Question about Funding for missionaries:
"Can someone become a missionary if they have credit card debt? What about student loans or other financial obligations?"
My husband and I have been in missions since 2003 and paid off his student loan while on the field. God is able to do it if that is the way that he is leading.
We were up front with our supporters and diligent in setting aside money for it.
Before stepping into the role of full-time missionary, my husband brought this question to the Lord and felt like the Holy Spirit led him to go out even with debt. Many people take on salaried jobs to pay off their debts, but with that comes added responsibilities to the point that when they actually become debt-free, they are not able to go to the field anyway. God protected my husband from this.
I think it really has to be a personal conviction and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Some are meant to go home and pay off loans first and some are meant to follow and pay as they go. Hope this helps!
Editor's note: See also Myth: Student Debt Disqualifies Me from Full-time Ministry (Support Raising Solutions). Don't skip the comments, as they include some specifics about mission agency practices and policies.
Regarding on-going expenses at home (student loans, other financial obligations): The agency you go with will (should) have clear direction for you. Our only obligation was our house payment and upkeep. We hired a property manager. The rental payment more than covered the house payment, his fee, and a surplus for any emergency.
Get debt free before taking on the financial issues of being a missionary!
As long as someone is willing to live as frugally as possible and go without some things to save a penny, you can do it. That means eating more local foods, not going out to eat, making do with what you have and not needing every new thing, etc. You can do it. I know that most mission organizations have salaries larger than ours, which is based on local pay, so if I can do it, so can you.
Try and get it paid off as fast as possible so you don't have to pay so much interest. As for other financial obligations, budget it in right along with tithes and offerings. Then live within your means.
If you have school debt, research The Go Fund to see if you qualify for help from them. Also, you can build debt repayment into your support. When we went to the field we had student loans and one of our supporting churches agreed to wrap that into their support amount for us. We gave them payment details, and every month they made the payment for us as a portion of their monthly support. When it was paid off, that amount then came to us as monthly support.
One is that when you begin to go full-time on deputation, you will have very limited resources each month. You basically live on the little bit of support you have plus love offerings. It is ridiculous to think that you would also have enough to pay off debts on top of your basic living expenses.
As another person mentioned, a missionary must be able to budget and stay on budget. A missionary has to live within his or her means.
A reasonable support level for the field would not include paying off old debts. Most mission agencies require your making a budget and planning your support level accordingly.
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