising process. When i explained to a staff member what was going on, when i explained how i felt that The Father wasn’t leading me to donate from my savings, they said “okay, we trust you” and continued to encourage me in my fundraising. To say the least, i am thankful to be going with Adventures in Missions.

For weeks, i did everything i knew to do to try and get the money in by the deadline. i sent letters, i stepped out of my comfort zone, i prayed about paying for it myself, i did what i thought i needed to. Yet, on March 5th, i didn’t have the money that i needed. i sad it was okay, i said i wasn’t discouraged, and i tried not to be. Yet, because i am human, i was. God did not act in Ashton’s timing, and i didn’t like it, no matter how much i tried to lie to myself and say i was okay with it. i kept fundraising, doing my best not to let the fact that i didn’t meet the deadline set me back. i sent more letters, heard back from more people, but it still wasn’t happening. Days, weeks passed after my first deadline, and i still hadn’t reached it, i still wasn’t even close to it. i continued to say that i was trusting The Father, i continued to pray for the funding and possibilities of this trip, and nothing happened. i was at a loss. i became discouraged, confused, and frustrated. Asked the typical, “Why, God?” questions, and let the doubts overshadow the hope that my Creator has put in my heart because of who He is.

Then last Thursday, The Father changed everything. Like i did in my last post, i am going to let Past Ashton speak from the moment it happened, through a text to a friend (text message hoarding has it’s perks),

“This morning, The Father came up from behind and lifted me on His shoulders. Just checked my AIM account to find $750 worth of donations, making me over half way to my goal. This is not including donations i know are still coming in. i am a daughter delighting in the joy of who my Father is and all He does for me.”

Once again, i was at a loss, but in a completely different way. i was at a loss in the best way i possibly could be. Literally overnight, hundreds of dollars of support were there. To give an illustration; when i was little, my dad, like a lot of dads, would come up behind me when i had my back turned. When i least expected it, his hands would come out of nowhere and all the sudden i’m off the ground, flying six feet up onto my dad’s shoulders, laughing the whole way up. It was always joyful, though sometimes scary because it was so unknown; however i trusted it because it was my dad, my best friend, holding me. Last Thursday, my Heavenly Father did the same thing and it has been such a joy to sit on His shoulders and feel His strength as He carries me through this.

Matthew 19:26 says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” This is a verse i have heard/read/said a thousand times, but never felt as first hand as i did last week. Before the deadline and even after the deadline for a bit, i found hope in that verse, but when the money wasn’t there, i wasn’t walking in the way a daughter of One who can do the impossible would walk. i was not appreciative of the small amount of donations i was getting, but now i know that without them, the trip wouldn’t be possible. The small donations add up, and i should have been, should be, just as thankful for them as i am the big ones. The small donations are just as much of God’s work, just as much of a miracle, as the big ones are.

i got so caught up in the numbers, in the dates, in the amount; in what the world says matters in raising money. i didn’t allow The Father to use this time to teach me more about Him, i used it as a time to put Him in a box and stress myself out (it wasn’t helpful, obviously). i regret it, but i will not allow myself to brew over it, because The Father’s mercies are new with each morning, and every day is a new opportunity for me to fall more in love with who my Creator is. i will not waste that time brewing over how i should have acted. i will live in the now, because The Father can use me in the now, while the past will be as it is forever- something to look back on and learn from, not beat myself up over.

Our Creator has taught me so much about Himself  through this process and it’s been so fun and so hard at the same time, but i wouldn’t change any of it because of the lessons that it’s taught me. i am so thankful to serve a God who is not hindered by my humanness, but rather uses my humanness to grow me to be more like Himself. He will always work in me despite me, and i think that that is beautiful. i am so thankful for that Thursday where He surprised me by just how big and sovereign He really is. i am learning more about Him everyday and it is such a joy. With Him, all things really are possible, and i hope and pray that that truth is never less sweet than it is in this season.

The road of fundraising is becoming a smoother ride, but it is not yet over. i still need help in getting to Guatemala. i mostly need prayers, but if you are interested in helping me financially, there are a few options. You can visit Adventures in Missions website, here, click on “donate” in the top right, select “Passport” in the drop down menu, and boom, follow their instructions from there. i am also selling t-shirts. They look like this:

Image

They are $20 and i will be selling them until March 31st They say “The Adventure of Summer” in Spanish, for those of you who are curious. Comment on this, text me, message me on Facebook- you choose how to contact me if you are interested in purchasing one.

i am so thankful for all of your prayers and support in this journey. i am overwhelmed in the ways that i have been supported, from fellow college students, ST sisters, old teachers, friends, and the like. The Father has been involved in every penny that has been donated and this trip would not be possible without those of you who have made yourself available for The Father to use to support me. There are not enough words in the world to express my gratitude. You are all wonderful and i thank The Lord for you everyday. i look forward to continuing to write about The Father working in my life during this season of growth and change. He is doing a big work in me and it is such a joy to walk through and a blessing to be able to share.

Thank you for reading about my life & His work. i hope that in some way or another, He used it in you for His glory.

in Him,
ashton

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