If you haven't heard the word by now, LoveGlobal (the launchpad for lots of independent missionaries) had to make some hard decisions these past days. The CRA (Canada Revenue Agency in charge of Canadian nonprofits, their standing, and status) demanded of the LoveGlobal board that it needed to narrow its focus. Up until now, anyone with a hair-brained idea for God could petition to have a fundraising page on LoveGlobal, thus giving donors a charitable tax receipt and awareness for the missionaries. We were crazy misfits from all around the world.
However, according to the CRA and its understanding of LoveGlobal's mission, for LoveGlobal to keep its own charitable status it needed to focus exclusively on foreign missionary projects. Long story short: all Canadian missionary projects have been dropped as of today, January 01 2013, including Coming Home.
So now what?
Technical glitches occur all the time, but this news remained a mystery to me until yesterday afternoon. I had no time to prepare myself nor create a new plan for the new year. The emails just didn't reach my inbox. It's been quite the blow. Ironic isn't it? First world countries are thought to have enough resources and connections for projects like Coming Home to emerge, so the focus (again) remains on foreign outreach. Yet many Canadian NPOs are struggling just to stay afloat.
Not that I've raised a Donald Trump's sum on the LoveGlobal platform, but it still offered people a sense that I'm taking this calling seriously. This isn't a feel-good cup of holiday cheer. I was drawing blueprints for Sanctuary House at the age of 19… 2nd year of college. I've researched human trafficking, youth trafficking, labour trafficking; I've tried linking systemic patterns between other issues and trafficking knowing that nothing in this world stands alone (for example, is it only by chance that aboriginal women and girls are the target of choice in Canadian domestic sex trafficking? I don't think so, Tim); I been trained by The Not For Sale Campaign, worked with it as a regional director for a time, worked with ACT-Alberta, spoken to churches, schools, and youth groups; I even chose the precise grad program I'm in because it offered the best program for engaging social justice and faith together wherever I was in the world.
This isn't a fly-by-night whim. (and yes, I'm well aware of the many, MANY people who know more than I do about trafficking, and the mountains of learning I still have to do)
Some donors have no need of a tax receipt and have generously donated to me personally to help realize this dream. While to me these folks seem like dream donors, I also recognize the need for financial transparency that charitable status can bring, strengthening any NPO (hopefully), even for all of the red traps…err… "tape". 😉
So what now?
Part of me has already said: "I GIVE UP!!!!"… haven't coalesced a working board, can't afford even the smallest of homes, still receive opposition because I see Coming Home as quite ecumenical (or inter-denominational, whatever you wan to call it; but a place where Catholics can learn faith and praxis from Lutherans, and Baptists from Orthodox, etc.) and some people are sincerely opposed to this (seriously… why are folks STILL refusing to learn from Catholics???), and have accumulated the princely sum of about $1300 in the bank to begin creating this safe haven for exploited youth. In oil boom country, that's not even peanuts… that's peanut shells.
And I told this to God, too. I told God that I've given up, and I'm ready to walk away. When people wonder if I'm actually thinking of trying this out in Lac La Biche, I'm ready to say: "Nope! You had your chance. We all bunged it up! It's over." (stomp, stomp, stomp… me walking away in my heavy winter boots because you know, it's snowy and cold out).
What's God about?
"Good!" says God. "Now let's get the ball ROLLING!"
"So what if this door was closed? So what if there's opposition? So what if you've only got 5 loaves and 2 fishes? This is ME you're talking to!"
I'd be lying if I told you that I'm now uber-excited to see where God's going to take us next. On the contrary, I'm suspicious, faith-battered, confused, downtrodden, and drop-kicked. Oh yeah… sure, sure… transformation… "oh ye of little faith"… blah, blah, blah… (don't be shooting arrows at me for being frustrated with the Christian-ese answers, because I know ya'll were thinking them too).
What I DO sense is… relief.
I don't believe I ever tried to take this calling away from God or take over or take control. God's been present and up front since before I was born, thank you very much. But in an effort to shove this dream off the ground and give it legs, I've walked through every door (sometimes beaten them down if they were open but a crack), tried every window, and even hopped through an archway or two. God was there. God approved. "Walk! Climb through! Hop! Let's see where THIS takes us!"
Sometimes God can seem like bit of a mischievous scamp, no?
Maybe during this break I'll be better able to absorb the lessons of all this hoop-jumping… maybe by sitting still for a while, others can come around… maybe I needed to get bruised. (gritting my teeth as I type this)
Not to mention, I've been quite ill at the Dream-Talkers… you know the kind: "never give up on your dreams", "live, love, laugh", "create your own destiny"… they've become like talking heads and sound like adults in Charlie Brown cartoons ("wah-wah-wah-wah-wah…"). If I create my own dream, guaranteed I'll step on yours and then where we'll we be? In community? I don't think so. I believe God is passionate about dreams coming to fruition, but I have to say… the eternal optimism of some people is nauseating. I'm an idealist, for sure, but a far cry from an optimist.
I'm not committed to the dream; I'm committed to God. They are two very different things.
Where are we going next?
Well, I'll keep plugging away at my grad degree… interviewing local at-risk youth about their experiences and expressions of spirituality. This, in essence, will become part of the bedrock of identifying the need for Coming Home.
Other than that… I'm waiting.
Want to keep waiting with me?