I don't normally cross over purposes here. But this weekend has been filled with a lot of interesting personal experiences. It has been exhausting, unnerving, and actually even uplifting.
My wife and I run a small non-profit that builds and sends work boats to missionaries in third world countries. Mission Navigation is a tiny operation, as I have a day job building yachts for the rich and famous. So, I am essentially a weekend missionary, of sorts. We have sent one boat to a mission in Haiti, and a second, for the same mission, is nearing completion. We have been doing this as volunteers for about five years and feel led to work at it full time.
Normally, when someone begins to raise support to enter the mission field, they circulate within the safe confines of their church affiliates. Somehow we can't seem to channel normal.
This weekend we have begun promoting our mission and introducing ourselves, with the intention of raising support, at a boat show. Sounds innocuous enough. Except there are strangers everywhere. For a hard-wired introvert like me, that is exhausting. But it has been fascinating as well.
We have met some very crusty individuals who can't fathom the concept that our faith motivates us to labor for insignificant and forgotten people. We have had complete strangers affirm us. And we have met some genuinely nice, down-to-earth folks.
We have not asked anyone for money. We believe that is a private decision between an individual and God. But we have had a few people who acted alarmed that we would try to pressure them into giving. Evidently there was another non-profit up the way from us that was calling out to people to donate as they walked by. Personally, I thought that was tacky and a bit presumptuous, but I suppose it is effective.
One of the coolest things is, we have encountered people who seemed to be inspired by our mission work. I would not go so far as to say that I am an important part of someone's life, but that is pretty cool.
In all, it is has been exhausting. But it has been a great way to take some vacation time.