I took the weekend off from anything fundraising related, starting Thursday afternoon (May 11, 2017). The past several weeks have grown increasingly stressful. Support raising and partner building are challenging in and of itself. It can also be incredibly isolating and lonely. Things have been pretty on-the-go since the end of March. I just don’t seem to have the time to catch my breath, gather my thoughts, and relax.
A few days a week, I work a few hours at the library. Most of my time off is spent on missions and support raising. It is emotionally draining. Not much time for a social life, that is if I had much of one, to begin with. I am doing my best to show my passion through my videos, blog posts, and anything else I am doing to promote my ministry. My heart is for the people in Europe and bringing the hope of the Gospel through digital media as well as personal relationships. I want people to see that. But doing so also drains me. You give everything you’ve got. You dump out the contents of your heart, and some days the best response you get is a smile, a pat on the back, and a “Good for you!”
That is not to say it always goes like this. Support is slowly starting to trickle in. It’s just I feel a lot of external pressure to go about support raising at a certain pace and method. Go broad, go quick, and follow up ASAP (and often if necessary) to try to get the person to partner with you. I see how this works for some, but this does not sit well with me. Deep within, this bothers me. I am very much an introvert. I understand the need to step outside of my comfort zone. That’s missions work. Yet, this a way of doing things that are well outside of my personality, comfort zone, and personal strengths. And thus anxiety begins to well up inside. An anxiety that causes me to dread the week ahead.
I dread going to work.
I dread thinking about fundraising.
I dread going to bed.
I dread waking up.
You get the idea. The anxiety continues. This feeling of dread has become debilitating. Add in the sense of isolation and loneliness, and you have the perfect recipe for a mental breakdown.
As a result, I decided that I needed to take some time off. Work on a few other projects, go through some of my online courses and just get some other work done. Something was needed that wasn’t the library or fundraising. I had the opportunity to go out to the old family farm just a few minutes north of town. It’s a bit of an unofficial tradition to keep a garden out there. Working on this little side project Friday and Saturday morning was refreshing. It was as if the worries of my other tasks did not exist. It was me, the garden, and an audio book or podcast. I was able to come home and be productive as well. Progress was made on some secondary goals. Overall, it was just a productive weekend. Admittedly, little was done improve my social life, but baby steps.
This also gave me the opportunity to think. My head felt clear. The anxiety of my daily routine has been clouding my mind. I think there is a bit of pressure to get funded as soon as I can. I can understand why, and yet I feel a need for much patience. As much as I want to get to Germany, I need to remember that it is the Lord’s will, plan, and timing. Not mine. Not someone else’s. My preferred philosophy is “slow and steady wins the race”. To some, this might sound like a lazy man’s excuse. However, it is all about taking my time, being thorough, and doing it right. I have been working on my newsletter, but I am not just sending a newsletter. Some will require a letter of introduction, as they are friends of my parents. Others are personal friends, and I would rather have something personal included along with the newsletter. I am being very intentional about how I go about this. If I am to be intention with my relationship with God, and intentional in the work I am doing, then why wouldn’t I about the relationships with those I reach out to?
Yes, I am looking for people to partner with me financially on a monthly basis, but a partnership is a two-way street. Partners who give monthly assure that I am able to stay in the field, doing the work the Lord has led me to do. But to quote my old pastor: “They won’t care what you know until they know you care”. I realize that it is hard to keep up relationships, especially within the context of international missions. But, truly, I do care about those who are supporting me or will support me, be it they support me through prayer, encouragement, and financially. These individuals are the ones who make spreading the hope of Gospel across Europe possible. Not only that, you are the ones making the impact in Europe. I am merely the intermediary. The steward. The emissary. The ambassador.
Yet, it is the Lords work being done. Not mine. Therefore, I shall wait on the Lord. Lean on Him for guidance and not my own limited strength or understanding.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
For more information, go to stephanhughes.com/missions.
To donate, go to gemission.org/missionaries/hughes. If you want to know more about partnering with me, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org