Tyler’s Journey and Support Letter

 

1916635_1743179242584853_7881921927646801276_n

Compass DR Mission Team 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

During the March break of 2016 I’m excited to be returning to Los Alcarrizos, Dominican Republic with 11 other high school students and 4 leaders for Compass Community Church. We will be going with iteams Canada, a charitable organization that helps sends youth around the world to improve the lives of others. We will be serving at the lighthouse along with 4 other church groups.

In the DR we will be visiting a local church, and spending the rest of the week working on a local construction project. There will be times during the week that we will get the unique opportunity to spend time playing with the children in a variety of ministry options.  You can learn more about the Lighthouse by clicking here.

I would love if you could pray over this missions trip. Pray for the 16 of us as we seek to grow closer to Jesus as well as each other. Pray for the people that we meet down in the DR, and that we may have the opportunity to speak into their lives. Finally, pray for me… that I would stay safe and experience all that God has in store for me. If you can commit to praying for me and the rest of the team before… during… and after our trip, please let me know.

In order for us to get down to the DR we need to raise, as a team $34,800. We cannot do this alone… we need your help. Compass Community Church covers 1/3 of the cost, we need to raise 1/3 as a team and, personally, I will need to raise a minimum of 1/3 of my costs, or $700 (more if we don’t raise enough on the team fundraisers).  Please consider supporting me financially.  Any amount is greatly appreciated. If you are considering this, click here, then click donate now.

One other way you can support the team as a whole, and maybe buy a few things as well, is to check out the silent auction fundraiser we are hosting this weekend (Jan. 30).  If you are not in the area, that is fine!  You can bid online for any item with a buy it now option.  There is even a week at Camp Kwasind up for grabs!

Thank you for considering supporting me in prayer and/or giving. This trip would be impossible without your generosity. I’m excited for this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to sharing about it with you when I return.

Thank you.

Tyler

Missions

handsHere we are again.

To be honest, I don’t even know where to start this time… other than to simply say that Tyler, Hannah and I (Rod) will be participating in a March Break Mission Trips once again.  This time in very different ways, but still short term missions.

Once again, we have to surround ourselves with prayer support and raise some significant dollars.  More about that later.

The Ask

I’m not sure where to start in “the ask” this time because, to be honest, I know I ask often.  This has caused me to reflect and seek why God would once again ask me (and Tyler and Hannah) to participate again.  Doesn’t God know that people get tired of being asked to pray for and financially support others doing missions (locally or cross-culturally)?  Doesn’t He know that people are busy, our economy is battered, and people don’t want another thing to add to the list?

I was sharing this with someone the other day, someone I didn’t know well.  He said something that has echoed thru my thoughts since.  What he said was not new to me, but his conviction (I think) stood out to me.  He simply reminded me that, “God calls some to go and gives the rest the opportunity to support those that are called to go.”

I’ve heard that said before in a variety of ways.  In the past I often cringed at it because for many it is used as an excuse to not go.  I would hear this most often when talking about our family’s ten month mission trip to Bolivia.  So many saying, “We could never do that!” would make me want to push back and say why not?  I agree, not everyone could, but to dismiss it without a look is not the right answer either.  Too many times we said the same thing before Bolivia… “We could never do that!  How can we take the kids out of school for a year?  What about our house, we can’t sell it and we can’t raise donations to pay the mortgage in our absence!  We have to raise $55,000?!  In four months?!  We could never do that!”

We had so many opportunities to back out of the Bolivia trip, but chose to seek God’s direction each step.  And, being honest, many times did not know how God was going to take care of some ‘big’ details till His timing.

Yet, here we stand, with our Bolivia trip already over two years behind us.  We still have conversations and ‘ah ha’ moments about the incredible impact on us individually and as a family.  We have a deeper prayer life and understanding for long term missionaries and our kids have an educational experience no school, public or Christian, could give them.

God is good.

Back to the earlier comment.  I felt as I was hearing it again, that maybe it’s ok to be the one called to go.  I feel, as I reflect back, I always wanted to be the one who supported the one called to go… that, in my warped sense of pride, there is something great about saying, “I financially support X number of missionaries!”  It just sounds nicer, again, in my pride, than saying “I have had to depend on $$$ of support.”

My new friend in the above conversation was unknowingly giving me, perhaps for one of the first time, a glimpse of that pride in my life and the reverse side of the coin.  You see, he also showed me that others were doing what I was doing to them.  While I was secretly wishing I could be proud that I was supporting a bunch of missionaries, he (as someone supporting missionaries) was secretly wishing he could be the one God called to “go” to the mission field and was somewhat envious that was the one going.

