I was very excited as I drove out of the parking lot of Westview Church in Hays. I had just passed on an invitation for them to join us at ‘Get Plugged In’, a yearly event we put on that invites all area churches and college ministries to come welcome students to Fort Hays State University campus in the name of Christ. Westview was one of the last churches on my list to invite; I had made personal connection with almost every other church on the list, culminating with them and a couple others that day.
Sometimes it is tempting for me to look at ‘Get Plugged In’ as just another event our ministry does, but my thinking has really been challenged on that subject in my prayers and meditations this last month. I have come to realize that I sometimes look at the ministry work as ‘my area’ of God’s Kingdom ministry, but that really isn’t what I am supposed to do. When I look at it that way, the things I have to do just become things to do, and that can sometimes remove the heart and excitement. Instead, I have to look at the broader picture of God’s Kingdom advancement here in Hays. In truth, I can still see very little even of that—His Kingdom is far too complicated and moves in ways we often don’t look for. Nonetheless, we are called to seek first His Kingdom and live for Him. As I seek that out in prayer and through reading scripture, I cannot escape that the chance for churches to come onto campus and serve students in love is a hugely powerful potential for Kingdom advancement. So many students on campus view Christians as pushy individuals who want to make everyone think the same way they do and who don’t really care about others. Since Jesus commanded us first to love God and others, this shouldn’t ever be the case—and this is a rare opportunity to challenge that perspective en masse.
It is the heart of ‘Get Plugged In’ that churches come to welcome students as the churches themselves want their college students welcomed in other cities, and that the churches and ministries come to serve students humbly in love—expressing our genuine, God-given concern for others. Hopefully some churches will bring care packages, some will bring food, and some will bring entertainment and opportunities to connect with the community. Ultimately, I pray that all bring smiles and sincere love. If the students at Fort Hays see this, it can substantially rock the negative perspective that many of them have. It is also a great way for incoming Christian students to connect with churches.
Seeing it in this light, I have been much more excited this year to spend a week and some promoting it one-on-one to the churches. It takes quite a bit of time to promote the event this way, but it is the best (and really the only) good way to convey the heart of the event and a sincere invitation. I know there were several churches I had to only leave materials at because the person who needed to receive them wasn’t in, but I hope to be able to follow up with each of them and convey this exciting opportunity in person.
I am also extremely excited for our game nights and coffee house to switch back to Fridays over the semester and for what may transpire there. I feel that we have a stronger team of committed individuals who genuinely want to see that night and ministry grow, and we have some chances to do that by partnering with some other ministries and offering new alternatives late at night. I will go into that further in the quarterly ‘Unite Updates’ (I plan to send a special one out next month), so I will save talking about it in greater detail for that newsletter.
Finally, I am genuinely excited to see how God will answer prayers regarding my personal finances and missionary support. I have long been hesitant to put myself out as a missionary who could use support since God has always provided for my needs day to day (as He promises
He will if we seek first His Kingdom). That provision has been a profoundly powerful faith-building experience. When I started this endeavor, I had no set supporters. It was difficult for me beyond words to jump out and trust Him. I spent three months continuing on with my job even though I knew that I should resign it to do this ministry full-bore simply because I didn’t see how He could provide for me. I distinctly recall thinking of Matthew 5—when He said that if we seek first His Kingdom that He’ll provide our basic needs—and realizing that I didn’t truly trust in what He said (or I’d have already resigned my job to do the ministry I knew I should do). I even recall sarcastically wondering how I would eat with no income and pay rent and cellphone bills—was manna going to fall from heaven? Still, I eventually jumped, and He always provided month-to-month. It was usually last minute and just the right amount to make it—often through an odd temporary job, something I owned selling, or through a surprise last-minute support check. One time a couple even contacted me out of the blue, hardly knowing what all I did, because for one month only they were switching churches and wanted to send their tithe my way; it was exactly what I needed to make that month work. Ultimately, He showed me that He does live up to His Word and that I need to trust Him more.
That is why, after the initial wave of support letters over two years ago, I haven’t sent out anything further stating that I need support. I didn’t want to do it out of a spirit of fear—not trusting God for providence and hoping some new supporter would come through—instead I only wanted to do it if I knew beyond a doubt that I was trusting God and this was just another way for Him to provide. Over those two years, He has shown me beyond a doubt that He will provide and that part of that providence comes through the support of those He leads to be financially involved in me as a missionary (and also through those He leads to financially support the ministry I lead in the rare instances in which it needs money); it may be that He has some people prepared to support me that I don’t even know about because I haven’t made the need known. All that I have to do is be honest when I present the need and make sure people understand that it is an invitation to participate in this part of the Kingdom work ONLY if they are led to or if they wish to; if their money is supposed to be going to some other part of the Kingdom work, then I do not want it coming to me. That is why I will be certain to ask people to pray about it and see what they feel God is saying they should do. Presenting the opportunity for support in this light, I am excited to see what the full range of His providence may be.
