This post originally published on a previously-owned blog and was imported here to simplify my life. Please excuse any confusion due to this merge. I hope you enjoy the content!
A blog post by Mike:
(also printed in our bi-monthly newsletter if it looks familiar!)
We are often asked how fundraising is going. What a loaded question that is! We are confident that God will provide and we are committed to serve regardless of the financial situation He puts us in. However, a lot has changed since we did this four years ago.
The economy being in much worse shape and most people in our home church being financially committed to a capital campaign have impacted the revenue side significantly. On the expense side, Quito is a much more expensive place to live than Arequipa was and Extreme has instituted new policies on how our funds are handled. As of November 2012, 12% of the funds we raise are contributed to an administrative account to cover ministry overhead. This is a policy that is being implemented ministry wide and is a necessary growing pain that is common across the industry. Additionally upon our move to Quito the supplementary income I am earning through engineering will be greatly reduced or eliminated.
This all adds up to a significant expansion of spending combined with difficulty adding new revenue. Sounds similar to our nation’s plight but with a slightly smaller debt load. Thankfully!
The bottom line is that we have met what we call our “Bare Bones” goal. What does this mean? This budget does not include things like a monthly cushion or contingency fund, any savings, any funds to travel home for a visit, nor many household comforts like a clothes dryer, TV, and non-essential furniture (think cardboard box nightstands and dressers).
This all okay, to a certain extent. We are certainly not in this for the financial reward. If God calls us to this then we are honored to serve and we know that our reward is not on this earth. Many of you reading may be without some of the common luxuries listed above.
However, at some point it becomes an issue of responsibility. Most fundamentally, we have a responsibility to serve out our three year contract. Going without some of the comforts of life does not mean we will not fulfill our contract. However, going without contingency funds or savings could certainly could cause a problem in the face of unforeseen expenses. At the very least it could cause additional unwanted and unneeded stress.
So when people ask how fundraising is going I am sure you can see why it is not a simple answer. Yes, we are where God wants us to be. But we are battling the temptation of our desire to put our trust in the financial and material luxuries of this world. When I think about this it is good and spiritually healthy. We are on the edge, leaning on God, depending on Him to protect, guide and provide.
All that said, we ask you to pray about your contributions. Not just now, but continually. This is not between missionary and supporter. It is between you and God. We are confident that if everybody follows God there will be enough. That may or may not mean financial struggles. It also may mean some of you decrease or even end your giving. Again, it is between you and God.
We have been humbled to trim our budget significantly from original goals. For context, we are about $500/mo short of a $2,500/mo budget and being able to say we are comfortable with our income level. Not that we have to be comfortable, but it sure would be nice to have one less thing to worry about.
Thank you to those of you that have been so encouraging over the past couple months. Selling everything and moving to South America is something neither Sydney nor I ever expected to do once in our lives. Certainly not twice in four years!