From the beginning of this journey to Thailand, one big question for us was, “Are we going to ask for money?” For those not familiar with the popular missionary approach to funding overseas trips, most missionaries are funded by donors who give in either lump sums or regular monthly amounts. The thought of asking our friends and strangers to do this was frightening. I didn’t want to be a burden. Money is uncomfortable enough for most of us without putting an empty cup out in the open with a big sign saying, “We’re moving to Thailand. Need help with the tickets.”
My aversion to this mode of funding led me to start this blog. Many people actually make money by blogging. Some bloggers (not us) draw such a huge crowd because of their eloquent words or relevant subject matter that they make money from the amount of volume through adds. I’ll admit that I actually hoped that might happen with DIYtheGoodLife (and it still may!), but I’ve come to accept that I can’t put all my eggs in that basket (we’ve earned $0.37 through Amazon so far!).
Another idea which the CEO of the Charis Project advised me to do was rent out my house. After doing some math in my head, I didn’t believe that it would be feasible. Some months later, my father-in-law volunteered to manage the property for us rather than it be sold. We talked numbers and it turns out that we might make a little over $300/month in profit. While this is a decent amount (about the same amount as what I expect to pay in rent in Thailand), most of that money will have to be placed into a special account for upkeep for the property and to pay the mortgage for those months when there aren’t any renters.
Working in Thailand was only briefly considered as an option. It was quickly shot down as a possibility because 1) I don’t speak Thai yet, 2) I likely wouldn’t be given a job since I am not Thai and 3) it would sort of defeat the purpose of going since I’ll be working fulltime as a farmer. In case you missed it, I mention what I’ll be doing here. To summarize, I’ll be managing a 5 acre farm, researching healthy and sustaining farming techniques, networking with local farmers in order to spread our practices and marketing our produce in order to fund the farm and The Charis Project.
After talking with the directors of the Charis Project, we decided to set a monthly funding goal of $2000. So, at best, we only needed to raise $1700/mo. With that in mind, we began praying. Some friends advised us of the reward of including others in our journey by inviting them to donate. In the midst of considering this, I had two coworkers volunteer to give to us on a monthly basis. A week later, a friend of Shannon’s from a prior short-term mission trip contacted her to check in and see what was happening in her life. Shannon had just been thinking about her the same day! A few emails later and we now had another monthly committment. All this to say, while I worried so much about putting ourselves “out there” in asking for money and being an inconvenience, I found that we are truly loved and cared for by so many. Even more, people really care about what we’re doing. Our friends were right when they advised us to include everyone on this journey.
To be clear, our goal is to eventually be self-sustaining, just like the Charis Project business model. Until that happens, though, we invite you to be a bigger part of our journey. If you still don’t know what the Charis Project is all about, visit the site. Their model of empowering people to empower more people is working! The prenatal education class is now in it’s 2nd generation and those who were students are now teachers. As I’ve said before, the Family Support Center’s farm harvested enough rice last year to provide for themselves, sell some and give to local families! This is the Life we want to be a part of and the Goodness we want to share. The Good Life is something we can all be a part of; Give today.