Let me give you some tips on how to handle this.
1. Realize that there are MANY Scammers on the Internet.
Believe it or not, there are many people overseas that make a living petitioning Americans for money over the internet. They constantly patrol social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. A gift as small as $100 can be a month’s pay for these people. They are crooked and need not be trusted.
These people are always surfing the internet looking for business men, single women on dating sites, and American Pastors. They know that these three groups of people are the most likely to give them money. They often give you a sob story like “I was mugged and my wallet was taken. I need you to send me money” or “There is something wrong with my car. These orphans will suffer if I don’t get it fixed” or “I am a Nigerian prince and I will pay you $4 million if you help me move to America.”
The FBI calls these “419 Scams”. In 2011, the FBI reported over 30,000 cases of this type of fraud and reported over $55 million in loses in 2012.
Not to long ago, I was contacted by a pastor in a third world country. He told me that he needed financial assistance for his church. When I asked what kind of church he had, he responded by saying, “We will be whatever you want us to be.” I immediately dismissed these people. As stated above, there are people that search the internet for some unsuspecting person to take their story at face value and make a donation. You should NEVER donate to anyone that you know nothing about.
If you are a pastor you need to realize that these people will research you before they contact you. They will then tell you that they are a Baptist just like you. I have seen some men copy and paste a doctrinal statement from our church website and send it to me.
2. Remember that not ALL Nationals are Crooks
Many of the people that I have met through the years have had reservations about helping nationals because they simply do not trust them. Who could blame them? These online scammers have become so prominent that it can seem like everyone in Africa is a scammer. We have to remember that this simply is not so.
IBOM began it’s wonderful ministry in Kenya when Dr Wendell Runion made a trip to Kenya in 2001 and met a Kenyan man named Anthony. Anthony told Dr Runion that God had called him to go to Malaba, a town in Western Kenya, and start a church. He asked Dr Runion if he would support him and after being vetted by another Missionary, Dr Runion agreed to do it.
As of 2016, 94 churches have been started in Kenya and 20,000 people were saved in 2015. The hand of God has definitely been upon Anthony and his ministry. I often think, what if Dr Runion had never agreed to support Anthony? We would have missed out on a great opportunity to see a great work accomplished in Kenya.
Just remember that despite the all horror stories about nationals that you have heard, that there are still men out there that love the Lord and genuinely want to see their people reached with the gospel. Why would we not help these men?
IBOM has many men in Kenya that are solid Independent, Fundamental Baptist preachers that are doing a great work! We currently have 94 churches started and a 2 Bible Colleges that have a combined total of 150 students. These nationals are of the same doctrine and practices that you and I are.
3. Recognize the Value of Supporting Nationals
Investing in IBOM’s national pastors is NOT a risk of any kind, but rather a wise investment of your missions funds. Did you know that you can support a national pastor in Kenya for only $100 a month? Did you know that you can build a church for only $9000? We can support these men for a fraction of the cost it would take to support an American family. What a great investment!
The national men that we work with have all been trained and are under the accountability of IBOM. We know what they believe, what they are doing, and see them throughout the year. There is no question that these men are men of God, not email scammers.
I love these men and know them personally. If you would like to get more information about our ministry of planting churches with national pastors, then feel free to contact us anytime.
How to Handle a National Pastor
We have all been there. You open your email and there is an email or Facebook message from somebody with a ministry in a third world country. They tell you of their outreach, the poor they are trying to help, and the orphans they are trying to feed. They tell you about their hardships and petition you for money. You go back and forth in your mind and wonder if you should help, but you are also worried that this could be a scam. What do you do? Do you send the money and just hope for the best or do you dismiss the email and keep your money?