On Raising Support
One Family’s Journey of Ministry Partnership
Support Raising, Deputation, Partnership Development, or whatever you want to call it, is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and strength that we ourselves cannot provide. It takes knowing that what we are asking is not really about us at all; it’s about faithful obedience to our Father.
I could share with you many interesting stories of people we never knew deciding to partner with God in ministry; churches where we never even made a presentation, partnering with God in ministry; encounters in parking lots, that lead to a new partner in ministry. Or what about the people who support us, sacrificially? I mean, people who may not buy ice cream or steaks at the grocery store so that they can support God’s ministry through us. But I don’t plan to do that, instead, I will share with you about the most important aspect of partnership development, prayer.
In the beginning, once we name-stormed (generated a list of individuals and churches we’d contact), I prayed over each person and local church on that list. It wasn’t fancy, just several hours spent in prayer before I sent the first email or made the first call. Thursday was fasting day, a 24-hour fast for me and special times of prayer. I never canceled a lunch or dinner meeting because of fasting, I ate anyway, being sensitive to never take away a partner’s joy in getting to meet with me and my family. We still pray for people in our partnership network daily.
Once again, nothing fancy or regimented, but we pray. And you know what? God answers prayer. Never ever doubt that! When you are on the field, prayer of the righteous will heal your child in the middle of the night, prayer will keep your truck from sliding down the side of a mountain, prayer will heal your neighbor, prayer will send the demons of Satan away, and prayer will keep you in the field; where you are supposed to be, proclaiming Jesus to people that have never heard. “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I am working’ (John 5:17).”
Often times when dialing a phone number or sending an email, a small voice would speak to me in a non-audible tone to say “don’t do it, they will reject you.” I am sad to say, sometimes I never sent the email or made the call. Other times I spoke without fear the same way Jesus told Peter “Get behind me Satan!” And when I prayed without fear, Satan got behind me and he had a perfect view of watching Jesus work. One day, in particular, I was driving to an appointment and the same feeling of fearing rejection came over me.
I turned the radio off and cried out to Jesus. I literally shouted and cried for the more than 30-minute ride. Jesus needed me to tell him to fight my battle; and fight, he did! Several weeks passed after this meeting and then I learned how my prayers had worked. On the morning that we were presenting in this church, the pastor stood up and told his entire congregation that during the appointment several weeks prior, he had decided, before the meeting, to decline to let us present to his church.
But as I shared about our call to the unreached of Africa, the Holy Spirit prevented him from rejecting us during that meeting. So you see, It was not my battle to fight, it was up to Jesus. And through that 30-minute car ride and talk with Jesus, the Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of His people. That church partners with us; but the main thing is… the Holy Spirit moved in a mighty way and an entire church got to hear that proclamation about sharing Jesus with people who had never heard in Africa.
So in closing, never give in to fear, never! During our partnership development, when I relied on myself for strength, I gave in to fear; But when I relied on God’s strength, He took my fears and replaced it with His boldness. That boldness of going before the throne of God in prayer literally shook the heavens. You will need this boldness when you go and serve among the unreached or in whatever ministry role God may be leading you. You will face seemingly larger battles when on the field. So start fighting now!
“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” I Thessalonians 5:24
Story by Justin Raymer
Justin and Kristen Raymer and their children serve alongside the Alagwa team in KwaMadebe, Tanzania. The Alagwa are an unreached people group of about 40,000 people. Justin and Kristen work using their gifting of education and agriculture to share the love of Christ with their Alagwa neighbors and friends. They are also working with the team in partnership with Africa Inland Church Tanzania, Wycliffe, and the local community to record an audio version of Holy Scripture in the local heart language for the Alagwa people.
An unexpected welcome for a team sharing Christ in south coastal Tanzania
Ask any missionary who’s been at it for some years, and you’ll be surprised at how much of their journey has resulted in their good. Every journey is different of course, but here are a few benefits from mine.
Three decades into their ministry among an unreached people group, this intrepid duo reflects on five things they’ve learned along the way.