Catch the Vision
Can I be brutally honest and embarrassingly transparent here? For me, the most taxing and cumbersome part of missionary life is fundraising. I know what you’re thinking…it’s not the heat? Adjusting to the food? Yeah, those are a close 2nd and 3rd…but fundraising at times makes my stomach more nauseous than having to eat caterpillar soup!
Don’t get me wrong, I believe the benefits outweigh the awkwardness. The fact that we get to have a personal relationship with our support team is priceless! The fellowship experienced when we’re on home assignment making the rounds is beautiful. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
However, the stress of contacting pastors and missions leaders is intense. We often get our hopes up only to be crushed when an initial encounter doesn’t turn into an opportunity to share. We repeatedly hear things like: “the timing just isn’t right” or ” we just can’t take on another ministry right now” or “we’re booked”.
Might I challenge that thinking for a minute? If we had the courage, amidst the awkwardness and unanswered emails, we’d say, “Honestly, sure, we need more financial support. But our visit to you is about much more than money. Reaching the Bolon people requires a TEAM. We NEED you! We need your prayer support first and foremost. We are convinced that it is the prayers of His people that sustain us on the field. Without a serious prayer team we can be blindsided by the enemy’s craftiness. We know Satan does NOT want the Bolon to hear the Gospel and he will attempt knock us off course. The Bolon people need your prayers too! We covet your prayers for their hearts to be open to the Message and for life transformation to happen.
Secondly, when we aren’t permitted to share what God is doing in Burkina Faso, it is the church who suffers. We believe that it will take the whole body of Christ to reach the Bolon. If the body doesn’t know where God is at work, how can they pray? And who knows, maybe as a result of seeing firsthand how God is working overseas, maybe some will be called to GO! We feel it is our duty to raise the light level of missions when we’re on home assignment.
Lastly, when the door is closed for us to share, the possibility of individuals and families in the church to support us financially is taken away. The decision is made for them. No. Over the years we have made long-lasting, God-honoring relationships with folks in both our supporting churches and churches who opted not to take our ministry on but still allowed us to share. Often it is these people who respond to our emails and send encouraging notes that spur us on in ministry. THEIR ministry to US is vital.
Ok…I didn’t mean to get so formal. And please, I hope you hear my heart as I write this. I’m not bashing any pastors or churches that have not opened their doors to us. I’m simply challenging the current day thinking out there. Ultimately we believe that God led us to the Bolon. He brought us this far and He will keep the door open for them to hear of His love. This isn’t “our” ministry. This is HIS ministry. It’s HIS work and we’re confident that HE will complete it.
In the meantime, we’re praying for God to lead us to those folks who are ready to CATCH THE VISION. I know He has churches, families, and individuals out there who are ready to be a part of our team. And it won’t be because our presentation is awesome or because our (barely-fitting anymore) African garb is so cool. It’ll be because God’s timing is perfect and He wants to build His church among the Bolon.
PS I welcome any discussion on the topic I wrote about. I’d love to hear from other missionaries who’ve walked this road as well as from any pastors/mission directors who’ve had any experience with missionaries on home assignment raising support.