Missions: To give or not to give

I would be one of the firsts to admit that traveling overseas to a foreign country for three weeks made me see the world differently. My entire family and I, along with 15 or so other kids and parents fumbled through team building exercises, spent countless afternoons gathered around a cassette player repeating foreign phrases, and raked enough leaves to cover a forest of trees, but it made it all worth it with the relationships that were made. I know it is odd to build relationship in a short 3 weeks worth of time – maybe it was the fact part of the team returned to stay for additional months. Nonetheless, I believe my mission experiences were quite different.

Not much more than a month goes by than I receive a letter in the mail or an email in my inbox or a group invite on facebook asking for money for some mission-oriented trip. I’m sure most of you can relate. Quite opposite of my highest ranking “love language” of gift giving, I have found myself annoyed by the requests and annoyed with myself for being annoyed. After some reflection time on my heartlessness and speaking to other wise people in my life, I’ve drawn some conclusions.

Aside from mission trips, I am delighted to support people in missions, especially those who are in the field for long periods of time; people who’s hearts, lives, and words reflect loving others in all places no matter how unglamorous. Giving monthly gives me a sense of investment back into the kingdom of God. I believe the only way to know these of things, is sitting down with these people and getting to know their heart – unless of course, you are sure that the Holy Spirit is guiding you to give.

I thought it would be helpful to share the different questions that should be asked of the individual seeking funds:

1. What is your heart for missions and do see this being something you would want to invest in long term – become an actual missionary?
I believe this question is important. It kind of divides the lovers of travel from the hearts for missions.

2. Why are you going?
This should include what they personally desire to see and accomplish.

3. What will you be doing there?
A list of activities, including how much site seeing/down time will be happening.

4. Have you ever been on a mission trip and how often do you take mission trips?
I like to ask this, because for some people it’s a regular occurrence. I personally like to see a purpose in their trips – a repeated trip back to the same place for instance. If the mission trips change often – ask why they chose to go elsewhere,  what they may or may not have learned, and any changes in their lives since going.

5. How much money are you contributing?
A friend of my family always asks this question when he is approached for money. He expectations of a personal contribution is at least 50% of the total funding. Most people would raise their brow to this or may wonder how on earth can I ask such a personal question? Just keep in mind that they are asking for your money and you can ask these questions!

I raised most of my funding by offering services to people: babysitting, yard work, house work, etc. Many of the letters I receive are from college students, most of whom haven’t been able to work all year. However, I believe if there is a will, there is a way!

I believe our money is God’s money and as God is mindful and purposeful in His actions, I believe we are to do the same. Money can be a blessing and a curse. I believe we are to invest in long term and short term missions. I believe there are times that we straight up feel that the Holy Spirit is prompting us to give and we are to do so. I have invested in long term and short term missions, in the lives of people who I know and love and will be changed and will change the lives of those around them.


Rachel Merchand Abplanalp
I am ProLife, a defender of the Creator of the Universe, a lover of Nathan, a photographer, a web developer, a musician, a friend. I love life & I love you.

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