Goers, Senders, and Bringers – Which Are You?

Goers, Senders, and BringersMissionary mail stacks up quickly at my little church. As a member of the missionary committee, one of my jobs is to sort the missionary mail out from the bills. Sometimes it also falls to me to read the mail. Several months ago as I read through the newsletters and personal notes, I came across a brief comment that stuck with me.

Most Christian ministries currently lack two things: long-term workers and adequate financial support.

Since reading that, I’ve thought a lot about the need for senders (those who provide financial support to missionaries) and goers (the people who actually go on the mission field–whether that be in the US or abroad). In the realm of orphan care, there are also bringers (the people who bring orphans into their homes and families).

Each of these roles are of great importance as we try to serve orphans. As members of the body of Christ, each person has a different role that contributes to the overall purpose.

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. –Romans 12:4-5

Which of these roles do you fill or can you see yourself filling?

Right now I’m a sender. I’m not currently in the place to be a bringer, and I’ve only been a goer for a very short missions trip. This blog provides a support role to orphan care, and I love financially supporting orphan care ministries whenever possible. In the future, I could see moving into any of the three roles. Each have their own unique importance.

Does one role appeal to you more than the others? What do you see as the pros and cons of the different roles?


Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens: Resources

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens Resources It’s been fun to spend the last few Fridays exploring how teens can financially support orphans. The fundraising ideas are truly endless. Just type “Fundraising Ideas” into Google and you’ll find enough content to keep you busy for hours.

I could continue listing ideas here, but I think the past few posts have enough to get you started. If any of you implement the ideas discussed in these posts, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment or use the contact form to send me an email.

To close out this series on Teens and Money, I’d like to leave you with a few resources you can either use yourself or recommend to adopting families. All of these resources are meant for adopting families, but I think they can be useful either way.

Adopt without DebtAdopt Without DebtThe handy little book has TONS of fundraising ideas and how-tos. The first half of the book focuses on how to get out debt, budget, and save money. The second half is devoted to all those fundraising ideas. I really enjoyed reading through all of them. Next time someone I know is planning to adopt and needs to fundraise, I’ll definitely recommend or gift this book to them. It’s fairly short, so it isn’t a burden to get through reading it.

Blog Posts:
Since money is the number one reason interested families never pursue adoption, many adoption blogs do posts on how to fundraise. Most of the ideas could be used to raise funds for any sort of orphan care, not just adoptions. Here are a few posts that I’ve stumbled across and liked.
The Ultimate List of Adoption Fundraisers, from Walking By The Way
30+ Fun Ideas for Fundraisers to Fund Your Adoption Process!, from Catching Up With Kate
22 Ways to Raise Funds for Your Adoption, from No Hands But Ours

Many of the suggestions on each blog post overlap with the suggestions on the others. They all bring some unique ideas and perspectives, though.

What Other’s Are Doing:
Just for fun, I thought I’d share some “Rebelutionary” projects and fundraisers other teens have undertaken. Not all of them are for orphans, but they’re inspirations for what teens can accomplish.
Broken Chords Benefit Concert (Human Trafficking)
Dollar for a Drink (Well Digging)
One Dress. 100 Days. For Orphans. (Orphan Care)
Save a Korean Refugee (Refugees)
Walk/Run4Freedom (Human Trafficking)
Gifts of Grace by Emily (Orphan Care)
Project Hope for Yuri (Orphan Care)
Bringing Christmas to Orphans (Orphan Care)
Everlasting Hope (Orphan Care)
Earrings of Life (Pro-Life)

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 3)

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 3)So far in this series we’ve talked about how being a teenager can be a benefit to financially supporting orphan care. We covered five ways to make money for orphans. And I shared some lessons I’ve learned from fundraising. Today I’d like to share a few more ideas for ways to raise money for orphans. After all, that’s the hard part, right? You know that you want to help orphans. You know that ministries and adoptive families need money. But figuring out how to go from desire to action can be difficult. Please enjoy part three of the Teens and Money series.

