BY MARK, PIONEERS’ PARTNERSHIP MANAGER
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Jones, a lifelong SUM, Action Partners and Pioneers UK supporter from Southport. Recently I invited him to look back over his life supporting missionaries and share his views on giving. Here’s what Peter had to say:
“I first came into contact with Sudan United Mission (SUM) when a man called Peter Heaps came to speak at our school Christian Union. He even joined in our houseparties. I remember him helping us new Christians, only 14 years old, with our burning questions like, “Should I tell my mum and dad I’ve become a Christian?”! It was just a natural thing to support him when he went to serve in Nigeria.
I went to an SUM Houseparty where we were asked, “Are you willing to go anywhere for God?” I thought, “No!! You will have to make me!”
Two weeks later I was asked to go and work at my company’s head office in London! The day of the interview my Bible reading was Isaiah 55:12, “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace!” I went, eventually becoming an insurance underwriter and without being ambitious, was given promotions and senior management roles over the years. It was just the grace of God, not me!
In 1977, when I was asked to manage my company’s work in Thailand, I said, “Only if I can visit my OMF missionary friend from church, in the Philippines.” It was such an insight. Then the same thing happened a few years later when I was sent to Lagos, Nigeria. I got to see Eileen Veasey (SUM) for week – it really helped me to understand how important missionary work is.
You know, I’m a very average person who’s just had sufficient so I can support someone else doing a job that I can’t do – just like supporting my church minister – it just seems natural!
I remember reading a book where the author asked, “Why should I only give 10% to God?” It’s all His anyway. Far better that I keep a little and He gets the rest.
Although personal friendships have always been what started me supporting a particular charity – and I support a few – I notice that even though workers move on, retire or pass away, that charity still needs support. So I tick the ‘where it’s most needed’ box on their slips!
When I’m deciding to continue supporting a mission and not just the friend, I look on the Charity Commission website and check how they use people’s gifts – it’s the insurance man in me! Pioneers is excellent – low overheads, careful spending. I know they’re a safe pair of hands.
And when I die? What then? Well, in Deuteronomy it says, “…for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18). I think it should go back into God’s Kingdom rather than the government’s coffers! So I’m leaving legacies to the main charities I support, including Pioneers. It’s just good stewardship.”
Photo by Alyssa Kibiloski.