Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Personal Kingdom Assignment

My Kingdom assignment started with a rush. I was sitting in church that day, just a week after learning that Dylan has type 1 diabetes. When the pastor said, is there an area where God has really been orchestrating something in your life? I said to myself, “Uh yeah! Diabetes is an area!” I had known for some time that my unique experience of having all three of my children diagnosed with the disease on top of the fact that my husband has had it for more than 30 years made me an expert of sorts in the category of Dr. Mom.
I also knew that God had placed these unique circumstances in my life for the purpose of their usefulness to someone. I was beginning to see that there might be someone other than my family, a broader circle that might be influenced, but I wasn’t sure where or whom. So then the call went out that day and I knew had something to give. Even as I sat there, I remembered that the previous year we had given our extra supplies, meters and syringes to the mission team that went to Hungary, Slovakia, and  Moldova. So that was my first concrete thought,”This year we’ll give more. We’ll give just what they need, not our left-overs.”  I took the fifty dollar bill that was handed out to everyone taking on a Kingdom Assignment that day and I said, “I’ll turn it into more for the summer missions.”

My next thought tumbled after the first. I would love to raise money so that everyone I know who can’t afford diabetes supplies, could get them. Not only ourselves, but several people I know cannot afford to get a pump because of the cost. I know several people with type 2 who cannot test as they should because they can’t get the strips for a meter. And the list goes on. So I had the idea,”I wonder if I could set up some kind of non-profit to help families with diabetes get the pharmaceuticals they need.”  In the situation where insurance falls short or maybe there is no insurance, we could step in to help. I knew that there was a foundation in our area that provided for families financially when their children were diagnosed with various cancers. Why not for families in our situation? Well, one reason is that diabetes goes on and on for years. We could not take on supporting families for everyday supplies ad infinitum but perhaps we could for a certain time for a burdensome need.

My third tangent was in the direction of my web site, myhansful. For about a year, I had been writing on a site I had created dedicated to diabetes and devotions and refreshment for busy moms. I had recently noticed that I was coming to the end of my allotment of storage space and had entertained the idea of taking it to the next level and making it an actual “dot-com”. Now with the ideas running through my head about the way the Kingdom Assignment is all about God making small things big for His Kingdom, I thought that making this change, getting, perhaps a larger readership, would provide a means for helping others and also for raising funds.

Lastly, there is a book I had been working on about our family and diabetes and also people who walk for a cure for other types of diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer and cystic fibrosis. My ultimate hope is that some of the proceeds of the book would go to sponsor those charities as well another means of raising funds for my Kingdom Assignment.

My mind was going a mile a minute over all these things when I went forward and tried to explain what I wanted to do for my Kingdom Assignment. No wonder the man up front gave me a glazed look as he handed me the money and said, “I can’t wait to see what the Lord will do!”

It was still going at a fevered pace when I got home and tried to explain all this to my husband, Doug. I told him that one of the reasons I was motivated to do something like this was because the money that we raised in the past had always been for research for a cure and never for the daily ins and outs of people dealing with disease. We both have been wearied by people saying, “It’s just around the corner, there will be an end to diabetes in your lifetime!”  If we heard that one more time, we felt we’d puke! So why not raise money for immediate needs instead? I could tell that while he agreed with me on this point, he felt I was getting sidetracked. He couldn’t really see how this qualified as a Kingdom Assignment. Now at this first blush, my first introduction to the Whole K.A. movement, I, too felt that only things that furthered the Gospel could really be seen as worthy.

Over the next few days, I was so excited to find out that the people who founded the whole Kingdom Assignment movement were a pastor and his wife from a church I attended and even served in before I was married! The stories leapt from the page as I read the book Denny and Leesa Bellesi wrote about those first 100 Kingdom Assignment participants. In it I found a wide range of people giving to others in a variety of ways, not all of which were sharing the Gospel per se. Many of the K.A.’s were to help people in need, much as missionaries do, just to show the love of God and open a way for the Gospel. For many of the participants, God used them in an area that they had a burden and a passion for helping people. Books for sick children, cars for people who couldn’t afford them, a computer for a struggling family, etc. So I was encouraged that my desire to help people with diabetes fit in with some of the other Kingdom Assignment categories.

Still, the giving of supplies to the overseas missions and giving to people here at home who can’t afford all they need were not exactly the same, two sides of the same coin, maybe, but different. God helped me see, with some help from my husband, that the latter was really a more selfishly motivated venture, and the former was about things that God was doing already. While God certainly could do both things in a big way, for me putting them together muddied the waters as far as purpose. The more I thought and prayed about it, the more I realized that God was asking me to focus my time and resources on the missions aspect. I started referring to my project as Mission Meds, with a goal of bringing medical supplies, all kinds, not just diabetic, to those who were painfully without. He assured me in my heart that if I would, not only would I see Him do amazingly above and beyond what I could think, but in addition He would take care of the needs that diabetes presented to our family. He was asking me to trust Him and give sacrificially. I had to really get myself out of the way on this, but once I did, I felt great excitement about what God was going to do for His Kingdom.

The next step was to contact the missions director that had taken the supplies I had given last year and let him know that I wanted to give a lot more this year. He gave me the information on how to make out donations so they would go into the missions funds we were wanting to support. I also asked the doctor for the team what his wishes would be if he could have everything he needed to take with him. With these needs and wants in our hands we began looking for ways God might be fulfilling them.

I did go ahead with my plan to build myhandsful.com and posted a notice that we were raising funds for medical supplies for summer missions. I have been in the process to contact the group that had made donated cars their Kingdom Assignment and see if they could help us get the traveling clinic a much needed van. Next we made flyers and my kids and I went door to door to our neighbors for donations. We sent out letters to our friends and family who had donated in the past for a cure to see if they would give this time for our Mission Meds instead.

The response was great. Many of the letters I sent out came back with checks ranging from $15. to $100. One of the neater stories happened at our Women’s Retreat. I got to sharing with a woman about diabetic diet, carb counting and slow and fast carbs, etc. She told me that she had recently been diagnosed with Type 2. She was very excited about helping others in need and wrote me a check on the spot! God has blessed us with money slowly trickling in as we got closer to summer I went beyond my original personal goal of $500. God has richly blessed this year and I even have someone talking about how they would like to be on board when we raise funds for next year.

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