2009 has been a year of change for me and my family.
After working for the same company in different divisions for nearly 13 years, my work group was shut down and I was one of the ones to find myself looking for work. As a single income (by choice) household, there were many sleepless nights. Thankfully, God provided me with an open door and I have been blessed to be working for my new employer since the middle of May. Our future looks bright. Through it all, God helped me learn that I have NEVER been the provider for my family - He has been and is the provider.
God also provided Michelle and I with the opportunity to be involved with the launch of a new Middle School ministry at our church. GROW (God Rocks Our World) has been amazing from the start. We are working with amazing kids who truly have a heart for serving others. It is so exciting to be involved with them.
In the second half of the year, my dad approached me with the opportunity to go with him to Romania in June 2010. As the Director of Missions for the Florence Baptist Association in Florence, SC, he has been leading mission trips to Romania for nearly 10 years - starting not long after Romania broke free from Communism.
To go to Romania, I have to come up with a significant amount of funding that, understandably, is not in our budget. God has already provided a very unexpected blessing which has covered 1/3 of that cost. But, I am now working on other methods to cover the remainder of the cost. Michelle and I are working to become debt-free, so I will not be funding any of this trip on credit.
(Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for an opportunity to help with this mission trip.)
One of the ideas I have come up with is below. It started out as simply a t-shirt idea, but has grown into much more. Click on the t-shirt and read the front and back.
The front of the shirt states Beta version. The back has the following verse from the New Century Version:
I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his.If you're familiar with technology at all, you've heard of things referred to as being in "beta version". This means that a product is still in development but is ready for the people to see. The product isn't in its final form and is still being improved over time. Once we become believers in Jesus, that is EXACTLY what we are - we're in Beta version. We aren't complete.
Philippians 3:12 (NCV)
With the launch of these shirts, I will also be launching the following site in early 2010 (with the help of friends).
The Beta Version will be a place where I can provide updates on my Romania trip, other missions projects and opportunities. My goal will be to have at least two posts a week. These will range from missions updates to observations that go along with the Beta Version concept. The Winning on Wednesday posts will be revived and moved to the site. I hope you'll join the dialog there as we work together toward the goal of being like Christ.
*** Proceeds from the shirt will go toward my Romania trip. Any proceeds that come in beyond the cost of the trip will go toward other missions efforts in 2010.
If you're interested in a shirt, they are $15 plus shipping (if necessary). Contact me via email GsimmonsSC (at) gmail (dot) com or my Google Voice badge in the right column. ***