Friday, July 11, 2008

Burning Questions from Inquiring Minds

Dear friends, we realize that our first missionary letter, which many of you have recently received, left some of you with a few unanswered questions. A follow-up letter is scheduled* to be sent later this month to answer those questions. (*disclaimer: see previous post re: our ability to schedule a mailing!) However, since we know the agony of burning questions--having inquiring minds ourselves--we will attempt to answer the most FAQs here and now. But if you read on you must promise that you won't be disappointed when you receive our next letter and it all sounds redundant. Being "in the know" has its downside.

How Much $$$ ???

Not surprisingly, the questions we seem to be asked the most concern money. Fundraising. Or what we have been taught to call Ministry Partnership Development. Our financial needs fall into two categories: A Launching Fund and Monthly Support.

Launching Fund—Expenses covered by the Launching Fund include a Fundraising Training Weekend in Dallas that only David will attend, a two-week exploratory trip to France for the whole family, eight weeks of culture and mission training in North Carolina, moving expenses, tuition for one year of language school for both David and Jenn, costs related to setting up house including the purchase of one vehicle, and a small reserve fund.

Monthly Support (Living/Ministry Expenses)—this amount is set by GEM and is determined by the current exchange rate and the cost of living for a family of four. It includes our monthly salary, plus health and retirement benefits and a small percentage of administrative fees to GEM. Out of our salary we are expected to budget not only for personal expenses, but also for ministry related expenses, such as teaching and worship materials, and outings with people with whom we are building intentional relationships to share the Gospel.

If a supporter can begin to make monthly contributions now, those funds will help to build our Launching Fund, and then once we are released to the field, that same level of funding would translate into regular monthly support for our mission work in France. GEM does not release missionaries to the field until they have their entire Launching Fund and have received pledges for 100% of their on-going monthly support.

We are happy to share the specific dollar amounts for both our Launching Fund and our Monthly Support, but it does not seem prudent to post such figures on the World Wide Web. So if you feel the need to know exact amounts, just ask, and we will share those in a one-on-one format.

How can we give???

The specifics of how to give and all the possible options for doing so will be covered in our next letter, but if you already know that God is calling you to give, you can donate on-line now. Our tax-deductable donations account is set up at the Greater Europe Mission website:

  1. Click on the "Become a Financial Partner" link on the right hand column of the blog. It takes you to the secure GEM donations web-page.

  2. Click "Give Now." After filling out your contact information, page down to the section entitled "Missionaries and Projects."

  3. Click on the drop-down menu and select "Missionaries." A sub-category drop-down box will appear.

  4. Scroll down to select "Williamson, David & Jennifer: 47910."

  5. Complete the rest of the fields to finish the transaction.

Through GEM's on-line giving you can make either a one-time contribution or set up a recurring gift. If you do donate, will you please let us know? Because if we wait to hear about it from GEM it may take several weeks, and we want to be able to thank you in a more timely fashion.

When will you leave???

The long answer to this question is found on on a previous blog posting. (See June 8, 2008) The short answer is probably not until late in 2009.

How are the boys feeling about this???

Graham is ready to go. He is excited about living in France and learning to speak French. He regularly checks out books about France from the library and he is saving his summer lawn-mowing money for our exploratory trip to France in October.

Chandler is willing to go. He belives that God is calling us to this, but he is a little nervous about it. He loves his life here and has a hard time imagining what life might be like abroad. We think the exploratory trip will be very helpful for Chandler.

What will you do with your house???

My house. My house. My beautiful house! I love my house. Nevertheless, we will sell the house. It is tempting to try to rent it out, but since we are aware of the possibility that we may never return to it, it seems unwise to do so. We will cherish every single moment in it until we leave. When our fundraising approaches the 100% mark, we will put it on the market.

What about the pets???

The cats will come with us for sure. Libby will come as long as our living arrangements can accommodate a large dog, which we sincerely hope they will.

How long will you be gone???

We have committed initially to four years in France--or one Full Term. GEM long-term missionaries are on a five-year cycle that consists of four years on the field, and one year on furlough at home. We are not sure what we will do after that, but we are open to the possibility that we will return to France for subsequent years.


  1. I am so happy for you all! you and David have been so faithful at listening to the Lord, even when He tells you CRAZY stuff :) I know that you will all be blessed by your time in France. I am praying for you! I am also praying that you can somehow reach my cousin and her family, living in Paris. Laura

    PS. I sent you an invite to my blog today - so you can see what we are upto. Our life seems uneventful in comparison to what you are taking on, but we feel like are hands are pretty full:)

  2. Most days I can silently "lurk" and linger at the 4forFrance blog, but today I am moved to comment...

    Your Burning ?s post make me well up... I am moved. I am inspired by your and Davids obedience... My heart is full for Chandler as he is willing AND wondering...

    I selfishly want my precious friend to stay close to me, and at the same time, am in awe of having a front row seat to God's big show!

    I am inspired by you, you four!
    Much love, tanya