Hey all! I'm excited to announce that God opened an opportunity for me to serve on a short-term mission trip the end of June/beginning of July to the country of Abkhazia (June 28 - July 9).
God continues giving us a fresh passion for missions, and we are looking for opportunities to serve in short-term missions in addition to our Bethel, AK trips. Originally, we looked at going as a family on a trip somewhere, but this opportunity kept "knocking" on our door. Due to the nature of this trip, it seems wise for me to go "alone" on this one.
Let me say that we do have reservations about short-term mission trips that actually do more harm than good to the targeted culture (a great resource on this here). Thus, we really try to look at ministries where we can legitimately partner together and see followup for continual discipleship efforts. As we considered all the missionaries our church (where I serve on staff) supports, one of my friends who serves at a local mission ministry to Russia (SOAR), told me about this Abkhazia trip.
On a previous trip, God orchestrated contact with a local church pastor in Sochi, Russia. Well, this particular pastor also oversees several other area churches, including a small network of planted churches in the southerly bordering country of Abkhazia. This small country, about the size of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, is populated by a few hundred thousand. As far as our friends can tell, this small network of planted churches are the only Gospel-preaching churches in the country.
In addition to wanting to start a Bible institute of some sort, these few pastors in Abkhazia face the war-torn history of their country and the harsh realities of financial, political, and spiritual struggles. We've learned that they stand in need of partnership, encouragement, and support as they seek to be faithful and persevere forward for the Gospel in their little region of the globe.
Thus, my trip will be partnering with our local ministry SOAR as an extension of our local church for the purpose of encouraging this network of pastors and exploring how we can further partner for the Gospel's advance in this region.
My expenses are largely for airfare ($2,550) as well as a few hundred dollars for local on the ground needs (lodging, food). If God places this trip on your heart, our family would greatly appreciate your Gospel partnership (Philippians 4:17)! We still use Central Missionary Clearinghouse for our missions funds. If you've never given to our ministry before, you can also choose donate directly through SOAR's site below. Your donation will go toward the Abkhazia trip regardless which link (CMC) or (SOAR) you give through. THANKS!
or, if you'd rather donate through SOAR's website,
if giving here through SOAR, select "Ministry Trip" designation and make a comment as "Abkhazia Trip"