The word, fundraising, scares me a bit. The thought of asking people for money to fund my mission trip was unthinkable before I learned about Siloam’s Student Medical Immersion (SMI). Being raised in a hard-working family, I learned since a young age to work for anything that I wanted. As I applied to the SMI program, I came across fundraising to help pay for my trip down to Nashville, TN. The first thing I did was to ask a few of my friends about fundraising and how it had helped with their mission trips. They told me that it was not that bad. They said it was fun and that it had really helped by providing for a great part of their cost. It seemed that it was not going to be hard to raise money for the program. That was before I started doing it myself.
As I learned of my acceptance to the program, I thought I could be able to pay for the program from my own pocket. But as I added up the costs, I came to the conclusion that I might need some extra money to pay for my travel expenses. So I went on to do some fundraising with some of my friends and family acquaintances. At first I was really scared because I had never asked people for money before especially when that money was going to pay for my own expenses. It took me a few days to gather the will to go on asking people to support my cause. I was really surprised by the way my friends reacted when I explained them about all the things we were going to do with the program. Their excitement inspired me to change my perspective about fundraising. Even though the turnout was not big, I really appreciated the encouragement and the willingness to help that I received from all of my friends. This experience has totally changed my view about fundraising. It has also made me so thankful to all of those who have been able to help me gather the support I need to embark on this exciting program.
Cameron Michael writes…
Fundraising: The word that insights fear in those who participate in it. Since I knew that I had been accepted into the SMI, I feared that I was going to have to ask people for their hard earned money to send me on this project. From the get go, I was afraid of asking for money because I felt like I didn’t want to bother others and that I would appear to be selfish for not funding my own trip. However, as I continued to learn what it really means to give, I began to understand that it is not that I am partaking in an act of selfishness, rather, an act of selflessness.
The experience this summer is more than just an “experience.” We are surrendering to God’s calling on our lives and we are giving up a majority of our summer to do His will. Asking for money for this project is more than just accruing funding. It is accruing support for those who want to see us grow in Christ and do something amazing for the community. In closing, I have learned through the past weeks that asking for money is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it can be a huge blessing because along with the funding to go, we gain an amazing support system which will allow us to stay strong for the entirety of the SMI. I hope and pray that all of the SMI participants will be able to gain the support system we need in order to last through the tough eight weeks ahead of us.
Fundraising – asking people for money – is very low on the list of things I look forward to doing, right there beneath cleaning bathrooms and getting lost. Perhaps my independent streak, the I’ll-do-it-myself attitude I’ve had since birth, contributes to it. Or, maybe, I worry about how people will react to my request, especially when I mention a substantial sum like $2,100. Probably, it’s both.
However, after sucking it up, drafting a letter, and sending it off, I’ve found the process of raising funds to be not as terrible as I’d originally thought. Asking for financial help is humbling, and I’m sure someone as self-reliant as I could use the humility. The encouragement I’ve received is worth the process. What touches me most is not the amount donated (as many of the people in my community are not wealthy and any amount given is a meaningful gift), but the time that’s taken by those who do donate to follow up, ask questions, and commit to pray for me. These people are truly interested and excited to see I have this wonderful opportunity – they want to know about where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, and so many other details. All these people want to be involved because they care about me and the plans God has for me. The reminder of that makes my initial misgivings seem like small prices to pay for the stream of encouragement that is continuing to flow my way.
Olivia Rolando blogs…
Fundraising. That word instantly elicits anxiety in me. Maybe the anxiety stems from “the fear of the unknown,” admittedly having never directly fundraised for a personal project like, in this case, the Siloam Medical Immersion. I originally saw the Siloam Institute’s paragraph on committing to fundraising in their application for the SMI. Despite every inch of me doubting that I could successfully reach the financial goal, I signed the application acknowledging that I would be reaching out to people for support. What I didn’t realize at the time, is that facing this fear would bring clarity regarding “support” and a reinstallation of my sense of the “good” in this world.
Having already reached out to others, I have now realized that fundraising is not about gaining financial means to serve others. Fundraising meant to reach out to others to gain their commitment and support of your personal mission. This meant that they also saw value in the journey, the SMI, I had committed to, and wanted to be able to provide the foundation for me to do everything I can to competently serve others. I have been awed by the immense outpouring of love from those who support me, in any form. Sometimes this world can present tragedy, confusion, and pain. Yet, my commitment to serving others, and in turn the most generous support from some of the most amazing people, have truly renewed my faith in the greater good.
God is working through this project to bring four students together, all with support, to work on one common mission: to not only reach out to those of the greatest need, but to all that we come in contact with. God will provide the means for us to reach these fundraising goals; He wants us to be able to have this encounter. I know our journey will continue to be a reflection of God, as I have already noted thus far, and that grace will continue to guide and surround this mission.
For now, I pray that everyone involved in the SMI will continue to gain the support that God has willed. I know I can sense as if another set of hands is being laid in support on my back each time I find someone interested in what I’m working towards. This provides the confidence to move forward to persevere challenges ahead and the affirmation that many are there to be with you through the ups and downs of this set journey. Needless to say, the anticipation is killing me! I’m ready to take on the humidity and work with both my hands and heart. As always, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, Brothers, pray for us.