Do you smell the coffee? Can you hear the hiss of the cappuccino maker and the inarticulate murmurs of the 16 other people in conversation around us? For a moment, join us; sit next to me here at the over-crowded table in a coffeehouse just down the street from the university. A moment ago, the young Navigator staff couple, perched across from us on the too-small wooden chairs, just summed up what their hearts were feeling, and their eyes brimmed with tears. Here is what the wife actually said: “Steve, we are barren, we are broke, and my Dad has been told that he is dying. Why is God crushing us this way?” What would you say to this hurting couple?
As a shepherd care-giver, I get to move alongside our staff and gently point them to God. With these two, I wept and prayed, and I asked them to use their devotional times to go back to their relationship with the Creator of the Universe (Sovereign Power) and their intimate, attentive Father (Loving Abba-Dad). Solemnly and gently, we spoke of the dangers of a demanding spirit and the understandable but futile “why” questions. And I prayed again for them.
This level of help doesn’t happen by email, text messaging, or even over the phone. My boss has said that he wants my feet under their table. That can’t happen unless I travel to them – all 63 of them. October’s trip through New England took me 2,064 miles, and, last Friday, I got home after 1,424 more miles around the mid-Atlantic. Last year when you and others underwrote the cost of these shepherding trips, none of us could have foreseen the budget-crushing rise in fuel costs. I wish you could have seen the stupid grin on my face at gas stations from Virginia to Maine, as I poured suddenly-inexpensive gas into the vehicle. The Father had double-blessed me: He had provoked you to want to give generously to this ministry, and He had timed the drop in prices to fit my schedule and budget.
And now, as I prepare to continue to do my job into 2009, I turn to you again. Although most of our staff will not face three struggles at once as this couple did, each of them benefits greatly from the ministry of a shepherd care-giver. A while back, you supported this effort with a $ gift. Of the money you’ve chosen to give to God, would you consider a similar amount or even an increase? The financial goal for this next year is $7,265. I hope you see clearly how your investment, when joined with others, is used and valued.
From the heart,
P.S. If you choose to invest in this ministry, please fill out the enclosed commitment card and send it to The Navigators with your gift in the envelope provided. Or give securely on line at www.navigators.org. To help me plan for the year, may I hear from you by December 31? Thanks!
(NOTE: Remember to include the Navigator logo, your first and last name, address, phone, and e-mail.)