Great Works on Nickel and Dime Offerings

It was 1992, after only two years on the field, and we were back home. At least in the minds of our fellow Americans. “But this isn’t home for us; we’re going back,” brought looks that clearly asked, “Haven’t you had enough?” We’d left full of big dreams and great plans. But finance trickled in, and we struggled to put food on the table.

An unsettled debt hanging over our heads didn’t help, taking a good chunk of that already small pie. So we decided to temporarily move back to the USA, where everyone greeted us with, “Welcome home!” And though we were happy to see friends and family again, it wasn’t home. God had transplanted our hearts.

It became a trying time, stretched into 1½ years because of Mario’s nearly fatal chainsaw accident. Until a guest speaker came to share on his ministry: Barnabas Ministry. And their purpose of lifting up the weary hands struck a chord with us.

Many missionaries face discouragement, feeling they have no one to turn to. This is more true than most of us imagine, and we thank God for the Barnabas ministries out there. But one statement made, in particular, stuck in our minds.

We expect to see great works on nickel and dime offerings.

Missionaries are often asked, “Is that all you’ve accomplished?” And even if never voiced, the question often hangs in the air. Leaving the missionary discouraged, and feeling like a failure. Even though many struggle to barely pay the rent and meet expenses.

Yet they’re expected to do great things and build up great works on nickel and dime offerings. It’s a sad, but often true, missionary reality. But great works like the Swiss-supported conference center/campground in the following photo cannot come about on little money! So this post is a wake-up call.

But this is also a call to ministry: start your own Barnabas Ministry!

Encourage your missionaries.

Encourage those you know, or that your church supports. If you don’t know any, or your church doesn’t support any, talk to your pastor about getting involved in this needy area.

Pray for your missionaries.

Prayer really belongs at the top of the list, because it is the greatest need. Both for the missionaries, and for the people they’re trying to reach. Pray for their needs. Pray for the people they ask you to pray for. And pray for the doors that they need to see opened.

Stay in touch.

Write to them. Call them. Even send them (and especially their kids) thoughtful little things. Even little things like bookmarks can brighten the day! And with all our technology, this has gotten easier than ever, right??

If they have a blog, follow it. And let them know you do by leaving comments, or interacting in some way! How can you pray effectively for missionaries, if you don’t know what’s going on?

Be their lifeline of fellowship.

Many missionaries live and work in isolated areas, or in cultures where making friends is difficult. They have little or no fellowship. Even notes or Scripture verses show you’re thinking and praying for them. It helps a lot!

Help their kids.

Missionary kids give up a lot for their parents’ choice. Far from friends and family. And it’s harder to make friends across language and culture barriers. Dollar store goodies stuffed in a padded envelope show that them others remember and care!

Show real interest in their work.

Find out what’s going on. What they’d like to do, and see happen. Learn of their struggles, their fears, their burdens.

Share about your life, especially the homey everyday things.

We care about the folks back home, and it’s hard being apart. We want to know how you are, and what’s going on. And how to pray for you, or best encourage you!

And keep things encouraging.

Keep in mind that your missionaries may work in poverty stricken areas, where people often live in desperate conditions. Or the missionaries themselves may also go without necessities due to tight budgets.


It’s really not that hard to lift up the weary hands. But communication is key!

And we’ve found that in uplifting others, we become encouraged too!

[Images ©TheScorziellos-Mario]

12 thoughts on “Great Works on Nickel and Dime Offerings

    1. We thank you for your interest sharing our material, but we don’t allow reblogs. We do, however, welcome and appreciate brief excerpts (no more than 75 words) from a post, as long as it links back to the post and authorship is properly attributed. And thanks especially for your consideration is asking first – such great blogging etiquette!! God bless you!


  1. This is such an encouraging article. I have just read it through again. As a retired missionary I understand and am so happy that you did return and are an encourager to others as well as continuing on in what the Lord called you to do. May He continue blessing you in every way.


    1. Thank you so much Sharon! I hope it will help other missionaries, as well as home churches. Sometimes it takes so little to reach out and show we care. But often for those who are far from home and family those tiny gestures make such a great difference. Where were you a missionary, and for how long (if you don’t mind sharing). God bless!


  2. It does mean the world to a missionary to receive an email or phone call just saying you are thinking of them and praying for them. It is often just what they needed at that time. I used to do an email prayer ministry for a large number I missionaries and it was amazing how many times God touched their life and mine through it and the testimonies. They do need our support both financially and socially. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Wow Tom, you already had your own Barnabas Ministry! That’s fantastic. Our old pastor’s wife did the same, but with snail mail (before emails). We knew we could count on her letters every single month, and she sent them for years. We really missed them after she passed away, and I’m sure many other missionaries did too. Such little gestures – but they did so much to lift our hearts and spirits. And I think the early years are the neediest years. We’ve been here so long that anymore, we really don’t even feel like missionaries anymore. This is just home! God is good!


  3. Often we do forget the struggles of our missionary families. Sure we pray (very important of coarse) thinking that is enough. We assume because you are called in that field it is always a great adventure void of any struggles and trials, forgetting that our love and support is also needed. God has called each of us for His purpose, for you and your family it is in the mission field abroad and for those of us at home it is the mission field “on the Homefront” making sure we care for His missionaries both spiritually and physically. May God, our Father continue to bless your work and as you go about your day know what you do matters not only to those who you serve but to us back home – thank you for your faithful service. ❤


    1. It’s true, Patty. We do forget to look beyond the obvious, like prayer, sometimes. And it is true that, in the end, it is God and knowing that he has called us that keeps us. But, believe me, it’s not all adventure. We deal with high utility bills, empty pantries, unpleasant neighbors, and the the rest – just like the folks back home. But often without the support of having friends and family nearby. And sometimes (for church planters) even without a local church. It can get lonely – lonelier than most imagine. Tiny gestures can so brighten a day. And that goes both ways. That’s one reason I try to keep this blog overall uplifting and positive. I want to “pay back” (as it were) all the encouragement we receive from our wonderful readers! In many ways, you all are part of our family!! 🙂


      1. I feel the same way about all the bloggers I know. And I appreciate thoughtful and inspiring posts like yours to help me grow in faith and in God’s love so I turn can encourage others. Isn’t it a wonderful circle? Are you still in the mission field?


      2. I share your feelings, Patty. Blogging is sort of like having a lot of pen pals from all the world! And I too, receive so much encouragement from everyone. Yes, we are still active missionaries – though nearly 60. So approaching ‘retirement.’ But then, God’s servants never really retire do they? We’re expecting great things from God in these later years! Italy is in our hearts, and unless God directs otherwise, we will probably die here. Best to be buried ‘at home.’


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