Investing Where it Matters Most – Part Two
There is this time that I was sent by the Missions’ organization I was working with to go and collect some important data in one of the missions field in Northern Kenya. This was a missionary laboring among the unreached people groups of the area. I had many questions for him especially concerning his support mechanism, and after being well received, I chose to observe and take notes. That same evening, he took me to his family and confirmed that he receives small support from a local church and another church in the US. He uses these small amounts he receives to care for his family and to fund his missionary activities.
The following day was market day, about forty kilometers from this town. Me, him and another guy went there to collect the information I needed. We would make stops here and there to check on some of the people along the path whom these missionaries knew and worked with. I would hear story after story, what each coin was spent on, how each investment is going on. How this girl is schooling after paying her school fees, how this old grandmother now receives food, how funding was provided to build several huts here and there. How this man’s camel was treated through his intervention. How they prayed over this family and this happened and so on.
When we finally had a rest break at the only shopping center along the dusty desert roads, there was quite a big number of people who saw him and rushed by to say hi and thank him. But above all, they commented on spiritual matters, how fellowship is running, how they have been listening to the Audio Bibles he gifted them and they didn’t shy from sharing what they are learning and praying about. We then left and arrived to the market on time, this is a market on the shades of trees where communities trade with each other once a week, where all sorts of merchandise are spread on the dusty ground. The people I was to interview were in the market who either came to buy something or to sell goods. I collected all the information I needed.
Later the missionary took me a few meters from the market to show me the place the community gave him to set up a base, at the moment the foundation for the Church had been done. This was to be the central meeting point and coordination center as all small house churches and fellowships were to continue as usual. This missionary had been given a big piece of land to use as he desires. He planned to also set up a hospital and a school in future.
We camped there for three days so that I could interview more people living around. I couldn’t help but marvel at what I was seeing with my own eyes and hearing with my ears. I was recording audios of all the interviews with the locals which I listened over and over again, these were people from Muslim or tribal backgrounds, they had no previous exposure to Christianity or association with Christians and here they were, a community that had not heard of Jesus, though one man’s efforts was now meeting to worship Him, praying in His Name and gave large piece of their land to be used for religious activities. They told me of good they feel to be Christians when they compared with their former way of life.
Like any other groundbreaking work, this missionary admitted that it was not easy. He narrated to me how severally he walked these forty kilometers to attend to his handful young disciples. How hostile the community was to him at first and didn’t want anything to do with his Jesus. How flash floods would sweep away all the bridges on the road and this forced him to spends nights away from his family. It wasn’t all rosy but his determination to keep moving, to keep raising resources and his little efforts in meeting the needs in the community paid off.
This is what can be achieved if willing disciples with sound plans are properly funded. What if we funded more of such people? All he achieved can significantly be attributed to the support he received. Giving out financially and materially to support those laboring among the unreached is a noble course. This relieves them of the stresses of leading fundraisers or of thinking where their next meal will come from. And this provides enough space and time to concentrate on ministry and the missionary is more effective that way. We should lower our expectations if the soldiers we send to the battlefields don’t have enough supplies.
The serious question is, who will take up the responsibility of funding missions? Funding missions is not a cheap affair for it demands tons of monies on top of our prayers. The truth is that the early church managed to fund the exploits of Paul, Mark, Barnabas, Silas and many others in the New Testament who took the gospel to the ends of the known world. Today’s church is a wealthy one and has more than enough to fund all missionaries. Both the Church and normal believers can and should give to those in the frontlines. Only then can movements emerge among the unreached. You and I will shoulder the bills. Are you ready?
***Peter Kale (not his real name) is a missionary serving among an unreached people group in Northeastern Kenya