I do not know of any missionary who decided to be a missionary so that he could ask people to support him. It has always been in spite of having to ask for support. Some missionaries do well in raising support because they are good at asking. Others really struggle. In the past, missionaries mainly targeted churches, but lately there has been a shift to looking for individuals with which to partner.
Praying his support in was made famous by Hudson Taylor. He would not even let the need be known, but taught the orphans and his family to just pray and allow God to supply the need. So far we have not had enough faith to follow this thinking. I have also heard a sermon on how Taylor’s family suffered because their health needs were not always met.
I am not against asking. Most advice from books or conferences will tell you how to “make the ask.” They say not to be ashamed of it either, and rightly so; it is not like missionaries are trying to rob anyone. We are to go into partnership with others in reaching the world and because of that, we can ask boldly to be involved in what God is doing around the world.
I have asked a couple people lately and it does not seem to go to well. I am sure it has to do with my asking abilities not being up to par. I have also had some conversations with others on this and being asked can seem awkward. It would seem that having the conviction that you are supposed to give to a certain person would be easier to give to rather than feeling you need to give because you were asked. Kind of like in church when the Pastor does his little giving lecture before the offering. You should not give because of the lecture or guilt; we give out of love and conviction.
I have also providentially met partners out of nowhere. After sharing the ministry with them, they have felt led by God to give. This has been most encouraging as it confirms God’s calling on our lives. We know that God is with us and He is the One who is sending us to the field. We have made lists of potential supporters and yet it ultimately has come down to God touching hearts.
We do give to missions as well. Actually, we have several missionaries who support us too. In our giving endeavors, we have given out of conviction that we should give to faith promise or certain missionaries and that has seemed the most rewarding.
I would like to see some conversation on this one because our circumstance is different than other missionaries and other givers. What is your perspective? Do you like to be asked to give?