I’m often asked, “does that make enough to live on,” when the topic of MMM comes up. “Depends on the time of the month,” is my response. It really has been a slice of life that I’ve never seen before and am constantly running between being faithful and faith-little. In the a tough more than one year of doing MMM as a full-time effort, I can totally attest to there being miles, smiles, and a good bit of tiredness as I’m pushing out on this intersection of faith and mobile technology.
Miles Upon Miles
In May of 2010, MMM became the primary occupation of me (Antoine, the Primary Voice in these parts). It started well enough with about three months worth of finances and plenty of roads to travel by car and bike to potential clients. But, right around the time those funds dried up, the faith had to hit the road in a very real way. That’s been… different.
First, there was a miracle of finances that happened two months in a row. There was the project that caused my moving (in part) from Charlotte – that itself is now under some change. There were trips to Atlanta, Philadelphia, Indiana, and a part of Virginia so west that you could stand on a point and point to two mountains 15 min away, one in Tennessee and the other in Kentucky. Then there were trips to San Diego, Las Vegas, San Jose and places around those parts where I was one part around like-minded folks, but in another respect quite lonely. This has been… different.
I’ve had many a reflection on Paul, Peter, Elijah, and several others who’ve walked this out. Can say that I’ve got an inkling of what they went through – minus the price for gas (!!!).
Smiles Begat Smiles
The one thing that I didn’t see, but was always appreciated was the amount of support received from friends, partners, and people whom I’ve plum forgotten about unless I took a picture. The encouragement from those whom are well older than I, and doing similar after they’ve “lived their lives” has probably been the most interesting. The common sentiment there being, “I wish that I had your faith at your age.”
There’s been the smiles and support beams of friends who’ve been in my corner for a long time (long time is variable of course). Many of these people just seemed to call, SMS, email, or even just have a room available when I was traveling and didn’t have lodging secured (more about that in the “Tiredness” section). There’s really been the kind of support that says that anything is possible – especially when the circle of friends and supporters you have cover the same lengthy distances you traverse.
The kids/babies are probably the best part. But, I’ve been blessed to have my travels interspersed with visiting friends or just randomly seeing babies/kids along the way. Kids have a way of making you stop and take inventory, and there were a number of nights where I wept, only to wake to the day ahead and a kid of some kind would cross my path and remind me just how much God really does have our best in mind.
Tiredness Deserves Its Own Rewards
What kind of challenges does doing MMM bear on you? Well, there’s the mental stuff, the spiritual stuff, the social stuff, and the mental stuff.
There’s nothing like the tiredness that comes from having to check all of the boxes mentally each day as you do what you do. I didn’t take it for granted when working in companies, but I do have a much healthier respect than I did before. There’s taxes, mileage, sales, business development, research, writing, analysis, and communications. And that’s just talking about this on a high level, I totally have struggled with keeping all of those items balanced as many of them are just first-time moments for me.
Then there’s the mental tiredness that comes with travel. Those persons involved in missions and travel a ton seem to have the most association with what I mean. When away from “home” and just moving in what God’s called you to, its easy to get distracted or discouraged. I’ve spent a ton of time in my car over the past year (draw a triangle on a map between Philly, Atlanta, and Indiana to get an idea of where I’ve driven) and its hard to keep sane. Beach trips were a necessity, one-stop plane flights also.
Spiritually, I’ve not been attached to a formal church (and this was true many months before doing MMM full-time). I’ve been much more adamant towards plugging into brothers/pastors whom are able to meet with me face-to-face or virtually/voice at various points in my travels. That small group of brothers/sisters have been amazing towards challenging and calling me out. A slightly wider group of co-laborers and mentees have also helped to keep ego and tiredness at the door. As one brother often tells me, “don’t get weary in well doing. You’re not done here yet.” I need that more often than not.
Socially, I’ve been purposeful towards making sure that every trip has something social included. Whether that’s my Saturday away from everyone, biking in various cities, or connecting for spoken word/worship sessions, its a behavior to keep non-tech/mobile ministry aspects as a part of life. I’d rather not be stuck in the bubble.
Overall Assessment of Sorts
Its taken me the better part of the past two months to sit down and write this. When I wanted to in May, the schedule got thick with conferences, conversations, and clients. I’m not entirely happy with that, but I had to attend to those matters as it truly meant keeping food in my belly or some ability to travel.
I would like to improve over this next year in terms of the administrative organization. That’s something that I was just getting the hang of personally, but as a near-business entity, it needs some more help. I’ve got some leads there, but am always open to wisdom there. I’d also like to increase the number of paid clients/client work. Not because I’m looking for more funds, but because I’m having to foot the bill for travel and some conferences, and if that’s the case, I don’t want a situation like BibleTech where I have to pull out of a speaking engagement because I ran numbers too low to make a trip.
In terms of a settled destination, sorry. I don’t see it anytime soon. I’ve been invited to take a look at several areas around the USA and Europe. And I plan to. I just don’t see things stopping in terms of this travel schedule anytime soon. I own just a little bit more than what fits into my 4-door Honda Civic. I’m not exactly trying to add to that, but it would be nice to have my own place again – its was refreshingly quiet.
As for MMM, I honestly think that its doing well. Being able to devote all of my time to it has brought forth the writing and attention that its needed since its inception. There are more voices needed here on a consistent basis. And probably someone to hack a better design for this site. But really, I’m good with our approach, our focus, and the in-roads we have with both faith-based and secular audiences (we’re quite rare in that respect).
Better can be done. It will be. It might take a few more miles, a dozen more smiles per mile, and more moments of tiredness. Better will happen, and the goals of this initiative will be met to benefit a whole slew of folks. Can’t complain about that, but I can take a nap now that this much is finally written :p