Missionary Support Transitions

missionary end beginAbout a year and a half ago, Kyle and I decided to start supporting a missionary with an ongoing monthly contribution of $50. We were a bit nervous as we had never entered into this kind of relationship before; our only ongoing regular giving to that point had been to our church, and with an individual it felt a bit different. We were particularly thinking about how we might go about ending the gift if we needed to. For instance, right now in our half-employed state we have cut back our cash-flowed giving to only 10% to our church.


Well, our giving to that missionary has now ended so I thought I would update you in how that went down and what we’re doing now.


Originally, this missionary was slated to be in her position for 3 years, so we were thinking that we would stay with it for that long unless something really changed for us financially (which it has). Luckily for us, though, we didn’t have to terminate our giving in this case. The missionary actually decided to pursue a graduate degree instead of serving her last two years. She suggested that her donors transfer their giving to one of her coworkers, but we elected not to do that. So that was that! I’m really glad we didn’t let our trepidation about how things might have needed to end keep us from starting, because it really all worked out well for us.


However, a close reader will see that in our recent monthly spending reports we have had another $50 per month missionary support coming out of our charitable giving targeted savings account (our giving to the first missionary came out of our “everyday budget”). Even before we found out that our first supported missionary was moving on, we were pitched by another acquaintance to start supporting him for a 9-month mission.


This happened last May, around the time Kyle defended. If you remember, at that time Kyle’s parents decided to pass on to us a portion of an inheritance they had recently received. After we received the gift, we debated whether or how much of it to give. We have a rule about giving at least 10% of our gross income, but with most cash gifts given to us we choose not to give out of them. However, since this gift was sizeable, we decided we would give 10% of it, but instead of giving it to our church we put it into our charitable giving savings account for one-time gifts over time. The result of all this was that our charitable giving account was then at a fairly high balance. So we decided to start supporting this second missionary with money directly from this account, and we have enough money in it to cover the full period.


After we made that decision to start supporting the second missionary, we found out that the first gift had the option to end. So with only a couple months of overlap, we went from giving $50 to one missionary to another, with a different source within our budget for each.


That’s the story! Again, we are glad we embarked on this type of giving and that we have the funds in our charitable giving account to cover it all.


Have you ever supported an individual in an ongoing capacity, and if so how did it or do you expect it to end? Do you use a savings account for giving or do you cash flow it?


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10 Responses to "Missionary Support Transitions"

  1. I’m impressed that you’re able to sustain your commitment to giving even as you’re navigating uncertain financial times. When there’s a will there’s a way.
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    1. Emily says:

      It’s worked out that we’re treating giving like we are everything else right now. Kyle’s income can cover just our regular monthly expenses, but to do anything extra we are going into our short-term savings (which is why they’re there). Likewise, as long as we have an income we plan to give 10% to our church, but to support this missionary or do any other one-time giving it has to come from our designated savings account. But with the gift we received, that account balance will last a while!

  2. Allison says:

    We give 2 two mission groups in our area. One is a ministry that supports the city and business leaders and the other is a food pantry at a church. We like that they are small ministries and that we know the people who run them and that our money is going to the people and not admin fees.

    1. Emily says:

      Sounds great! We often give to local ministries as well because we can be personally involved to some extent. I haven’t checked up on their overhead costs, though…

  3. I have supported our school’s alumni association in its aim to provide more scholarships to deserving students. Whenever I visit the school, I give money to any scholarship fund bottles, which every office has, I find. But, there’s a more convenient way that any alumni can pledge a monthly contribution, which is deducted from their banks. Most of them who pledge were once scholars. It’s like something to give back….
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    1. Emily says:

      I know that basically every organization prefers regular ongoing giving to one-time, but it was definitely an emotional challenge for us to make that first pledge! We still do one-off giving to our college and don’t plan to change that (or give to our grad school ever!). Do you plan to give regularly to those scholarship funds?

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