Raised in a household that held the often-expressed opinion that organized religion was all about snatching away one's hard-earned cash, I admit to being a bit squeamish about raising support for mission trips. While there is not the slightest hesitation to assume that others want to pray for us, it is more difficult to ask for money; yet, I was put out to discover that people do send out letters to ask others to contribute to the expenses associated with missional travel. Not put out by the requests, but because the people who we had known over the years that went on mission trips had often not sent us such requests.
The first letter I recall was from a former mentor sharing her excitement about heading to Africa. In fact, her letter was the inspiration for my own letter months later, but she was far from the first person we knew who was making a short-term or extended mission trip. The feeling of having missed out on the opportunities to be part of sending others out to places where we were not likely to go was akin to an emptiness in the pit of one's stomach. The realization that our known lack of ready cash had possibly been reason for others to withhold the opportunity to be part of their sending teams left a decidedly unpleasant hollowness. It also led to an added excitement in 2008 as support letters for Operation Prayer Surge in Poland were written and sent out. God provided every penny of the expenses related to that trip, and many people prayed from home as the in-country team moved throughout several cities and landmarks praying for Poles and those ministering to them.