Friday, August 22, 2008


Dear Family and Friends,

This week's update will include the following: important information about our support level and a request for pledged support to be donated; a family update; and prayer requests.

Important information about financial support:

1) Our percentage of support pledged is at 70%. We still have around 10 people that we need to follow up with from appointments and small group dinners and one church that is currently considering financial support. We are planning for another series of small group dinners in September and plan to make a support trip to Ohio and Michigan at the end of September.

2) We are tentatively planning to leave for Nicaragua in October. As someone reminded me today - Lord willing!

3) It is important at this time for us to begin receiving the funds that have been pledged into our account. We do have funds in the account from churches and some individuals, but know that we have not previously asked for all donations to begin. If funds are donated/received by World Missions by August 29, they will show up on our August report, giving us a better idea about the stability of our support level going forward.

4) If you have not yet pledged support, but sense that God is calling you to be involved in this work with us, you may go to and click on "How you can support our family" or let us know and we will send you the information. Ideally, we would love to invite you to a dinner or meet with you. Our approach to support raising has everything to do with building relationships with our supporters because missions is a team effort.

5) We would like to break down our support into monthly/yearly amounts because it seems less nebulous than communicating a percentage. We started this support raising process 2 ½ months ago with a need for $4,000.00 a month ($48,000 a year). God has provided commitments for $2,800.00 a month ($33,600 a year). This leaves our current need to be $1,200 a month ($14,400 a year).

Below is the $1,200.00 translated into monthly amounts and number of people which we know will vary, but this gives a rough idea of how this need can be filled:

12 people at $100.00 a month
24 people at $50.00 a month
48 people at $25.00 a month
120 people at $10.00 a month

We speak of monthly commitments or annual commitments because this is what our percent of support raised is based on. We cannot count one time gifts toward this goal, but one time gifts are helping us with one time purchases. We want to emphasize again that we are thankful for and celebrate each gift because we know that behind that gift is a person/a family/a church who desires to be involved in this ministry with us. Someone asked me if they would need to support us with hundreds of dollars to make a difference. I thought later about how with 10 dollars a month, we can buy 2 1/2 gallons of gas ($4.00 gallon) - we will live within walking distance of the school, so these 2 ½ gallons should last longer there than they do here; 10 dollars worth of groceries; or buy Rebekah and Will a shirt for their uniform for school. Each gift is very significant, very appreciated, and makes a difference in our lives as we serve and minister in Nicaragua.

Family Update:

We had a great week of reconnecting with family members that we have not seen in years while we were in MI last week. We now anticipate a move to my parent's house an hour away. Dan will stay in town with friends while he continues to work. We pray this season of family separation is a short one! I will begin home schooling the kids in September. I told a friend the other day that had I not home schooled before, I would be very anxious about the fact that school started last week at Nicaragua Christian Academy. However, I am now so much more relaxed and understanding about how our kids learn and how I can help them adjust when we get to Nicaragua. Never would I have dreamed that this was a piece of the puzzle when I started home schooling!

We are reading Hudson Taylor's biography as a family right now and God is using it to encourage us to trust Him with these next couple of months. Hudson so deliberately steps out in faith, certain of God's call. When a doctor told him that he was going to die from a disease, Hudson replied, "I am not afraid of death, but God has called me to China so I do not believe that I will die." And obviously, he did not. Today, I've been reflecting on the past few months, realizing that God has provided 70% of our support within two and a half months. And this happened in spite of the time spent with my parents during and following my Dad's heart surgery, in spite of the 7 support dinners we canceled in June due to the flood in Cedar Rapids, and in spite of the many obstacles that have made this journey difficult to walk. God still equips the called - with health, financial support, and with faith. We are in awe of Him.


1) Safe travel to and from Michigan.
2) We met with 20 couples and several individuals at small group dinners the week before we left on vacation. Praise God for the availability of those who hosted and attended the dinners. We will be following up with them this week.
3) Our family is healthy.
4) Support coming from unexpected places: a church that we thought was not going to support us has now committed to support us; we ran into a couple in MI on Sunday who read something about our ministry and expressed interest in supporting us; an 88 year old man from another city said he read about us when he visited our church and asked us to send him information because he too would like to support us. Today, within the course of an hour, we received an offer for support in person, an email from someone offering support, and a phone call from a church offering support - together equaling $5,900.00 in support per year. We are so amazed at how God is putting our team together. Amazed and humbled.
5) For a great community of people who have offered to help us with moving. Dan has a friend flying in from CA and possibly another friend from MI who are coming to help us move. Along with many other friends in the area.


1) That God would continue to show our family what He is teaching us through this support raising process.
2) That we would adjust well to the transitions we will be going through this month, taking each as an opportunity to learn more about trusting God and being flexible.
3) Please continue to pray for me as I pack this week. I pray that God would turn this too into a sweet time of seeing His strength through my weakness.

God called Jesus Christ to what seemed absolute disaster. His life was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God's. But, what seemed to be failure from man's standpoint was a triumph from God's standpoint, because God's purpose is never the same as man's purpose. - Oswald Chambers

Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him, and we are totally incapable of judging where that may be. - Oswald Chambers

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. - John Piper

Peace to you,
Lisa Van Zoest for Dan, Rebekah, and Will