We’re here!

Well, there isn’t a lot of time to share everything right now, but since it’s been so long since our last online update I thought I’d share a little about how things are going.

At this point we are getting within hours of the one-week mark for being in our new Asian country. It was about as you would expect with 2 small children and a variety of bags that are supposed to tie us over until our shipment arrives with the rest of our belongings.

Saying goodbye was hard, not only because there were so many but if felt like they kept on going for a long time. We’re now starting to say hello to our new culture, coworkers, and way of life.

Right now we have a temporary place to stay while we are finding a new place to call home. We hope to have that worked out soon and move in as soon as is feasible. The boys have been dragged around to a lot of places and miss somewhere of their own where they can be themselves.

For all of us we’ve been sampling some of the tastes of Asia while occasionally stopping somewhere familiar to eat a meal that seems a little more like we’re used to.

Getting around is a little easier now that we have a car to use while we find something permanent to buy. It’s been interesting/strange/terrifying/confusing to not only learn how to drive in a new area with its own peculiarities and rules but to be doing it while driving on the “other” side of the road. Becky and I have been getting in some practice and are starting to feel a little more confident.

On the work end of things I’m mixing a little bit of training in with settling the family. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help at home and work as I have the chance to.

There is a lot more to say and we’ll be updating a little more frequently soon. The adjustment continues and the stress of making heads and tails of things when not all of the signs are in English can take it’s toll. Even with the stress we are excited to be here and to see what God is going to be doing with our family as we begin to serve.

Trip Pictures

Here is the start of some pictures from my (Toffer’s) trip…


Some of the kids we met during the trip through Nepal.

 


Getting around in style in Thailand.

 


The guardian of one of our taxis in Nepal.  Sad to see such trust in such the wrong things.

 


Festival preparations in getting into swing.  These displays were all over the country.

 


Paving a street the old-fashioned way.  This is not a quick job.  The steamroller and the tractor pulling the asphalt were the only mechanized parts.

 


The countryside as we traveled between cities. 

 


Making milk tea for us during a pit stop on a van ride in Nepal.

 

Singapore, Thailand, and Nepal: Toffers Perspective

Okay… a quick few paragraphs from me, I’m hoping to get working on the next mailed out letter and then I’ll get more in depth.  I’ll add a few pictures as I get a chance.

First off, the most frequent question I’ve been asked was, “how was your trip?”  My best answer is that it was an exhausting and wearing trip.  It was a good trip, but hard.  I think in our candy-coated lives we are looking for confirmation about a big life change to be everything working out great, you are excited, and everything is roses.  This trip was not that.  It was taxing, tiring, and on quite a few occasions I was wondering what I got myself into.  But God never said that following His will would be easy.  He promises to always be there, but He never promises life will be a liesurely round of golf and then relaxing with a book.  Sometimes you will be sweaty, tired, and wondering what is in your dinner.  That all to say that we are definitely moving forward with HCJB Global, but with a more realistic expectation that we will give up a few comforts we have now.

I’ve learned a few random things that I’ll share now.  1) If you are given something and you think you may need it later (airplane peanuts, extra bottle of water, toilet paper) hold on to it.  2) The chances of dying in a Nepali highway accident are not as high as you would think.  3) As an English speaker, I can get around a lot more of the world than I thought.  A few words in the local language helps, but there are ways to get by.

I think understanding the importance of the work has much less to do with pictures I can show you of towers and transmitters and equipment.  A lot of it comes down to the stories from the people with the partner ministries. Many of us don’t understand the sacrifice that comes with following Christ, but it becomes more real when you hear about a pastor as a young child being expected to take over as a Hindu leader, but giving up his relationships to become a Christian.  They have such a wide vision of what could be done using radio.  They want to take prayer requests and pray for those that are hurting.  They want to teach Christians.  They want to be a beacon for Christ in their communities.

These are the sort of things we want you to think about as you consider helping us get to the field through monthly support of HCJB Global.

A Little About Me

Okay, I figured I ought to add something so that when you click the “Toffer” button there is something to read.

