The Hidden Joys of Raising Support
Asking for money is very difficult for us. We would be much more comfortable earning wages from a company or returns from an investment.
In fact, before moving to Malawi in 2009, Matt explored the possibility of continuing his photography business in Africa so we didn’t need to raise support. We learned what would take for an American to run an ethical business in a land of subsistence farmers. And we learned about the complications of visas, taxes, foreign imports, and the like. It became obvious that we would spend all our time running the business, and wouldn’t have much time left for the church. Everyone we spoke to in Malawi affirmed that Matt’s self-supporting missionary model wasn’t really realistic here.
So instead, we ask for financial support. We rely on donations from churches, family and friends. Our life and ministry in Malawi depends on the gifts of others.
This would be a frightening position if it weren’t for the faithfulness of God, who–usually through His people–has always given us more than we deserve. We’re grateful for the opportunity to have our faith strengthened as we acknowledge our financial dependence and as we watch, each month, how He provides what He knows we need.
Living on support also lets us see how God blesses our supporters. We have gone in faith, and they give in faith. Their faith is often humbling: our supporters include widows, students, and retirees! How can we accept their gifts in good conscience? Because of this: we firmly believe God will abundantly repay their generosity.
In Philippians 4:14-20, the Apostle Paul told his supporters in Philippi that as significant than their financial contribution was, the eternal profit that accrued to their account was far greater. He was convinced that God’s riches in glory are so vast, they could be certain He could–and would–supply every one of their needs. We could say the same about our supporters. Yes, we try to carefully manage the donations people entrust to us. Yes, we try to report back about the ministry they have enabled. But we don’t consider anything we do as adequate repayment for our financial partners. Rather, our confidence is in God, who perfectly and abundantly repays the sacrificial gifts of faith.
So we thank God for putting us in a position to experience the joys of raising support.
Our Support Status
Since we moved to Malawi, our family has doubled, meaning more money for diapers, school books, dentist visits, plane tickets, and more. But at the same time, we’ve learned how to live more simply, inspired by our Malawian friends who are incredible at stretching small amounts of money. So our overall support needs haven’t increased.
What has changed is that we are no longer “newbies.” Why is this significant? In 2009, when we were preparing to leave, talk of a recession in the US made it difficult for many people to commit to monthly giving. Then, a very generous organization stepped in with $2000/month, making it possible for us to move to Africa without much delay. This money was special: it was specifically intended to help new missionaries get to the field, and we have always known that we should invite other supporters to “fill the gap” so that those funds can help other “newbies.”
In the years since, several churches and individuals have begun to support us monthly, and the gap is now down to $500/month. Our goal is completely replace the “newbie” donations by the end of 2015. In short:
We’ll try to keep this updated as that number changes.
How to Get Involved
Would you be willing to help us close the gap? Every little bit counts (one supporter has given us $2/month for 5 years!) You can give tax-deductible donations through our sending church, via three different ways:
- Online with a credit card (one-time or ongoing)
- Automatic debit from your bank account
- Mailing a check
You can learn about each below.
The easiest way to give towards our ministry is with a credit card, through the Grace Community Church website. Both one-time and monthly donations can be made this way. To do this, use our support page:
As our sending church, Grace Community Church pays all the credit card transaction fees. That means we receive 100% of what you send. But if you’re looking to set up an automatic monthly donation, and don’t have a strong preference for using a credit card, using the bank account option below will save Grace Church a little bit of money.
Alternatively, you can set up automatic monthly withdrawals from your checking or savings account. Like the credit card option above, this is also automatic, so you don’t need to worry about missing a month. To set this up, print the application form below and mail it to the address on the form.
If you prefer to mail a check, you can do that too. Sometimes the regular act of writing and mailing a check is a good reminder to pray for us too. Just make the check out to Grace Ministries International with a memo that it’s for the Floreens.
Grace Community Church – GMI
13248 Roscoe Blvd.
Sun Valley, CA 91352
Please let us know if you need any further help!