Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of missionary life is not the actual missionary journey itself – the cultural nuances, the hardships, the loneliness, etc., but rather asking people for help. It’s hard and humbling to live entirely on the support of other people, and it is really hard to ask for more – to be vulnerable and yell “help!’, but that is what we need to do.

We are in desperate need of a safe, reliable family vehicle that can withstand the roads of Addis. After selling our house, vehicle, and possessions in the states, and fundraising for our life here in Ethiopia, and now, after a year of life here, we realize that we made an error in not budgeting for a family vehicle. For the past year we have gotten by on renting a vehicle, until our budget could no longer handle the expense, and we had to turn the van back over. We then purchased a cheap 1968 VW bug. While this vehicle is cute and nostalgic, we are running into many problems. We are regularly using the vehicle to transport seven people, when it is only safe and regulated for four. The roads here are not good roads, and getting around in this VW Bug has become not only dangerous, but nearly impossible. The Bug is in the shop, more than it is in our compound. We are having to take taxis or rent vehicles short-term, which is really eating into our finances. It has broken down numerous times, and thankfully every time God has protected us. However, this is not a situation that our family, nor the Mercy Branch board, feels should or can continue. Getting our entire family plus Exley around in the VW Bug is just out of the question for any longer. The Bug will not remain in one piece with the wear and tear that we are daily placing on it. It is just too dangerous, illegal, and costing way too much money in repairs.

It has come to the point where we need to ask for help in purchasing a vehicle. Reliable, safe, family vehicles are expensive here. It is the reason we have tried to get by for as long as we have, and did not fundraise up front. It is a lot to ask of people – people who have already given sacrificially and so generously. We know that the Darling family and Mercy Branch Inc. cannot fundraise the money, but we are trusting that our God CAN and WILL. This is what we are asking God to provide for: we are looking to purchase a late model SUV or van that can accommodate the needs of both our family and ministry here. We will not be getting a top-of-the-line model, but something that is reliable and in the second tier here. The top tier Toyota vehicles sell for $75,000 consistently, however, we are looking to buy a vehicle for around $30,000.

If you feel led to answer our cry for “help!”, would you please consider donating to our vehicle fund? All donations are tax deductible, and every cent will go towards purchasing a family vehicle. Would you please spread the word to your churches, youth groups, cell groups, community, and social networks? Every little bit given will add up quickly. Thank you for being so generous to us and for always being such giving people. We are so thankful for each one of you that make our mission here in Ethiopia possible.

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