February 3, 2010
Financial Update and Challenge:
2009 did not end well financially. As of June 2009, our income was keeping pace with our expenses. We were essentially even and counting on the support to maintain programs. The exchange rate was dropping, however we felt the donations would support that. The 3rd Qtr showed a huge drop in donations to exacerbate the falling dollar. The 4th Qtr showed somewhat of a return in donations, but the fallen dollar, continuing to drop, had already taken its toll. With the mandatory 13th month salary in November and December (1/2 each month), we finished 2009 in a pretty sizable hole.
January 2010 donations came back lower than last year’s average monthly donations. February appears to be even less. On a positive note, the dollar has been increasing in value, but is still unsteady and hasn’t increased enough to compensate for the drop in donations. Couple the two factors together and we find ourselves starting out 2010 in a hole with our monthly income below our established administrative expenses. We have never been in this situation. Pray for our faith and wisdom as we seek the Lord to raise support and make appropriate cuts in programs.
In ministry, we live by faith and realize that both donations and the dollar’s exchange rate are not guaranteed, and can make huge waves either positively or negatively. Last year at the Davis Lar, we saw a fall in donations of 14% and a 26% drop in the value of the dollar. 2nd semester income was down 18% from 1st semester. Since I have been here in the U.S., I have seen the decline in mission’s giving within the local church. Churches and ministries everywhere are experiencing the effect and many ministries and missions are starting to feel it.
To exacerbate the situation at the Davis Lar, both Kombis and our truck left at the lar broke down, leaving the Lar without transportation. As I pray and communicate here in the US, I have been so encouraged by Pr. Marcos and First Baptist Church of Fortaleza, Brasil. They have placed the needs of the Lar before their church and they are stepping up. FBC Fortaleza paid for the repair of one Kombi and it is back in action as of last week. They have secured some special donations to help pay some of the basic bills. Last Saturday night there was a board meeting to discuss the financial situation and they decided to step up the donation search on the Brazilian side even more. Although, they didn’t commit to severe cuts at this time, we are looking at where we can cut costs. Pray with us as we need to look at making difficult decisions on cutting programs and services. Pray also as we work to make some programs more efficient.
• Pray for God’s provision and our patience.
• Pray about a one-time gift of however much the Lord would direct you. We would use this to get out of the quagmire and back on the road.
• Pray also about a monthly contribution as we need to stimulate growth to maintain the Lar’s current status, and follow the Lord’s leading on where to cut.
Direct your donations to either Southwest Community Church or Taylors First Baptist Church. Be sure to designate “Brazil – Davis Lar” on the envelope and on the check. Southwest Community Church does have online giving for the Davis Lar. REMEMBER TO CHECK YOUR GIVING RECEIPTS TO CONFIRM THEY WERE APPLIED CORRECTLY!!
Christmas at the Lar:
From Wade and Michelle
Hoping you had a great Christmas and New Year season! I know we did down here way south of the border at the Lar Davis! We would love to invite you to check out our update with photos at www.fbcbrunswick.com/templates/cusfbcbrunswick/details.asp?id=29868&PID=543018. We enjoyed some fun "South Georgia" style, celebrating the birth of our Savior with some old traditions (nativity drama) and some new. .. As always, thanks for supporting us by praying, giving and going (or should I say "coming", as we begin to plan on this end for the FBC Brunswick team coming in June)! Thanks again, The Withrows
On our recent visit to our California home, we were asked to stop by the Southwest Thrift Shop. I knew that they had been supporting the Lar for several years through that ministry. When we walked in I was caught by the unexpected. If you are a member of Southwest and haven’t been to the Thrift Shop in Indio you really need to go by. As you walk in the door towards the cash register, look to the left and towards the top of the wall. I was taken aback as I saw a whole bunch of “our kids.” There are more than twenty large posters of kids from the Davis Lar. It made me miss them even more. But one thing that really struck me was that some of them were no longer with us. There was a note on each of their posters that said they were reunited with their family. The others had notes that they were being sponsored for the 2nd or 3rd year.
We visited with Teresa, she is in charge there, and thanked her profusely. They have been able to support kids by blocking out specific hours of business where the proceeds are exclusively for the Davis Lar. We are so grateful to her and all of the volunteers at the Thrift Store for their commitment to this ministry. She shared with us the needs she faces as well. Aside from the donations of used items that keep the Thrift Store going, they are in need of volunteers. There are many areas in which you can serve at the Southwest Thrift Store. Visit the website, sign up to volunteer and/or call for a donation pickup. But please, be sure to stop by the Indio Thrift store and thank Teresa for all she does for the Davis Lar. And who knows, you might just find something you absolutely can’t do without. :-)
Message to my California Peeps
WE MISS YOU!!! Our visit last month was quick. With school and kids we had limited time. It just reminds us of the reality of ministry. As the Lord calls you away for His work you are sometimes called to pull up all roots and move on. This involves not seeing your longtime friends for a long time. And even the visits are very brief. Nothing reminded me of this more than the difficulty of seeing close friends and saying hi and shaking hands in the foyer on Sunday morning. We haven’t seen each other for years and we only had time for a simple “Hello”. Seems rugged at best. We plan on going back to the desert in June to spend more time with our friends. I look forward to it and again apologize for not being able to catch up with each of you. That said, thank you for your continued prayers, understanding and support.
Mark and Paige