Over the past couple of weeks Sara has been sending out donation receipts to those who have given so generously to Lifestream over the past year. Of course, the vast majority of that went to help in Kenya where people were so impacted by drought and disease. In the past twenty years I have continually been amazed at how God has provided for all that we do here, from the books and travel, to the free website resources, and in the last few years to share with our brothers and sisters in Kenya who live in such incredible poverty.
We are not a relief organization, or even a missional one in the sense that our objective is to raise money for overseas needs. But you wouldn’t know that from looking at our financial expenditures last year. If you had shown me this chart last year and told me that’s what God was going to do in 2014, I would have thought you were crazy. We were simply touched by a need overseas. Dear friends from Kenya had come across a region north of them where over 100,000 peple were being decimated by extreme drought, destroying their food supply and ravaging them with disease. We simply offered to help and invited you to help too. What began with sending a few thousand dollars worth of food and water sort of snowballed—both with the need there, and the generosity of people who read this blog or listen to my podcast at The God Journey.
Honestly this was not in our budget or plans for this year. Who would have thought that we would be able to channel over half a million dollars by simply letting people know about the need? We didn’t take out any fees for our expenses or administration in gathering and wiring this money and quickly generosity begat generosity. Well, we certainly look like a missions organization now at least as far as our spending in 2014. Here’s what that looked like:
Someone wrote this week to get some more information on Lifestream and how we do what we do. Lifestream is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit ministry. For revenue last year we took in $344,000 in contributions and another $38,000 in book sales and other income. We spent $673,000 last year, with $531,00 of that going to our work in Kenya and $25,000 of that in travel and website expenses. We have two people on our payroll (myself and Sara) and we are free to do whatever God gives us to do to encourage people on this journey, connect them with others, and to share his resource among the corner of his family that we touch. As you can see our business model is unsustainable, spending more than we take in. It only works because of a past endowment we can access.
Almost two-thirds of our spending last year went to our brothers and sisters in Kenya to help relieve the suffering in North Pokot and open a wide door for the Gospel among a people who did not know about Jesus or his life. Over the next week or so our donation receipts will go out to those who helped make all of this possible. You can’t imagine how grateful we are and overwhelmed with gratittude that God let us be part of something so incredible. A year ago we didn’t even know these people existed or that we could help meet a need more worthy of far larger missions groups. But somehow God saw fit to use this little community in a corner of the web. So if you think this blog posting is bragging on Lifestream, you’re a bit confused. This was not about us! This was about fellow human beings being ravaged by need and how a small group of people from all over the world responded. You can read more about that here as this journey continues into 2015.
Love draws you into some pretty crazy space where God can do things beyond anything you would even ask for or imagine.