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God shows up in the form of $12,000

Josh and Jen Mendenhall started their World Race journey almost two years ago. They were originally part of the January 2012 C Squad. Then because their support raising wasn't going well, they deferred to the July 2012 F Squad and eventually the September 2012 L Squad. God provided just enoug…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Josh and Jen Mendenhall started their World Race journey almost two years ago. They were originally part of the January 2012 C Squad. Then because their support raising wasn't going well, they deferred to the July 2012 F Squad and eventually the September 2012 L Squad. God provided just enough money for them to launch and just enough to keep them on the field as each deadline came.

But by the end of their sixth month on the field, the money had run out. They had tickets to go home, and then a miracle happened.

From updates.theworldrace.org"I think it is best for you guys and the squad to go ahead and proceed as if you are definitely going home."

The tickets were bought. On March 5th, at the end of our six-month debrief with L Squad, Josh and I would be flying out from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and landing in Kansas City, Missouri.
Our Race was over. It was a hard reality, but one we had no choice but to face. With an over $10,000 deficit in our fundraising account and our final deadline for fundraising here, there was just no feasible way we could stay for the final five months of the Race. Tears were shed, emails to family sent, and an announcement was made to the squad.

I started the grieving process, and our squad did too. Losing the rest of the Race – something Josh and I have been preparing for for almost two years – is a big deal. We weren't just losing the experiences and the passport stamps. We were losing our family. We were losing the people we have lived everyday of the last six months with. They have laughed with us, cried with us, told us their deepest struggles, and loved us.

The next morning I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed my Bible and journal, and headed downstairs for our worship time.
After singing a line or two, my teammate Anton came over to me and asked, "Do you want to stay on the Race?"
"Yeah, I do."
"Okay. We're going to say something after worship."
During the worship and teaching, I was looking forward to that "something," but with a bit of nervousness. I wasn't sure what to expect, and honestly I was emotionally spent after the last few days.
In my journal, I wrote, "God, please do an incredible work through this last push from the squad. You know I'm at peace about going home, but it's definitely not what I want. I'm Abraham, with the sword poised above my son. Provide a ram – a way out of this."
After the teaching, our squad mate Tess got up to make announcements and invited Anton to come up. He grabbed his Bible and computer and began.
"I want to talk to you guys about something really important, and that is Josh and Jen. They are not going home because they choose to. They are going home because they need $10,000. There's $10,000 just sitting in this room. We are the body of Christ, and we have the power to help them. So, here's what we are going to do: We are going to pass out pieces of paper, one for everyone. There are 56 of us. The math works out to about $180 a person.

If everyone gives $180, they will have enough to stay.  

If some give more, that will leave room for others who are only able to give less. We're going to tally them up, and if it's not enough, we'll do it again. If it is still not enough, we'll call Adventures in Missions and see where that will get us."

He passed the papers out, and I began to pray. Tess came up, and asked if I wanted to share anything. I grabbed my journal, and made my way to the front. While I spoke, my squad mates wrote things on the papers, walked up to the front, and dropped them in a box. I shared my heart with my squad.
"These last few months, especially this one, have been an emotional roller coaster. I've been joyful, I've believed, and I've been upset and angry. I've cried out to God: 'Why would you give us this dream only to cut it short? Why would you give me a family that I love so much, just to take them away? Why did you promise me you would provide everything I need if you haven't?'

"I had never in my left felt so much like Job – alone and forgotten by God. 

"My heart hurt to think of all the people I could touch in the countries remaining on our route. I want to be part of God's work there. And it hurts thinking of not being with the squad. I love you – you are my family. Whatever happens, I want to remember that God is good. Nothing changes that. God is good, and he said, 'You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you.'

"I love you guys, and even if we go home, I want God to be glorified in it all."
I sat down, and Josh stood up to share.
"Back in Central America, God told me that we would be staying for the whole Race. I didn't want to share that with anyone, because I didn't know if I was actually hearing from him, or if it was just me. But I really do believe I hear from him and that he told me we are staying."
As the music played, I sat in my chair and prayed, "God, please do something. Please, please, please. Do something."
I opened my eyes. Anton handed Josh a slip of paper. Josh made his way back up to the front. I could tell by his body language that something was going on. "Just say it, just say it," I thought. My stomach was in knots.
"Well," he said, "they must have tallied it wrong, or I am reading it wrong, but it says $12,012."
I'm not exactly sure what happened after that. I kind of had a sobbing, emotional blackout. I think the squad started cheering, clapping, crying, I'm not sure. Someone embraced me from behind.
We're staying. We're staying on the Race. We're fully funded. I couldn't believe it.
I stood up, with tears streaming down my face, and made my way up to the front. Shaking, I said, "We've been waiting and waiting for a miracle. And you guys are our miracle. I don't even know how to say thank you enough. But thank you so much!"
Then our squad surrounded us and prayed over us. Lots of hugs, tears, and spontaneous worship.
It's been an absolute whirlwind. It still hasn't sunk in yet. Fully funded. We are fully funded. More than fully funded.
It turns out that due to an earlier miscommunication, tickets were accidentally bought for us to go to the next country a few weeks ago, so we got to leave with our squad. Our tickets home were already bought, and since it was too late to refund them, the cost would have to come out of our fundraising account. Their total? About $2000. The exact amount of extra money our squad gave above the $10,000 we needed. God had this miracle planned long ago, and our squad faithfully followed his lead.
So there you have it. Every last penny of the $31,000 has been raised. We have waited for this day for almost two years. And God made it happen in a more amazing, beautiful way than we ever imagined. The body of Christ in action – 56 people standing with us and meeting our need. I said so many times over this last month that all I wanted was for God to be glorified in this. We did it. He did it.

Comments (12)

  • For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. – 2 Chronicles 16:9

    Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

    So encouraging.

  • wow! I really needed to hear that today! God totally funded my World Race and now I am beginning the fundraising journey again and have been a little apprehensive about it. This weekend I stopped believing the lies and started believing the truth about God’s plan and provision and this is just another confirmation! Thank you!

  • Tears….a miracle indeed. Congratulations to this couple who now knows they are right where God wants them.

  • I had goose bumps all over me and a tear drop in my face as I read this. Behold how good and pleasant it is indeed for brethren to dwell together in unity…the unity of 56 Soldiers of Christ on this Squad brought the fulfillment of God’s word to Josh and Jen. How amazing! I stand in awe of this God!!!

  • Thank you for an amazing reminder of God’s faithfulness and the power of community! I am in my medical school lecture right now and feeling the presence of God =) Awesome!

  • I don’t think I’ll ever forget that morning. Our God is in control. Thanks for sharing Seth, I would have totally missed this blog.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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