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.