Which is more critical in world evangelism, the message, the messenger, or the means of delivery? That is like asking a child what is more important on his bicycle, the rim, the spokes, or the tire? One without the others is useless. So, we too need “chariots” to do His bidding effectively.
We have a situation that has never occurred before. It is a severe and sincere need that is neither glamourous nor a tear-jerker. But this need has unseen importance that you will understand in the next two minutes as you read.
Our feeding ministry has grown so vast that we are now experiencing trouble delivering the food. And in addition, the vehicles that we use to evangelize and carry preachers and Timothies to far and remote areas are experiencing difficulties, hindering our expansion of the Gospel. Let me give some examples:
In Kenya, we have well over 500 national church platers supported, in addition, to probably 3,000 Timothies. Many now have bicycles or motorcycles, but most still rely on bus transportation or walking. We sometimes need a vehicle to transport teams to remote areas using PowerPacks to show the Jesus Film, resulting in a new church plant. Additionally, we have two feeding centers that require the weekly delivery of bulk foods. (Last week, some of you gave around $4,700 to pay the annual food budget for these two Touch a Life centers located in local churches.)
We could easily open 500 more centers if we had the funding. However, it takes money to deliver the food as well. Currently, we must use taxis, rent trucks, or hire Uber-type drivers, which is very expensive. We need to purchase a delivery truck for this purpose, and this week, a dear family in Florida gave us $30,000 for that cause. However, we feel that to get a reliable, second-hand Kia2700 delivery truck (the same model we use in Honduras), we need an additional $3745. This amount will cover the tax, title, delivery, etc., and a full tank of fuel. We had estimated a cost of $30,000, but since they are second-hand vehicles, we knew that our pick might have to be adjusted, affecting the possibility of exceeding the target amount. However, a delivery truck is barely half the price of a used pickup truck. It will easily carry food for multiple centers and 15-20 preachers who can be delivered and retrieved after a full day of evangelizing.
We are now only $3,745 from making the purchase. Can you help?
While on a Visionary Trip, many of you have ridden in our Ford van. However, we don’t use it whenever possible because it has an old engine that sucks up gasoline like me with a strawberry milkshake. To be frank, (I always wanted to be Frank) during our last Visionary Trips in 2019, using it was cost prohibitive as it gets less than 10 miles to a gallon. With the price of gasoline nearly doubling worldwide, using it is no longer an option. We have tried to sell it and use the funds to purchase a used diesel vehicle, but there have been no “takers”; in fact, there have been no “lookers” either. But this week, my son Daniel came up with a great idea … why not replace the old gasoline engine with a new diesel engine? (He got his looks from me but his brains from his mom.)
We investigated and found that we could do so for around $9,000. Diesel engines are preferred in Honduras, and you often must pay extra for a gasoline engine. (Generally, they are unwanted due to expensive gasoline and the shorter engine-life expectancy.) And though the price of diesel fuel has risen too, in Central America, it is much cheaper than gasoline (just the opposite of here in the USA), diesel engines give better mileage, and the engine will literally last longer than the body of the vehicle!
We also have some needed repairs for the Mitsubishi truck. We have taken good care of it, but it is fifteen years old now, and if you have been with me, you know the kind of roads we drive on and rivers we drive through. Ours is not typically a city ministry; it is a “highway and hedges” ministry. Those repair needs come to about $2,200.
If these were my vehicles, I would bear the cost and never mention it to you, but they don’t belong to me; they belong to Touch a Life. We have kept our sponsorships low so as not to burden the donors. Sponsorships in 2005 were $35 a month. Sponsorships in 2022 are still $35 a month. We have cut corners wherever possible, leaving nothing for vehicle purchases, repairs, or construction. And to be honest, in our 35+ years of ministry, I don’t recall a time when we have ever asked you to finance or repair any of our ministry vehicles. We have bought hundreds of cars, trucks, and motorcycles globally for the needs of others but not for our own. As a rule, we ask for others but not for ourselves. This is a first for us, and to be honest, I am a bit embarrassed to ask now, but the need requires me to swallow hard and do it.
So, I come to you with hat in hand, leaving me no covering for my bald head, and ask you to help us raise this combined total for a delivery truck in Kenya and an engine replacement, and needed repairs in Honduras -- all for $14,945.