Relationships

Thank you and Happy New Year!

The last 12 months have been full of growth at The GO Fund. There is a myriad of things to be thankful for and look forward to as we move into 2019. One way The GO Fund staff recognized both 2018’s triumphs and 2019’s excitement was by meeting for the second annual “Dream Meeting.” It’s a time for the team to share implementable, culture-improvement ideas, which have positively changed the direction of the organization forever. Here’s an inside look at the 2018 Dream Meeting.

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Staff members took time to reflect and appreciate all that is happening within The GO Fund. Some are listed below!

Luke Womack, Executive Director:

As we reflect on what God has done through our Champions’ partnership with The GO Fund in 2018, we are in awe of the growth He has provided. Here are eight of the biggest accomplishments from this year:

  1. Growth from 17 to 43 missionary partners

  2. Growth from 4 to 7 team members

  3. Hosted two vision dinners for the first time

  4. Exposure in media outlets such as World Magazine and Pilgrim Radio

  5. Launched our first ever end-of-year campaign

  6. Launched the Ropeholder Event

  7. Launched a brand-new website

  8. Built a team culture of deep accountability

While we have significant prayers and plans for 2019, we pause to thank our Champions for their part in the accomplishments of 2018. Praise God for blessing the vision of The GO Fund in 2018, and for the countless champions who supported the work!

Matthew Nolen, Development Associate:

Launching the Ropeholder Event was definitely the most exciting project. I have never helped develop something and then put it out to the public in that way before.

What am I looking forward to in 2019? The GO Fund is growing fast and I think its super exciting to see how quickly things are changing. I truly believe we will look hugely different as an organization by the end of 2019, obviously our mission is set in stone, but how we creatively achieve the mission will change, and I think for the better.

Ashley Costelow, Director of Special Events:

I’m so excited for our 2019 Vision Dinners! being a part of them in the past as a volunteer was one reason I wanted to work for The GO Fund in the first place, so getting to actually plan them now and to see how God could grow them to invite more people into what He’s doing is amazing.

Jin Gill, Office Manager:

I love that I get to take care of administrative tasks so that the whole staff can do their jobs!

When I came into the position, I'd like to think that I brought order and organization to help The GO Fund run more smoothly. I also love going above and beyond my daily tasks and helping others with their projects. It's motivating because I know it's ultimately helping accomplish our vision to send the gospel to the unreached.

I particularly enjoy special projects where I can use my legal research and writing skills. I drafted a company holiday policy, researched state and federal laws to make sure TGF is in compliance and helped Luke with drafting documents for the Board of Directors — among other exciting things!

Chase Burns, Program Associate:

I am stoked to officially start my position in 2019. The last half of the year has been a challenge and a blessing. I have been support raising in order to begin working at The GO Fund and I look forward to this next year as I begin my new role. It is exciting to join an organization at a time of great growth and movement! Big things are in store this next year and I am honored to be a part of that. 


Thank you from all of us here at The GO Fund. May you all know, remember and rejoice in the reason we have our success and our hope this holiday season and as we move into 2019 – That the God of all creation and triumph is making his great name known among the nations and he lovingly and graciously invites us to take part. Happy New Year!

God's Heart for You

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When Jack and Laura arrived in Central Asia, they were open to the unknown as they entered two years of language learning and ministry-team building. It all began as they awaited the arrival of their firstborn son.

They gained their bearings. In the early stages of their transition, new sights, sounds and smells became more familiar. Jack and Laura* began to recognize neighborhood faces on frequently-traveled streets that lead to and from home. This was their life, their new normal. Then, they suffered a miscarriage.

In the months that followed, Laura’s hope spiraled downward. “I felt like the only person I had here was [Jack]. My [language] wasn’t there yet. We didn’t know our team leaders well before we came.” She said she wondered in those moments if God even cared about her.

In her darkest hours, Jack spoke truth of the Lord’s promises and character to her. “He never thought less of me and we became closer through it,” she said.

Months later, the couple was ecstatic to learn they were pregnant with their daughter. She was born in October 2017 and they gave her a name which means, ‘life.’

