Seems like every day I either get an email with a request for financial help or I get a call from a ministry friend who is being bombarded by request from developing nations especially Kenya and Nigeria. I guess because of my extensive travel overseas many feel that I can relate and help. The truth is because I have been oversees I have learned how to weed out the real needy from the professional fakes that make a living at this. It should not surprise us that in some of these countries they sell their pictures and rent their orphanages to validate requests or cover up when a donor shows up unexpectedly.
Either way as economic conditions in the developing nations worsen more and more racketeers are turning to the Internet to finance their greed. Also, the gullible in America are increasing as they too need pictures and excuses to request for more assistance from their donors or to validate the prideful title frenzy in this country. This practice is the perfect storm for those who love to give but do not have the time to fully investigate where their money is going. Yet the Lord commands us to remember the poor so we cannot turn our backs to all the cries for help.
Here are a few warning signs you may be dealing with a racketeer:
- They offer to put your name on a banner or name their “congregation” after yours.
- They write but after you tell them that you only give to relating brethren they never write again.
- They don’t know anything about your ministry but that they found you on the net
- They offer to make you the speaker at their conference and they don’t even know if or what you preach.
- They always connect some bad event that happened in their country but nowhere near them to their need for assistance.
- Every email is begging for money. They never write just to share.
- You rebuke them for a wrong and you never hear from them again.
Those are just a few but they are the most common ones used by these online racketeers. They are the pirates of cyberspace and they are so gifted their stories will make you weep.
How can we be a Good Samaritan or be our brother’s keeper:
- Tell them immediately that you offer your friendship and wisdom but you will not send any financial assistance without getting to know them first.
- Get their info to your relating tribe because most of these guys are indiscriminate with their begging and chances are someone has heard of them
- Connect with other leaders like myself who have traveled to many of these countries and relate with tested native leaders on the ground in these countries that can have them checked out.
They are simple rules but they can be the firewall that keep s them out of your pocket and thereby making sure that you have the necessary funds to finance the legitimate needs that do arise. Most of all maintain a strong relationship with our Lord and the Holy Spirit will never fail to speak to you on these matters. Keep on loving and keep on helping and don’t let the few bad apples color how you feel about overseas giving.
Below is a copy of a letter I have received over 10 times. Look carefully at the From and To line. This letter is being sent to many people at once.
|Subject:||PRECIOUS SOULS NEED BIBLES PLEASE|
|Date:||9/19/2011 2:44:24 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time|
Dear Servant of God ,
Greetings to you in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ .
I am the founder of LEPERS OREDOMI COMMUNITY CHURCH here in
Benin City ,Edo State, Nigeria . I am totally sad when I came home
from Evangelism to find my three Children and Wife dead and they were
killed by Muslims Radicals. On that that same date 17th of Februray
twenty one Churches were burnt down and ours was among and right now
we are fellowshipping under the Tree. We are about one hundred and
fifteen members.Please continue to join us in prayers that God
Almighty will continue to protect us here and nothing will happen to
us. We are passing through tough persecution and I know God will see
us through by His power.
I am sending this letter believing God that you will help our ministry
with Bibles . We are in need of 23 Giant Print Bibles and I also
appeal for you to help me with a Study Bible because the one I have
was lost when the muslim radical set me house ablaze and also the 23
Brethrens who are in need of these Bibles lost there own as well
through the burning down of there houses by these muslim radicals. I
pray that God Almighty will touch their hearts to know the evil they
Please, continue to join me in prayers and please keep praying for the
rest of us that God Almighty will continue to protect us from the
hands of these wicked muslims.
Looking forward to respond beloveth.
Yours in Christ
Pastor Peter Aoun
Our Mailing address for the Bibles is written below :
LEPERS OREDOMI COMMUNITY CHURCH
36, Milokpekpege Avenue,
GPO 8950,Benin city Edo State Nigeria.