My friend Robert Wafula has recently been appointed the Principal (for you US folks, think President) of the Friends Theological College in Kaimosi Kenya. This is a position supported by Friends United Meeting. That means the Robert needs to “raise his support.”
That’s kind of a weird phrase, isn’t it, “Raise his support.” When I accepted this position in Belize I told FUM that I would not ask for a salary, but that I would ask that my housing, my food, and 2 trips during the year to the US, be paid. As soon as that agreement was made, the next comment was, “We will do everything we can to help you raise your support.”
I had never had to “raise support” before. I had always viewed my salary as something that I earned by working. I never thought very much about where the money came from. Of course, when I was doing concrete work, the money came from people paying for the job we had done. When I was teaching, the money came from the taxes paid by the people in the state of Indiana and from taxes raised in the local community.
But this was a whole new ball game. We operate a small “second chance” school in Belize City that doesn’t stand a snowballs chance in Belize City of ever being able to pay its own bills. And I was going to go to Belize to oversee the school and to do a needs assessment in the community. Who in the world pays for a needs assessment?
At first it felt like begging for money, but the more I told the story, the less uncomfortable I became. What I was doing in Belize was worthwhile and if people wanted to participate I would welcome that participation in the form of “support.”
Robert Wafula is also doing a worthy task as Principal of the Theological College. He also will be working in an institution that doesn’t stand a snowballs chance in east Africa of ever being able to pay his salary. And so he has to “raise his support.”
I hope that each of you who read my blog will consider participating in that support. Can your church or meeting support Robert to the tune of $100/month, $200/month, or ??