Monday, July 2, 2018

Taking a Walk on the Mild Side

Everyone always wants to hear exciting missionary stories that keep you glued to the edge of your seat, inspire you, or make you choke with emotion. But much of the work done by missionaries is the behind the scenes stuff that no one will ever want to turn into a major motion picture. No one will ever hear about the work being done to get a new website up and running and say, “You should really write a book about this! Fascinating!” Trish shared some of what she called, “the boring side of things”. I prefer to think of it as taking a walk on the mild side.

February 2017 was when Sowers4Pastors decided to file the necessary paperwork to become an independent organization with 501c3 status. Soon after that, Trish began working on the website. In front of visiting team members that summer, she mentioned what she wanted to accomplish on the website. A college age man on the team said something like, “Dude, that’s what I do for my job” (Oh, okay, he didn’t say the “dude” part, but I’m trying to liven this up.) He volunteered to work with Trish and, since she didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, Trish accepted the offer. Today, that gentleman, who has probably never once called Trish “dude,” is one of two volunteer IT guys working regularly with Sowers4Pastors. (Here is a quick shout-out to Chris Metzger and Steven Buswell: without your help, the new website would not be happening!)

When Trish mentioned that she was thinking about recruiting an intern to come down and help with office work, the aforementioned IT guy knew someone. He connected them with Kelsea. Trish rejoiced. The angels sang. It was a beautiful thing.

Kelsea does not shy away from doing the more exciting tasks, like building bridges and working with feeding centers, but she’s quite the whiz at office work. Trish is keeping her busy entering the sponsored and unsponsored children onto the new website. They are finally almost ready for the big unveiling. Sowers4Pastors certainly never knew it would take more than a year to have everything in order with the IRS, but, when the time came to get down to the serious business of entering each child on the website, Kelsea was there. God’s timing is perfect.

In order to update each child, the Sowers4Pastors crew must go en masse to each sponsorship center location. They have to take a picture of every child. Usually, when getting those pictures, they also do things like have “well visits,” measure feet, distribute letters (if there are any to distribute), and set up supplies so the children can write to their sponsors. They have forms for collecting updates on each child’s general information. They check for children who have left the program because their families have moved, or they’ve dropped out of school.

All of that adds up to a GIGANTIC stack of papers and a pile of photos. That information, along with how to contact Sowers4Pastors, and how to participate in the sponsorship program is all put into profile booklets for each child. Once these booklets have been created, the children and their updated information can be entered into the website. All of this takes quite a bit of time.

In a beta program, to test the new website, they have been entering the information of sister church groups first. Most of the sister church kids, along with their sponsors, have now been entered. They will soon be getting all of the Manna4Lempira kids entered. Basically, Trish is trying to work out any glitches before opening the site up to everyone. It’s almost to the point where sponsors should be able to go to the site and see a list of the children they sponsor, and pay for them online. A bleary eyed Trish said, “We are very excited about that!”

 - posted by Christi

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