So we are back from England and now really jumping into the "full-time support raising" life. While there are plenty of people that totally get the whole concept of support raising, there are plenty of friends also that don't completely understand why we have to raise our support.
So why do we support raise? I grew up in the Southern Baptist church, where those who feel called to international missions were sent and were funded through the denomination. That's really cool in so many ways.
Here's what is different for us though that I do appreciate.
I appreciate knowing that we have so many individuals and churches who are stepping out in faith with us to see God's kingdom grow. We are so encouraged to see the Lord raise up people and churches who have a heart for England. We know that those who are financially supporting us are connected to us and are praying for us. Having people/churches financially supporting us reminds me that we are all connected to a universal church, no matter where you actually spend your Sunday morning. We are all called to be about the spreading of the gospel "to all nations", and for some that means going and others it means sending.
Sending can mean different things. Some don't have the finances to give, but instead can be great encouragers and prayer warriors. Believe me, we need those greatly.
Support raising is hard at times, if I can be really honest. Calling your friends and asking them to consider financially supporting you is out of my comfort zone. When we first started last year, I had a hard time with it. While it still isn't necessarily easy, I have come to a better understanding on why it is good. Support raising isn't just going around talking to people asking for money so that we can get to England. Support raising is ministry in and of itself. Asking for support, is asking someone else to step out in faith that the Lord will provide enough money each month/year so that they can support ministry.
I feel like our money is one of the hardest things to trust God with. So many times we can look at our money situation and think, "I don't think we can squeeze any more out". I myself can struggle with wanting to give away our money to others. I struggle to think that there just isn't enough.
I think we have to think beyond that though. We have to truly evaluate where we are putting our trust when it comes to our money. And really, where our money goes, that is where our hearts are. When we give to world missions, we are drawn to think of the world and God's kingdom coming all around it. We pray for it more typically when our finances are going to it. Am I right??
Going to seminary taught me and Michael a lot about trusting God with our money situation. We didn't know how on earth we were going to make it month to month, much less 3.5 years there. Now looking back, I am amazed. The Lord met our every single need truly.
There is something to be said for stepping out in faith in the unknown, trusting the Lord will provide. What a faith builder and an opportunity for the Lord to work and grow us. When we are comfortable and have control over things, we don't tend to "need" God as much (so we think many times).
We are all called to be about the Kingdom work. For each of us, that will look different. Some of us will be called to go. Some are called to stay where they are and be about God's kingdom right where they are. But I believe we should all have a heart for the lost throughout all nations. God does.
So if you have gotten a phone call/text/email/facebook message...know that we are just doing what the Lord has called us to at this time. We are inviting others in to be a part of the work going on in a little village across the pond in England. Our hearts through this time in support raising is that we can encourage others to think about their money and resources. We want people to wrestle with where they are using them and how God might want them to use them. Whether they end up supporting us or not, is sort of irrelevant. While yes, it would be great if everyone we contacted would support us, that is not what the ultimate goal is. The Lord knows who he has in mind to support us. If you don't support missions in some capacity, can I challenge you to consider it? If you don't feel the Lord calling you to support us, that is ok. But what is the Lord calling you to support with your time and money?
And if you are one of the ones we have contacted, we love you and it's ok if you don't end up supporting us. We still want to be friends ;)
And to end, will you pray for us as we are on this support raising journey? I can see how the Lord is using this time to refine and shape us. He is exposing my sin in this and it isn't easy at times. But I am so thankful too that He loves me enough to teach me and make me more and more into His image.
And if you want to hear more about what the Lord is doing across the pond and why we are going, please feel free to contact me. If you feel led to support us, that would be cool. But my prayer is that the Lord will grow us all through this journey, showing us where he wants to peel back the layers of unbelief and point us more in the direction of being about HIS business while we are here on this earth.