So far, we have posted about our journeys and a bit of reflection, but we haven’t really talked much about what we’ll actually be doing once we hit the mission field. Well, that’s about to change! I’m going to give you an overview of what we’ll be doing. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out, and at the end of this post (if you make it that far!) we’ll also tell you how you can get involved. Here we go!
At the end of January 2017, Paul and I will be heading to Palo Alto, California as missionaries for a year. The area is super diverse – 1/3 of the population was born in a different country and there are over 110 languages spoken in the county! There are also very few Christians in the area.
While there, Paul and I will each be doing things that fit our strengths and callings in life. We also have the privilege of doing some ministry together as well, and we’re excited to see what all God has in store for Palo Alto and for us as we enter into this new phase of life.
Paul gets to do some wonderfully exciting things while we’re there. If you’ve read the post about his journey, you know that Paul has a passion for the college setting and feels called to become a professor someday (and if you haven’t read the post yet, you should!).
The people we’ll be working with in California have wanted to start a college ministry at Stanford for a while, but haven’t found anyone with a passion for it. Until now. Paul will be working with Stanford Graduate students, particularly those from other world areas. He will be building authentic relationships with them and learning about them. His ministry will be incarnational, and his goal is to earn the right to speak into their lives.
My ministry plays into my passion for short-term mission (read more here). I’ll be working with an organization called Saving Acts, which uses talents in media and writing to document the work of missionaries overseas and broadcasting that work, getting them the help and resources they need and empowering them in their ministry. I will be traveling with them to several locations and helping with this work. Specifically, I will be the sort of online voice of Saving Acts, keeping their blog and various social media platforms updated.
Together, Paul and I will be doing several different things within the community. First, we will be plugging into a small church. We will help them with some building renovations, vision renewal, and the development of new forms of doing church. We will bring a fresh (two) sets of eyes to their projects, and hopefully be able to help them improve some the way their outreach is done.
Second, we will do some community outreach development of our own. Palo Alto is such a diverse area, but often in cities, the various cultural groups keep to themselves. One of our goals is to cultivate a truly intercultural community, where the various groups interact with each other in peaceful and life-giving ways.
Finally, we will be partnering with pre-existing charities in the area, supporting them and partnering with them to further their work in the community. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. We would much rather work with someone who is already doing good things than to try and compete with them. It just makes more sense.
Because Paul and I are going to be doing all of these things as volunteer missionaries, we have to fundraise all of our financial needs for the year that we’ll be there. So if any of this resonated with you and is something you would like to help with in a very real way, there are a couple ways that you can do so.
First, you can give directly to our missionary page: web.nazarene.org/goto/californiadreaming
This gives you tax-deductible giving credit if that’s something you’re interested in.
Second, you can purchase some Scentsy products! We have partnered with a lovely lady named Kelly Tenney who believes in what we are doing and is helping us do some fundraising. This is a great way to support us and get some Christmas gifts at the same time! If you’d like to join us in our Scentsy fundraising party, just go to this link here: https://kellytenney.scentsy.us/?partyId=315768664. Once you click on the link, click on the “my open parties” tab at the top left (if you’re on a computer) or the dropdown arrow at the top right (if you’re on a cellphone) and make sure your current party is listed under the name Elizabeth Harding. Then just shop away!
You can also be praying for us, and we’ll make a post soon about what specific things you can pray for. Prayer is such a crucial part of ministry!
Thank you for caring about us and for sticking with us through this whole process. We really do appreciate it!