NCCG Funding Policy for Orphanages and Other Projects in India, Pakistan and Elsewhere
Continued from Part 1
Ministries like our own frequently get appeals viā Email or Facebook IM's from individuals, congregations and ministries in India, Pakistan and elsewhere for economic assistance. Their situations, the result of natural disasters, war, disease or endemic poverty, are often desperate. This short article was written to assist those seeking such help, explain why they meet with so little success in their approach and what they should do. So why do their approaches so often fail?
- 1. TRUST. It is assumed that by simply sending an email or IM with a heart-wrenching story of deprivation, often accompanied by photographs calculated to pull heart-strings, that you will get an immediate response from potential donors. Those making such appeals are then appalled when they are met with suspicion and apparent disinterest. The conclusion is then wrongly drawn that Christians and Messianics thus approached have no heart and are somehow deficient in their discipleship. This is a big mistake to make.
- 2. FRAUD. You must understand that receiving an email or IM from a complete stranger is not proof in people's minds that you are authentic. Most people are rightly suspicious. Why? Because they have been tricked. This ministry has been scammed several times in the past. We have been tricked by con-men pretending to run non-existent orphanages and ministries, who more often than not, aren't even genuine believers. Many of the photographs are faked too, some stolen from other ministry websites, and some manufactured. Yes, we have been sent pictures of evangelical crusades and congregations that were entirely staged with people pulled from off the street. It happens a lot, unfortunately.
We once set up a chicken farm in one country, at great personal sacrifice, for a congregation who joined our ministry. It turned out to be a complete fraud. The 'brethren' pretended to join our association but in real life were claiming to be branches of three different churches in three countries! They lied and cheated, hoping they would not be rumbled. Another pretended to be a congregation helping released prisoners become reintegrated into society. They were using the funds from all kinds of ministries and charities to buy fancy cars and have a good time. And we would never have known what was really going on had we not known ministers from other denominations who were able to visit these places, or who were already there, for us to check them out. We learned the hard way. Once bitten, twice shy.
Most people on the Internet and most ministries, assemblies and churches who operate an international program are aware of this kind of fraud, so they are wary and careful. It's called being good stewards over ever dwindling resources.
- 3. DISCERNMENT. You might think that because you are genuine that the people you approach ought to be able to discern that you are genuine by the Spirit too. If only it were so but we are not perfect. But then have you been discerning the Spirit yourself in approaching people for help? Has Elohim (God) told you specifically to approach this particular person or that ministry? In our experience people asking for help are just as poor in their own discernment. More often than not, people seeking help send out MASS MAILINGS in the hope that they will have a statistical chance of hitting the jackpot somewhere. It's the same method used by scam artists. How do we know they do this? A lot of experience. Remember, no matter how desperate your situation is, the ends never justify the means. Dishonest methods for a righteous cause will simply make people distrust you in the future. That's just reality.
- 4. POVERTY IN THE WEST. There are plenty of people of good will in the West with big, compassionate, caring hearts but the West is not the breadbasket or bank for the Third World that it used to be. Most believers in the West are now poor and struggling to survive. Millions of people in the West are now homeless and hungry. Because of the recession, tithes and offerings to ministries in the West are shrinking rapidly. Many, like our own, have virtually none at all. These are not good times for anyone and the situation won't probably change for a very long time as we hurtle towards global financial collapse. Secular relief organisations are usually corrupt and the politicians who receive aid are largely corrupt too. So the outlook is not good for those living in poverty in their search for help from others.
- NEVER ENDING REQUESTS. Your average Christian and Messianic gets dozens and sometimes hundreds of requests for help like yours every year. They obviously cannot help everyone even if they could help some. If you have sent us an email or IM, please know that there are hundreds of others like you expecting the same help - some genuine and some fake - who are just as needy as you are. We can't obviously help them all or even a tiny fraction of them. And realistically, the chances of finding help abroad are going to get slimmer and slimmer in the years ahead. People are now busy taking care of their own at home. And the Internet is not the best place to seek help, especially not chat rooms.
