Monday, March 4, 2013

Getting Involved with Threads of Hope-Part 2

After talking with Jim about the comment that Alex had made about us being needed in the Philippines I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was no initial negative reaction to the idea.  We had been investigating going into full-time ministry several years prior so the concept was not new to us.  God just hadn't shown us THE ministry we were supposed to serve yet.

We began helping with festivals to spell Chris and Alex from the long hours that are required to man a booth.  We used the time we spent together as an opportunity to begin a long barrage of questions to learn more about Threads of Hope and how it works.  We were definitely intrigued.  We knew briefly what the operation was like and wanted to know more.

At these beginning stages Jim's common comment would be "God is going to have to show me that he wants me in the Philippines."  He was not jumping in head first, but wading in cautiously.  We continued to ask questions and get more involved in trying to solve current problems or work on places for improvement within the business process while keeping our eyes open for God sightings.

I sent an email to our missions pastor explaining to him what Threads of Hope was needing and that we were wanting to investigate further.  I gave him as much detail as I could about the positions Threads was looking to fill in the Philippines.  The response to the email made me laugh and feel a bit silly.  I found out I had been explaining all of this to one of the board members of Threads of Hope who was very aware of the needs of the ministry.  In fact, he informed me that they had been praying about someone taking this position for several years already.  :) We began to meet with him to discuss how the process of missions works.  He told us that God will increase the passion for the ministry and decrease our contentment with our current job if it is the right thing for us.  He had personally experienced that same thing when he moved from his prior job to his pastoral position.  We tucked those thoughts away and continued on in the process.

We were invited to a meeting that had been coordinated to create a database system for Threads.  Jim even took a little time off of work to join us.  We learned more about the process of creating and shipping orders and the accounting functions and who was responsible for those things.  We learned that the ordering system is totally operated through emails and we were seeing many places for improvement to reduce repetition within the current system and in planning for future growth.  The more we all talked the more Chris and Alex realized what our skill sets were and how good of a fit we were for what was needed.  The initial thought was that we were needed in the Philippines, but it was becoming pretty apparent that we were needed here just as much.

Then began a series of discussions over pizza and Chris and Alex's kitchen table to identify in minute detail how the process of ordering worked.  Our next step was to meet with a guy who was recommended by a contracting company who was working in Jim's office to do some work for his employer.  With the system defined in a pretty power point presentation, Jim wrote a letter to this man and told him all about Threads of Hope and what we were trying to implement.  We were asking him if he would meet with us to discuss the system that we needed and to get recommendations on how to proceed.  His response came quite quickly and like our missions pastor's response to his email, we laughed and again felt a little silly.  You see, the man who was recommended to us just happened to be the nephew of close friends of Chris and Alex.  He was very familiar with Threads of Hope and his children loved and wore the bracelets.  Once more, we saw God's hand in pulling together the resources He needed to continue His ministry.

The recommendations from our database creation meeting was that we should find an existing e-cart and plug into it and that we should change our Quickbooks from a personal computer processing platform to an online platform to integrate with the e-cart.  I started exploring e-cart options and Chris went ahead and transferred Quickbooks to the online version.  During a conversation at church shortly thereafter, Chris was expressing frustration with the online system and needed some help with getting it set up.  I suggested that she meet with Jim because he has an accounting degree.  That comment was another "light bulb" moment.  She had been doing the accounting all of these years, not feeling terribly confident, but being obedient,  and she had just learned that now she could get help with accounting issues from us on top of the other business solutions we had been working on.  That made her smile....big!  Another puzzle piece had fallen in place.

The next step in the process was to expand our vision of the ministry and entertain taking a trip to the Philippines... a vision trip.  Thanks for joining us on our journey.  Stay tuned for the next adventure!