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In late February, we were blessed with the opportunity to attend the second half of a round robin style mission conference on the other side of Washington state.
We presented our ministry in two different churches, and enjoyed fellowship with some incredible people.
It was our first time presenting in a mission conference, and our first multi-day trip on deputation. The Lord used this opportunity to teach us many things, and we are so thankful for all that He taught us.
Here is a quick look at five of the most important lessons we learned.
1. God Already Knows Who Is Going to Join Our Support Team
God already has this support thing figured out. He knows exactly which churches will take us on. He knows which individuals will be prompted to support us.
All we have to do is take the opportunities He sets before us, and share the burden He has given us.
This mindset shift is huge. It removes the worry and allows us to more easily give God all the glory. Each time we get a new supporter, that is a gift from God.
If we don’t get a new supporter, that’s okay – God wasn’t planning on them joining us right now.
We are so thankful that we don’t have to have this all figured out. If we did, we would never get to Missionary Acres. It seems impossible at times.
Thankfully, we serve a God who can make anything happen.
2. Not Every Place Is Wheelchair Friendly
This one wasn’t necessarily a new lesson, but a good reminder. Not every space we will visit is going to be wheelchair accessible, especially if it’s an older building.
We may need to work together to carry Owen and his chair up and down stairs, and should be prepared to do so.
We realized we need to teach a couple of our older kids how to help with this task, just in case the need arises. Lessons in safely lifting a chair and bending at the knees are on the horizon.
3. We Need to Be Self-Sufficient
Staying in a hotel for three nights at this conference opened our eyes to how unsustainable that plan is going to be. Because there are eleven people in our family, the hotels require us to get two rooms. So instead of three nights in a hotel times one room, it was three nights in a hotel times two rooms. Yikes! That adds up quickly.
We realize our need to lower our expenses.
After spending a lot of time in prayer, we feel led to look into inexpensive travel trailers. It’ll be tight quarters, but a night dry camping (or even parking in an RV park) is going to be so much cheaper. Reducing the amount of money it costs to visit churches will allow us to visit even more.
So we’ve been watching informational videos about building bunks in trailers, and have a plan for turning the master bedroom area into a room for the kids. They are so excited to eventually purchase a trailer and get started.
Hauling a trailer means we need a solid 15-passenger van with a tow package and the bigger engine. The Lord has been increasing the amount of money saved in our van fund, and we are praying to find one in good condition, in our price range ($6-8K) by the end of April.
In the meantime, we’ve arranged to stay with family when we travel across the state again in April. That is such a blessing, and we are thankful they are willing to house us for a night!
4. Flexibility Is Key
While on deputation, challenges will arise. We will experience new situations and places.
In all of this, it is important to be flexible. The way we are used to doing things is not the right way to do things. It is not the only way to do things. It is just what we are used to.
Embracing flexibility, and teaching our kids to be flexible, will be key to thriving with all of the changes.
For instance, plastic straws and plastic bags are banned in the area we traveled to. When Lisa and the kids walked to a store one morning, this caught them off guard.Thankfully there were paper bags they could purchase, but it just was one of the ways God helped us see the importance of being flexible.
And see the need to add reusable shopping bags to our packing list!
This trip also showed us how important it is to heed to routines and practices of each local church we are visiting. We are there to point people to Christ, and to share our burden for Missionary Acres. As much as possible, we need to adapt to their way of doing things.
For instance, when Bryan preaches in our home church, he wears a suit. However, when going over the details for this trip, he was told not to wear one. So, even though it felt a bit weird, he preached without a suit.
There are a few things in life that are worth causing a fuss over. Everything else can be flexible!
5. Find the Bathroom BEFORE the Kids Start Playing in the Nursery
This one is pretty self-explanatory!
And so is the next logical step – always have spare church-appropriate clothes in the car for all the kids. You never know when a spill or accident will happen.
‘Nough said! 😀
We Are Looking Forward to Learning More Lessons on Deputation
Deputation is not for the faint in heart. We are learning so much about our rough edges, and know that God will use this time to polish them and helped us to become better servants for Him.
Lessons await us, and we are looking forward to presenting in more churches and learning them!
And if you’d like Bryan & Lisa Tanner to present in your church, or at your upcoming mission conference, please get in touch!