Brenda’s Bulletin

May 27, 2021 Changes!

May 27, 2021 - 5:08 pm - Posted by Brenda Matthews

Many of you have heard me say that I like change… when I’m the one instigating it!!!  Change is inevitable, but if I’m the one instigating it, I understand the need to change and all the nuances of the changes I’m making.  Change is made to improve a situation but is often met with resistance and takes time to implement.

In my last letter, I let you know that TEAM was making some changes related to finances and communication.  All those changes are to improve everything in the process of recording and reporting financial transactions for a large number of missionaries, Confused Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 10but some confusion has resulted for you and for me as the new system is put in place.  I say “is” because it is still being worked on.  I’ll try to share some info to ease the process, but all this is new for me too.

The old financial platform served TEAM for 16 years, but a lot has changed, and the new demands were too much for the old platform.  Classy is TEAM’s new online giving platform and support-raising tool.  This platform combines the latest digital technology for online giving, including a crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising capability, so it should be especially helpful for new missionaries.

TEAM is migrating the financial info from the old system to Classy for all electronic and online giving.  Checks should still be sent to the Calgary address for Canadians and the Carol Stream address for Americans, both of which are at the end of my prayer letters, but for those with automatic bank withdrawals or who give using credit cards, you will notice a change sooner or later and may have already received communication from Classy/TEAM about it.

The new credit card processor will detect any changes in the credit card info (new address, new phone number, etc.) and in nearness to the expiry date and will send an email.   If you receive an email from notifying you that your recurring donation couldn’t be processed, that is TEAM communicating with you.   I assume this would all be true for automatic bank withdrawals as well.

Clicking on the Update Payment Details button, produces a screen where you are asked for a password to set up your account. My understanding is that this account will provide you with the ability to manage your info and to review your financial giving from January 1, 2020 (if not available yet, it should be in the near future).

Right now there are differences in the capabilities of Classy in Canada and in the US, but soon it should be the same for both countries.  At this point, credit card transactions can be handled online but Canadians need to call the Calgary office for any changes to be made regarding bank withdrawals.  That number is 403-248-2344 or the 800 number at the bottom of my prayer letters.  In the US, those changes can all be made online, but the phone number for the US office is also listed below.

Since all my financial supporters receive my prayer letter, I probably won’t be using the Updates tab on the Giving page or sending messages using Classy.  Let me reassure each one of you that I am extremely grateful for your financial contributions and for all of your prayers for me and the ministry here.  I pray God’s richest blessings on all of you.

Prayer Letter May 27 2021 7I hope that you aren’t tired of me asking you to pray about my role in the church being defined.  Maybe I need to ask you to pray that God’s Spirit would move Rafa and Marco to call a meeting so that my role could be defined!  Can you imagine why I resonated with this tree?

Doesn’t it look like this tree is doing its best to hold the boulder back from losing its balance?  Sometimes I feel like that is my position with the El Faro church.  Let me be clear that I understand that the church is the Lord’s and that He holds its destiny, but I feel like El Faro is in a precarious position and I’m trying to keep it from tumbling out of control.  The analogy breaks down as I try to describe my activities.  While trying to gently nudge the leadership to move forward, I’m trying to encourage those frustrated with the lack of momentum, to not discourage those who want to take action, and, at the same time, to maintain the ministries that we do have.  This has been more difficult than usual the last month or so because Rafa, the pastor, has basically just been preaching.  Let me explain…

Many pastors in Latin America are bi-vocational.  In Venezuela and Peru, I was fortunate to work with churches that had full-time pastors.  In El Faro’s case, Rafa works full-time at his business and also pastors the church.  Attempts have been made to improve this situation, but there are many factors involved.  The latest attempt has been to have Marco, who also works full-time, work with Rafa carrying the administrative duties.  (Marco was side-lined for a month with COVID in February.)  Over a month ago, Rafa accepted a job that was too big for him to handle.  In his attempts to fulfill those obligations, all his time (other than the time to prepare and deliver the sermons) has been dedicated to that job.  Dec 2019All of the ministries are affected one way or another and we’re left with our tires spinning because we can’t make decisions or implement strategies for the future.  (My car literally was stuck on a sand dune a couple years ago.  I was grateful for my colleagues and a big truck to get me and those I was transporting back on the packed sand.)  And all this is compounded because we should also be moving forward toward opening the church.  Before taking that step, some major decisions need to be made.  Rafa estimates that this second extension to the original three- or four-week estimate will persist at least another two weeks.

Rafa has expressed that he’s discouraged because he knows that he isn’t fulfilling his responsibilities with the church and also feels like he’s not able to fulfill his work obligations either.  Please pray for him – that the Lord would give him health, strength, endurance, and wisdom.  Please pray for all those in leadership roles to know how to proceed and not get discouraged, and please pray for the unity and growth of the church.

Together in prayer,

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