I guess, in all of this, I am saying that God seems to have it all figured out.  In His Kingdom economics, He has us where we need to be… that the real challenge is more about listening to his calling in our lives.  You see, I am confident in my call to “go.”  I am confident in our family’s call to serve others, locally and cross culturally.  Just as confident as my friends call to financially and prayerfully support those who were called to go.

One more thing before I wrap this up.  As I typed this, I ended up revisiting a bunch of our Bolivian posts.  Check out our Merry Christmas from Bolivia video here.  Our kids look sooo young!

A few Details

This year, Tyler will be going back to the Dominican Republic LightHouse Projects with Compass Community Church.  Hannah is joining the Junior High Mission Trip to Windsor to help with a VBS style week and some community work with at risk kids.  Finally, I (Rod) am leading the CBOQ (Canadian Baptist of Ontario and Quebec) Youth Mission trip to the LightHouse Project as well (Tyler and I will be on the same trip, but with different teams).

If you are able to financially support one of us, we thank you.  If you are able to support each of us, it is a bit complicated.  Because we are essentially on three different teams, you’d have to send three different supports.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact me via email at rod_vis@hotmail.com.

Lastly, but most importantly, we covet your prayers.  Our family is able to do missions because of the prayer support we have had over the years.  I know God has a reason for these rich experiences in my children’s lives and He will use them in significant ways as they become adults, so your prayers are needed.

TylerSupport for Tyler:

Iteams International – click here.

HannahSupport for Hannah:

Compass Community Church – Mail a cheque to (Put Hannah’s name and Windsor Mission Trip on the cheque), Compass Community Church, P.O. Box 86, Orangeville, Ontario, L9W 2Z5

Support for Rod

Iteams International – Click here.

 

 

Short Christmas Card Update

Overlooking Cochabamba

When our kids decided to raise some money to send to Bolivia, I was proud of their initiative and motivation to help others.  I also thought they might raise $100 – $200… assuming they were able to follow through (let’s be honest, they are still kids and, like most kids, are prone to be distracted over time).

While we did have days when we had to remind the kids why we were spending evenings making cards to sell, they did a great job and each found their groove in unique ways.  For example, we learned Tyler had no desire or ability at making cards… and, to be honest, I don’t think many would have bought cards he made.  But, on his own, he became the sales man at his school by telling everyone the story behind why we were making the cards and who was getting the money in Bolivia.

Well, like I said, I expected a best case scenario of up to $200.  Well, we tallied the numbers and the Vislets have raised about $650 (that is over 300 cards)!!  We still have a few outstanding IOU’s, so it could be slightly more if that money comes in.

I am very proud of the work my children have done.  I believe God placed a challenge/idea on their hearts and has blessed them (and children in Bolivia) because they responded to God.

I will give a more detailed update and some of my reflections in the next week.  For now, Thank you to everyone who has supported us in the past year and especially during this past month with the kids Christmas Cards Fundraiser.

Be Blessed.

Vislets in Bolivia

Christmas Card Update

In case you did not know, we have some creative and awesome kids!  I might be bias, but if you want to know what they are up to this year for Christmas, you should read about it here.

DSCF5814 To date, the kids have raised over $150.  They will be selling cards at their school Christmas concert and Carter’s class has made 200 reindeer candy canes to sell in support of the same Center in Bolivia.  I believe this number can double by next week.

For those not familiar with the Bolivian exchange or what $150 Canadian can buy (as Carter was wondering the other night), the exchange is about 7 Bolivianos (yes, that is their currency) for every Canadian dollar (roughly).

That means, $150 is about 1,050 Bolivianos.  So what does that buy?  I am happy you asked.

Last year at the center, during the week leading up to Christmas they ran a VBS style camp for the children in the community.  There are different costs associated with that, but one thing they did every day was buy juice bags for everyone before they went home (think drinking box here).  1 boliviano buys 2 juice bags.Juice bags

So, $150 or 1,050 Bolivianos = over 2,000 juice bags.

The reality is they are not going to use the money to just buy juice bags, but for our kids this was an easy visual to help them understand the blessings this money can be.  I hope it is a good visual for you too.

Several times over the past week one of our kids will ask, “So how many juice bags are we up to?”

Till next week!

