I received a thank you card in the mail today. Handwritten. First class stamp.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Foley,
Thank you so much for your support of [our ministry]. Through kind donations like yours, we are able to feed children who wouldn’t have healthy food. And we have a chance to teach them about the “Bread of Life” who feeds them so they’ll never hunger! May God bless you.
It’s the first personal message I’ve received from these missionaries. It comes three months after I stopped supporting them.
I wouldn’t even mention it to you except it’s the second time it happened.
The first time, we made a difficult, painful decision to stop supporting missionaries whom we had supported for three years. We had received only sporadic support letters from them over the years, in addition to receipts from the mission agency that was processing the support payments we were making. In all of those communications we learned virtually nothing about the field we were seeking to impact, since all of the prayer requests related to the missionaries themselves.
We sent a letter four months before the end of the year, indicating we’d be concluding our support at the end of the year, and sharing our reasons why.
So with each of our four remaining gifts that year, including a final year-end gift, we dutifully noted that our support would be coming to an end. We even wrote “SECOND TO LAST DONATION” and “FINAL DONATION” on the last two gifts.
After the year ended, we regularly received monthly “overdue letters” from the mission agency, kindly reminding us to send in our support.
Then we received a phone call from someone in the mission agency’s development department letting us know that the president of the agency was in town and wanted to meet with us to thank us for our faithful support.
Then we received a handwritten note from the couple, thanking us for our faithful support.
Then we received a phone call from the couple. From Central Asia. Thanking us for our faithful support.
Notably, none of these things ever happened to us when we were supporting the missionaries faithfully. No calls from the mission agency. No visits from the president. No handwritten notes. No calls from the missionary.
Missionaries assure me they are “too busy” on the field to do these kinds of things.
Except, it appears, when I break up with them.