Though money is a subject those in ministry don’t like to talk about much, it’s highly relevant in Christian living and global mission on the most practical level. This is probably why both Jesus and the apostle Paul covered the topic of finances in great length. For an endeavor so big as the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering (YLG) coming up in August, finances are definitely key, and this is the very area in which participants are experiencing both the biggest challenges and the biggest lessons about God’s provision and the healthy functioning of the body of Christ.
One outstanding story is from Mozambique, where participant Felix Koimburi and his wife are serving as pioneer missionaries. When Felix was invited to the YLG, he applied for one of the limited scholarships to be able to attend. He gratefully accepted the partial scholarship that was awarded to him. However, only a few days later, he contacted the Planning Team to decline the scholarship that he had been awarded.
When participants were first selected for the YLG, they were equipped with a fundraising training curriculum generously prepared by Scott Morton, International Funding Coach for The Navigators. The Planning Team believed that the participants, all emerging leaders in the global church, should take up the challenge to raise as much of their own funding as possible to enable their participation in the YLG. When Scott, also Felix’s personal friend, heard that he had accepted the scholarship offer, he lovingly challenged him to prayerfully and boldly trust God to raise his full support! ‘A daunting prospect indeed!’—Felix writes about his initial reaction, which was followed by prayer and ultimately led to his decision to give back the scholarship funds.
His step was especially bold since the YLG trip is only one of three international trips he’s due to make in this year. But God honored his step of faith in a surprising way, as, ‘Virtually all my support has come from our own “backyard” of Africa!’—Felix writes with excitement.
Felix’s story is one of the many we’re hearing. I could tell you about how Filipe Amado, serving in Beirut—amidst a difficult family situation with his 4-day-old prematurely born daughter and his wife in the hospital—first received the scholarship offer with great rejoicing, then felt the Lord’s leading to release the amount offered to him back to others. Or I could mention Christelle witnessing for Christ among North African people, whose vision for fundraising was so challenged by Scott Morton’s material that she also declined the scholarship offer, being no longer fearful of her inability to raise the necessary funds.
After stories and stories of God’s faithfulness, the month of April still came as a defining moment, as we learned that a number of participants are still struggling to raise the necessary funds to join the others in Indonesia. Sarah Breuel, Chair of the YLG Planning Team, was talking and praying with these brothers and sisters from places like Haiti, Syria, Mongolia, India, Namibia, Senegal, and Guatemala, and the idea was birthed in her heart to launch the YLGiving campaign.
She drew on the story of the five loaves and two fish, and sought to challenge all the YLG participants to give sacrificially towards their peers still struggling to raise the necessary funding. The generosity began with her own sacrificial gift, and soon each of us on the Younger Leaders Planning Team, representing every region of the world, joined in with our gifts. The circles of generosity continued as the invitation was extended to all YLG participants, and then to Lausanne leaders and staff. The ripples are still widening as the opportunity to give to YLGiving remains open.
As the Planning Team, we were especially touched by the words of one participant from Ethiopia, who left her banking career to join a ministry to pursue the fulfillment of God’s global mission and now makes 300 USD a month. She’s still in the process of raising funds for her own trip, which is rather difficult in her context. But this is what she wrote: ‘After much thoughts and prayers, I have decided to seize this opportunity to step up in supporting my fellow brothers and sisters who struggle more than me to gather resources. Therefore, trusting God, I commit to raise an additional 25 USD.’ We have a deep conviction that the Lord honors this type of heart, as he did in the case of the widow and her offering of two coins.
Will you continue to pray with us for the remaining financial need for the YLG? And will you join the YLGiving campaign as the Lord gives lead?