5 More Ways You Can Raise Money for Orphans

  1. Have a garage sale (tag sale, yard sale … whatever you call it in your neck of the woods). I do not live in a family of tag sale enthusiasts, so I don’t have very much personal experience with this idea. Lots of adopting families have experienced great success with them, though, raising anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than five thousand dollars! Ask friends and family to donate the stuff they want to get rid of and, if you don’t live on a busy road, see if someone who does is willing to partner with you and host the sale. This sounds like one of the more labor intensive fundraising options, but also one of the highest potentials for profit. Check out 10 Tips for a Successful Adoption Yard Sale Fundraiser.
  2. Ask people to fill baby bottles with change. Our local crisis pregnancy center does this regularly. People take the baby bottles home for a set period of time and fill them up with loose change (or bills and even checks if they’re feeling very generous). At the end of the time, everyone returns their filled bottles and the ministry gets the money inside of them. You might not think this would raise much, but that change piles up prettyquickly when people include dimes and quarters. You could get creative and use containers besides baby bottles too. Maybe crayons if you’re raising money for school supplies or make personalized money banks for your project.
  3. Get sponsored. Both Hands is a ministry that facilitates adoption fundraising by ministering to widows. Families find a widow who needs help repairing. They then recruit a team of workers to come help fix up the widows home. The workers get people to sponsor their day of service and the money raised goes to the family’s adoption expenses. You don’t have to use particular model of course. It’s the same concept that feeds into a walk-a-thon or similar charity event. I kind of like the idea of getting sponsored to do something service related instead of just walking, jogging, swimming, etc.
  4. Host a Raffle. Buy something nice to raffle off, get people to donate raffle items, or make the items yourself. You can host raffles at parties, church events (if your church is okay with it, of course), blogs, on facebook … the options are as varied as you are creative. 😉 You could put together gift baskets, buy or obtain donated gift cards, or make a quilt to raffle off. You can buy raffle tickets pretty inexpensively on Amazon.
  5. Donate Your Birthday. This idea (along with some of the others I’ve listed) is also included on the Ways to Help page. If you click through, you’ll find links to organizations that will guide you through the process of organizing your birthday to support their specific goal. You don’t need the help of an organization to do this, though. When I turned nine I asked my friends to bring baby clothes and other items for our crisis pregnancy center. It was a great experience, and you’ll be hard pressed to find an easier fundraiser. You could ask friends and families to bring actual items (like the baby clothes) or cash.
  6. Bonus Idea! Create Your Own “Ice-Bucket Challenge.” With the fundraiser for ALS still sweeping the country in massive proportions, it’s hard not to think of fundraising without imagining people dumping ice-water over their heads. It might be fun to think up a similar challenge to raise money for orphan care. It probably won’t take the world by storm, but you and your friends could enjoy it. You might want to let people recover from the ice-water first, though. 😛

Which of these fundraising ideas appeals most to you? Do you have any more ideas to add to the list?

Previous Posts in this Series

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 1):
Why teens are in a good place to support orphans financially and 5 Ways to Raise Money for Orphans.

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 2):
Lesson’s I’ve learned that might help you overcome your fear of fundraising.

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 2)

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 2)Last Friday we explored the idea that teens are actually in a pretty good place to financially support orphan care and adoption. We also examined five ways teens can raise money to help orphans. If you missed that post, check out Orphans, Fundraising, & Teens (part 1). This is part two of the Teens and Money series.


Fundraising might be a scary word to you. To be perfectly honest, it scares me too. I’m the type of person who prefers to do things on my own. Being self-sufficient makes me feel confident and secure. Asking for monetary help makes me feel vulnerable and needy.

This year I got bumped out of my comfort zone twice. The first time was at the beginning of the year when my brother and I were encouraged to send out letters informing church family and friends that we hoped to go on a missions trip and asking if they would like to partner with us. I didn’t want to do it, but after encouragement from my parents, I did. In a few short months, all of our expenses were covered.

This month my family and I were awed again as friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers poured their support into a Kickstarter campaign for my novel, Counted Worthy.

My point in sharing these stories isn’t to prove that I’m good at fundraising. I’m not saying you need to send out letters or run a campaign to raise money for orphans. What I would like to share is two lessons I learned from these two experiences.

