There’s a lot of beautiful mystery in the story of the magi.
There’s a lot of beautiful mystery in the story of the magi.
Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared on Rebecca Hopkins’ blog, Borneo Wife, when she and her husband served in Indonesia. Her pieces have appeared in Christianity Today. She now blogs from her new American home at www.rebeccahopkins.org .
I was so tired I don’t even remember which of my kids was throwing the fit in the security line in some airport somewhere in America.
Editor’s note: We’re stoked to feature this article from another one of Go. Serve. Love’s round table partners, Support Raising Solutions. (Yes! That organization is a thing.) In our quest to present you overseas fully-funded, we’re happy to help you structure a support-raising presentation that works.
Here’s what Support Raising Solutions has to say.
Years ago, my husband and I talked about how to help missionary friends on the field in struggles they were working through in a marriage. The couple was fairly new on the field.
It was tough, we acknowledged: A missionary marriage was like a pressure cooker, intensifying whatever flavors were first lobbed in the pot. If basil, you tasted its nuance in the entire dish. If a sweaty gym sock? Well.
Wondering what goes into a missionary budget (which, when you’re raising support, can feel overwhelming)? We let you peek behind the curtain with some opinions of other global workers.
A missionary budget may include all the expenses of fielding the missionary. Besides a salary, budget categories might include
Editor’s note: We’re stoked to feature this article from another one of Go. Serve. Love’s round table partners, Support Raising Solutions. (Yes! That organization is a thing.) In our quest to present you overseas fully-funded, we’re happy to welcome back the indomitable Jenn Fortner, support-raising expert extraordinaire.
In my time as a support coach, I have yet to see a ministry worker not make it to the field because they were unable to raise their budget as fully funded missionaries. I’ve seen people not go to the field because they got engaged, accepted a different job, or had medical issues—but it has yet to be money that has kept someone from going to the ministry they felt called to.
In our efforts at Go. Serve. Love to help you look overseas with eyes wide open, we actually like posting your “wish someone had told me about missions” stories. They help the rest of us, y’know, adjust expectations and avoid our own train wrecks.
Today we’re posting from one of our partners, the all-new Mission App–which allows you to search and apply to 30 agencies with one app, and one application.
Recently I sat with another missionary, stocking feet curled beneath us. We were reflecting on some of the more painful parts of missionary life.
I’m talking things that were hard to understand if you hadn’t been overseas, hadn’t had moments in a foreign land defined by sacrifice or loss. They were like scars, covered by clothing.
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It’s the first step, and one of the hardest to discern: How can you tell if you’re experiencing the call from God to be a missionary? How does God speak, and guide people overseas?
At Go. Serve. Love, we’ve explored this idea a lot, with both warning and affirmation. How would one even define the call?
One of our partners, the Center for Missionary Mobilization and Retention–using podcasts, training, and other resources–aims to increase and retain the number of long-term missionaries sent around the world.
They’ve developed this free webinar to help you sort out the call…and whether you have it.
By way of introduction, they ask,
How does God extend the call to missionaries? What influences does He often use to speak to those He’s calling to the mission field?
Mobilizers, missionaries, pastors, youth leaders, and teachers are invited to join Dave Jacob, founder and director of the Center for Missionary Mobilization and Retention, as he discusses the important factors that influence the missionary call.
As always, we love it when you join the dialogue, creating community with others in the Body of Christ around the world exploring some of the same life-altering, Kingdom-powered questions.
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Raising financial support can mess with your head.
Yes, it can feel a little…naked. Yes, it can be awkward and revealing and exhausting.
But would you believe us if we said it’s actually a tremendous gift–and not just to you?
When I was trained in raising financial support–which we’ve been on for sixteen years, in which time we’ve added four kids to our posse–there was a passage that stuck with me. Someone pointed out the story of a widow in 1 Kings 17.
You’ve probably heard it, about this woman in famine who’s going to go home and use her last flour, her last oil, to make some bread for her and her son. Then they’re going to go home, she says, and die.
Sometimes I wonder about Elijah’s manners–but he actually asks the widow, a stranger, to first make a cake for him, then make one for her and her son. He makes her an odd promise that ends up coming true: Keep making cakes for both of us. The bread and the oil won’t run out until the famine’s over.
Get this: God uses the widow’s support of Elijah to keep her alive in famine.
To be clear, do not use Elijah’s technique word-for-word in raising financial support (if you know people dying of hunger, perhaps take some Chik-fil-A or a Hungry Man dinner rather than your support-raising binder?).
I don’t know that “bake me bread and you’ll never run out of flour as long as I’m overseas” is the exact takeaway. But don’t miss this: Your fundraising ain’t just about you.
Over and over in the Bible, we see this theme of givers being blessed. God wants to do something in both sides of things in the journey that takes you overseas. Weird questions and fears will bubble to the surface as this process stirs them up.
Because the goal of raising financial support? It’s far from just money.
Maybe you’re just dipping your big toe in this frigid support-raising water to see if the goosebumps involved in raising support could, as you suspect, drive you away, arms pinwheeling.
Or maybe your knuckles are grazing the ground after duking it out for this dream of going overseas–which you were pretty durn sure was from God, but now is feeling kind of hazy and hard.
Imagine yourself before a bed of river rock. Beneath it, someone’s placed red swipes of paint totaling the monthly amounts you’ll need to finally go overseas; to do this vital work so many people need (remember Paul’s vision [Acts 16:9] of the Macedonian crying out to come help them?).
All you have to do is to turn over the rocks to find the right paint strokes you need. Some of the big rocks you’ve counted on yield nothing. Other small rocks feature much larger marks than you could have ever anticipated. Some are clustered together. Some are spaced out, and you’re turning over 23 blank rocks in between those that spread a smile on your face.
Getting the drift? God knows exactly where your funding will come from. Um, assuming you’re not being socially awkward, your rejections aren’t really about you as much as they’re God getting the right people on your team.
These articles may not make this path easy. But they may make it easier–and eliminate some of the pitfalls.
First, don’t miss Go. Serve. Love’s own posts on raising financial support:
And we love this one from OMF: An Introvert’s Guide to Support Raising. (We know you’re out there.)
Fundraising coach Jenn Fortner provides this amazing infographic with 22 Expert Tips on Fundraising Straight From Missionary Geniuses. But check out her entire site (on “fundraising made relational”). It’s stuffed with practical tips like
SupportRaisingSolutions.org also offers a wealth of encouragement and wisdom, whether you feel really new…or really worn out. They’ve got posts like
You knew this part would be coming too, right? How might you be self-sabotaging (and without a clue you’re doing it)?
But hey: Do not let fear get the last word.
Like the Israelites going into the Promised Land, if God’s got you going overseas, he also has the means.
He knows what financial “territory” he’s earmarked as yours, but you must go and take it.
You must be strong and courageous and not depart from God’s commands. And you’ve gotta trust he’ll do his part so you step off that 757 at just the right time.