Tuesday, April 22, 2008


For an introvert like me, this word conjures up many negative connotations. Whether I'm on the funding end or raising end, it's just not something I like to/choose to engage in! I do, however, understand the necessity for it in many instances.

For our summer trips, it's only been in more recent years that we've embarked on fundraising efforts. I have no idea why. Maybe it's the kids; they seem to embrace the idea whole-heartedly possibly due to having to raise funds for all kinds of school events. Maybe it's the rising cost of these trips with fewer resources among our growing number of team members. I honestly don't know the reason, but I feel really bombarded by fundraising pressures.

Here is what I know: when God calls you to go, He always provides. Whether we have done organized fundraisers or not, we've always had exactly what we've needed to complete His work. Sometimes we think we've come out slightly ahead only to find that the little bit extra has covered some unknown need or cost. Or sometimes we've been able to bless a missionary host in a way that we never expected through our extra funds. God always comes through.

I know this as well: it's important to communicate with the church body - within or outside of your own church community - where God is sending you and why. We've had some really bizarre fundraisers work, like just washing windows at a gas station, and we've connected with people who may not have heard about our church and what we're doing in the world. Maybe they give us a dollar for washing a window, but we're reaching out into our community and building some bridges by actually putting a face on what we're doing.

And finally, fundraising for a missions trip shouldn't be about money. In fact, it really shouldn't be called fundraising, but if we called it something like "supportraising" we might get some strange looks from people out there!! We have to know and believe that our efforts are in vain if God isn't calling us to go, and if He is calling us, He will provide a way.

So, why do we fundraise?? Well, we do it to support our teams, to build our teams, to create smaller purposes within our overall purpose and most importantly, to provide a way for others to go with us on our journey. Granted, when we wash windows, those people most of the time don't really understand what they are giving towards. I sometimes imagine what the look on their face will be when Jesus says to them, "Remember that time you gave the girl $5 to go to Hungary?" "What girl??" "The one who washed your car windows and left all those dirty streaks on them!!" "HUH?" "Yeah, that was really for Me, so THANKS!" I kind of chuckle to myself, but the picture of what is happening is so much larger than even our kids realize.

The question we hear most often when we start these trips is, "What happens if we don't raise enough money?" For real, it's difficult to answer that. I usually just say, "That's never happened...." Not that that's any consolation, but it's true. At least as far as I know! I just think when we really focus on our mission, the pressure goes away because we see that we can't do it without God, and when we let Him take control, it will happen.

Silent auction. It's a great idea and I hope we can pull it off. It will surely be a group effort in more ways than one, a team builder and it will test the faith of a few of us more than others!!

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