A Special Partnership

Our missionaries tell about those who have become their encouragement and prayer support in life and ministry. (from Issue #496)

It’s more than about financial support! Our missionaries tell about those who have become their encouragement and prayer support in life and ministry:
  • “One supporter taught my husband at Sunday school and was a second Dad to me, as I tailed after him around the farm some 45 years ago. We believe that it was the prayers of this couple that brought us to faith in Christ. They have been our supporters since we joined … 24 years ago.”
  • “A book could be written of the wonderful provisions of the Lord through the years. One that comes to mind is that, at a very critical time when our daughter needed to go south for high school and Bible school, a dear Christian woman sent us $4000 (a considerable sum in the 1960s). She explained that she had this in a bank account and the Lord told her that she should give it away, and she obeyed!”
  • “Our first Christmas [on the field] our support was very low. [We had bought] very small gifts for our four children, but there was no money for the stockings [which] we always had back [home]. We told the children. Christmas Eve we got a phone call that something had been sent. In this box was a note from a woman we had met once. It said, ‘I’m sending these things for your Christmas stockings.’ There was a gift for each of us and candy besides. How God supplied, and I cried.”
  • “Financial and prayer supporters have been a special blessing. [I had] the responsibility for housing our missionaries in the Arctic. Several of our supporting friends, who were either professional tradesmen or talented handymen, came together [for] four major building projects. They lived in tents and other less-than-comfortable accommodations. Every time I visit with these men they comment on the spiritual impact of those times. I’m sure their commitment was a very positive testimony to our Inuit friends who watched their lives and had opportunity to share with them.”
  • “We went to the field with very little promised support. We never had full support during our years on the field, but God always supplied our needs. We did not do much traveling to make our needs known, but we prayed and trusted God. We had loved ones who stood with us and prayed, and there was one couple who was especially faithful in helping us. We had never met them before we went to the field, but they were an answer to our prayers.”
  • “One of our faithful supporters lived all alone in a tiny cabin. Regularly until death came, the monthly letters arrived with $2 or $5 enclosed, a few postage stamps, and always in shaky handwriting, a cheery: ‘God bless you. I am praying for you.’ Another of our supporters, as she lay dying at the age of 93 … struggled to sit up and signed her monthly support cheque and sent it off to NCEM!”
  • “One time, when our support had gone very low, we had prayed much about it and felt we should let our supporters know. We wrote something to the effect that if our support did not come up, we would have to leave the Mission. One of our supporters called us most upset. He said that there was no way this should happen. He took our request to his church’s men’s group. From that we got several new supporters from the church group.”
  • “Over my years I’ve had all kinds of donations — many that have made me feel thankful, blessed, overwhelmed, unworthy. Some have even made me feel guilty. But never until recently have we had a donation that made me laugh. [It] came with a note from a retired supporter saying he had decided to share his ‘Ralph Bucks’ with us (you know, when Alberta premier Ralph Klein shared the province’s wealth)!”
  • “Concerning prayer support, as [we] flew along Great Slave Lake, we suddenly found ourselves lost in a white-out. We nearly flew the plane into the ground, but were able at the last second to pull it up. Some days later we received a letter from a prayer helper who said that recently she’d been moved to pray for us. Not knowing our specific needs at the time, she was led to pray for safety in flying!”
  • (from an Office missionary) “The letter was in shaky handwriting and the amount enclosed was $2. The writer apologized for not being able to give more. It was a gift for the Minute-Man project. Somehow those $2 reminded me of the widow’s mite. She had given out of her deep love for the Lord.”
  • “When our boys were little, we were given a ‘banana’ bike. It had a long narrow yellow seat with a tall curved bar at the back, and our boys loved it. Our boys grew older, but even when we moved two times, the banana bike came with us. Village boys also loved our banana bike (and even asked for it to be given to them!). Our boys didn’t mind sharing it, but they didn’t want to say good-bye to it. This past year our 19 year-old son has been working, and riding his 21-speed bike all winter to save extra money to serve overseas. But something happened to it, and what did he do? Got out the faithful banana bike! God bless that lady for giving our boys that ‘banana’ bike!”
