Monday, February 25, 2013

Adopt The Producer's Approach To The Mission

The Spirit of Kansas City by Normal Rockwell.
This is a guy, rolling up his sleeves to get to work.
+Marissa Nieddu and I saw this in person with my mom.
Returning to the States has been tough. My friend, +Chantz Cutts , said it would be. His wife, Renee, said that their return to the U.S. was difficult and that they never felt landed when they came back. It was only a matter of time, 2.5 years before they were back on the field and launching GoMAD Ministries.

Now, I could take a moment and make this a commentary about what's so right and wrong about the United States. My only authority would be in the weight of my travels away and abroad for the last 9 months. But I won't.

I could also take the time to leave commentary about the missionary field, what I saw, the behind-the-scenes back-biting, and dynamics of the world of missionary groups. My authority on that would be the varied conversations I had on the field, in trucks, in coffee shops in open-air churches, with the missionaries I passed while on the island of Hispaniola. I won't do that either.

I will try to keep it simple. I will try to do with you what I am trying to do with me; help stay focused on The Mission.

You see, all of these things and more hinder the mission. What is right and wrong with the U.S., mission-field back-biting, and critique of either are wasted. They should be known, bless God!, they should be known. But, in their end, they are only recycled products of a consumer's approach to the field.

Instead of all of that, I will point you toward The Mission, and how to get through it.

You see, we have returned with The Mission in our heart. The Mission is simply the pulsating, throbbing need you have inside of you to create. It is the drive to see things improved and bettered.

It is the non-profit organization you desire to build to serve in Africa. It is the business you want to build to have the resources to fund an organization in Africa. Both are the desire to see something bettered, improved.

This is Desire, the first step in the Producer's Approach to The Mission.

Now would be a great time to tell you HOW to return to your home country after a time of working on the field abroad. Though everyone warned it would be difficult, no one told me how to get through it. (Maybe that's just it. Maybe so little is written about it because you have to do just that; get through it.)

Instead, however, I will simply leave you with this: adopt The Producer's Approach to The Mission.

You want to see the thing in your heart created? Get busy creating it. Critique of things around you certainly does not get a business built. Pondering what happened in the field may motivate, but it will not make that next appointment for you. Knowing what's right and wrong with America is all well in good, but are you taking advantage of what is right in America to fix what is wrong with it? I mean, actually?

Coffee talk is good for first dates and mission research. But someone has to pound the hammer.

Get out there and adopt The Producer's Approach to The Mission. I'll see you on the field.

+Grant R. Nieddu

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Our $24,000 Tell-All From 2012 & 3 Lessons Learned

In doing our taxes for 2012, I finally was able to itemize everything we invested into launching our non-profit for the year. The final tally: ~$24,000+!

We learned a lot from this year of travel and educating. But I wanted to share the actual reality for those of you Rookie Missionaries, beginning humanitarians, or anyone out there curious about what it takes to move a young couple to the field for a year.

Below you will find first the charts so you can get an in-depth look at what it costs to launch a non-profit and spend a gap-year building your foundation. The second section contains the 3 Lessons we learned. Enjoy!

The Charts

Consider this complete transparency our intended mode of operation in launching our own non-profit, PhilanTropics. More on that soon. Happy reading.

1st Chart: Our Expenses for 2012

2nd Chart/Spreadsheets: Our Expenses by Line Item, by Category, and the Chart (again)
The 3 Lessons We Learned from Doing Our Taxes

Our Financial Tell-All From Our Year Abroad

1. Education is Expensive

Marissa and I even scoured high and low for frugal alternatives to the things that cost us money. She chose less expensive dive gear. I rarely bought software for writing or office supplies for the non-profit. We only traveled when necessary. We refused to rent a moped.

In Taos, we ate in the Earthship and not out. We camped in KOA's while driving the country to get back and forth from Taos, New Mexico.

I refused to buy new socks (despite them all having holes) and new shorts (despite the crotch missing out of my last pair!) Still, we spent $24,000+ of our own savings to invest in this life dream.

2. The Biggest Cost of Launching a Non-profit Organization is Not The Biggest Expense

Many people could look at the largest category of our spending and see a fat $11,000 expense for education. That would be the tuition cost of the courses for Dive Instructor, sustainable home designs (Earthship school), and the business of corporate training courses (Pici & Pici Speakers' Boot Camp). 

This is huge. But, think about it a second. It still does not represent the BIGGEST cost(s).

The biggest expenses are the peripheral things. The petty life expenses. The biggest expense is actually the cost of living while obtaining education, researching for a non-profit, and traveling the Caribbean.

3. Your Are Already Paying For the Biggest Expense, So Why Not Do What You Love?

Cell phones, medical care, food and fuel are the top 4 items we spent money on. You and I are already spending this money. This is normal for our lives in the U.S. 

Why not put the rest of your money, if you have any, to living a life of massive significance?

That is we questioned of ourselves. So we put it to the test and it proved true. We have taken a massive step forward. It took a TON of our own money. It took even more from our supporters, friends and family (in the form of places to crash, small donations, and encouragement.)

But, we totally believe that we made no mistake. Our momentum is huge. People are getting on board daily. So, the real lesson is the age-old adage we all know. But I encourage you to take it to heart as you begin to shape a vision for your own explosive life of significance:

A wise master-builder counts the cost.
$24,000+ to jump-start 
our Explosive Life of Significance.

--- Grant R. Nieddu

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

3 Lessons I Learned from MOPS & Resource List

What Can You Learn From Speaking To a Room of 60 Mothers

I had the honor of speaking at a M.O.P.S. event yesterday. Just being back from the mission field I felt under-prepared and a bit uncouth. Here is the short list of what I learned from that event.