1. Have a partnership perspective.

In my initial balking stage about sending out letters for our missions trip, I stumbled across an article that really made me think. In the article, several missionaries answered the question, “Is there any way other than begging for support?” One missionary said,

You do the work for them, you keep them informed and you pray for them. On the other hand, they pay for your joint ministry, they pray for you and your joint ministry, and they help you recruit for your joint ministry. The word supporter should be replaced in our vocabulary and also in our attitudes with the word partner.

another said,

[It] is not about “donors” giving and missionaries receiving. It recognizes that both missionary and financial partner give into the ministry and both receive blessing, joy, and reward in return.

2. Many hands make lighter work.

Over the course of the two fundraisers I’ve worked on this year, it’s been amazing to see how quickly contributions pile up. My Kickstarter campaign drew 53 backers who pledged an average of $33 each to raise $1,775. Whether you are raising or contributing money, even small amounts can make a big difference.

How can you apply these lessons?

So, how can you apply these lessons? Raising money to contribute to orphan care and adoption is a lot different than fundraising for a missions trip or running a Kickstarter campaign.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether you’re running a basic fundraiser, setting up a craft sale, or learning to sell items online, don’t be afraid to ask for help! That might mean asking people to give financially. It might mean asking your friends to make crafts with you or help you run a table. It might mean asking a parent or adult to teach you how to list things on Amazon. Christians are called a family for a reason. All the members are meant to work together.
  2. Encourage adopting families to ask for help. Adopting families think the same way the rest of us do. They feel the same inhibitions about asking for help. If you know a family who is adopting, be enthusiastic about offering help. Try to reassure them that they’re not imposing or being a drag if they ask for help.
  3. Don’t underestimate your impact. Everyone’s role is important. You might not be able to adopt yet, but your prayers and encouragement vital components of bringing orphans into families. You might not be able to go overseas to work in an orphanage, but the people who are overseas need people here to spread the word about their work. Even if you aren’t able to donate large sums of money, remember that many hands make lighter work. You’re making the load that much lighter for everyone else involved.

Do you have any thoughts or personal experiences in this area? Can you think of any other practical applications of the lessons I shared in this post?

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part one)

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 1)

Part one of the Teens and Money series.

As teenagers, many of us bemoan our lack of cash. How can we help with money intensive orphan care activities like child sponsorship, charity donations, and adoption support?

These concerns are valid, but we miss an important part of the picture when we focus on this line of thought. We forget to realize that most adults don’t have excessive spare cash either. What’s more, adults have to worry about paying for bills, supporting families, paying mortgages, and so much more. As teens, most of us don’t have those responsibilities yet. We’re also rich in something most adults aren’t. Time.

Yes, I know. We’re all busy. We have sports practice, school, homework, party invitations, maybe even a part time job. Even with all that, we usually have more time. We know we can be more productive if we really try. That homework might go faster if you skipped the social media rabbit trails, and while parties are fun, we don’t have to say yes to all of them.

So, it turns out that we’re not in such a bad place to be financial supporters of adoption and orphan care after all. We have fewer responsibilities and more time. To top it off, most teens have more energy than adults. Just check out this verse from Proverbs.

The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head. –Proverbs 20:29

So how do we turn our relatively free and energetic teen years into opportunities to support orphan care and adoption? Here are some ideas for how you can raise money.

