Saturday, May 03, 2008
The falling dollar and global missions
We've asked the missionaries that our church supports to tell us what effect the falling dollar is having on them. The reports are sobering and call me to re-consider how I'll use my "spending money." These families are depending on our faithfulness. Here are a few examples:
(from Bulgaria) "We have received word from three significant supporting churches within the last few months that they were either significantly reducing or stopping their financial support altogether. I'm sensing the need to return to the States to seek new support."
(from Ukraine) "We are all needing extra support – at a time that our supporters in the USA are also having a harder time financially. So we tighten our belts and pray."
(from an undisclosed country) "Yes, we have felt the drop of the dollar, as well as the rising costs of living. We have been able to make ends meet for all months but this month (just a couple hundred dollars)."
(from Greece) "We hang by a thread every month. It’s a real adventure to see how God provides every month. The day-to-day impact on our lives is simply that we’ve had to cut costs on food and any extra-curricular expenses, not that we did much along those lines anyway. Budget categories such as savings, retirement, vacation, and recreation are the first to go, in the interest of “survival” and just paying the bills. So, yes, times are very tough. We usually have two responses to this. One is that if the Lord wants us to continue to live and minister here, He will provide. Of that we are absolutely sure. The second thing is that we are so aware of how much better off we are than the dear, desperate refugees we work among, that we dare not complain about our financial hard times. We try to be as generous as we can with the resources the Lord blesses us with, knowing that 'with such sacrifices He is pleased.'"
(from Malawi) "We have tightened our belts a bit and are waiting to see how much of a trend we have going! The specific impact the dollar’s decline seems to have, besides giving, is on the cost of goods here. Our grocery budget continues to skyrocket and is presently about twice what our grocery budget was in the US. Milk costs around $5 per gallon. Fuel is around $5.50 per gallon and the rising fuel costs give rise to all the other costs as it does in the US. We are seeking increased giving on the part of churches, yet they are in the same boat we are in!"
If the Lord has given you a storehouse of wealth, consider the situation of our brothers and sisters that have left much for Christ, and try as you can to open the doors and move any extra out to the fields.