MOPS at Florida Baptist Church at the Mall
1. Being THE ONLY Male Is Intimidating

Standing in front of the ladies who were ever-so-rapt in their attention, I was suddenly aware of my flaws. Then, it dawned on me that it just may not be my flaws but the traits of being a male; hole in my jeans, hair out of place, my beard suddenly feeling grimy and ugly.

Compared to the clean, well-dressed, well-behaved room full of shiny mothers I felt grimy. I half-expected one to jump up at any moment, lick her thumb, and press my eye brows down.

2. Mothers Want To Be Their Best

After the talk I was able to speak with several of the mothers. Several confessed that they were convicted that there may be babying their sons a bit. Some even confessed that they were not cultivating their husbands to be me. Though this was a mother's meeting, it is actually a meeting of family-driven women.

They pressed me for resources, asked for advice, and eagerly sought to be the best woman of the house they could be.

Men, listen up. I am convicted that we need to give a bit more grace. They women are gentle, graceful, and, at least at MOPS, were willing to admit a gap in their ability to serve our masculinity. I was honored to be able to speak to this in a small way.

3. MOPS Are Activists

Just some of the things the mothers are up to.
Nearly all the women in this particular MOPS group were involved in some form of activism. Whether it was Ida Mundell's 12x12 project, local events, church volunteering, or "Pastor" Jesse Goodman's church in an at-risk neighborhood; these women put skin in the game.

They may not take up arms, wield swords or light-sabers; but they make an impact. Consider them the Jedi mind-tricks instead of the fancy kung-fu.

Resources to Understand Your Man (Little or Big) More

Of all my talks, it was a potent room. We had synergy. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. In parting, several asked for resources to better understand their men. As promised, here is that list.

A Final Gift

I have assembled several free tools and resources over time. I list these tools and resources in the document above. A quick list is below:

  • Free Tool - '7 Day Spark Homework' - a 7-day tool for clarifying the goals that are most important to you.
  • My Book - 'H.O.P.E. from Here to Haiti' is an overview of the early work we did in Haiti and the lessons on hope we learned.
  • Coming Soon - 'The Top 100 Dream Igniter' - a comprehensive vision and strategy tool to walk away with total clarity on your life vision.

I am super grateful for being able to hang out with these awesome Mothers of Pre-Schoolers. Thank you. Let me know if I can serve you in any way. Let us know if these tools were helpful to you at all


Grant R. Nieddu

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Where The Heroes Will Come From

Gandhi Bleeding by Russel Hulsey.
Who is going to save the world?

What heroes will arrive on this planet from unknown realms and truly lift lives out of the dank gutters our destructive force of will has created?

Where do the great men and women live? Where are the halls of Valhala from whence demi-Gods, those who act human but whose actions we can only believe are half-deity?

These people surely have lived among us. We know them by their human names. Adjectives are the only thing that graze their godly names.

The most powerful and mystifying of all, Loving.

Mother Teresa Portrait by Jerry Breen.
Who are these people, these demi-Gods, that truly lived among us, that rose above their gritty humanity to accomplish mythological feats?

And, more importantly, will we ever be like them?

Their names, when spoken, burn like a searing coal on the title screen of a movie. Licking blue flames whip off of their name, and their myth mystifies us.

Mother Theresa.
Princess Diana.
Martin Luther.

Searing, singeing, crackling and popping while their names burn in the black introduction and fades into the opening of a movie worth filming.

And we certainly sit through it. We crave to hear their stories. When was the tipping point passed that these heroes' stories entered our minds and transported these individuals into the halls of the pantheon?

What we are seeking are hints to our own lives. As a race of young-hearted humans racing the fields as young does, we asked for so long whether or not our lives would be as worthy. As we matured to lumbering elephants, meandering the savanna of this world, pleasant, yet lacking newness, we came to believe that the work was too hard. And that is what caused us to say, "These few were the chosen. The gods looked down and said 'this will be the one to run and make a difference.'" Not us.

But the demi-Gods look down and weep. They weep because they know that the only separation between their myth and ours is a simple realization. They weep because they obtained a revelation that we all have shared. The difference is that the revelation moved them.

We all are frighteningly aware of the same thing. For the tellers of the myths, the awareness stood too tall before us, too wide. For the demi-Gods, the awareness burned as a flame in their heart, consumed them and their fears, and left nothing but charred ashes from which living demanded them to rise, shake off the coals, and fly, fly over such a wall to see the heights and the great beyonds, endless miles of beauty and truth lifting them.

That awareness is that we ARE the miracle.

We are the answer the dirty and dying need.
And they will become our answer.

We are the one we have been waiting for.
We are the caped hero, the bull-whip-wielding savior.
We face our own leviathans.
We overcome them too.
We are the living divine by the breath that was breathed upon us.
We are the animated Force on this earth.
We are moved by golden and gleaming truth.
We emanate worthy values.
We live and die for nobility, honor, and good.

Our call is to the desperate and dying.
Our journey is to the widowed and orphaned.
Our ears careen to the sound of travesty.
Our hope bleeds at the crying need.

Each human knows this. It is in our blood. Our genes are mixed and mingled deity.

When we crave a heroic story, we crave our own. When we are disappointed in stories that lack a savior, we point to our knowledge that we need one and that we have been called, in our small and powerful ways, to be one. When we sense wrongness, we point to the rightness shaped like marble under our mangled flesh.

We are the ones we have been searching the horizon for. We are the caped ones. We are the blazing, resurrected flying-ones. We are the creative and brilliant ones.

We are a race that lives as pantheon; half human, half God. What will it take for you to live it?