From the Director
Are you rushed? I am. I must board a plane for Frankfurt in just a few minutes. (I am to speak at the annual meeting of the German Association of Evangelical Missions, February 15 18. Their main theme this year is hidden peoples!)
What Happened December 31st?
When Roberta and I wrote that Christmas letter (December 18th) the gap was still $175,000 an enormous sum for the remaining 13 days. One gift for $15,000 came in, another for $10,000, another for $5,000, about ten for $1,000, but this alone would nowhere near have done it. Many, many smaller gifts trickled in. Even two days before December 31st we were about $75,000 short. We were prepared to miss. But then finally, quietly, we came close enough to cut in to our severance fund to the tune of $30,000 and complete the payment with a great sigh of relief, wonderment and gratitude to the Lord. For the first time in two years we owed nothing on property payments.
I must record, however, that we were not exactly completely caught up, because the December 31st date was in itself a concession to us. That final $175,000 we paid was actually due on December 1st, not December 31st. That meant on January 1st we now had not 3 months until the next payment due but only 2, and in effect, to make the March 1st payment we would have to get in another $175,000 in 2, not 3 months. It meant, timewise, we really had one more month to catch up. Alas, as I write (February 15) we are then exactly 13 days away from this legal deadline requiring $175,000 and all we have received as of today is $26,800.
My personal opinion (not necessarily that of the people to whom we owe the money) is that what God allowed us to do December 31st caught us up a long way. We will not actually be falling any further behind unless we fail to pay the March 1st payment by April 1st. However, we do sincerely hope to get closer each time (to these December 1st, March 1st, June 1st, September 1st payments), and unless we catch all the way up, foreclosure is still perfectly legal.
What Completely New Thing Will Happen April 1st?
But April 1st is a very special day in another related sense. On April 1st will appear the first dated Frontier Fellowship Daily Prayer Guide (have you seen the sample "booklet A"?). You can now order 25, 50, 75, 100, etc. for your class at church or for the narthex of your church or for your women's circle, men's fellowship, college group, etc.
It will be a small beginning. Some of the major organizations preparing to introduce this superb guide to their people are not quite ready yet. It will be a pity for anyone to miss this particular April edition I know, because I have read the copy going to the printer. It tells what God is doing on a global scale. It is full of hope, excitement, challenge. Producing this little evening devotional booklet month after month will undoubtedly be one of the most significant things we do around here. Our people are already working on the May booklet.
Quickly then: How does all this tie in with our property, our series of payments, the $6 million balloon payment next year, etc? When will we ever be free from this pressure?
Restating our Policy (And Our Risk)
- We feel God wants us to ask people for only a single $15 gift, and that should go toward our $15 million "Founding Budget." (We are otherwise selfsustaining due to the fact that we receive $2 million worth of "free people"e.g. contributed services from over 200 people assigned to us by more than 40 mission agencies.)
- If churches or individuals give more than $15 we record the surplus, later to be returned (e.g. if given by a church) or reassigned (if given by an individual) to something other than our property.
- This is not a make believe gimmick, a soft sell tactic. The reason is simply to avoid competing with mission agencies that keep us alive. We feel our role is to serve them, encouraging people to give to them, not to us.
Since all gifts for property must be used for our payments, we have only very limited undesignated funds to get the word around, and we have no great desire to spend money to raise money.
(DOES THIS SOUND HOPELESS? NOT SO!)
- We are gripped by the conviction that God has given us a wonderful way forward. The major powerful impact of the Frontier Fellowship is to educate people, but the major part of the funds go to others, not to us. Nevertheless, as a result, the $l'5 gifts are coming in to us more rapidly now since all of the many organizations promoting the Frontier Fellowship Daily Prayer Guide are allotting to us the first $15 coining in from their daily loose change offerings.
- This allows their fabulous, extensive networks of communication to work on our behalf (as well as for them) at no extra cost to anyone.
- This approach may be more difficult and more complicated than a straightforward fund¬raising campaign (and it may be trying your patience as well!), and it requires persuading 17,000 congregations to tie in with the Frontier Fellowship, but it is explosively more valuable. Instead of just raising $15 million once for ourselves, it will not only do that but simultaneously raise $100 million per year, year after year, for other agencies involved in frontier missions PLUS it will massively, persuasively educate at least a million people concerning the final frontiers. The indirect ripples, furthermore, can change the course of history. How about that? Isn't that worth just a whole lot of trouble? But we here don't think of it as trouble. This issue of Mission Frontiers tells the phenomenal story of God's concern for the hidden peoples, and that concern has been worked out here.
Now, This Issue
I am very proud of this issue of Mission Frontiers even though its special content has delayed it. It gives you a birdseye view of the entire project here. I have to blink my eyes to see the connection between these bleak, empty buildings just a few months ago, and the joyful bustle of hundreds of people here now. Perhaps you know of someone, young or old, who can join our staff¬ here or across America now that our burdens are growing larger and more serious than ever. We need people in virtually every capacity. Call me up (213)791 1324 I'll be back from Germany before you get this. Call our super personnel director, Karen Ray (213)794¬1618. Page through this special issue. See where your talents can fit in. One thing: We all receive the same income here, just like any other mission agency. While you pray about that, get your copy of the Frontier Fellowship Daily Prayer Guide Order more for your church. Let's get busy spreading the vision.