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Reflections from the Road - Number IV

Anthony Elswick


One of the main goals of raising support is simply trying to get your story out.  If you want people to support the ministry then, of course, they need to hear about what you are doing.  One way we do that is to try to identify like-minded churches that we can introduce ourselves too.  After finding several churches we want to connect with, I plot the churches in my Best Route App giving me the optimal route to take and head off in the Missions Mobile (my Corolla) to drop off our “Introducing Team Elswick” package for churches. 

Last week I did the rounds in the greater Orlando area driving over 100 miles dropping by churches, introducing myself, and leaving our contact information.  I did it twice in North Carolina and one other time in South Carolina.  Sometimes I get to meet the pastor, sometimes I just drop it off with the church secretary and sometimes nobody is there and the office is closed. 

Without a doubt the hardest part of doing the rounds is choosing what music to listen to on Spotify.  Of course, you can never go wrong with some old school Christian alternative like Plankeye or Supertones.  It helps bring back some fun high school memories.  Recently I found an upbeat worship station on Spotify which I am getting into.  But the tried and true driving music is probably also the most obvious – Celtic Punk (that’s what you were guessing right?).

September 2014 Update

Anthony Elswick

Just last week we hit an exciting milestone in our support raising – we are now at 75%!   We are amazed by the generosity shown to us and by our supporter's excitement to see pastors trained and churches planted in Nicaragua.  But while it’s great to be where we are, we still have the other 25% to raise.  We currently have about nine churches considering supporting us and church support will go a long way in getting us to the field.  Please pray that those churches would join our support team.  Also, please pray for many families to join our support team.

As you read this, we have already began an extended road trip for support raising.  We are currently in the Bradenton area.  Tony was able to preach at an exciting new church in the area, Harbor Community Church and we were able to schedule some meetings this week.  We are headed from Bradenton down to the Fort Lauderdale area for 2 weeks and then we head to MTW’s area retreat for a week.  Please pray for safe travels!


What I Love About Support Raising

Anthony Elswick

I visited a new church this past Sunday to which I had very little previous connection, they were a part of a network of churches that another one of our supporting churches is a part of but that is about it.  I emailed the pastor a few times before going, just to give him a heads up that I would be there.  So, I drove an hour to this church and was blown away. 

I’m a nerd on many levels and certainly church is one of those levels, so I am always interested to see how churches are set up especially when they don’t have a building.  This one met at a movie theater but they had done a wonderful job making it feel like church.   The place was packed and you could actually feel a level of excitement as the church service started.  The worship was amazing and so was the preaching and I could really see why it was growing so quickly so fast, but the most amazing thing for me was what happened after the service.

As people where exiting, I hung back a little to allow the pastor time and space to pray for people in his congregation who wanted it.  Then I introduced myself and we spoke for a few minutes about the church, our family and what my work will be in Nicaragua.  And then… he had the church cut me a check!  The generosity blew me away! 

We are going to get back together when we have a more relaxed atmosphere to talk but it was so encouraging to experience a church that is freely generous towards missions.  That’s one of the reasons why I love support raising.  You get to have Sunday’s like this one where you get surprised by other people’s generosity and love of missions.

Reflections from the Road - Number III

Anthony Elswick

horse drawn reflections.jpg

When you are a support raising missionary you spend a lot of time in your car thinking and driving and sometimes, to be honest, the driving takes longer than the back log of thoughts that I have stored up in my head and this is especially true when I am driving alone.  Its in this state that you can notice things you normally wouldn’t – like rip in the space time continuum just south of a small town called South Bay.  After South Bay you have about a 45 minute drive through everglades and sugar cane fields.  Now when I say, 45 minutes, I mean it is 45 minutes by the clock but it certainly feels closer to 2 hours.  Which is why we need to put our best minds on that – figuring out how to harness this time warp to travel through time and what not.

But it’s all worth it because at the end of the road is family and friends.  I grew up in Fort Lauderdale and we lived there for about five years after we got married so we know a lot of people there and have a lot of contacts there.  It’s also where my family lives, which makes the trips extra special.  On our last trip down, we got to celebrate Bethany’s birthday with the whole family at a Children’s Museum on a Saturday and on Sunday my parents took the girls to Butterfly World so Amber and I could focus on support raising.  Support raising in an area where you have family is a real blessing.


Reflections from the Road - Number II

Anthony Elswick

You know that you have been driving from Fort Lauderdale to Winter Haven a lot when you start to consider Clewiston to be a big town.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking Clewiston, I am sure it is a fine place to live and to farm sugar and what not, but it’s a really small town.  But now with its Walmart, several fast food choices and traffic lights, it feels like an Oasis of civilization amid the endless road that is US27.  

A couple of weeks ago I was driving down to Ft Lauderdale to meet with people and visit a couple of churches.  One of those church was Christ City Church in Miami.  It was planted a few years ago by my good friend Jose Prado.  We used to attend the same church together in Miami Lakes we were disciple together and started having our first two kids around the same time.  But the main reason why I love going back to Christ City is to hear Jose’s preaching which is always inspiring.  Seeing God use Jose is definitely worth the drive. 

Reflections from the Road - Number I

Anthony Elswick

Steve Tamayo is a communication Ninja!  You may not know Steve, but I do, and I have benefited greatly from our friendship.  We got to stay with him, his wife Amy, and their two sons on our recent trip to North Carolina.  We had previously known them from when they lived in South Florida working with Intervarsity but it was great to see that they were settling in at Pittsborro.

We stayed with them for two nights, the week before I was going to speak at a Presbytery in South Carolina.  For those of you who don’t know, Presbyterians get their name from their form of government where local churches are grouped together and their elders meet quarterly to have a worship service, discuss joint business, and exam and ordain new pastors.  During these meetings, missionaries are allowed a five minute presentation.  Heading into the week, I was feeling like my presbytery presentation needed a bit of a tune up.

Steve stayed up until midnight with us crafting the presentation, trimming the fat and pretty much reshaping the entire message.  We changed it to center on the benefits of having a focused missions strategy in which you connect your short term trips to a long term goal working with a career missionary.

I went to presbytery later that week and thanks to Steve’s help I felt much more confident with my new improved presentation.

August 2014 Update

Anthony Elswick

 Have you ever wondered what the total resell value of your possessions were?  I've never really thought too much about it myself... but now I know... because we sold just about everything we owned.  It's a funny feeling helping someone carry your couch and bed out of your house on the same day. It is certainly a point of no return!  We spent June cashing out our accumulated possessions so that we could downsize and move out of our home.  Amber's parents have been gracious in letting us stay with them until we finish raising the rest of our support.
     No sooner did we move everything out of the house, did we hop on the highway like a band of gypsies (in the words of Willie Nelson).  Tony was invited to preach at The Lighthouse Church in Pembroke Pines and then we drove up to North Carolina.  We spentthe next few weeks circling between North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia reconnecting with old friends, meeting new ones and raising support.  In Georgia we stopped by the MTW office do some paperwork and received prayer by the staff!
     We are back in Florida for the time being and trying to wrap up the rest of our support raising.