As such, I am including a missionary support profile with this newsletter, and I am asking all of you who keep up with the ministry, those who pray for us, and those who already financially support me to please pray about what to do with it—and especially to pray and see if there is anyone you know who may want to participate financially or prayerfully in this part of the Kingdom work. If a person or a church or entity sticks out to you in prayer, please pass the profile on to them OR contact me so that I may contact them. I am happy to send more profiles if you need them, or to come speak to private individuals or even churches and other entities about my life as a missionary and the ministry. I have no way of knowing who may already be prepared to prayerfully or financially support me and the ministry, but I am excited to see what God plans. Thank YOU so much for your financial support, and ESPECIALLY for your prayers! Please keep praying for the Kingdom work here and for all of us involved in it!
Name: Brandon Nimz
Location: Hays, Kansas
Status: Full Time Missionary as of 2010
Position: Missionary and Unite Ministry Leader
Missionary Support (current): $907/mo
Missionary Support goal: $2,320/mo
I find it easy to trust Christ with my death because I don’t have control over what happens after I die, but I find it hard to trust Christ with my life. He asks us to surrender our lives for Him: to give up our hopes, our dreams, and our kingdoms and follow Him (Luke 9:23-24). He also promises that He has better for us if we do; God has shown me that this is true.
My name is Brandon, and I am a support-based missionary in Hays, KS. About two years ago I felt led to begin ministry 24/7 in Hays. The problem was that I would not be able to continue my 40 hr/week job. In Matthew 5 is says that if we seek first God’s Kingdom He will provide our basic needs; however, when it came to actually resigning my job with a stable income to ‘seek first the Kingdom’ with no prospect of income, I learned that I didn’t trust God’s Word as much as I thought I did. How was He going to provide? I had bills to pay, and I did the math. If I sold everything I owned including my car, computer, and clothes then I could make it one year at most, and that didn’t sound great to me; yet everything kept pushing me towards that decision. God spoke to me through some missionaries, I had an opportunity to join a nonprofit so that people could tax-deductibly support me (though I had no supporters at the time), and I had a chance to move out of my one-bedroom flat into a three bedroom house with four college guys. Throughout all of this, I felt a weight and more clearly knew what I had to do. Finally, like a kid who is terrified of going off the diving board into deep water will often do, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and jumped.
He caught me. Somehow ends met every month, usually with pennies to spare. Either something I owned would sell, I would get a last minute odd job that didn’t conflict with Kingdom work, or someone would send a support check just in time. Over two years I have gone from no financial support to almost $907 per month, and I haven’t had to sell my car or computer.
God has grown the ministry and has given me more in life than I ever could have asked for. God has used me and changed me. The ministry has grown from scratch to now include multiple small groups, large community and campus events (‘Get Plugged In’ and [alt]), several community projects reaching into different areas, a small coffee-house and game night that offers an alternative to the bars on Friday evening, mission trips and ministry trips, and more besides! Each day is rich, each day is an adventure, and each day is more of a blessing than I can possibly explain. It is true that we have to surrender our lives to let God show us what He built us for and for Him to give us true life and life to the full, but He is faithful and He will live up to His Word. Thank God for His blessings and providence!
Missionary Work (what I do)
Daily I have to ask God to help me surrender my kingdom and live for him for whatever the day may bring. While most days have quite a few scheduled things that happen in the ministry, much of the time is spent on surprising things that I didn’t know were going to come up in my day. Sometimes I will run into someone who needs to talk, sometimes a college student will call who needs a jump start or an emergency ride from the airport or a place to stay. Sometimes the calls are much more serious and involve violence, suicide, rape, and other hard parts of life; though often difficult, these are the times I live for. Suffice it to say, much of the ministry work that I do cannot be planned for in advance or quickly explained on paper.
That said, a good part of the missionary work can be briefly explained. I lead a few small groups of college students and congregation members from multiple churches that meet on campus on different days at different times. These groups are open to any students who are near to sit down with and even to join, if they wish. We spend some time reading the Word and some time sharing about life and praying for each other.
I also oversee a small non-profit coffee house that is open Friday nights as an alternative to the bar scene with a game night that lasts until after the bars close. This year we hope to serve more varieties of coffee, to work with another ministry that would meet before game night to talk about God (and game night students could come early to join in on that), and to have a ‘technically Sabbath’ at midnight where the game night students who want to can join in the chapel for a small discussion, some prayer, and possibly singing (those who didn’t want to join in on that could continue playing their games).
Unite, a local ministry I founded (more at www.unite-haysks.com) also holds yearly events like ‘Get Plugged In’ (which invites all local college churches and ministries to campus to welcome the incoming freshman to Hays in the name of Christ) and we help with [alt] (a Christian rock festival that is an alternative to the partying after Oktoberfest). We further take trips to NOMADS mission conference and usually take at least one large mission trip to a children’s home in Juarez and to Joe’s Addiction in Oklahoma City.
