Have you ever fretted over a situation, only to find out after you FINALLY hand it over to God that it was never even a problem to begin with? In case you didn’t follow that, let me explain. I was concerned because the information packet I got from Grace Mission stated that I should raise at least $500/month in support in addition to the stipend I’ll be receiving. This fact made me nervous because I thought, “I’ll be getting about $750 a month, my living quarters and utilities are paid for…Japan must be REALLY expensive!” Nevertheless, I knew that if I trusted God, people would be moved to support me. Then I find out that Grace Mission won’t be handling the support and neither will New Song. I’m not going as part of any other non-profit, tax-exempt organization. And I myself am certainly not tax-exempt. So, that means that supporters will have to write their checks directly to Jennifer Hill. This raises 2 problems. The first and obvious one is that any donations made to me are not tax-deductible. You don’t get to report money that you’ve given to an individual. Otherwise, think of all the birthday and wedding money you could submit to the IRS!

The other problem, maybe not as big a deal, is that it just doesn’t seem as “official”, does it? I heard of a situation in which a collection had been taken for someone who claimed they were going to India. Supposedly, he never went. All those people who gave money had been tricked. Now most people who know me know that I would not do that. I’ll say here that I can’t imagine ever trying something that devious. And if you need assurance, Dr. Horiuchi is here often enough that you could always check with him to make sure I’m really teaching in Japan 🙂

Anyway, this situation had me worried. What if people won’t support me? How do I ask people to give when they get no assurance or tax-break in return? Even writing it here now sounds monumentally stupid. But at the time, it made perfect sense. So I prayed. And I realized that God wants me to go, so there is nothing to worry about. Only then did I write to Johanna (an American missionary teaching with the same ministry) to ask about spending. She reassured me that she only lives on the stipend. Admittedly, some support would help her in her ministry (special awards, treats, etc. to help build relationships with the students), and a laptop would be invaluable. But God has provided for her; He will provide for me.

Needless to say, this is a huge weight off my shoulders. I hope I haven’t talked anyone into NOT supporting me financially, IF they feel that God has moved them in that direction 🙂 And I still really could use a laptop computer. But what a relief it is when we remember that we truly are in God’s hands.

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]?

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)