Shortly after she was born, amidst the excitement and the praise for their new joy, Jack began to feel increasing loneliness. The thoughts and feelings which brought him lower came and went but he said the way he felt in their second year of living in this country was significantly worse than their first.

The ever-present reminder that Jack was not in a culture or language he knew, with few friends other than his family, was paired with emotional wounds from his childhood he did not realize would affect him. 

“It’s hard remembering you do have a purpose when the day is menial or tedious,” he said. There were moments he could emotionally engage and be mentally present but then other times he simply could not.

Then, in a conversation with a friend, the couple was reminded of something they were told many months before.

The Lord brought you here not just for Central Asians. He brought you here to draw your heart closer to Him as well.

The trials which bring growth and perseverance only continue and at times are more stressful when living in a completely different context. Hearing friends’ and family’s encouragement from the States filled the couple with hope. Wisdom and love shared from near and far helped Jack and Laura to press through severe struggles, doubts and bouts of loneliness.

Through The GO Fund’s Ropeholder Event, after conversing with friends about who the unreached are and about the unfinished task, participants will have the opportunity to learn ways they can specifically pray for partners like Jack and Laura. Then, they can record themselves as a group and send videos of encouragement to the field workers they prayed for. 

It’s an event that not only brings you closer to understanding God’s heart for the nations, but also his heart for those who have gone out to them.

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 1:4-8

Jack and Laura are now finished with their intensive language program and they continue to grow in their understanding of Central Asian culture. Jack has been working through parts of his past that need healing. Their family joyfully pursues ministry opportunities and have seen the Lord consistently bring people into their path who are seeking truth. They are also expecting the birth of their second child in November.


*Names changed for security

Hopelessness Exposed - Suicide in Japan

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Before Ben knew when or how he would begin a ministry in Japan, before he knew he would be married to Grace* and prepare to live their life overseas, he was aware and burdened by a number. Every 15 minutes, someone in Japan commits suicide.

The Japan Times and Japan Today both reported the same numbers in 2009. An editorial written in The Japan Times states, “This suicide rate, compiled by the National Police Agency, means that more than 30,000 suicides occur every year, a third of a million people in a decade … It is a clear indication of serious social and psychological problems that deserve immediate, sympathetic and effective solutions.”

The tragic reality that thousands of Japanese are left feeling without purpose or a will to live is paired with another statistic that sheds harsh light on a lack of response. According to The Joshua Project, 3.1 billion individuals are unreached by the Gospel. In Japan, there are 123 million unreached people - Four percent of the world’s unreached people are in Japan.

From a young age, this information developed in Ben a desire to share the Gospel with the Japanese and show them how much they are loved and valued by their savior.

He and Grace met while earning their bachelor’s degrees and the two connected over their love for people. As they continued dating, Grace realized her heart was being specifically softened and burdened for the people of Japan. 

How would they get there? When would they know they would be ready? What could they do to help reach Japan’s lost?

“In Japan, you need to have education,” Ben said. “A Bachelors is basically a high school diploma.”

Their vision is to come alongside established churches and missionaries in the country and give them support they need. Eventually, they want to see a Japanese church planted and somehow incorporate a mental health and wellness program that promotes suicide awareness and prevention.

They want to bring psychologists, doctors and counselors into the work that needs to be done so they can see a generation of Japanese healed in a holistic way.

A halting weight they could not escape was their student loan debt from the degrees they need to be truly effective in Japan. By their estimation, it would take them eight years to pay off the debt that holds them from going.

One night, Ben stumbled across The GO Fund’s website. He thought, “there is no way this can be real.”

He and Grace did apply with The GO Fund’s student debt repayment program and were contacted one week after pushing the ‘send’ button. Program Director, Matt Sonke, greeted them over the phone and dispelled their doubts. Yes, the Lord is using a generous group of believers, Champions, to lift their barrier.

“It was further confirmation of our plans,” Ben said. “It solidified our calling in a way. We thought, ‘God wants us to go sooner than it would take to pay off our debt.’”

The couple is finally there and it's thanks to you, our Champions. Champions give their talent, time and treasure to The GO Fund and it allows this family to reach Japan, completely unhindered to love on a people who desperately need to know their own value.


*Names changed for security