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This past month has been a whirlwind of checking off tasks from our “before we begin deputation” checklist.
- Have a baby? Check! (We praise God for the safe arrival of Tyler Nathanael!)
- Take new picture for prayer cards? Check!
- Update prayer cards? Check!
- Order prayer cards? Check! (Arriving soon – a sneak peek is below:)
- Sell our cows so we can be more free for traveling? Mostly check! (Though we still have a Dexter heifer and a Dexter cow for sale if you’re interested!)
- Begin contacting churches and scheduling meetings? Slowly!
Finding time to do the contacting has required a bit of creativity. You see, Bryan is still working a full-time job so our family can continue to pay the bills.
So right now we’re learning to juggle deputation preparations with another job.
The goal is to get to about 25% of our support level as quickly as we can. We’ve done the math, and at that point we should be able to move to a full-time deputation ministry! We’re super excited about that.
However, that time has not yet arrived. So here is what we’re doing.
Calling During Lunch
Bryan started off calling a couple of contacts during his lunch hour. He discovered Thursday has been the most profitable day when it comes to actually connecting with pastors.
The problem with calling during lunch?
It’s a very limited time, with a definite hard stop at the end. He has to be back to work by the time his lunch break is over.
Which means he can only call during the first part of lunch. That gives him enough time to actually talk to a pastor if they answer. Because if he were to call when there were only a few minutes left, he’d have to abruptly end the call.
You can only contact so many pastors when you have such a limited calling period. Hence the slow process. So while he will continue making calls, we also decided to try something we can scale a little more with the hopes of speeding up the process a bit. This is what we’re currently trying.
While we were at Candidate Seminar with Baptist Mid-Missions, a missionary near the end of his deputation shared his process with the class. He found success sending personalized videos to pastors via email.
This intrigued us for a couple of reasons.
- You can record the videos anytime. Which means after the kids go to bed, we can set everything up and get to work.
- You can record multiple videos in the same session. Since the videos are short (around 2 minutes), it’s easy to record them back to back. Just make sure you don’t mix up the files when attaching them to emails, because they are personalized!
- The script for the majority of the video is the same. There’s a bit of a difference at the beginning and end, but the bulk of the information stays the same. This makes it easy to remember what you’re supposed to say!
- It allows Bryan’s personality to shine. He’s a definite people person, and you really can’t express that through writing an email. Video captures personality.
- They help us to stand out. Well, at least we hope they do! They’re different than just a basic cold email.
Dealing with SLOW Internet
One catch in our plan to record videos in bulk and edit them before sending them out has been our internet. We live in a very rural area and have metered, slow internet.
We quickly discovered you can’t work with many videos before your data allotment for the month is up. So it was time for some more creativity!
By picking a couple of evenings a week to stay in town and use Wi-Fi, Bryan can upload and edit all of the videos. Then he can attach them to the emails and get them sent.
This makes that part of the process go much more smoothly!
Finding Time for It All
Trying to juggle a full-time job, contacting pastors, preparing sermons to preach in the churches we get into, plus spending time with the family is a challenge. It really requires you to think of time like money – without a plan it just sort of disappears!
We’re still early in this process, but here are some ways we’re making it work so far:
Freeing up Saturday
Saturday is a popular day for scheduling events and activities! It’s also the only day where we can dedicate several hours in a row to deputation prep.
Which means we’re starting to be very intentional about our Saturdays. We’re learning to say no when we need to. Or deciding that the kids and Lisa will go while Bryan stays home to take advantage of an unusually quiet house.
Sharing the Duties
We’re a team, and need to work like one. By sharing the tasks that need done, we can go a lot further than one person could alone.
So we divvy up tasks based on strengths. And we include the kids when possible. They’re a part of this journey too!
By freeing up Bryan’s time in the evening, we’re making it possible for him to record videos. This means some of the things he’d normally do, someone else is covering for this season.
Internet research is a large part of deputation. You’ve got to know which churches to contact, and who you should contact at each church. To make the videos personalized, you’ve got to know a little something about the church. So, by dividing this up we can make it easier.
With the extra tasks on our plates, it’s not the time for fancy meals or complicated projects. You can’t add more to your plate without taking something off or making it easier.
This means streamlining is the name of the game when you’re juggling a full-time job with deputation preparations.
The good news? Since Lisa’s been juggling homeschooling and a freelance business for a couple of years, we’ve already thought much of this through.
We have an annual meal plan, a simple cleaning schedule, and other strategies in place to streamline what we can. By minimizing the decisions we have to make each day, we’re able to do more.
Setting Realistic Goals & Not Comparing
This has been a big one. Missionary appointees who aren’t working full-time are able to devote much more time to deputation.
Remembering not to compare our beginning with their middle/end has been a bit of a challenge. We always feel like there is MORE to be done.
But, we are learning to set realistic expectations. The book Finish by Jon Acuff was an encouragement in this area. He recommends taking your goal and cutting it in half, to make it more realistic.
Realistic goals are important to help keep discouragement at bay. Because between the job and the house and the kids, there’s just not a ton of time left in the day. We devote what we can to deputation, but it’s not yet our full-time focus.
We pray that it soon will be!
The biggest lesson throughout the whole process of becoming missionaries continues to be the need to trust God. Tasks that seem impossible for us are no problem for Him.
He called us to be missionaries, and He will help us along the way. His timing is perfect, and He will give us the strength to make it through this difficult period of juggling.
We are excited to see His working in our lives as we continue scheduling meetings with churches and begin sharing our call to Missionary Acres with others.