Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Unneccessary Post That Proves I Care Too Much What People Think

I'm writing this post because I care approximately 100% too much about what people think of me. Well. Here goes.

Ben and I are doing something really exciting next week. We are going to attend the wedding of my dear Baylor friend Sarah in Madrid, Spain. The timing works perfectly, since it falls at the end of the semester, yet before Christmas. Spain! 
Sarah and Sergio listening to her dad's toast at their engagement party.
Twice in the past, we have gone on little trips, both in Haiti and just over the border in the DR, and have received ugly anonymous comments on this blog calling us "vacationaries". Really, I don't care too much about the occasional cowardly comment (that's a semi-lie... I was actually pretty upset)... but I do care about the legitimate questions that could be raised about this, due to the fact that we live on support. When we were invited last summer I raised the issue to a few friends, who also happen to be supporters. They both said I didn't need to explain this publicly... but I want to.

Ben and I worked in Dallas for a year before moving to Haiti. In that time we took the Dave Ramsey "Financial Peace" class and got seriously "gazelle intense" about our money. We started a special savings account for a dream we had- going to Europe together. This was the trip we were going to take before having kids. We saved for a year and got together a nice chunk of change. Then we decided to move to Haiti, and just put the money on the back burner. Now, two years later, we have this amazing opportunity to attend Sarah and Sergio's wedding.

So we're going. And we're using old money that we saved from Texas. And not current support money.

It's not that we don't budget, in our normal Haiti budget, for R&R. It's just that support money is, in our "we're rookies overseas" current conceptions of things, to be used for normal life- providing for needs (not only bare bones either), but just not exactly for extravagances. For example, we use support money to fly home for Christmas. Just not first class. We use support money to buy new clothes. But mostly at Target. Do you see what I mean?

My friend Tara, a Haiti-dweller with a fantastic blog, once wrote a funny story about getting randomly bumped up into first class by her airline, and feeling that she almost needed to hide in the Miami airport so nobody saw her boarding first class. As if they would immediately think she was "living large" and betraying her supporters' trust. It's a funny story, but hits a nerve- I think we feel that way sometimes. I was blessed last summer to receive a French manicure and pedicure as a gift by a bride whose wedding I was in, and every compliment I received afterward I felt I needed to follow up with, "It-was-a-gift-I-didn't-pay-for-this-I'm-responsible-with-my-donations-I-swear-I-swear-I-swear!"

Something about that is right, and something about it isn't right.

We need to think more on this. Or possibly guidance from those who've been doing this awhile. In any case, we take very seriously the responsibility of being given donations on which to live by a group of friends and strangers. We believe that in addition to wanting to honor our supporters' trust, we will have to answer to God for our use of that money. Further, we're open to legitimate and sincere questions.

So, I just wanted to say publicly, that yes we're going to Spain, and that no we're not using supporters' donations to do it.

There. Whew.



  1. My vote (for what its worth) is that you go and enjoy yourselves. Anyone in ministry is working with the support of others (even pastors, church secretaries, whatever). If you get a chance, go visit the little town of Toledo (although its way more fun when you can sit outside and drink a coffee or other liquid refreshment).

  2. It makes me mad that you think you even need to tell us this because there is someone out there who is judgmental and knitpicky. Is that how you spell that word?

    I digress.

    You go! You have fun!

  3. Katie and Ben:
    People who respond anonymous probably need to leave mean comments to make themselves feel better. IF people give to you - they do not want to live a martyrs life. You do work hard, you are making a difference and you need to pray and feel sorry for the people who try to tear you down. They are the one's who should be explaining themselves - not you guys.

  4. Makes me so sad that you had to write this :( Some 'supporters' are happy to give, as long as you remain unentitled to the kind of lifestyle they wouldn't question for a minute.

  5. "Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19).

  6. I understand the need to explain (even though you shouldn't need to) because I'd do the same thing. If it makes *you* feel better to have written an explanation, then it was the right thing to do for *you*.

    So now. Go have fun. And take LOTS of picture for us to enjoy! ;-)

    And some of us "anonymous" people are nice; we just don't like our names out there on the internet, but I think I've left enough comments in the past that I'm not *that* anonymous. And I think you know my (or my husband's) name anyway. :)

  7. Your post makes me want to support you - - and you can use the money any way you wish - - vacations, wine, food - - enjoy God's good gifts.

  8. Have a great trip! I hope you find money on the sidewalk to buy stuff!

  9. Katieroo,
    Unfortunately, these comments, if they come from supporters, are not giving unconditionally. Their heart is hardened by the judgement. I wonder what their relationships are like with others? Have Fun!!!

    Uncle Bubba

  10. :-) Katie,
    We went to the DR for 10 days and I FORCED myself not to explain or justify, but man was it difficult.



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