I’m back from my vacation and after a couple days of migraines I’m finally getting back to the ol’ blog again. Yes. I had two days worth of migraines. I think my eyes had gotten so used to the great outdoors and the insides of quaint B&Bs that when I made them look at a computer screen again they decided to explode. Now that I can see again (and I’m in a much better mood, no longer feeling like death warmed over), I am happy to present:
A couple weeks ago I got an email from Ashlee announcing she was going to be moving to Germany, God-willing, this January, to begin working at a school with her husband. She’ll be fund raising and is a newly wed (one year in August!), and was kind enough to answer some of my questions for an interview here on the blog! You can find her blogging her adventure over at Always Learning.
I have always wondered how managing your money would look different as a missionary, and how money in general must seem a very different animal when you have to ask for it, so I am super grateful that Ashlee has agreed to answer some of my questions at the beginning of her journey!
Without further ado, here are the first batch of questions: Part 1!
Q. Do you have any advice for people who are considering missions but are concerned about the costs?
A. If you’re worried about personal debt I would say: make it part of your ministry vision to get debt-free. Realize that paying off your debt can be a first step in a long journey to realizing your ministry dream, whether as a missionary or anything else really. Luke writes “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11). Show your trustworthiness by tackling your debt. I think this is equally true for bad financial habits. That’s my personal battle: not just being “ok” financially, but being really responsible and wise so I can show God he can trust me with more precious things too.
If you’re stressed out about asking other people for money, which can seem really daunting, I would say: go to the Bible! We just did this awesome Bible study about fundraising and there are so many examples in the Old and New Testaments about fundraising. My favorite is in Nehemiah, and also Paul’s very direct and gracious appeals for funds for his missionary work in his letters.
Q. How has your day-to-day spending changed – if at all – with this mission coming up?
A. It has definitely made me more aware of our spending and given me the impetus I needed to start budgeting. We applied to be missionaries in May and are hoping to leave in January, so everything is moving very quickly. To be honest, I haven’t had very much time yet to sit down with my husband and work out a new budget. Not that we’re big spenders or irresponsible. I think we’re both just a little unaware unless it’s time to pay the rent or other bills. The rest of the time we just try to spend wisely and hope we won’t get in the red.
I’ve been really convicted to put our finances in good order and get into good habits before we start receiving support as missionaries. Just today I was reading a chapter in Funding Your Ministry about personal finances. Hopefully in the next two weeks we’ll work out a better savings plan (our weakest financial discipline) and maybe start using the good old envelope method for our monthly expenses. Stay tuned…
Also, we just got a puppy. Some people might think that’s really silly since we’re going overseas soon. But it’s something we’ve been talking about before we were ever presented with the missionary idea. We thought about adopting a pound dog in Germany but our research showed us that it would be quite expensive and that expats aren’t usually allowed to adopt dogs. Then a puppy opportunity cropped up and now we have our little mutt, Knox!
Financially, it is something we have to plan for carefully, particularly with the cost of shipping him to Germany. We felt it would be unfair to take that cost out of our support so my husband, quite sacrificially, sold his gaming computer so we have a little slush fund for traveling costs for the dog. I guess that’s one example of how we’re trying to be more responsible about our finances, because pre-becoming-missionaries I don’t think he would’ve done that!
Stay tuned! The rest of the interview is next!