We now have a fundraiser up on a giving site called youcaring.com. This is the first time we’ve done an online fundraiser, and it’s raised a lot of questions from others – and ourselves! Here are some of my thoughts on the process: (to see the fundraiser homepage, click here)
What are the main reasons you need a newer vehicle?
During our time in Thailand, we’ve been invited to do a number of things that involve traveling. Our roles with YWAM in Northern Thailand require visiting various ministry locations, and we also teach, contribute in leadership meetings, and attend or help lead outreaches into other provinces. Our car has been a great blessing, and we trust it every day on the roads of Chiang Mai. Longer trips do seem to come at a price though. Several times we’ve needed to send it to the shop shortly after returning home.
As our children grow, our transportation needs locally are expanding too. Dave has been getting to Thai class and other ministry functions on a motorcycle, but so far we’ve avoided taking our children anywhere with it. We hope that we won’t have to take that risk.
We’ve come to realize as well that 1st Class Insurance (which includes both liability and collision coverage) is only available on vehicles less than 10 years old. So buying an 8 or 9 year old car could mean losing the option of full coverage in just a few years.
Didn’t Dave Ramsey say never buy a new car?
Actually, he said never go into debt to buy a depreciating asset. We are not planning to have any debt and cars don’t depreciate in value nearly as fast in Thailand as they do in America. The 17 year old Toyota Corolla we purchased when we moved to Chiang Mai cost around 3 times what it would have in the States. Very high taxes (often up to 200% of the original value) on car imports, lower maintenance costs, and other factors keep the prices of new and used cars high. So while buying a used car feels very expensive, selling one might feel like a blessing!
This sounds like an awful lot of money. Do you really think you can raise that much?
It’s very overwhelming. We’ve never attempted to raise this much money before for anything. It would be nice in many ways to continue to put it off. We’ve been praying about this, and we are looking to God for our needs. It can be hard to do that when donations come from specific people. We also know that often needs have to be proclaimed before they are met. Asking for money is truly one of the worst parts of our calling, but it is the reality we live with. We are so grateful for all we have been given over the years. We don’t take it lightly that other believers have chosen to invest in us.
We’ve seen people struggle to raise $100 for a worthy cause and others raise millions for large projects with seemingly little effort. It can be hard to understand. We believe God is for us, and we know many people care for us. We hope no one will be offended that we asked, and that whoever does give will be able to do it willingly and cheerfully. We are trying to share the need with as many people as possible, allowing everyone to decide for themselves if they would like to be involved.
What happens if you only reach half your targeted amount?
We will do our very best to buy the best possible vehicle with whatever we get. We are trusting the Lord not only to provide finances for us, but to bring along the right deal on the right vehicle at the right time.
What if you end up leaving Thailand?
It’s not likely that we will be leaving Thailand any time soon. Having said that, we do realize that not everyone can stay in a place they feel called to for as long as they expect. We expect to keep anything we do buy in good condition and would hope for a good resale value. So a donation to us at this time is not just for an immediate purchase, but an investment in our family’s transportation needs long term. If we had to leave Thailand for whatever reason, we could use the money from selling the vehicle into another car wherever we would be off to next.
Isn’t the best time to raise money supposed to be in October?
That’s what we’ve heard. By God’s grace (and by yours), we’ve seen money come in when we’ve needed it, even at the most inopportune times (and often from places or people we didn’t expect). We know there are many other needs out there, and we don’t presume to in everyone’s focus all the time. We are simply sharing our need now because the best time for us to purchase something would be by the time our girls start the new school year.
Why didn’t you share about this earlier?
We’ve been thinking about it for a long time, but we’ve been finding other ways to get by. We’ve been praying and looking for wisdom into how and when to ask. As it is the biggest fundraiser we’ve undertaken, we’ve been hesitant. Nevertheless, it seems that now is the time.
How do you know you won’t spend all this money and get ripped off?
We can’t be 100% sure. But, we do know some reputable dealers and have friends who are knowledgeable about cars. In fact, one of our friends used to work at a car dealer and had to inspect cars that were being returned from leases to make sure they were still in appropriate condition. We will do our very best to find the most quality we can with whatever we receive.
If I give on the youcaring.com site, will it be tax-deductible?
No. If you’d like to receive a tax-deductible receipt for your gift, please send a check to the address below. We will receive 100% of the amount given and record the progress towards our goal as we are made aware that has been received. May God bless you in every way!
Make the check payable to “Willow Street Mennonite Church” with a note enclosed stating that it is for the car fund of David and Summer Houser, and mail it to:
2662 Hazelwood Rd.
Lancaster, PA 17601
If I give through the youcaring.com site, will you receive 100% of what I give?
It is possible, yes. The youcaring site is set up to allow giving for free, but they request a donation to make their site sustainable. After entering the gift amount, there is a place to enter a donation amount. There are options of 5%, other percentages, and 0. If you choose the 0 option, 100% of your gift would go to PayPal.com. PayPal is set up in such a way that a percentage is taken in each transaction, unless an account is “verified”. A “verified” account is simply an account that is tied to a specific bank account. So if you don’t have a PayPal account, you could simply create one and enter your bank account information and become verified. All of those steps are safe and free. If you gave from a verified PayPal account and selected “0” as your contribution to youcaring.com, then 100% of your gift would go directly to the fundraiser.