Five Ways You Can Make Money for Orphans5 Ways You Can Make Money for Orphans

  1. Normal teenager jobs. It seems like the majority of industrious teens have turned to jobs like lawn mowing, babysitting, leaf raking, and snow shoveling as early sources of income. When people know their money will be going to a charitable cause, they’ll be even more willing to hire you. You can go beyond these “normal” ideas as well. Several of my friends have earned good money cleaning houses, teaching music lessons, and tutoring. Put your skills to work!
  2. Craft Sales and Etsy. Several years ago when friend of ours were starting their second adoption journey, a few of my friends and I put together a craft sale so we could help with their expenses. It wasn’t fancy. We sold hair scrunchies, paper boxes of candy, and Christmas ornaments at our homeschool group’s Christmas party. The $50 we earned didn’t look like much against the $30,o00 adoption fees, but when lots of people give small amounts, it piles up fast! Gifts of Grace is an etsy shop run by teenager Emilie Hockman. She’s currently donating her earnings towards an adoption.
  3. Fundraisers. I often see sports teams and charities hosting car washes and bake sales to raise money. There’s no reason teens can’t use one of these tried and tested fundraising techniques. One neat idea I’d love to try someday is a gift wrapping station around the holidays. So many people dislike wrapping Christmas presents. How cool would it be to do gift wrapping instead of car washing?
  4. Selling Door-To-Door. Don’t panic. I did this when I was pretty young (11 or 12) and had a lot of fun with it. Being a young person can be an advantage for this. People are less likely to turn away a fundraising teenager than an adult doing door-to-door marketing. I used Dutch Mill Flower Bulbs when I did it years ago and earned around $250. I’ll bet an older teen with a more strategic approach and charitable cause could earn a lot more. A quick Google search reveals lots of other fundraising companies providing items like chocolate and gift wrap instead of flower bulbs.
  5. Sell on Amazon or Ebay. Rebelutionary Megan Cupit wrote an article explaining how her family started selling books on Amazon and giving the proceeds to the Bible League. They raised more than $1,000 in just five months. You can read her article to find out how they did it.

Does the large price tag attached to orphan care and adoption scare you? Have you done any fundraising activities to raise money for orphans or other causes? Do you think you can implement any of the ideas presented in this post?

Do you have any questions about raising money to help orphans, how to chose who to donate to, or anything else related to this topic? Ask in the comments below and I might devote a future post to your question!

Partner with His Heart (part 1)

Turner Family 2One of my goals for this blog is to interview families who have adopted or are adopting. After all, who knows more about the needs of adopting families and orphans than people who have been so intimately involved in the process. For me, Jill Turner was the logical place to start. I met the Turners shortly after their daughter, Sova-Grace, came home from India. Mrs. Turner was kind enough to share the life book she had made for Sova with me. I cried through her account of their adoption. Since then the Turners have been a family I’ve looked up to. It has been a joy and privilege to follow along through their second adoption, twin tweens from Ethiopia this time. You can read about both adventures on the Turner Times. Enjoy the interview!

How did you become interested in adoption?
Right after our 2nd son was born our church started a bible study for anyone interested in adoption or has a heart for the orphaned. God tugged at my heart to go, and it was during this time of studying the scriptures on what God had to say about caring for the orphan that I started to seriously think about if this was something our family could do. We sent away for the informational packets and read a book on adoption. I vividly remember my 10 month old baby waking up in the middle of the night crying–as I rocked him in the chair, offering a bottle and trying to console him, I heard God speak to my heart, “wonder if Caleb was one of the millions of orphans out there…who would be rocking him to sleep?” I was ruined by that thought. For any parent to imagine for even a minute, their own child to be alone and suffering in this world–it was a wake up call for me. After sharing with Michael all that God had been impressing upon me he said, “let’s save as much money as possible to adopt as many kids as we can!”

What is something you wish more people knew about adoption?
Turner GreetingsDon’t say no because of the cost! That’s the first thing people think of when they hear the word adoption and that makes me so sad. Yes, adoption can be expensive yet by adopting through the foster care system the adoption is often free! There are many grants available for the more costly international adoptions–we received a substantial one! There are adoption tax-write offs and 0% interest loans.

I remember sitting in the living room of friends of ours who adopted 2 children–they knew we wanted to pursue an adoption so they had us over so we could ask them questions. The financial cost was our 1 and only thing holding us back from saying “Yes”. I will never forget this simple statement from our friend Steve, “Jill, adoption is God’s HEART….if you partner with His heart–don’t’ you think he will provide?” We left our friends home that night full of faith and ready to completely trust God to provide for us. He did…in ways that I would never have dreamed! When we started our 2nd adoption, we again wrestled with God over trusting him with the finances. Looking back I see that we acted like the Israelites–forgetting so soon the miracle of his provision–not believing that he would do it again! Once again he provided for us every step of the way–and again…beyond what I could have imagined!

What are your thoughts about these comments? How can we, as teens, help families overcome the fear about finances and pursue what God is calling them to do?

Stay tuned for part two.