A supporter generally refers to someone who gives financially so that someone is freed up for the propagation of the Gospel. A good supporter not only gives regularly from his/her regular income, but also thinks of creative, sacrificial ways to give above and beyond normal means. For example, a supporter may give up going out to eat twice a month so that she can send those funds to support a child in poverty on another continent. Or a supporter who is ready to buy a new car may give his gently used car to a church to lend to its missionaries when they’re back home.
A sender refers to giving financially, but the term also infers someone who is relationally well connected to a person or organization. So in addition to the type of material giving we’ve described that supporters do, a sender also gives time, services and care. For example, a sender who is a dentist may give all his church’s missionaries free dental care when they return home. Or a sending family may mail a box of dorm room start-up supplies to a missionary couple’s daughter who has just moved back to the US to start college. That same family might pay to fly the daughter back home to her parents on the field for a holiday, or might fly the daughter to their own home for the holidays.
In short, a good supporter or sender is regularly considering how to release resources so that missionaries can stay healthy and effective on the field.
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