Here is our Weekly Update
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Al & Diane Mellinger's Missionary Adventure - 5 new articles
March 15, 2019 – We are again planning our schedule for our time stateside later this year. We will be coming back to the USA for our denomination's General Conference (once every 4 years) and then staying through early November. Our Sunday Mornings are all scheduled but we have some Sunday evenings free and lots of midweek time so if you, your church or small group would like us to come and share the amazing things God is doing in the Balkans. Let us know and we will get back with you as to when or if we will be in your area. (We have time free from August – October)
This tour is called “Faith, Hope & Love” where we plan to share how these 3 concepts are the bedrock of the work we are doing in the Balkans. Here is our current travel schedule.
July 7, 2019 – Dearborn FMC – Dearborn MI
July 14-21 – General Conference – Orlando, FL
July 22 -26 -Sky Lodge Family Camp – Montello, WI
July 28, 2019 - Chelsea FMC - Chelsea MI
August 11, 2019 - Stone Haven – Troy MI
August 13, 2019 - Ottumwa & Fairfield Iowa
August 18, 2019 – East Wenatchee, WA
September 1, 2019 - McPherson FMC - KS
September 8, 2019 – G Free Church – Philipsburg, PA
September 15, 2019 – Freeport FMC, Freeport, IL
September 22, 2019 –Journey of Hope, Taylor, MI (AM)
Cornerstone – Battle Creek, MI – (6 PM)
September 29, 2019 – New Life Community Chapel - Van, PA
October 6, 2019 - Westland FMC – Westland, MI
October 13, 2019 – Ferndale FMC – Ferndale, MI
October 19, 2019 - Woodstock FMC – Woodstock, IL
October 20, 2019 – Grace FMC – McConnell. IL
October 27, 2019 –Wesley Church – Waukegan, IL
We are also open for you to "Have a Missionary for Dinner" if in your area as well. Again, let us know and we will see if we can make it happen.
This week pray for the planning and scheduling – that we would make the most of the time we have in the states - also we are needing to find good transportation for this time as well.
Pray also for the groups coming to assist Team Balkans this spring and summer.
Finally, continue to pray for the plans for the new church planting cohorts to be launched this fall – (3 groups in 3 countries)
March 7, 2019 - As a kid, I grew up on a farm. We did not own the farm, rather my father was a hired hand to help operate the farm. He did not make a lot and so we did not have a great deal of disposable income to do things. That said if I wanted to go somewhere like an outing with the youth group or buy something I had to figure out how to raise the funds. So early on I did what I could from yard work for neighbors to babysitting, to selling Pumpkins, vegetables, seeds, and greeting cards – anything that would allow me to get some money of my own. On my 16th Birthday, I started work and have been working somewhere ever since.
(I remember responding to an add like this as a kid)So, working hard and raising money is something I have always done. Now it is just on a bigger scale and for things well beyond me and my wants.
Every few years in missions work it seems like funds begin to dry up and we find ourselves needing to challenge folks with our work and support. Churches for whatever reasons retool and rethink their missions giving. This year our 3 largest giving churches all have cut back our support. To a total of almost $7000 less this year than last. Most of the rest of the churches have kept giving the same but our budget keeps going up. (Mostly due to cost beyond our control like insurance and things like that) We are about $36,000 short for the coming year (pledges to our support).
In addition, we raise funds for the operation of the country we serve beyond our personal support – call Church Planting and Development (Use to be called Country support Accounts). This fund has never been fully funded by commitments and with this fund, only monies that are actually given are sent not what is budgeted. So, when there are no funds, items that we hoped or planned to do are not done for lack of funding since no money is sent. Commitments to this fund are only at 40% of the budget or about $18,000 short of our projected budget
Finally, we have projects that are developed and need funds raised from time to time as well – like the Virtual Christmas Gift Box program and Girls home project. These are ongoing and often the ones folks like to give to because they see the payoff of the giving right away.
All three levels of giving are important and need – it is just they need to be funded in the order listed. Missionary Support, Country Support and then Projects.
All that said to let you know where we are at and what we need. Please join us in praying about this and know that like when I was a kid, I (we) will do all we can to raise the funds need and to keep the costs down.
IF you are a regular giver – THANKS we cannot do what we do without you!
This week pray about the funding needs of not only us but the other members of Team Balkans as they need commitments as well.
Pray for Our Church as we are making preparations to transition more oversight of the work to the Nationals.
Preparations for our partnership Building Stateside later this Summer and Fall
February 28, 2019 – Having been raised in a farming area there were seasons that took place. There was the planting season, the growing season, the harvest season and then there was the winter (resting and waiting) season. Ministry, we found is often like that at times as well. The planting season is full of anticipation, the growing season is full of excitement, the harvest season is full of gratitude and celebration and then there is the waiting season where things are changing but we are not sure what that will be.
Diane and I feel that we are in the winter waiting season of ministry here. Things have been going well plans are in place for more ministry to take place. Now, much of that oversite is being done by nationals and locals. We have done our job, we have planted, watched grow, participated in the harvest and turned it over to the national leaders to carry it on. For the Mellingers it is time to see what God has for us next.
That is our biggest prayer request - that God would show us what our focus needs to be, Where do we need to put our energies and creativity next in our work here.
Also pray for the National Church leadership as they work on moving to the next level in the FM Movement. We have a board meeting on Monday.
Finally, pray for the finances for all of the team – Especially the Country Budget – those funds only are sent when they are given – pray that God would provide funds for the national leadership team here in the Balkans.
February 21, 2019 - Recently I received an email asking if we were still in Bulgaria because they had heard a rumor we opened a store in the US and were no longer in Bulgaria.
Let me set the record straight – We are still overseeing the work for the FMC in the Balkans and we have opened a fair-trade store in Jackson Michigan that distributes the products our livelihood groups make and products from 13 other organizations that have similar goals and programs.
That means our shop had fair trade merchandise from over 30 countries on the planet on 5 continents. Economic imbalance is a real problem around the work – giving people a chance to work and earn income to support their families and churches is what we are all about.
We are trying to remind and educate the church that how they spend their disposable income can and does have an impact on ministry – the more we sell the more we have to keep the people producing the products they are making.
We hope that the church will think about buying the gifts they want to give from shops like ours and online fair-trade sites. We are not asking folks to purchase something from us once to feel like they have made a contribution but to rethink how and where they spend their money all the time.
WE have and will not stop working with planting churches, training pastors, setting up the girls home and all the things we are working on. We just keep expanding what God seems to be doing as He opens a door and provides opportunities.
Please pray for the store – Sales are important and with the cold, snow and ice they have had in Michigan – sale have not met our projections
Pray too for our partners and the people that they work with.
Finally, pray for Team Balkans and are getting ready for another busy summer of connecting with folks here and in the USA.
February 14, 2019 - The last four Sundays (since returning) I have had the honor to bring the Sunday message to our home church in Petrich.
After praying and thinking about what to teach on, I felt it was time to revisit the mission of our church. Love God – Love People – Make Disciples. None of this is new or earth-shattering teaching but it is good to revisit the themes and be reminded about why we are here and what we are to be doing.
The enemy can get us and keep us busy doing good things but if it doesn’t contribute to our mission it is just keeping us busy.
This is a lesson for all of us no matter where we are – are we about our Father’s business or just really busy. I will let you and Jesus talk about that one.
This week pray for…
… team Balkans as many are fighting the flu that has been going around (here they will cancel school for a week if it gets too bad to keep it from spreading to too many students)
…our livelihood groups as we launch new products – pray that they would learn them quickly.