The Skinny on Support

Or, if i could have a long title, “Everything you wanted to know about the TallSkinnyKiwi and his money but were afraid he would ask”.
I am writing this in response to a comment from a lovely housewife, and some others who asked me yesterday about my situation and how to help. If you dont want to know, dont continue reading.

Her questions:
*how* are you funded? where would a rich housewife like me send a check from her overinflated grocery budget?

Short answer:
How wonderful! Costco’s loss is our gain and we could really use an infusion at times (like now, for example). The best way is for me to email you details, which i will today.

Long answer:
Right. I will try and stay brief and continue the honesty level we had in the last blog post. Not just regarding your questions but for many others that have been asking along similar lines.

How am i funded?
I am funded by two organizations that support me in part – they are great and wonderful groups that i love for different reasons, and we enjoy partnering together. My level of support is about 2/3’s of what other missionaries are needing to stay in this city (by a CRM estimate). Of course the deflated dollar doesn’t help at all.
The biggest need is usually travel expenses. Other groups have helped over the last few years in getting us plane tickets – The Texas Partnership Mission, Leadership Network. And our motorhome was donated by a Presbyterian church in Florida . Two churches have sent us some lovin’ – Glenwood Community Church (Vancouver, WA) and Calvary Church (Winston-Salem, NC) towards our transport needs (an anonymous couple from NC helped us buy our van)

An amazing thing happened last year. My daughter Abigail developed diabetes and we had a huge hospital bill. I didnt want to ask anyone – feeling it my manly responsibility to figure out a way to raise the money. But news on my blog got out and other missionaries and their families, and Glenwood Community Church (again) insisted on sending money and it was enough to cover the whole bill.
So, we really do feel looked after. The BGCT is also working towards finding us some health coverage which will be greatly appreciated when it happens.

Why dont we have PayPal?
Because we lived in the Czech Republic last and Pay pal did not partner with that country – although we are now taking steps to prove that we live in England.
Why don’t you use your savings?
Don’t have any.
Sell your house?
Dont own one.
Get another job?
Overextended as it is.
Send the wife out to work?
No working visa, and she’s kinda busy with the 5 kids.
Move into the poorest area of your city?
Already there.
Why not come back to USA?
Maybe one day, but for now, I keep turning down offers in order to stay working close to the world’s poor, and in the places that lack resources.

How many families, individuals or churches support you on a monthly basis?
None.
Is it true you were named America’s most well known and least supported missionary family?
Yes, Mark Scandrette called us that. Probably not true.
How many give occasional gifts?
Quite a few, especially when i travel through their cities, sleeping on their couches. God blessem all!

Do we need more money?

Yes, on occasions.

but i do have some Fears:
That i will not be good enough in accounting or tax receipting
That i will not be regular enough in reporting back
that i will not be as effective in ministry as my supporters expect
that when the support stops, the relationship will be endangered

and some Hangups;
That i might be exploiting the huge audience on my web site if i make my financial needs known
That there are young missionaries in India who survive on far less than me
and they might be doing a better job
and therefore God’s money should be going to some of these “underground” national missionaries
and just because i have a voice on the internet and am “privileged” with technology, I get supported and they struggle to find the next meal for their family
while i am complaining about my lack of MHZ on my computer (only 500)
and they have never had a computer
or even a phone connection
That i may wrongly believe that God has a prophetic purpose for my occasional poverty
That i actually hate dealing with money and despise the moments when i have to spend it
That i am scared by money
scared of receiving too much
scared of raping the body of Christ for her money and having to face God one day to answer for a life lived over the limit of what Jesus would have lived,
That i think i am creative enough to somehow find a way to survive or do the ministry without a budget
That i am too stubborn to think differently
That i am too independent to allow others to partner adequately, and therefore share in the joy of the harvest with me
That i inherited an old-school view of finances from reading too many missionary biographies at an early age and am stuck in a Hudson Taylor RUT of “don’t tell, just pray”,
a rut that i should probably have jumped out of years ago.
a rut that has become a curse
That i sometimes value ministry over my families needs
That i think i am smart enough to figure out a solution
That i probably should have written books or something to make more money
That i am better at finding reasons for someone like you to NOT support me than i am telling you why you should
and i feel proud about that too
That i am happy to raise finances for other ministries but negligent and intimidated of raising my own
That i am so proud of “saving the world on a budget” and finding new ways to start ministries with nothing, that i miss out on part of God’s provision and the relationships that are birthed through working together with people who are a part of the big picture puzzle.