Beyond that, I weekly meet one-on-one with quite a few individuals to chat about life, relationships, and faith. Some of these times are just to build relationships, while others are to provide tangible help or some advice or mentorship. Along with these meetings, I try to somewhat regularly talk with local ministry leaders and to develop relationships with the 24 churches in Hays. This is important as part of the mission of ‘Unite’, and it helps me better serve the Kingdom here in Hays. Furthermore, it helps us get multiple congregations involved with our small groups, game nights, and big events like ‘Get Plugged In’.
Though there are not regular meetings at set times, I also help with international student ministry, some types of bar ministry, and a little bit with the Hispanic churches in Hays. If you want more information, please send me an email (Brandon.Nimz@gmail.com), give me a call (785-259-2539), or mail me (Brandon Nimz, PO Box 1264, Hays, KS 67601) and request to be added to the newsletter. You can also check out our prayer blog at (http://uniteeph4-1-16.blogspot.com).
The dojo (another part of my missionary work)
I’ve taught Aikido (a self-defensive Japanese martial art) at Fort Hays State University for a few years; it’s been one of my best connections to new groups of students and ministry outreach opportunities. As we continued to practice, more and more community members became involved with the club until it came to the point that we really needed to have a separate full-service dojo (practice hall) to meet the needs of those coming to the club. Also, I was seeing tremendous overlap between the art and what I read in scripture—along with great opportunities to teach scripture through Aikido (but that wouldn’t fit well at a university club). At the time I was doing frequent odd jobs to help make ends meet every month since my direct missionary support wasn’t always enough; so, after some prayer and thought and a few doors unexpectedly opening up, I opened a part-time dojo (Aikido of Northwest Kansas) in downtown Hays in the hopes of meeting part of that financial need while serving God in missions even more.
The dojo offers a Godly Warrior program that focuses on applying the Word and principles of Aikido into our daily lives. Our lessons are typically both physical Aikido techniques and portions of the Word along with a fair amount of discussion. Topics include being active peace-makers, not being overly focused on whatever is attacking us (physical, emotional, something stressing us, relationship issues, sin issues, etc.), being thankful in all things, loving our enemies, and many other Biblical principles for Godly living. While this new program itself is still quite small, around seven local youth groups and two college ministries have asked us to do Godly Warrior demos/lessons for them at the dojo. We have even been asked to travel to other towns’ fifth quarter events and to summer camps to do Godly Warrior lessons.
The dojo further offers an early church prayer and breath meditation program that includes meditations such as Lectio Divina, Examen, centering prayer, and breath prayers. This has been a HUGE outreach, even though the program is small. The quality and intensity of these prayer and scripture meditations in small community is quite amazing. It was completely surprising to me that this (in my mind) was probably one of the most powerful early outreaches of the dojo, and it was something I hadn’t even planned on!
While the dojo does not currently augment my income because it is new enough it barely breaks even, I am confident that the community at the dojo and the outreach of the dojo are huge opportunities for Kingdom outreach and impact, and that these should continue to be a part of my missionary work in Hays. I am also very excited to see what God does through that in the future.
My current financial goal is based on the lowest amount I might be paid working as a starting teacher with my degrees in Kansas (the lowest-paying job I might obtain with them). While in-state missionaries often earn $3,000 per month or more, I feel that this smaller goal of $2,320 will meet my current financial needs and allow me to continue to do Kingdom Work, unhindered. (For comparison, this is also a typical full-time starting youth pastor’s salary). This support level would also allow me to make some wise purchases for my life that I cannot currently afford (such as a health insurance or medi-share policy, the ability to set some small amount aside to replace my computer and car—both of which I frequently use in ministry—on a realistic depreciation scale, and the ability to more rapidly pay off student loans to decrease the total interest paid on them so that I have more money available to serve the Kingdom, etc.). A support level of $2,320 would further give me the potential to support a spouse and also to better help college students who are in legitimate financial need and want to go to the mission’s conferences with us or on our mission trip, or even who just need some food money.
Regardless of the specifics, I do want to assure you of one thing: if do you choose to support me as missionary, you will be supporting someone who seeks to serve the Kingdom 24/7 with everything he has.
For more information about Unite, see www.Unite-HaysKS.com or send a letter to:
PO Box 1100
Hays, KS 67601
For more information about the dojo see www.AikidoofNorthwestKansas.com or send a letter to:
Aikido of Northwest Kansas
PO Box 1264
Hays, KS 67601
To ask me any questions or to get more information from me directly, please email me at Brandon.Nimz@gmail.com or call 785-259-2539. You may also send mail to me at:
PO Box 1264
Hays, KS 67601
My missionary prayer blog (if you want to keep up with me and pray for the ministry) is at: http://uniteeph4-1-16.blogspot.com/
Thank you for your prayers and support!