Wes and Carol Schellenberg
Giving and receiving
When Russia invaded Ukraine, missionaries and their churches in Europe saw the impact of the war. Refugees flooded into neighboring countries, especially Poland. The missionaries and churches got very busy providing food, shelter, clothing, and care for the arriving refugees. They became the hands and feet of Jesus to these hurting people. As it became evident that this would be an ongoing need, Avant Ministries established the Ukraine Crisis Response project to assist these churches, who often are barely able to provide for their own needs, to be able to help the refugees and war victims. Avant sent out letters and highlighted the project on its website, and funds began to come in quickly. As I am the person who processes donations at the Canada office, I have a front row seat to watch donors in Canada respond.
Last week I had a call from a donor who said, “My wife and I had been praying about how to help, and your (Avant’s) letter was an answer to prayer!” I was so touched by this call! Usually, I think of the people at the receiving end of the gift having their prayers answered. But here was the giver, saying that his prayers were answered because he wanted to give where God wanted him to give, and this letter was the answer to that prayer. I am grateful to be able to say that both donors and missionaries benefit from the small role I am able to play in processing donations.
Towards the end of October, my workload increased unexpectedly. The person who looked after payroll and benefits for our Canadian missionaries needed to go on leave. Her plan was to return to work after 5 months. I supervise and review this work as part of my regular duties, so I was familiar with the concepts and policies. However, the start-to-finish steps were something I needed to learn.
This took place during what is Avant’s busiest accounting season: fiscal year end, followed by the financial audit. I frequently felt overwhelmed. Yet, the Lord provided understanding that was not my own! It was obvious to me that people were praying, and God was answering those prayers.
Here we are in April, and those 5 months have come and gone. The leave was helpful for our colleague, but she is not returning to her job with Avant. I will continue to look after the payroll and benefits work until we find someone for that part-time job. Once the person has been found, it will be up to me to do the training – something I could not have done last October!
Thank you for the role you play in enabling us to do the work God has called us to. We could not do it without your prayers and support.
Home church: Glencross Mennonite Church, MB
This article was originally published in The Recorder Vol 59 No 3