  • “Many of my supporters encourage me by telling me that they pray daily for me, writing me a letter, supporting me faithfully financially, showing me that they are interested in my ministry by asking specific questions.”
  • “One day my husband came home from the Post Office with 4 or 5 apple boxes. The return address was from people we had never met. We opened each box and found various items of clothing with some canned goods and treats tucked among them. How exciting! It felt like Christmas! We were instructed to take whatever clothes we needed for our family, and pass on the rest to others in the community. How exciting to receive blessings and treats from people we have never seen!”
  • “I am very thankful to God for godly parents who have supported us with prayer each day and with finances each month since we joined NCEM. I wonder how many other missionaries around the world could say the same thing? The love, care, advise, and encouragement of our parents are a treasure to us.”
  • “Through the years we have had Christian nurses, teachers, business people, a resource officer and their families living with us in the Native communities. We still correspond with some who we first met over 20 years ago. We value their friendship, and appreciate having their positive testimony for Christ in the village.”
  • “At different times we have traveled and shared with people about the ministry that God has given us. As mothers we know the effort it takes to take in a family with several children and provide them with meals and a comfortable place to sleep. We are so grateful for those who welcomed us into their homes, and cheerfully fed us and gave us a place to rest.”
  • “We were living on a fly-in reserve. We flew out two times a year to attend (staff) conferences, and that is when we did our grocery shopping for the year. Prices were high on the reserve, so we tried to buy as little as possible there, mainly eggs. Our garden was very poor at first, but with some work it gradually improved. One time, when we were out, a sweet lady gave us quart jars of jam. It was real jam — with big, whole, red strawberries in it … the best jam we ever tasted! We felt like kings (and she did it more than one year!).”
  • “I was talking with a supporter who was a fellow Bible college student and thanking them for their faithful support over the years. He said he’d had a conversation with my dad, and my dad had mentioned that we’d had a month with no donations. He told me he was going to make sure that would never happen again if it was within his power!”
  • “When we were stationed [further north] we started receiving letters from a dear lady who began to pray for us. She wrote every month and included in her letter … how her tulips were in bloom (while we still had three feet of snow!), about her family, responses to our prayer requests, a devotional clipped from a booklet, a handwritten poem, and a birthday card. She had started writing us when she found out through the Northern Lights Prayer Directory how far north we lived. Her letters were always anticipated. Three years ago we took a trip to Ontario and made a point to visit her for the first time. She is just as wonderful as her letters portrayed her to be!”
  • “A farmer has been selling us beef at a good price and we, in turn, have sold some of it to the people in our community. The people here are concerned about getting high quality meat and they enjoy the good beef from this farmer. He even gave us a beef one time (at no cost). These are God’s blessings to us and our community from a farmer friend.”
  • “One evening we found a cigarette butt in our truck camper, which we were using to transport teens for our youth ministry. That made us realize that we needed a van. We prayed about it and asked interested people to also pray for this need. Family members donated $500, and our truck and camper sold for $900. We were trusting God to supply the money still needed. Then a letter came with a blank cheque! The supporters wrote, ‘We were saving money to build a new house, but the Lord has spoken to us that we should help you buy the van that you need.’ For about two weeks we prayed about what amount we should write on the cheque. We didn’t want to abuse this offer, so we called to ask them what amount we should take. Soon we purchased a van, needing only a small loan.”
  • “Like a rainbow spreading across the sky, one lady sends us letters, special letters for the kids, stickers for the girls, newspaper clippings, and treats at Valentines. She’s given us games for our children’s ministry. She has phoned and asked how we were and how our work was going, and I have shared what we were going through. It feels so special to have someone who cares, and takes time to listen.”
