Pray BFF Letter #166
Saturday, February 27, 2010
2 1/2 Short Weeks Before Africa
Dear Support Team,
Yesterday during our family devotions, my youngest son asked "Why do you need so much money?" He was referring to the $8,500 needed for the African trip to train pastors and Christian leaders.
Each evening our family prays together for the needs of others as well as our own ministry and family. So this question was a natural outflow of praying for thousands of dollars to come in a short amount of time. Let me share with you what I shared with my own son and family.
A good amount is needed for travel. I need to fly to Africa but also take several round trip flights within Africa while there. But this is less than $2,000 even with the expenses of traveling to and from the airports. In some places I need to pay for travel to the seminar site.
Places to Stay
I will stay in Africa about 2 1/2 weeks. I would prefer to stay with African families or inexpensive hotels, but the coordinators want me (almost force me) to stay in better than average places-more secure.
They feel very responsible for me. One leader even offered to pay for my stay in a more expensive place (over US$100!). I can not remember having stayed in such an expensive place even in the US. Things are not so dangerous there. I even try to have one of them to stay with me so that we could stay at a less expensive accomodation. So I work hard at keeping the price down to US$50/day. But 15 days at $50 adds up! But this is still not the main expense.
STM'10 African Donations
If you would like to contribute to this African trip, mark your contribution 'STM2010.'
Please give directly to BFF (or through church). Tax deductible receipts are provided at the end of the year.
100% of what is designated 'STM' (Short term missions) is used for these trips!
We will hold 4 pastor/leader training seminars in Uganda and Kenya. We do our best to work out an agreed upon budget beforehand. The coordinating pastors are very gifted at this. They often need to rent accommodations, chairs, sound system, microphones, banners, etc. Remember they do not own these things. They usually need to be rented.
In Africa there are so many believers that it is easy to have a large seminar with very little spent on travel. Most of them do not need to stay overnight so this greatly reduces the costs.
However, we do like to provide one main meal. This is fine with a hundred people, but when one is catering for 400 pastors, this can get expensive even at US$1 per meal.This provides a very substantial meal. Just think of one large seminar with 400 pastors/Christian leaders for 3 days. 400 x $1 x 3 days = $1200.
The blessing of training so many pastors increases the cost. When we have less pastors, the expenses drops dramatically. We would rather have more pastors however.
Part of the BFF ministry is to provide training materials. Most African pastors do not have libraries. They do not even own books! They absolutely treasure Christian training materials. We try to supply a number of BFF books to the organizer, but they are too heavy for Paul to take a large amount.
What about all the attendees? Well, we try to provide handouts. If a 3 day seminar has ten talks, then a 60 page handout is not large at all. If we are talking about 100 pastors, it would not be worth mentioning. But altogether we expect 1,000 to attend one of the four seminars. At US$2.50 per 60 page handout that can add up to $2,500. Fortunately, this is per seminar rather than per day but still it is a lot.
In fact, most of this sum is not even included in our US$8,500 budget. If more comes in, then we will provide handouts for them. Hopefully, we will receive sufficient donations for handouts. We plan to reduce costs by having only one copy per couple attending the marriage seminars.
Train a pastor for 3 days and give him a handout for only US$10. What an investment!
Our Faith in a Great God!
This might sound like a long response to my son (I am sure it was not quite as long), but as a family, we have seen God's faithfulness, year after year, seminar after seminar. What a testimony this has become for our children.
Several times we have had to send money over Western Union when I was there.
Once, I finished the seminars and was on my way to the airport to leave India. I stopped at an internet cafe and received a Western Union. Someone had sent some money at the last moment. We were able to pay the expenses in full on the way to the airport!
God is faithful to care for what He wants done. We are glad to have a part in His important work!
Handouts have been prepared! They have to be done in a different format.
Almost 50% of the $8,500 has been promised or given for this STM. This is up from a mere 6.25% a month ago. Thank you for your generous support.
Linda is feeling much better.
Praise we could miss much of the record snowfall. We had a good visit with Paul's parents in the south. We only had one small incident with the 'L' portion of the exhaust pipe falling off onto the highway.
Thank the Lord for the many ways He has provided in the past and His promises to lean upon for the future.
Less than 3 weeks to go! Hopefully all the money will be in by then including money for the handouts.
May God watch over Linda when Paul is away. We are homeschooling six children from 12th grade down to second. She can't help with some courses like advanced Algebra. A little problem like sickness can cause great pressure.
Prepare the hearts and people for the seminars. We are seeking for God's Word to have a long term impact on the lives, families and ministries of these pastors and Christian leaders.
Special times of concentration for Paul as he must prayerfully go through more than twenty messages in the next three weeks. He departs on March 17th.
In Christ's Majestic Love,
Rev. Paul J. Bucknell, President and Instructor
Biblical Foundations for Freedom
3276 Bainton St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212 USA