- 5. TRIED AND TESTED. Most ministries, churches, assemblies and individuals will only support people, groups and other ministries abroad who are tried and tested. Because we have been scammed, we only help those who are recommended to us by other ministers whom we personally know. If we were there, talking with you face-to-face, and able to check out your situation, it would be a different matter altogether. Inviting us to come and see for ourselves is not realistic either - most of us cannot afford to travel any longer and most congregations cannot afford to send ministers abroad now. We have not been abroad evangelising now for 20 years. Indeed, Elohim (God) has been telling us for a long time now that missionaries and evangelists need to be home-grown as the day of the foreign missionary and evangelist draws to a close. As resources dwindle and as countries become more totalitarian and restrict movement, traveling becomes a luxury. Besides, it would be a better stewardship of resources to send money abroad rather than finance an expensive visit.
- 6. RIGHTS AND ENTITLEMENTS. Many asking for help come with the wrong attitude. For them, getting help from what they perceive to be a 'richer' nation, and often one that is viewed by them (because of secular socialistic philosophy that they have absorbed and combined with their version of the Gospel) as having been, is still is, a 'colonial oppressor', is a right or entitlement. We none of us have rights or entitlements. We have obligations, as Elohim (God) calls us, but nothing more. Demanding help and getting irritated and angry, or constantly nagging when you don't get it, or preaching sermons at potential donors whom you don't think are 'spiritual' or 'discerning' your needs enough, will not garner you sympathy or trust. It will almost certainly drive potential donors away.
- 7. SO HOW CAN I GET HELP? Firstly (obviously), put your complete trust in Yah'shua (Jesus) and surrender totally to Him. Secondly, make sure you are obeying the commandments - Yahweh does not reward the disobedient. Like it or not, ministries who are approached will want to know if your teachings are sound or not. We are no exception and as a rule won't support heretical or lawless groups because we are Torah-observant. So, yes, we measure ministries seeking help against Gospel criteria which means we give priority to our own congregations, who are in covenant relationship with us. Thirdly, make wealth-generating projects, with a view to self sufficiency, a priority, however impossible the odds may at first seem. Yahweh helps those who are willing to help themselves. And it is amazing what can be done with modern technology with virtually no capital outlay. Fourthly, please don't write emails or IMs to us substituting Orthodox Christian with Messianic terminology to try and impress us that you are 'messianic' when you are not. Most of us see through such deception. We prefer you to be honest and who you are.
Does this means we won't help orphans, for example, being cared for by ministries who have different teachings to our own? Of course not. We do occasionally help groups and churches - on a one-off basis - whose teachings are very different from our own out of humanitarian compassion and love for the Saviour, but it is not often because we don't have the money and many others are asking for help too. We used to support orphanages run by a non-messianic denomination once (Church of Christ) and we did so because we sensed Yahweh's call to us. So the bottom line for us is always Yahweh's will and not denominational partisanship.
We are, in any case, only a small teaching ministry and those congregations affiliated with us are entirely independent financially and administratively. They provide for their own needs. We are not some large denomination.
That is why it is vitally important that you become a part of a larger association where mutual help is available. If you are not messianic as we are, then we highly recommend, if you are from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, that you get affiliated with ministries like GOSPEL FOR ASIA which has an excellent reputation and track record. They also have far greater resourses than we could ever hope to have, they have a large support base and international outreach, and so we heartily recommend them. There are no comparable messianic organisations, I'm afraid.
8. FINALLY. Don't give up! Yahweh our Heavenly Father never abandons those who are true to Him and have a heart for the needy and suffering. Though we live in a greedy and selfish world, where unspeakable wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few who do not care for the poor and are happy to watch them die, there are always avenues of escape for those who will do as Yahweh says. We have to learn new methods to survive and prosper in this last generation before Messiah returns because most governments will not improve conditions for the poor. Old assumptions about avenues of provision have to give way to new ones. Aquaponics and Fish Farming is one such way to provide food, for example, that is cheap and requires little labour.
This page was created on 7 January 2013
Last updated on 7 January 2013
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