People like you. . .

. . who have a better attitude towards money than i do

. . and should not be hindered by a twisted-up, middle-aged, prematurely-wrinkled skinny missionary who is living in a ridiculously expensive country with more kids than the law should allow and the has the gall to think he is important enough to be flying around the world on God-sent mission to transform the planet.

So if you can jump over those hurdles,

then i would welcome you to take a firm stance on your generosity

and i will email you the details of where to send the check

all the while thinking fondly of your family who will eat oatmeal this week rather than Coco Pops.

And, on behalf of my wife and my 5 kids, and the mouse that lives under our floorboards, I say a big

Thank you for caring

and assure you that you will be in our prayers and in our thoughts
and I will resist the temptation to think up ways to pay you back.

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

13 Comments

  • Geeze, this is probably the best post I’ve read in a long time. I can’t always relate to discussion on reconceptualzing homiletics through the construct of individual story or the role of metanarrative in the blogosphere, but this… this is real.

  • Thanks for saying this, although I think you should know we’d be cool with you listing out some real numbers too. I relate to your fears listed under the hangups but as a wise friend always tells me, “Fear is simply a misunderstanding of the situation.” We love you and we are praying for you.

  • You’re an interesting guy, Andrew. I already found out that people who want to support you need a lot of perseverance to get some money in your pocket. Please, no false modesty here, just get the PayPal button. And if it relieves your conscience, add a button for the young Indian missionaries as well. 😉

  • Thanks for being open, Andrew. Your blog has always been excellent, but lately it seems to be more personal… and I really like that.

  • thanks for sharing. this post just makes me smile. we’re all in various quandaries about money and will need each other in more ways than one to sort it all out.
    blessings, blessings to your little ones.

  • There is incredible humility in this post. It takes huge amounts of humility and integrity to accept other people’s help. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable.

  • Thanks Andrew for your honesty. Great take on finances. Remember Jonathon Campbell from LA when he came to SF and shared at Eric and Linda’s? He is the first person I ever heard speak eloquently against receiving money for ministry (me being from the South and all). Your lifestyle has always been one of simplicity and integrity. God has truly been your reward. Thanks for leading by example.

  • As a missionary couple, me and my wife know the hardship of raising support, living with only a few, and not selling out lying or using some emotional tactics to move people pockets.
    Thanks for your words here. They are in a sense encouraging.

  • Andrew,
    I agree with the paypal button crowd, get one and then live with it! 🙂 You have to buy a ticket to win the lotto, right? I think a guy with your aversion is just the right sort to funnel some funds to those Indian types you were speaking about….Make it happen, huh? And remember, despite your pride and your prejudice, God knows every hair on your head and every need in your life and he will continue to give you faith story after faith story….Sign me up for an email, I want to send a check, too, or a paypal donation…
    Blessings to you and your family as you serve him,
    Charlie

  • AJ,
    This is good. However, I got into it late and still do not know how to send you money after reading it. I am old (50) and you are going to have to put this in some kind of form I can get, or you will have to do without my two silver coins. Where and how do I send you money?
    Rick
    [andrew] hi rick
    todd littleton has mentioned you on my blog a few times
    http://tallskinnykiwi.typepad.com/tallskinnykiwi/2003/11/dresden.html
    i will send you the info – thanks much!

Leave a Reply