Why We Ask for Partners
If you've ever met a missionary, you probably recognize the term support raising. If you've been around long enough, you might even know the term deputation. These words generally refer to the part of the missionary journey that involves visiting churches and meeting with families to raise the needed finances to be able to do the work that God is calling us to.
The fact is that missions does require financial support. Our goal is not to be a burden on those that we are working with or serving in other countries. In most cases, getting paid by locals on the field would not be possible due to visa regulations and the general image of foreigners coming in and draining economic resources. In fact, because we enter countries as volunteers, it opens up all sorts of opportunities for us around the world. Being backed financially by churches and friends in the US is a critical part of our success.
And money is a tangible thing to ask for. It's measurable. Wycliffe has set a budget for us to raise to be successful on the field. At all times, I can provide you with an exact percentage of funds that have been raised and how much we have left. When something is that tangible, it easily becomes the primary thing that we ask for or measure our success by.
But it takes so much more than just money! We try to say it often, but we absolutely need people to be praying for us. The primary battle that lies before each of us as Christians cannot be fought with physical resources, but requires each of us to be on our knees regularly for each other. We also commit to encouraging one another and building each other up in the faith. In no other part of Christianity do we believe that money is the only resource we need! We need to approach even missions as a whole team!
All this has led to a shift in how we even refer to this time in our missionary journey. Officially, this part of the process is called partnership development. I'll be honest, when I first heard this term it felt a little like when Starbucks calls their employees partners. It seems like just changing the name doesn't really change anything.
But there's a reason organizations are intentional about how they refer to people and relationships. Here are some of the reasons that we call our relationship with you a partnership:
A partner is committing to more than just writing a check. We want you to see yourself as an integral part of our Wycliffe ministry. Like I mentioned above, your prayers and encouragement are critical components of our team of partners. We have partners that don't give us money, and we don't want to equate partnership with finances.
A partnership goes both ways. We don't want a one-way road of resources when it comes to our partnership. We have a list of all those people that we know are giving or praying for us, and we strive to pray for you all often! If there's any way we can be praying, please let us know. We want our interactions with you to be an encouragement and a faithful report of the ways God is working around the world!
A partnership acknowledges how the whole team is a part of bringing Scripture to the world. This particular point is such a big deal to us. We hope to convey to you all that partnership with our Wycliffe ministry makes you equally a part of bringing God's Word to people around the world. It's as though you're going with us. When John talks about this in 3 John 8, he says, "...we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth." So, it's not wrong to say that we are supported, but we want to highlight the fact that we are one team that is working together in different roles to complete the mission.
We got to see firsthand how this partnership works during our visit to Côte d'Ivoire last summer. We were given a copy of the Bakwe New Testament that had just been completed. The celebration within the community was scheduled for the next monthǃ As we talked with the translators that had worked on this project, they spoke of their excitement to go back home. They were excited to share with all their partners what their partnership had accomplished among the Bakwe people! They truly saw it as a team effort.
We can't wait to come home with brand new copies of God's Word and be able to say, "Look what God did through ALL OF US!"
Would you consider partnering with our Wycliffe ministry in some way? And please let us know how we can be praying for you, too!