Dissolved- Part 1

Missionaries… all who follow Christ… are told to count the cost. But what about when something unthinkable happens? How do you prepare for that?

Late at night, on August 24, 2011, we received the following in a letter from our sending organization:

“Following extensive objective assessment and the advice of legal counsel, we are beginning action to dissolve… The organization will be in the process of shutting down over the next week and a half. Funds to continue are not available… final payments of reimbursable expenses will be paid as of August 23rd and health insurance will be paid through September 2011. Thereafter, there will be no disbursement from EBM to anyone other than to protect and complete the above process… On September 2, 2011, the… home office will close its doors… Further, missionaries and sending churches should immediately contact donors and have their donations diverted to the sending church… If help is needed the staff… would be more than happy to assist you with this process until September 2, 2011. On August 31st, [our organization] will be closing its books after which all donations will be returned to the sender.”

Needless to say, we didn’t sleep much that night. We had lots of questions, and no immediate answers…

  • How in the world are we going to provide for 8 kids and an 18 year old niece… in a foreign land…with no salary?
  • What about school for our children (recognizing that termites ate at least a third of our home schooling curriculum during our last home assignment)?
  • Could we? How would we get home if we had to?
  • What does this mean for now? And in the immediate future?
  • What in the world should we do?
  • How do we explain this to our local colleagues?
  • What exactly is “this”?

I’d really thought I’d heard of and considered all the possible missionary “catastrophe” scenarios: medical emergencies, coup d’états, banditry or break-in, kidnapping and hostage situations, physical violence, in-country massive currency devaluation, drought, necessities unavailable, refugee influx, emergency evacuation… and while I didn’t ever want anything like that to happen to our family, it had, at least at some point, bleeped somewhere on my radar screen that it was a possibility.

The dissolution of our sending organization and as a consequence, of the majority of the infrastructure key to our W. African existence hadn’t… ever… crossed… my mind… Seriously. Not even remotely.

Our home office was closing its doors and from the backside of the desert in W. Africa (otherwise known as the land of frequent power outages, bipolar internet and the lesser known reality that we still cannot direct dial our home area code in the States from this place), we had one week to contact all of our supporters to tell them to stop giving until we could make other arrangements. We needed to find a new organization in the States able and willing to receive and receipt funds, but also one that would be acceptable to our current support team. Any services that our home office had handled before? We now needed to find someone else who could and would assume those responsibilities. And there was the concern that people might just decide to no longer partner with us in this ministry, feeling that our previous organization had been less than transparent… some even felt dishonest.

Our team of missionaries in Niger and Benin at the time of the dissolution

We understood immediately that our situation wasn’t catastrophic. We were all healthy, together, with a roof over our head and in the midst of an amazing missionary community that literally wrapped its arms tightly around us and cared for us, far above and beyond what we would have asked or could have imagined. On the other hand, it fely like calamity stalking… we were walking a high wire far above ground without any sort of safety net… and it wouldn’t take much to send us plummeting down…

I wish I could say that Tim and I immediately fell on our knees and took our worries before the Lord. Tim might have… I didn’t unless you count those “Oh God… what are we going to do?” type utterances as prayers.

Has anything similar every happened to you? Can you even imagine anything like this happening? What would be your first thoughts and worries?

(Post by: Richelle)

24 Responses to “Dissolved- Part 1”

  1. 1 Karen May 19, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I think more about the other urgent situations such as medical emergencies or something tragic happening to our kids rather than our agency folding. The interesting thing about reading your post is that I am familiar with your situation – Chris and Diane are from our home church and are also good friends of ours! 🙂

  2. 2 Kara Coe May 20, 2012 at 5:16 am

    Wow– that is truly a shocking idea. Thank you for sharing…I look forward to reading more!