Christmas

At times, it is hard to believe that only last Christmas we were in Bolivia starting to feel home sick with the 

December in La Pazreality of where we were really sinking in.  The sun was nice and getting to swim outside on Abby’s birthday was a great joy, but family was a far away and we were in a very strange and different country.

Christmas for us in Bolivia was a very simplified event compared to our Canadian traditions.  While we truly enjoyed many things there, I don’t think we realized how great it was till now that we are back in Canada.  We have struggle at times with the sheer volume of “stuff” around us.  We are constantly being told to buy more and more… get this deal or that one, but make sure you buy buy buy.  Living in Bolivia, even being away from family, seems so much better.

Don’t get me wrong.  It is not all bad here and good there, but it is definitely different.

We are seeking to simplify Christmas here a bit more too.  It isn’t easy with four children who are marketed too constantly, but we are doing our best.  Partially because we have too, but largely because we feel we need too.  Christmas, for us, has to be different from the commercialized version we are sold.

Part of this desire has led to a conversations with our kids.  They have decided (completely on their own) to do something for a place we volunteered at last Christmas, Centro Comunitario Sumumpaya.  You can see our thoughts and pictures from last year at Christmas (here) and from the Centre (here).

Our children have decided to make and sell Christmas cards to raise funds to send to the Centre.  Jen and I have always tried to help them with these types of ideas by acting as there road crew and working behind the scenes, supporting them in any way we can, but letting them be the drivers of the idea.  We have also been blessed with a great school and staff who have not only encouraged and supported our family and children, but provide them opportunities within the school to share their ideas.  Carter’s teacher has even decided to have a class project to raise some funds to the centre too… something  that would never have happened if he did not share what God had placed on his heart!2013-11-30 14.08.532013-11-30 14.09.19

Sometimes, as most kids do, they have great ideas but are not able, or fail, to follow through… but our kids have already made somewhere around 80+ cards and raised over $50!  How exciting is that!

Our plan will be to raise money till school ends before Christmas, and update the amount raised on this page. If you have any questions or comments, please use the section below and we will monitor that closely.  If you would like to purchase any cards, please email Jen or I (rod_vis@hotmail.com & jen_vis@hotmail.com) anytime.  You can also see a PDF of the information flyer by clicking here.

It is a real blessing to have a front row seat to what God is doing in our kids lives.

Let’s make a deal!

Remember that show?

I can’t say I remember much about it, other than the name.  There is probably a reason I don’t remember much about it…

Well, I have a deal for one lucky person (or family) who reads this blog.  Have you ever wanted to own a VW Beetle (not the fancy new ones, but like a vintage 30 year VW Bug made with real steel and not that fiberglass/plastic stuff)?  Have you ever wanted to say that you owned a car from South America, where cars seem to run forever?

I would like to help you with that.  If you answered yes to the question above, we would be willing (for no charge) to help you buy that VW Beetle!  We will gladly search for the best deal in Cochabamba and take care of it for you during our time here, including, but not limited to;

  • taking it for test drives in Cochabamba
  • keeping the gas tank full (at about 55 cents a liter, that shouldn’t be too hard)
  • wash it on a regular basis
  • always park it in safe places, preferably the shade
  • find a good home to sell it to before we leave Bolivia

I have been told that you can buy a VW Beetle in good shape for about $3,500 US (cars are not cheap in Bolivia).  There is an advantage to buying an old car in Bolivia… they hold their value well, so when the time comes to sell it, you should be able to recover most or even all of your money!

Does this sound too good to be true?

Well, it gets better.  In addition to everything stated above, we will send you pictures of your car hanging out in the scenic parts of Cochabamba!

This is a limited time offer, so act quickly!

** This type of purchase would not receive a tax receipt with SIM Canada.  Money received from the sale of the car would be returned to you once we return to Canada in July 2013.

Yard Sale Fundraiser Update

Wow, what a great day!

There are no words that seem good enough to say thank you to so many people.  So many donated items that our garage was so full that we had to close the door by hand while holding everything in… plus we could not walk into our dining room.  We had a so much support from people giving their time to sort and price and set up and clean up.  Without a doubt, we could not have done this without everyone.

There would be too many names to list here, but you know who you are… whether you made a donation, volunteer your time or came and made a purchase… or simply supported us in prayer, we say Thank You!

In the end, we raised $2,336.59!!!  Now that is a successful yard sale/fundraiser!  God is Good!!

We hope to have more pictures up later this week.