In this technological age, raising support is not exactly like it used to be. In fact, it is easy to have fear that “the market” will become flooded with so many requests for so many headed out on mission that there will simply not be enough donation dollars to go around. Facebook allows raising for causes for birthdays, gofundme pages pop up all the time, and online giving is so easy to set up!  It can seem like a daunting task to raise funds as just another person out there trying to fund a cause.  Yet, anyone who has raised support for missions knows that to the one who has been called, God shall equip. Hebrews 13:21, Philippians 1:6, and 2 Corinthians 9:8 are among the verses that reassure the called that He who has called will provide necessary resources. At the same time, it might be proposed that finding donor dollars and funding a calling from the Lord is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack!

The first question to be considered is whether the group of people out “there” (wherever there is) are really as numerous as pieces of hay in a haystack. It would certainly seem that this is true? We all have lots of social media “friends” who come from the workplace, school, church, sports, the gym where we workout, and maybe even someone by whom one sat on a plane! We all know that there are plenty of “friends” on social media, and for those who attend church, there are plenty of pew sharers. The question is whether they are ready to be part of the haystack when it comes to seeking their support for missions. When the one who is called starts asking “friends”, it most certainly feels like sifting through a haystack. The truth is that God will provide, so it is just a matter of figuring out through whom He will choose to do it!

The second issue to consider is whether those who are found as the needles are really that unusual. One might talk to any missionary or non-profit employee who has raised support, and the likely response is that these supporters are an absolute treasure to find. Whether the donors give one time, monthly, or just when the Spirit moves them, those who are on support feel as if that donor is a true gem, a real find, and a needle in a haystack!

If you wish to be that needle in a haystack for your missionary friend, here are a few suggestions to make the task a little less daunting:

1) Communicate with the person you are supporting! If the person seeking funds asks you about giving, remember that it was not easy to make that ask. Rejection is better than saying nothing at all, so communicate with the person out of respect for the ask that has been made. Maybe this means returning a communication card. Maybe this means following through on setting up a donation. Maybe it just means sending an email to let them know that you mailed a check. In whatever way that is possible, communicate what you intend to give, when you intend to give, and how you intend to give it. If you must discontinue donations, just communicate that to your friend.

2) Don’t avoid! Again, negative news is not as negative as you may perceive it to be. If you feel your donation is not going to be enough, your commitment is not going be able to be fulfilled, or you wish you could do more, the best thing you can do is to make all of that less hidden and be open about it. The person raising support will appreciate your honesty.

3) Reflect before you respond. If someone has asked you to support something, consider whether you genuinely want to support the person and/or the cause. The person asking for mission funds wants those to give who genuinely want to give. It should be a matter of prayer so that there is peace about the decision made.

4) Realize you are a treasure. If a person raising support finds you, and you feel called to give, you are a treasure! You are helping this person to live out his/her calling, and you are a partner. You should never feel like you have not done enough or not given enough. You should be assured that your friend has likely received many rejection notices, so you truly are a treasure and a needle in a haystack that was out there waiting to be found.

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