More Than Sparrows is a unique Christian nonprofit ministry. The mission of the organization is to support, aid, and encourage the work of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ by assisting Christian workers in their need.
Missionaries come home from the field for many reasons. Often when there is a family or medical emergency there are not financial means to cover the unforeseen expenses due to limited income and resources. Most missionaries raise money for their support even though they are under the guidance of a sending agency. Missionaries receive funds from individuals and churches which have pledged to support them monthly or with one time gifts. The individual supporters and churches that support missionaries are often not able to further assist when hardship situations arise. It is our hope that this ministry will bridge the gap and help missionaries with these burdens. As believers, we should be caring for our own and assisting their needs to enable them to do all God has called them to do in proclaiming the Gospel.
As with many ministries, More than Sparrows was borne out of adversity. Melissa's family had to leave their ministry in Kenya, Africa, due to a family crisis that quickly magnified when Melissa was diagnosed with cancer after reaching the States. Even though the Haynes's were fortunate enough to have medical insurance, the medical bills were a hardship. The fact is that most overseas missionaries are on a different type of insurance when they are out of the United States. When they are in the States the deductibles for insurance are very high. Add this to the fact that most expenses are higher when a missionary is "home" because their expenses are not calculated based on Stateside living and most missionaries will be placed in hardship situations. Suddenly, housing, transportation, and other needs become difficult. Some missionaries are fortunate to have family step in and offer assistance. Others do not have that luxury. Most churches do not have benevolence funds set aside for these situations. Individual supporters are already giving a great deal, and it is difficult for missionaries to ask for even more. Melissa's family ended up putting all these expenses on credit cards. This was not what they would have preferred, of course, but it became a necessary "evil." The problem with this long term, is that most mission agencies will not allow missionaries to return to the field with large amounts of debt. This is not just a stewardship issue, but a practical one, as missionaries don't make enough to cover those extra expenses on salaries allotted for their "field" of service. Therefore, once the crisis is over, many missionaries will have to delay going back to the field because of financial difficulties. This will in itself create even more of a financial burden since, as previously mentioned, missionary budgets are set for the field of service and not for Stateside living. In the case of Melissa's family, even with some assistance, their bills added up to around $30,000.
Our passion in starting this ministry is to help other missionaries in these hardship situations by alleviating some of the burdens they face. Hardships happen to everyone. In the life of a child of God, hardships are allowed to make us stronger and deepen our walk with Christ. The Lord is sovereign in all these circumstances . We know from scripture that He "owns the cattle on a thousand hills" and can intervene how He chooses. Yet we also know that He uses the body of Christ to intervene. We , as believers, have been called to love and care for each other in times of need. Our hope through this ministry is to support, aid, and encourage a part of the body of Christ that serves by giving of themselves in proclaiming the Gospel to others.