It is often said that we live in a world where everything is about the here and now, we need immediate gratification for things, if we want something, we want it NOW. And to some degree, that is true. The main reason being because when people want things, they nearly always have the capacity to GET things - the increase in bank loans, credit card usage, and as a result, debt, is a constant reminder of that. You only have to be watching the TV for ten seconds before an advert about 'reducing your credit card payments' or 'one easy loan to pay back other loans' comes on.
I'm pretty easy-going when it comes to money. What I have, I generally share. I very rarely manage to save up for things. My general motto is, if I have the money, I'll use it, if I don't, I won't. That may be due to my upbringing; we never had money to throw around, and if we didn't have the money to buy something, we generally didn't buy it. We made do with what we had. But I don't feel that I was ever deprived of anything. As long as you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food on the table, you're richer than about 90% of the world's population.
Saying that, the one thing that initially held me back about doing this year was the worry that I would not be able to afford it. £2950 is more money that I had ever dreamed about. But what I didn't take into account, was the wonderful generosity of the people around me, and the faithful nature of God, who makes things possible. Since deciding to do Optimum, God has provided for me, when I learnt to trust in him. Whilst I was worrying about getting the money, and panicking about whether or not I would get on with the people at the church, I had nothing. As soon as I trusted that God would provide, I got everything. The money, a wonderful host church, a wonderful host family, and people who care and support me in my work. What else could I need?
The one thing I have always wanted to do is work abroad with children, in a country where the people are not rich with money, but instead, rich with love and kindness. It's my dream. If an opportunity arises to do that, I'm going to take it. And I'm going to trust that God will provide the resources for me to do so.
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."
Psalm 28: 7