Jesse and Krista Ashman - BA 2003, BS 2003
Raising support for overseas ministry is a bear! Depending on support while living overseas is a whole other beast! My wife and I are beginning our fifth year in overseas ministry. While raising support, we were given a lot of good advice from books and seasoned missionaries. But now that we have moved overseas and become dependent on that support, the challenge of financial unpredictability hasn’t gone away. Even from the shores of Sweden, we read stories of economic hardship…and we, like many others, feel vulnerable. But maybe that’s the point.
When Jesus sent his “missionaries” into the towns and villages, he gave them specific, yet rather odd instructions. We read in Luke, “Go! I am sending you out like lambs surrounded by wolves. Do not carry a money bag, a traveler’s bag, or sandals…” (Luke 10:3-4).
Jesus wanted a whole-hearted, next-level type of commitment from his missionaries. What a contrast this is compared to those who, just a few verses earlier, were unable to give up their comforts for the sake of the call. Jesus’ missionaries were no longer to rely on part-time jobs, large savings accounts, or any prior support structure. Instead, they were to depend on the Lord’s mission and his provision through the aid of other believers for everything. Even for their sandals! They must have felt vulnerable…and apparently Jesus wanted it this way.
The Great Teacher chose vulnerable dependance as his teaching medium probably because the life-lessons learned along the way were worth the trouble. Later, at the end of his ministry, Jesus revisits this important lesson with his disciples: “When I sent you out with no money bag, or traveler’s bag, or sandals, you didn’t lack anything, did you?” (22:35). The clear answer was “no.” Nothing lacked. God’s provision through the aid of others was enough, and his future provision would be sufficient as well.
Our family has similarly chosen to embrace the financial unknown and become vulnerably dependent as we ventured overseas. As we reflect on our years in overseas ministry, we’ve realized that the beast of financial unpredictability can be tamed by the knowledge that we, like the disciples before us, are learning life-lessons that are worth the trouble. Not only have we “not lacked,” but we also have gained godly confidence, increased flexibility, necessary patience, and a healthy sense of being an alien and a stranger in this world (1Pet 2:11). Sometimes beasts bring blessings.
About the Authors
Jesse and Krista met at Multnomah and got to know each other through their shared hobby of rock climbing. They married in 2005 and after a few years in youth ministry, they moved to Sweden to disciple young believers who enroll at Holsby Bible School. They have a two-year old daughter (Eleri), and they are expecting their second child in February. If they have some time off, you may find them lounging around with a good book, going on nature walks with their daughter, or hosting a game night for their international friends.