The plan is to add to this one sentence or two at a time…

I am a self-professed geek.  I should explain all that entails but current time prohibits me from going further.  Most of my jobs have involved pushing buttons (on equipment, not peoples hopefully) in some way or the other.

Mid-July Update

Not a whole lot of particularly interesting news to put out right now.  We are thankful to those that are already supporting the work of HCJB Global and helping us meet those one-time and monthly needs.  Our presentation is now getting the final touches and we will soon be swinging into gear with scheduling meetings.  Obviously we will be doing these in hopes of finding new financial partners, but I’m finding that as I get more and more excited about the work that God has for us as we get into the field, that I want to share that with others.  I think when others catch the vision for how we see God working it fires me up all the more. 

One reason I think it can be hard to grasp the potential impact is how common place a church is in the United States.  Here in Tennessee, I don’t think that I can go much of anywhere without passing at least 1 church on the way.  In the 2.5 mile drive to work, I will pass 5 different churches.  The Nashville area has at least 5 Christian radio stations that I can think of.  But there are parts of the world where people live their entire lives not knowing anything about God, His love, and what was done to keep us from being forever separated from Him.  Radio station plants help proclaim the Gospel to these unreached people.  Shortwave radio helps those in closed areas hear the Good News and grow in their faith when other options just don’t exist.  This is what excites me about being involved with HCJB Global.  

And, while it probably won’t excite anybody reading this (except for Becky), our brochures and prayer cards arrived from the printer today.  We think they turned out quite well.  We’d love to share some of our materials as we meet with you.  All we ask is that our card be placed somewhere you’ll see it on a regular basis.  And when you do see it (and you know you’ll want to take a look at Samuel on a regular basis) remember us the next time you pray.  Our ministry depends on prayer.  Without God’s support and blessing, we toil in vain.

Okay… one last thing.  Thanks to those who have signed up for our email newsletter (which will start up soon) and our Facebook group.  If you are the Facebook type of person, search for our group (The Kings Go to Asia) and join.  We’d love to keep you updated.

So what is support raising?

I’m trying to help explain a few things about our involvement with HCJB Global that might be confusing to some.  One is obviously the area of “support raising.”  This isn’t the exhaustive explanation, but it may help answer at least a few questions.  Basically, support is your financial contributions to HCJB Global that makes it possible for us to do the work we will be doing without also having to maintain a full-time job.  HCJB Global is not part of a church denomination and doesn’t receive its funding from one big source.  Each missionary helps raise support for the mission to help make it possible for him or her to serve.  It’s an invitation to be a part of a ministry team.  You see, even though it may feel like it, you aren’t giving money to us.  Your giving back to God is a form of worship, and it connects you to the work that God is doing in a place you might not be able to go to yourself, but would love to see impacted for Christ.  It’s like the old worn-out phrase that there is no “I” in team.  Just like you may not be able to go serve in Asia building radio stations, but might be able to support someone who can, we can’t go on our own.  For us, we need those financial and prayer teammates that will help.  We know that God will provide for that which is in His plan, so when we ask for you to partner with us, we aren’t saying that without you God’s will won’t be done… but we are saying that we want you to join us in one of the ways that God is working.  We have had the privilege of supporting others in the past, it has connected us much closer to their lives and work.

So, in our case, you might be asking what in practicality financial support looks like.  Basically, right now we are raising support to cover two things: one-time outgoing expenses and long-term work.  Outgoing expenses include everything that has a cost associated with our preparation and move to Singapore.  For example, we had plane tickets that we needed for training and development that we got back from a few weeks ago.  We will have moving expenses, a shorter vision trip to Singapore, and several weeks of pre-move training that all have a cost.  Those that give a one-time gift will help with all that.

