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In the 9+ years that Apologetics Index has been online, the web site has grown from a few dozen pages with less than a hundred visitors a day to a 'family of web sites' with 19,100+ pages and more than 17,000 visitors a day.
Our bills grew right along. It is one thing to run a small web site at a free or inexpensive provider, and quite another to run a dedicated server with enough space, bandwidth and database capacity to handle serious traffic.
Nevertheless, our web sites (as well as our offline ministry*) have always been provided free of charge - and this will always be the case. That said, since our personal budget does not at all allow for the expenses associated with our work, we have shared that we depend on donations in order to continue doing what we're doing.
We are thankful for the kind support we receive from Christians and (we're pleasantly surprised about this) from non-Christians as well.
However, since donations tend to fluctuate from month to month we started - in late, 2004 - carrying advertisements on our sites. After all, due to our respective health conditions Janet and I live on only one, limited income. (Janet's health situation is currently such that this income will likely be reduced by 30% starting in March, 2006). During the course of this year, a handful of people have chided us over the inclusion of advertisements. However, the vast majority of people who have contacted us over this issue understand and appreciate our explanation for doing so.
Currently (December, 2005) our financial situation is, well, stable. We have been able to pay our web site-related expenses from a combination of donations and income derived from advertisements. We also receive some income from commissions on the sale of books from Amazon.com.
In addition, we have set up (and are in the process of setting up) several commercial web sites - including a guide to Amsterdam that hopefully will provide in times of need.
That said, with the kind support of others we have this year been able to financially help a number of people to whom a relatively small donation made a world of difference. For instance, most of the refugees we help do not have enough income to provide themselves and their families with some basic items (shoes, clothes, medical services, etcetera).
Keep in mind that under the leadership of Holland's 'Christian' leaders, much of the social services structure the country was famous for has been decimated beyond recognition. Many refugees, street people, and others do not qualify even for these limited services, and thus depend on the kindness of those who care for them.
* Note that Janet does charge a small fee - on a sliding scale - for certain counseling sessions.
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