Thursday, December 20, 2012

Story of Sacrifice by Frank Black

Story of Sacrifice


You often hear perhaps too much about giving – your money, that is.  You might be thinking, “Enough already”; I’ve heard enough about giving my money.  Ok, ok.  But please don’t stop reading this now.  Let me just share with you what I recently heard from  missionaries that Southeastern helps to support.  What I received was NOT a request for more money from us; it was just a true report of the condition of their finances.


·                          While their financial support has decreased over the last couple years, the cost of living index in their African country has increased by about 50% !  


[To continue their missionary service they have had to adapt.  And I’m talking about adapting ‘big time’. The following are just some of the ways they have cut back in order to live on the funds they receive.]


·                          Vacation:  Everyone needs to get away from their place of living at least once per year – even missionaries.  And speaking as a former full-time missionary, you are on- call all the time unless you are physically away from your home and compound. Due to money and other factors they have not been able to get away recently. 


·                          Furlough:  [Visiting the USA]  With two young daughters it is especially important for them to visit their home country at least every couple years.  [You parents and grandparents; think about how important this is to you.]   Initially they tried to put aside money for a yearly trip.  Due to the lack of funds this changed to every eighteen months, then to every two years; and now there are no funds for visiting the USA!  [I can assure you this is indeed quite a sacrifice in today’s world.]


·                          Retirement Funds and savings:  They have not been able to contribute any funds for the last two years.  I should remind you that in the Churches of Christ there are usually no funds put aside for our missionaries’ retirement. 

·                          Household workers:  When serving in Africa and with both spouses working full-time, it is usual to hire local people to cook, clean, wash clothes, etc.  I should remind you that these tasks are much more difficult in such a culture.  [Lou Ann and I had three Tanzanian workers when we served there - Zebron was our cook; Rehema cleaned and washed clothes; John took care of the yard and various other outside jobs in addition to helping Lou Ann on her market and other trips.].  This couple started with some workers but now have to do without additional help. 


·                          Health Insurance:  I don’t have to tell you how important this is.  They have had to get the “bare bones” minimum insurance, which is still quite expensive because of where they live.  One family member has had to go uninsured because of some health problems.


·                          “Smaller Items”:  They have had to decrease ‘eating out’; spending on gifts, birthdays, etc.; and other “smaller items.”  These items are sometimes the hardest things to give up.  Children especially have difficulty in understanding this. 


I don’t know about you, but this makes me feel terrible and sad. I feel badly that such dedicated, hard working missionaries have to make such sacrifices.  Yet they remain so dedicated that they have imposed all these restrictions on themselves.  Now I’m not just trying to raise money for these missionaries; I want you to think bigger than that.

I would really appreciate it if you would sincerely think about this one question:


 What changes and financial sacrifices have you made to continue your financial support of Southeastern Church and other charitable causes?                          - F. Black

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