  3. 3 Ashley L May 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Wow, I can’t imagine something like that happening! While we haven’t had anything happen on that large a scale, we did have to move quickly and unexpectedly, due to security reasons, about 3 years ago from a city that we had hoped to live in for many more years. In 13 days we had to pack up all of our belongings, figure out how to move everything from southern Russia to northern Russia by train and into storage without being on the other end to receive our things (we had to leave to the States), find a way to sell our car, say goodbye to all of our dear friends and neighbors and people in our ministry, and pass off our ministry to our student leaders (the entire staff team with our ministry was required to either move or find another way/another visa to stay in the city). It was heartbreaking, but we were overwhelmed by the Lord’s hand in that time of our life. Our biggest worry at that time was for our ministry. What would happen to all of this work and prayer that so many people had poured in for so many years? Would the ministry continue now that there would be no full-time workers to help it run? In many ways we felt like the ministry was going well, but in others we felt like it was still fragile and had no idea how a group of young students and graduates would keep things going, let alone growing. Now looking back, this thing that looked so devastating, was obviously the Lord’s plan for His own glory. The ministry there continues to grow and thrive, despite no official missionary team there (they were in fact ready to run things themselves!), and God has revealed to us many reasons for having us where he does now.

  4. 4 Phyllis May 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Not the same situation, but having to leave Russia was similarly devastating to me. I kept thinking somehow God would step in and let us stay. The night after my last time in court, when I got the final verdict of deportation… agony. It was December 25.

  5. 5 richelle May 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Thanks, ladies, for your kind words – and sorry I’ve not stopped by to reply earlier… joys of W. African electricity and internet sometimes make things we take for granted challenging!

    Appreciated hearing tidbits of your experiences, too, Ashley and Phyllis.

  6. 6 personal injury law firm June 19, 2014 at 6:43 am

    I’ve learn a few excellent stuff here. Certainly value
    bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you place to make this type of wonderful informative web site.

  7. 7 term life insurance rating June 29, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Good way of explaining, and good piece of writing to obtain facts about my presentation focus, which i am going to convey in college.

  8. 8 our home page August 3, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Hey all one and all. Actually been lurking around the web-site for a couple of days now and have a question for you teaching pros. Im coming to Thailand in the near future and have been offered a job teaching at Kasitorn high school in Nonthaburi. I’ve never taught here before has anyone ever heard anything about this particular school? I’d be pleased for any feedback people. Thanks for your help & support!

  9. 9 Omar August 31, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    This will cut down on the stress you must experience and can also limit your legal fees.
    You need to prove that you’re giving it your best shot in order to be honest and win your case.
    Personal injury attorneys specialize in these types of cases.

  10. 10 Ivey September 17, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a
    few months of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any methods
    to protect against hackers?

  11. 11 Health and Medicine September 21, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Meditation and prayer, which result in faith and healing, are already found to not simply improve the odds of an individual not being depressed but also improve the immune system, which
    makes it harder to the body to contract chronic inflammations.
    An alteration inside the functioning from the organ will bring about
    disease development once the prevailing factors encourage its development.
    All patients who received the supplement reported that their knee pain has been reduced substantially and could walk farther without pain than normal.

  12. 12 metal roofing myths September 24, 2014 at 4:04 am

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening.
    I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this short article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and
    posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  13. 13 low home insurance rates October 2, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and
    tell you I really enjoy reading your posts. Can you recommend any other
    blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects?
    Appreciate it!

  14. 14 star trek cufflinks October 8, 2014 at 4:56 am

    We stumbled over here by a different page and thought I might as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you.
    Look forward to checking out your web page yet again.

  15. 15 first symptoms of pregnancy October 9, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Hi there colleagues, how is all, and what you desire to say concerning this paragraph,
    in my view its truly amazing in support of me.

  16. 16 online October 16, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness
    of valuable experience regarding unpredicted feelings.

  17. 17 mediator havering October 30, 2014 at 2:13 am

    I really like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the good works guys I’ve included you guys
    to my personal blogroll.

  18. 18 file extensio February 28, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before
    end I am reading this wonderful post to improve my know-how.

  19. 19 medical assistant jobs December 22, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Excellent site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours nowadays.

    I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  20. 20 mediclaim June 11, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    When I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every
    time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment.
    There has to be an easy method you are able to
    remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  1. 1 Dissolved- Part II « Trackback on May 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm
  2. 2 Tumbling in the Undertow Trackback on January 29, 2014 at 10:00 am
  3. 3 generateur de de Trackback on October 17, 2014 at 2:16 am
  4. 4 Homeschooling in florida Trackback on March 8, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: