The cost of sowing the seeds

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Sometime during the month of August 2017, my donations button stopped working. I did not notice the problem until a reader from Virginia informed me that he was unable to send me a donation. I checked the item and soon I found out that the functionality of both the donation button and the visitor stats module were rendered useless by some modifications introduced by the host. A short polite message was left there indicating that if I moved from the “free” version to the “premium” version, I could use my PayPal button and stats module again. Now, I do not receive enough donations through this blog to justify the cost of upgrading to the “premium” version. It would be a zero sum game but even Internet evangelists have to eat from time to time.

The good news is that today I found the functionality has returned. There you have the old “Support this site” box working as nicely as it used to.  I do not know what moved the hosting company to allow that functionality back but I am grateful. This site is very far from producing what I would call “income” but from time to time I can pay the phone bill with the occasional donations.

In 2004 I started publishing a website in Spanish. At the time I was able to pay the cost of hosting, computer, connections, etc. to keep the site going. I did all the technical work by myself and also a lot of writing, translating, research, illustrations, etc. Although there was a donations button available, only one donation was received for that site in ten years: $50 (US) I got many accolades, kudos, and congratulations but only one solitary donation. The site was read by an average of 300 persons per day. One rather cheeky Argentine priest asked me to give him the site, as a present. I refused, of course. There was no reason to give away years of work. The same happened to Mother Angelica when some bishop asked her to surrender EWTN. She answered “over my dead body” and I applaud her for that. Unfortunately,  she retired and EWTN ended up in someone else’s hands but Mother Angelica did a lot of good while she could. Same with me in a smaller scale. The sites were instrumental in the conversion of many people, most notably a whole family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 33 of them total. The number reminded me of Our Lord. Once I received one moving email from a young father who had taken his five-year-old boy to be baptized. In a very emotional message, he thanked me for writing one particular article that moved him to return to the Church to baptize his son and marry his wife before God. Over the years there were a few similar stories. I cannot begin to describe the joy. Suffice to say that it fully justifies the few thousand dollars cost of publishing the sites, and the long hours of research, writing, and programming. In the words of Mother Angelica: “If only one soul was saved our work would be justified.”

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Earlier this year a hacker from Uruguay managed to plant a virus in my server. No big deal because the site was overdue for a rebuild but I was forced to place a “we’ll be back soon” sign. So far I could only rebuild one of the sites partially.

I was very depressed a few days ago when I got the hosting bill from GoDaddy for next year. I concluded that realistically I cannot run those sites any longer — that is my sites and the sites of two very deserving Catholic organizations — The cost averages about $300 (US) per month to cover hosting, domains, certificates, and of course my own Internet connection, and electricity. So far Divine Providence has been paying for the last two through the generosity of my readers here. Of course those $300 per month do not cover my work. Since 2008 I have been running on faith — no employment — and this year has not been one of the best. Sadly I decided to give up the whole thing but this morning the following scripture appeared on my screen:

Galatians 6:9-10 — So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

I do not know where the funds will come from but it looks like the Good Lord is telling me not to give up. I figured that while living in BA where costs are quite low, a yearly income of about $25,000 (US) would pay for the bare operating costs, equipment and software renewal, taxes, and some food and clothing for yours truly. But the yearly donations to this blog add up to about $3000 (US) so … Our Lord must know something I do not know. I can persevere but the hard facts are that it is not possible to give the gift of those sites if I don’t pay for them first.

It is time to pray. Please remember this modest ministry in your prayers until October 10. And please remember that this was never and will never be one of those shameful lay ministries that provide nothing but salaries for their founders. I am not “all about money” like some pathetic Jehovah’s Witness had the gall to tell me once. I will always do this because I love to do it and it needs to be done, today more than ever.

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