Six Things Missionaries Wished You Knew
I have been in the mission field full time now for four years. I can honestly say it has been some of the best and hardest times in my life. Like most full time volunteer missionaries I rely solely on the support of family, friends, and believers. It can be a very rewarding yet challenging thing to allow God the freedom to move and cling to Him during financial hard times. Unless you are a missionary yourself who has had to raise support and/or you’ve walked alongside missionaries in the field there may be things that you are unaware of when it comes to support raising. Here are my top six things I believe missionaries wish people knew about us when support raising.
1. We wish we could earn money ourselves and have that consistent paycheck come through
When I first entered the mission field I was faced with the following questions many a times, “Why don’t you just get a job over there and support yourself? If God has called you why does He need my money to send you?” The truth is I wish I could get a job and have a steady weekly paycheck come through. It would be a lot less stressful that’s for sure! Between the long hours of dedication it takes to keep the ministry running and the legal side of things (Needing the right type of permit to earn money) having a job is not the most efficient use of my time. On average most days are 15 hour work days with ministry tasks alone. Add in an hour or two for relaxation time and it’s already time to go to bed only to wake up the next morning and begin the cycle again. I believe we are all called to be missionaries, however some of us are called to send and some of us are called to go. Neither is more important than the other, both need to happen!
2. It is very humbling
Asking for money is almost always a necessary part in support raising. Everyone communicates his or her needs differently. Some aim for a monthly goal, some aim for a yearly goal, some give specific projects/items and others say they just need money. Whatever way we feel God leading us it’s almost never easy. It can be very nerve racking to ask for money, but it is a crucial part of what we do. We want to be able to provide for ourselves, after all, that’s what society tells us we are supposed to do, but the reality is we humbly ask and depend on the Spirit to move. It is out of our control.
3. It can be a cause of stress and anxiety- even when we don’t want it to be
Much like the above bullet point, support raising can also be a point of stress and anxiety. Not knowing if enough is going to come in to cover the minimum cost for living and basic necessities and desiring to give and bless others around us but not having the finances to do that, can all lead to late nights, middle of the nights, or early morning bouts of panic. We try to stay close with God, we tithe, we bless, we serve and sometimes support still doesn’t come. For me, that doesn’t mean I give up and go home. It means that I continue to press in (Even when I don’t want to) to God’s promises, take a step back and see how He’s never let me down in the past, why would He start now? But when that notification or message comes through with just the right amount we needed a huge rush of elatedness followed by a deep sigh of relief sweeps over us and we say, “You cut it close, but We knew You wouldn’t let us down.”
4. Any amount matters
No, really it does. You may think $10 is nothing, and to most people it isn’t, but $10 to a missionary may be just what we need as an encouragement that God still sees us and people still believe in us. Ten dollars could mean we get to treat ourselves and a friend to a fun coffee or get out of the house for a bit. It could mean we can buy toothpaste or soap. It could be used for a whole slew of things but honestly it’s a simple reminder that we aren’t in this life alone.
5. Support isn’t just financial
When most people hear the word support almost always the first thought is financial. Even up until this point I have talked about financial support seeing how that can be one of the more awkward types of support raising. While it’s true we do need money to do what we do, support is a broad term that can mean physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual support as well. Some of the best moments have been when people send me letters or write me a quick encouragement. It is just the thing I need to keep going and continue on. A reminder that what I am doing is really worth something. It could also be providing practical assistance as well. Sending care packages with basic toiletries or snacks are just as awesome to receive as money. The most important support, the one that trumps even money, is prayer support. We need people who are willing to fight for us. People who are willing to stay up late, wake up early, fast, and pray for us and our ministries. Dedicated men and women who don’t just pray the easy things over us but pray we get chiseled away until our true character looks exactly like Jesus!
6. Our supporters become a part of our family
Supporters are a crucial part in every missionary’s life. We would not be able to do what we do without you guys. Even though you aren’t the ones on the front lines you are the true heroes who believe in us and more importantly believe in the call of God on our lives. We trust you like our own family. We care for you and genuinely want to keep you updated. We want to tell you the long stories of how you are impacting lives around the world. It’s a two way relationship; we want to support, encourage, and love on you guys as well, just like you do for us! So please send us prayer requests and keep us updated on what is going on in your lives too!
I want to encourage you if you know a missionary in the field send them a little note today, pray for them, or drop a $20 in the offering plate for them. Any support goes a long ways. Also, if you are a missionary thank your supporters. Without them you wouldn’t be able to be doing what you do. Much like you are giving all you have they are giving all they have. It’s a team effort, the whole body of Christ working together to bring His Name to every nation on Earth.
I want to say a personal THANK YOU to all of those who support me. I know I say it frequently but it’s because I truly believe it, I would not be here without you. I am so grateful you have stuck by my side for the past four years. I hope you feel loved and cherished and appreciated today! Rest easy knowing you are making a difference in the lives of people around the world.
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, are one body, and each member belongs to all others.”