Should we ask for donations?
I should begin this post by explaining that my opinions concerning asking for financial assistance with the work we do in Kenya has radically been altered over the past three years. This short message is for anyone wondering whether or not to financially help ‘missionaries’ with their work. I have put missionaries in quotes, because unfortunately not all missionaries are what they seem. Before you emotionally give to any request for funds … check them out. Enough said.
Before we pulled up stakes and moved to Nakuru Kenya to live in the slums, I had some rather naive views of missionaries asking for financial help. Here are some of those very narrow thoughts…
Why can’t those sent out by God just depend on Him and not beg people for help? Why are they constantly asking for monetary assistance from those back home? Doesn’t God provide where He guides? Does every other correspondence have to include pictures of needy or dying children?
Now to some of you, especially my missionary friends, that might seem pretty gross … and it is, but it is what I wondered and to my shame, sometimes even verbalised. When our Father sent my wife and I to Africa, we so desired (and still desire) to go in real faith and depend entirely on Him. We so wanted our work to glorify Him and not just be viewed as humanitarian efforts.
Not that there is anything wrong with humanitarian efforts, they help many deserving poor here in Kenya and throughout the world. Its just that we wanted our work be seen as primarily being about His Kingdom, His work, and His provision. I think the patriarch Abraham felt that same way, because he was very passionate about our Father’s honour.
After Abraham fought and rescued people from their captors he was offered a reward. He refused their offer and in so doing, revealed his single mindedness concerning the glory of God. Scriptures like this one made me jealous for God’s glory…
“But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, “I have made Abram rich’—“
And yet, upon more closely examining the scriptures and the lives of the missionaries I admired, it was clear that most of the time God used His people to supply the needs of His workers and they let other people know what they were. See (1Tim. 5:17,18), (2 Cor. 11:9) etc. .
The second reality check that changed those naive thoughts came when coming face to face with the incredible scope of the needs in third world people and especially those living in slums. Hundreds and thousands of needs, so vast, so dire, that it can completely overwhelm a western mind.
Children die here for the lack of medicine costing the same price as a McDonalds happy meal. Widows with families are put out on the street for less than two trips to Starbucks. And yes… we know that we can cripple personal initiative by giving too much… but for God’s sake (literally), … should we let people become homeless or even die for less than five dollars?
Please understand… due to the corruption found in so much of the clergy here in Kenya, we don’t take one shilling from any of our churches or other ministries. We feel it important that Kenyans see we are not the ‘monetary benefactors’ of our ministries (see Luke 22: 24-27). That money goes back into the ministries. And yes, we know there are balancing scriptures that say a workman is worthy of his wages, don’t muzzle the ox as he threshes … etc., but the extent of leaders taking advantage of the flock in this area is enormous. As a result, all our support comes from God through family, friends and our Social Security checks. Sometimes if a personal need is beyond our ability to obtain, we will let other people know about it. Yet, it is important to us, that we know our Father is backing us up in whatever ministry we undertake.
But… what should we do when we see children with such immense potential, desperately wanting an education and the parent/s, having tried everything, still can’t afford it? Or abandoned mothers trying so hard to take care of her family’s needs with little or no hope of employment? And all the while, knowing there are people back home having both the will and means to alleviate such hardships?
I will tell you what we’ve decided to do… we’re going to let those needs be known!
Once I asked a dear Indian pastor friend of mine, what he felt about taking money from people who he knew were not being obedient to God. His ministry takes care of thousands of orphaned children and his reply was stingingly revealing. He said … I don’t care what those people do or don’t do… the blood of Jesus cleanses the money I receive … I need to take care of these children! I thought wow… perhaps that helps explain the second half of this proverb… “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children ‘s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous”. (Proverbs 13:22)
Sometimes I’m not sure of the theology of such ideas, but I sure know and agree with the heart behind it.
So beloved friends and family… all that to say this… when we post a need on Facebook or put up a request for assistance through our website, blogs etc., know that it is with great trepidation that we do so. Should our Father move on your hearts to help us (or any true missionary) help His people or the lost and dying of this corrupt world… please do so. And remember… every cent you give to StoneHouse Ministries goes exactly where you designate it to go.
May this New Year be the best you’ve ever had, and thank you so much for helping us… help them.
Much love from the StoneHouse Family.