Our return trip to Abeche

This post was written while we were in Chad.

Today was our trip to Abeche, from Mongo! This trip was the result of five months of planning and prayer. We were so glad to make it here at last!

Sharon is still recovering from her illness, and from a busy, big day of preparation yesterday. I started yesterday off by refilling our water supply from the well in the courtyard. This involved throwing a bucket with a roped tied to it down the well. It was difficult for me to get the bucket to tip into the water so it could fill up. I didn’t realize how heavy a bucket full of water is when you are pulling it back up! After many successful attempts, I obtained about 65 gallons of water, and it took me until 11 AM due to my lack of experience. So, that’s why our friends, the Avileses, are so careful with water!

Continue Reading »

A Wild, Exhausting Journey through the Sand

On Saturday, as we traveled back from Iriba, we took a wrong turn, and found ourselves headed to Adré. Mind you, the road wasn’t so bad; however, it was disconcerting to drive 30 miles on a road that led 90 miles away from our destination. We arrived in Adré at 8 PM, and in Abéché at 11:45 PM. When we arrived in Adré, I decided to keep going; we didn’t know where to find a guest house, or if they would even have a place for us.

Without road signs to guide us on the road, we used the GPS that we’ve had for about a decade now, thanks to our friends at Lebanon Assembly of God! Because we knew where we were going, we stayed the course rather than bolt on a country road in panic.

Continue Reading »

Seven Steps You Must Take BEFORE You Get An EIN For Your 501(c)(3)

Are you planning on starting your own Nonprofit in 2017?  If so, don’t apply for an EIN number first, like I did.

We received an early Christmas present from the IRS this year.  They sent us our letter certifying our ministry’s tax-exempt status!  I felt so excited and nervous that I had my wife open it and read it aloud to me.

Along the way, I did a few things right.  I also made a LOT of mistakes along the way. Yet somehow, we made it through.

learnersdictionary.com relievedOne of the biggest mistakes I made in setting up our non-profit was to start the process by applying for an Employee Identification Number (or EIN).  It was so easy!  It left me feeling the excitement that the dream of having our own mission agency was truly coming to pass!

However, a year later, I found out from our tax advisor that applying for an EIN number starts the countdown toward the month when you are required submit your 1023 Form to the IRS.  Also, from the day you obtain your EIN number, you are expected to submit forms 941 quarterly and 990 annually.  If you don’t know how to fill these out, or even that you must do so, there will be penalties to pay.

When I applied for an EIN number too early, I put in a lot of long hours in order to meet the deadline.

To cover myself, I must warn you that I am not a lawyer.  You should always consult a legal professional before taking a step as serious as establishing your own Nonprofit.

Despite the risk, I feel a sense of obligation to “give back” as others generously gave to me.  We started this Nonprofit on a shoestring budget.  I know what it’s like when finances are tight at the start, and how precious good advice can be.

To help you avoid some of the trouble and anxiety I endured along the way, here is a list of seven steps you should take before you apply for your EIN number.

Continue Reading »

Delivering packages and a post office miracle

This post was written while we were in Chad.

Last night, I got the call that a flight was coming to Iriba! So I finished packing and set the alarm for early morning. I was out the door at 7 AM this Saturday morning, before anyone in the house was up. There was a lot of waiting, but finally the plane showed up. It was empty except for one pilot and a cargo of school supplies. Apparently they had stopped in Guéréda as well.

I was on the ground in Abéché by 9:30 AM, with 10,400 CFA in my pocket. The post office closes at 11 AM, so I hurried to drop off my luggage, and headed to the bank. But the ATM was down, so I went on to the post office by 10:20 AM. The nine packages cost 20,230 CFA to withdraw, but they were gracious enough to release them to me, provided I gave them the 10,000 I owed them on Monday.

Continue Reading »

Wanted: More Lone Rangers

The Most Misunderstood Hero of the Wild West

We need to be Lone Rangers in the Kingdom of God.  Throughout my life, I’ve heard preachers say the opposite, but it’s simply not true.  God is looking for Lone Rangers who will bravely go where others arelone rangers and silver too afraid to make an eternal difference.

Did you ever listen to the original Lone Ranger radio programs or watch the original TV series?  I highly recommend it, no matter how old you are.

While I work in the office on mindless but important projects, I intersperse podcasts of sermons and entrepreneurial wisdom with old-time radio programs, like The Lone Ranger, Superman, Challenge of the Yukon and Gunsmoke.

These stories from the Golden Age of Radio not only bring a little fun to my life; they also teach me how to tell inspiring stories to children and adults.  This is a skill that I need to develop if I wish to mobilize others to join me in the Harvest Field in Christ’s Service.

Continue Reading »