Monthly support is on-going and helps with the month-to-month living expenses associated with us working with HCJB Global.  Not only is the cost of living in Singapore rather high, but there are many costs that many don’t think about.  When people look at the level of support we are raising they may think,”I don’t make nearly that much myself.” That’s true, we make far less than that.  However, we also have health insurance from my job where I pay only a small portion of the actual cost, my employer pays the rest.  When you are raising support for HCJB Global to cover the costs of working with them, we end up raising both parts.  Believe me, I’m not upset about it.  I’m glad that the mission wants its missionaries to be cared for.  But it does help explain how things get as high as they do.  Those that commit to helping us monthly help keep us serving without needing to take additional timeout of our work to ask for financial support.  At $8800 a month, it is a lot.  We are confident that God will lead us to supporters that can help with $50, $100, or more on a monthly basis.  We are also sure that He is even now working in the hearts of certain people that would be foundational supporters and are able and willing to support us with $300, $500, or even more a month.  This is going to be a faith stretch for us, but we know that God is faithful.

And did I mention that you can do a little of both?  For now, while we are still in the U.S. and raising support, those who commit to a monthly pledge and start giving now help us with our monthly goals, but also anything that comes in while we are still preparing to leave is counted in our outgoing expenses as well!

For those who have already committed to pray and financially support the work of HCJB Global and our work with them… a very, very sincere thanks.  It means a lot to receive such early encouragment.  If you would like to be involved, there are links to your left, or see our mail newsletter if you receive it (send a message if you would like to be included).   Also, we are hoping to get an opportunity to meet with many of you in order to explain more about HCJB Global and what are involvement in Asia looks like.  We have a passion for the region, we’d love to share it with you.

What is Radio Station Planting?

I should probably explain at least briefly what radio station planting is.  Despite the imagery, it does not involve digging a massive hole, burying a transmitter, watering until the tower sprouts, and then harvesting radios toward the end of summer.  It does, however, involve a few of the same ideas.  In some of the unreached areas of the world churches and other Christian organizations have discovered that Christian radio can play a powerful role as they reach people in their communities.   HCJB Global can assist these people by providing the equipment and training necessary to help start a radio station in their location.   Sometimes the equipment will be paid for by churches here in the United States.  HCJB Global can bring in all the necessary equipment in just a few suitcases and can be on the air within days of getting to the site.  This is part of the work that I hope to be involved in when we move.  In-depth training in radio station operation and production is provided with the Radio School of Mission.  And even though we help get everything started, HCJB Global doesn’t own any of the radio stations it helps to plant… they are part of the local ministry that is operating them.

One question that sometimes gets asked is, “if you help plant these Christian radio stations in locations that are not economically well off, does anybody even own a radio in order to listen to the station?”  That’s a very valid point.  One of the cool things about HCJB Global that drew me in was that they will find a way to get something done, even if they have to build it themselves.  Random case in point: the shortwave radio site in Ecuador needs constant reliable power that they were not able to get.  The solution: they built their own hydroelectric plant (economically sound, environmentally friendly, and even helps provide power to the electrical grid).  HCJB Global developed a radio receiver that suited the conditions where they would be used.   The SonSet radio is (in my opinion) really cool.  First, it’s solar powered.  You don’t have to worry about people finding a place to plug into or paying to purchase batteries.  Leave it out in the sun and it will charge on its own.  It’s also pre-programmed for the Christian radio station in the area it is being sent to (the people that program them don’t even have to open the radio).  If there is more than one station that needs to be programmed there is button for the user to cycle through the options.  This means you don’t have to worry about a person forgetting where on the dial to find the station.  The carry strap doubles as the antenna.  It is designed to withstand some water and dirt, and though I haven’t tested it myself, I’m told that it can withstand some wieght.  I’ve got a sample one that I can show you if you are interested, just let me know since I don’t carry it with me at all times.  As a demo it was programmed for some of the Christian stations in the Nashville, TN area.  The SonSet radios are designed to be relatively inexpensive, and this is also an area that churches here in the US like to help support.  They are then distributed to people in communities around the world that need them.  In many parts of the world radio isn’t used in the personal way we often think of.  A large family or a group of families may all meet together to listen to the radio.  It reminds me of when American radio was in it’s infancy.  You didn’t plug your headphones to it so nobody else could hear… you all gathered in the living room to listen together.

I could go on and on but I intended for this to be a short article.