Support Raising and the Dreaded Big Need

by Anisha Hopkinson on September 13, 2017

This year, we needed a lot of extra money – $38,000.00 extra to be precise.

Even though we’ve been at this whole support raising thing for more than a decade, that big number left me feeling a bit wobbly. I had two major doubts:

Yeah God has provided in really cool ways in the past, but this is a lot of money.

It just doesn’t seem right asking people who already give to give more.

If this was the post of my dreams, I’d be sharing with you the foolproof, non-embarrassing, super easy, success guaranteed steps to raising support. Sorry, this isn’t that post. Instead, I can share what I’ve got – my not so catchy, but thoroughly faith building experience of what it’s really like to deal with your doubts and raise support.

Dealing with the doubt

Doubt: Yeah God has provided in really cool ways in the past, but this is a lot of money.

As I surveyed the big financial needs ahead of us, I felt like surely by now God must be all out of tricks. We’d seen big needs met in the past and our daily expenses continued to be covered, but maybe we’d finally reached our quota of miraculous financial gifts. Maybe this time God would shake his head and shrug, “Sorry guys. That last one was my limit. You’re on your own this time.”

What really happened: We used savings first. I know that doesn’t sound all that miraculous, but it is. God was already providing for this big need. He had been for years. The very fact that we had money in the bank to put towards the initial need was evidence of it. God’s miraculous provision isn’t past tense; it’s present and faithful day by day.

Doubt: It just doesn’t seem right to ask people who already give to give more.

What really happened: As we started to share the story and our needs, it was as if a fire lit up inside of people. Crazy things started to happen. Some who I’d thought couldn’t possibly give did and did so generously. A stranger handed me a wad of cash. Another donated out of the blue online. We won grants to help cover certain eligible expenses. Someone gave us diamond jewelry to sell. As needs were met people would ask, “What other needs do you have?” We began to share what had previously only been “it would be really nice if…” and then see those provided for as well.

Get to it

At some point, we had to just take a deep breath and get to work. There are all sorts of methods and even classes that teach you how to market yourself as a missionary (yikes!), but as for my personal opinion – you don’t need any of that. You already have all you need.

Share your story: When we were transitioning from salaried jobs to living on support alone, my team leader said something I’ve never forgotten. She said, “Just share your story and see what God does.”

So we did. We thought through our own stories of how we’d come to know Jesus and how we’d come to have this desire to serve overseas. We put together stories from the team already on the field. We shared with anyone who cared to listen. And we trusted that in the same way God had used these stories to spur our own hearts to action, he would use them in the lives of others as well.

This year, with that huge sum of money to raise, we found ourselves once again thinking through and sharing our stories. What led us here? What is God already doing?

I don’t write this post retrospectively. We are still $8,000 away from having that big need completely met. I have no idea where the money will come from, but that number doesn’t leave me quite as wobbly as before.

Anyway, why should it? My big need didn’t catch God by surprise. He’s already stirring hearts to action.

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About Anisha Hopkinson

Anisha was born to Chilean and Texan parents, first tasted missions in Mexico, fell in love with an Englishman in Africa, and now lives in Indonesia. She journals about cross-cultural life, helping people, and loving Jesus on
  • Joy Ballard

    Thank you! We’re having to raise support, AGAIN, and I’ve had many of these same thoughts. It really does make you reflect on your ‘why’, and what God has done in the past, and the ‘is He done with us?’ questions. All the best as you anticipate how God will provide the remaining $8000.

  • MsLorretty

    This is VERY timely. We are about to BEGIN our support raising journey. Any recommendations? How do we make pledge cards, etc? This is a new program with our agency so we are completely on our own to figure this out at the moment. Thanks!

    • Anisha Hopkinson

      We never did the pledge cards stuff so I’m not much help there. We just made a note of it whenever someone let us know they would support us monthly. I think the main thing really is to think through your story and share from your heart… What led you to the work you will do? How has God directed your heart into action? What is He already doing in the place you will serve? What do you hope to see Him do?…and then go share it!

      From a personal perspective, I think it can be easy to forget that supporters aren’t a business relationship (at least that’s not what I want from mine!). So as much as possible we try to stay away from all the marketing based methods and focus on genuine relationship and connection. For us, that means a whatsapp group to share prayer requests, an honest blog about what it’s really like overseas, using facebook for regular updates/pictures, e-mailing friends, and an occasional newsletter when there is some kind of big update.

      Once you have thought through your stories, I think a good place to start, is to ask your church if you can share in bible study groups. Some groups might give you 10 minutes, but others maybe the whole time. It’s a lot more personal and people will be able to ask questions. This will give you an idea of the kind of things most people are interested in hearing about/curious about.

      • MsLorretty

        Thank you so much for these insights and YES, sharing the story is what I do best and we will have opportunities to do that soon enough. Bless you for responding so thoroughly!

  • Scott and Jamie Durham

    So good. We are sensing the nudging from the Lord to trust Him for some BIG numbers (well, for us at least!) and your post is just the encouraging truth we need to hear.

  • Lynne Castelijn

    Thank you, Anisha, for sharing openly and honestly about this often touchy subject.

    “Just share your story and see what God does”. I love it!

    We underestimate Him so often.

    Praying your hearts are delighted as you see Him bring in the remaining $8000!

  • Lauren Morgan

    Wow Thank you for sharing! I am also a missionary to Indonesia, and have recently returned to America because of an increased budget for the next 2 year term. It seems impossible to raise the money from a human perspective but God’s timing is always perfect in everything that we do.

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