Friday, August 08, 2008

Real Estate & Ron Burgandy

While struggling with what house to rent, we're constantly aware that most people here are figuring out how to build the house pictured above. Our problems are a very small thing.

Basically, there are two houses. Long story how there ended up being two ... but Troy and Tara have disagreed and gone round and round and even switched sides and argued against our own original arguments. We're not fighting or anything ... we're just *that* confused. The peace we're looking for on one or the other has not come yet. There are multiple varying opinions - we're trying to hear God through all of those.

Isaac suggested negotiating for an $8 per month rent. Noah thought $58 was more fair. Their economy does not exactly mirror that of the Haitian real estate economy.

We've done the whole thing my mom taught me -- making the written list of pros and cons - but they almost exactly cancel each other out on each house. We feel a little bit crazy. Each of the two owners have been kind of flaky ... TIH after all. Today (Friday) and tomorrow we are hoping to really push each owner on the bottom line and we're hoping that somehow God reveals the answer of which house to us very soon.

We really need to get this nailed down so we can focus all of our thoughts and energies on the team coming next Wednesday and on finishing up the training of the new people here at Lifeline.  

One of the really maddening things for us these last couple of years is the realization that many ministries are not networking and helping one another ... there is some sort of competition to be the best, the biggest, the lone ranger. There is a real Ron Burgandy, "I'm kind of a big deal" feel to a lot of it. We think there is something to learn from crude Ron.
Apart from God - none of us are a big deal.

We have always enjoyed seeing what other people are doing and introducing their work. We don't believe that telling you about Real Hope for Haiti or Canaan (or countless other projects and good ministries) will cut into our own bottom line. God is bigger than that. He operates above the bottom line. We've seen that with our own eyes.

Our vision is to bring people together and work in cooperation (hear the kumbaya in the background?) with many ministries. We see ourselves as independent contractors of missions. If there is something Troy and Tara can do to help you in a pinch, we'll try! Heartline has helped launch and support countless missionaries over the years here. Many have benefited from their willingness to set aside their own agenda and help when needed. We love answering questions and helping both short and long term missionaries as they explore what God is asking of them in Haiti or elsewhere.

Why would we not want to help someone out if our talents, time and resources allow it? We all have a common goal.

Yes, we are different and we serve varying needs, and use multiple approaches - and yes, we all have our opinions about what approach is best -- but ultimately the goal is to be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone we meet.

If that means running out to do payroll for a missionary that cannot get to Haiti to do it, or helping gather facts for a US based ministry, or loaning out a piece of unused equipment that someone needs, or driving to another part of the island to check on a project -- great -- those are all important things. We should help each other at every turn.The trouble starts when ministries begin to build their own kingdoms, not focusing on the people they are here to serve but rather the people they can impress in the USA or the numbers and fund raising opportunities. At that point ministry becomes business and it is a competition to have the nicest place and claim the biggest numbers.

Jesus (a rather cool guy - and TRULY a big deal) stopped to help the ONE in a crowd of many. He was never impressed by numbers or showiness. Every ministry focusing on one or one thousand people can benefit from supporting other people in ministry and trying to set aside the differences and just help each other.

We have some plans and partnerships in the works to tangibly bring this idea of working together for the common good to reality. It will take time and effort and prayers. But we believe that we would all be better examples of Christ if we worked together rather than competing against one another. That is easier said than done. We're human. We're fallen. We're a lot like Ron Burgandy. We tend to be kind of sucky. Setting aside our suckiness, our pride ... who knows, we might just show people who Jesus is!?!?!!!