Its often difficult to see the effects of what we are doing. Actually, let me rephrase: it is often discouraging to see that most of the things we do seem to have little or no effect.
A couple weeks ago we did another staff fundraiser. As the area of communicating about their missions work and finances is an area that needs growth for most of the staff here, we started months in advance: preparing, encouraging, and teaching. I timed my trips to Kigali over several months so that I could be there regularly for staff meetings to inform, plan, encourage, and answer questions.
I had expected that since this was our second time around, it would be much easier, and many of the staff would be more enthusiastic because they had an idea about what would happen. I hoped that they would sign up right away, be prepared with people to invite, would come prepared with pictures/prayer cards to hand out, and would generally need less from me to make this happen.
A few days before I almost called the whole thing off.
It was only the huge amount of work I had seen 2 staff put into it, plus my overwhelming sense of duty to do what I had said I would that convinced me to go to Kigali to do the final preparations a few days before the event.
Once I did get there, though, and considered carefully, I was amazed at how much the staff have grown, and how much we learned from the first time. Since I wasn’t in Kigali, there were a lot of things I couldn’t do myself in the preparation stages. One of the staff members took over the job of point person in Kigali, and she communicated and got so many things done. And no, most of the staff didn’t observe the deadlines we made. But we knew ahead of time that deadlines would be ignored, and so we set the deadlines much earlier than we actually needed things done. (Eg, we didn’t need to know a month in advance how many people were coming, but by asking that early, when it came time to shop the day before, we had a pretty good idea.)
Many of the staff who participated reluctantly or without understanding last year, were much more prepared and enthusiastic this year. In addition, there was a handful of new staff who did a great job preparing and hosting people.
Mike and I also learned some things that made the event go much more smoothly this year. Last year we made enough food for about 2 and half fundraisers. This time we were close to running out (yikes!), but we had enough, and didn’t have all that extra! We were better able to deal with things like wanting to prepare ahead, but not having enough fridge space. We had power outage near the beginning that left us without light, speakers, and drinking water, but people rose to the occasion to deal with these things (candles, a generator, and the store).
I didn’t hear from everyone, but the people I did speak to were quite pleased with the outcome. Several of them really felt like the people they invited understood this time. They asked thoughtful, perceptive questions, and said things that showed it made more sense what these YWAMer’s are doing! That was exciting, and a big part of the reason we do this.
Additionally, there were financial commitments made! The follow through on these kind of commitments is never 100%, (which was one thing that left some of the staff discouraged after last year), but if there is SOME follow through, it could be a radical change for the financial situation of some of these staff members.
I’m thankful that the way I felt about this several days before was not reality, and for the ways I can see changes and growth because of some of what we have done!