  • “In past years we have helped distribute Salvation Army Christmas hampers sent in for the community. There were a lot of things coming in on the planes for us to give to others, but one time an anonymous shipment came in labeled ‘For the Missionaries.’ It included a case of milk, a big block of cheese, a huge ham and a case of orange juice. My heart leaped — was this actually for us? We had to do some ‘detective work’ to find out who sent it and whether it really was for us. Well it was! When we thanked the donor, he said, ‘How’d you find out?’ He told us that he and some friends had decided to ‘bless us.’ And they really did. Our kids were coming home for Christmas. They grew up on powdered milk, so fresh milk was such a treat for them.”
  • “For 35 years a husband and wife gave regular financial support to us, as well as prayed for us daily. I know they had others they also gave and prayed for.”
  • “This past winter, when my mom died, the ‘gift in lieu of flowers’ went toward our support. The people overwhelmed us by their love and generosity. Another thing we marvel at is the faithfulness of our supporters. We’ve been up north now for almost 20 years and these kind folks and churches have stayed with us all the way. Their generosity has made sure that we have never had a short month. We realize that it is God who is ultimately responsible for all of this.”
  • “The first year we came out our insurance was due and we had no money to pay it. We got a cheque from supporters in Ontario who didn’t know anything about our crisis. It was almost the exact amount that was needed, maybe a couple dollars more.”
  • “We have supporters who always amaze us. They will speak of an instance or situation that we made reference to long before (which we assumed was long forgotten to our supporters). It is these comments which we treasure, knowing that our supporters are so faithful in prayer as they bring us and our needs before God.”
  • “About 8 months after I joined NCEM, I was struggling financially. I remember praying, asking God to meet my financial needs, even in a ‘unique’ way, if it was His will. A few days later some money came to the Mission office for me. It was a one time gift, from the estate of a lady who had passed away about a year before. I knew this elderly lady had prayed regularly for me, but she had never sent finances. God used this experience to deepen my faith in Him and trust Him in whatever He asked of me.”
  • “My husband attended a church in Seattle when he was in college there. This church eventually joined with another, and supported us with some financial help until our retirement in the 1990s. They have kept us informed with their monthly church bulletin to this present time — never failing for more than 50 years! What faithfulness!”
  • “Last fall a supporter, a friend of my husband’s from high school, let us know that he had a real burden to pray for us for an entire month. Though the supporter didn’t know it, it was the exact month when my husband was struggling with special health needs.”
  • “Upon joining the Mission and seeking to raise our support, we learned early that ultimately it is God who we must look to, not people. It seemed like some of the ones who said, ‘I’ll help you,’ forgot to do so, but then we received support from the least expected places … like Asia!”
  • “We remember visiting a certain church to tell about our ministry. Later, visiting with one of the couples, we heard how they were very involved with immigrants and, in fact, knew much more about cross-cultural ministry than we did! It was humbling, but a great encouragement to know that there are people in local churches who are also reaching out beyond their comfort zone.”
  • “Years back our car was ‘finished’ after a trip to northern Manitoba. We found an envelope on the table at home with a note from our Mission Office that said: ‘We could not deposit a cheque because it is unclear if the amount is for $500 or for $5.00. We had to return the cheque to the sender.’ The donor sent another cheque, saying they better ‘make it right’ … a thousand dollars! It helped us buy another car. We never received money from them again, but it was God’s provision for the need at hand.”
  • “We especially appreciate it when supporters visit us on the field. They gain a new perspective on how valuable their partnership is to our ministry, as well as what we are challenged with.”
  • “I came across something one of our daughters had written about our first Christmas in an isolated village. She wrote that she was not expecting very much under the tree because she knew her parents had not been able to get ‘out’ to shop — the airfare costs were just too high. So she was especially thrilled that a supporting church had sent a box just before Christmas (which her parents had been able to hide!). Some of the things were new and some were used, but she remembers that as one of her best Christmas Day experiences — because God blessed in such an unexpected way.”

Adapted from our Northern Lights magazine (Issue #496). Note: some of the locations and involvements of our missionaries may have changed since the original publishing of this article.