You might remember that at the beginning of our family vision trip last summer, I was laid off from my corporate job of nearly 5 years. It was a surprise, but we felt like it was God opening two doors for us: the safe one eventually leading back to another full-time job and a comfortable "normal" life, or the way of faith that would lead us into the unknown but that could also lead us on a great adventure for Christ. Obviously, we chose the way of faith, and the journey this past year has been one surprise after another. A couple months ago, we hit another of those surprises.
Rewinding back a few years, we made the decision as a family that Kristy would stop working full-time in her job as a Scientific Technical Editor in the summer of 2015. We felt that it would give her more time and energy to take care of the kids and work on other things in life, like her writing. She was able to continue as a contractor for the same company, which helped us supplement our income as needed.
After the layoff, we had a few months of full pay and benefits from my previous employer that helped us get started. Fortunately, Kristy was able to increase her contracting as well, so we had both sets of income for the first couple months. After the severance package ended, Kristy's contracting became our primary source of income. Thankfully they had plenty of work for her so we didn't have to worry. That changed in mid February.
One week, everything was normal. The next week, there was next to nothing. This has happened a couple times over the years so we didn't think anything of it but when it was clear this was going to continue, Kristy came to me and said she thought it was time to apply for unemployment. I agreed, and by the end of the week was fully approved for unemployment benefits.
So, you might wonder why I hadn't applied for unemployment before. Well, despite many, many people telling us I should, we felt that my main focus should be on support raising and having to find and apply for jobs every week to continue receiving benefits would be an unnecessary distraction. This turned out to be another example of how God has guided us and protected us on this journey. What we didn't know was that unemployment only lasts for 6 months, so if I had applied when we first could have then we would have lost the benefit right when we needed it most!
As I started preparing a resumé and many other job-searching materials, I felt God telling me to not do this half-heartedly. I knew that if I was going to get a job, I wanted to shift from my previous job of media production and web design in Marketing to one of building websites using the content management system Drupal. In another example of God providing unexpectedly, in the fall, a friend asked me to build a website for his business. So I built a Drupal website for Heritage Insurance Advisors, which I am now able to show on my resumé as more experience in the field I'm pursuing. The site you're reading this blog on is also built on Drupal.
We also recognized that there was the possibility that a job might be part of God's plan for getting us to France. When we first started this journey, we were very against the idea of being bi-vocational, having a "day job" in addition to doing ministry, but over the past year we've seen how me working at home can give flexibility to our lives that would allow us to do ministry while working and maintaining a healthy family life. In fact, many of the companies to which I've applied list the ability to work anywhere in the world as a perk of the job.
We've talked to Global Outreach Mission about this, and they are OK with us going as bi-vocational workers. We talked to the leaders of Assemblée Chrétienne Mulhouse (ACM), and they actually expected us to be bi-vocational from the start. So we know there isn't a problem with this approach if it works out.
So what does this mean for our support needs? If I find a job, our monthly need would drop precipitously. Our current monthly support goal is based off of a need to support a family of 5. It covers basic living expenses, ministry expenses, healthcare, retirement, and housing. It's a lot of money to raise. Having a job means we don't need to raise most of that for monthly expenses. We'll need money for ongoing ministry expenses, but we can focus those more on expenses that will have a greater impact in the work we do.
We have always had a large one-time need for language school and moving expenses, but we had not focused on that, instead focusing on meeting our monthly goals. The money we raise in monthly support builds in our account so if we reach our full monthly support goal we would probably have enough in our account to cover the one-time needs. If we end up going as bi-vocational, we wouldn't have that. So we still need about $27,000 to pay for language school and additional funds for the actual move. So our one-time need would be our primary focus in support raising.
We don't know if this is the specific direction God wants us to go. We know that if God wants us to be fully supported, He will bring the money in. If He wants me to find a job that will let us live in France, He'll open the door. We are just continuing to trust Him and follow the path He lays before us.
So we would greatly appreciate your prayers for my job search. Even if God wants us to go as fully supported workers, we need money now to survive. For over 7 weeks Kristy's contracting has been significantly lower than it had been so we are relying on whatever work she can get, the unemployment money, and savings as needed to stay afloat. We are trusting God to supply for our needs and are trusting Him to bring a job soon that will help us make ends meet.
In the end, this is all for His glory and we are trusting Him to meet our daily needs. As 2 Corinthians 5:7 says:
For we live by faith, not by sight.