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Community Discussion

What about debt?

Original message posted by Emilie on 07-11-06.

Hello brothers and sisters! I know little or nothing about getting involved as a missionary. I have about $25,000 of debt from school, car and credit card,(aquired B.C)and so I always thought this disabled me from service or a private bible college. I have thus planned to finish college at a public school and do what I could in this county with a Masters in Social work. Despite my debt, however, I do not have even an undergrad degee yet, though I am fluent in Spanish. Most importantly I am a direct witness to the Power and Love of Christ and His Miracle Healing(I should be dead) The more the Lord Pours into me, the more it breaks my heart to have to look to the world instead of full time service. I am also cautious because school means more debt. Is there something to do before it is too late? My heart is in orphanage ministry or abused/neglected/prostituted childen. (I am 30 years old and unattatched with no children.)... Hey, thank you for your responses and Praise God for His Work in all of you!!!

Reply by Missionary In Asia on 07-24-06.

Most people will say that any debt at all is unacceptable when considering missions work. Certainly debt-free is the best way to go, but I'd like to offer a some food for thought regarding debt & missions. When someone goes to college and/or seminary to become a pastor, he or she will most likely accrue some student loans. It is not expected that he pay off his loans before entering his job as a pastor. Student loans are considered an acceptable cost of preparation for his field of work. It is expected that part of a pastor's salary will go towards paying off his school loans. None of his parishoner's feel like thier tithe is being misused in this. I feel like similar standards can be applied to missionaries with school loans. As for other types of debt, most financial advisors will distinguish between "acceptable" and "unacceptable" debt. An acceptable debt would include a mortgage and other solid investments. A car loan often falls into this category since the car generally allows the owner to get to work, thus allowing them to pay thier mortgage, etc. Credit card debt is always considered "unacceptable" because of the super-duper high interest rates. Credit card debt is kind of like Vegas, "The House always wins!"... or in this case "The credit card company always wins." It is never beneficial for a consumer to carry a credit card debt beyond one month. In regards to long-term missions, most "acceptable" debts can be eliminated prior to leaving. For instance, a car would probably be sold, thus allowing you to pay off your loan (assuming you aren't upside down.) However, credit card debt is not so easy to get rid of. Also, in all honesty, credit card debt is usually a sign of overspending, living beyond your means, or maybe just poor planning. Any of these things are probably a good sign that you need some financial training & discipline before heading to the mission field. The mission field tends to be a magnifying glass for your faults. So if you tend to overspend in the States, it will be worse once you get to the field. These are things you need to deal with before you go. Thus far, I've really only spoken in the theoretical. (ex: Theoretically speaking, I don't think it's wrong for a missionary to have school loans.) However, on a more practical note, there are many more issues that come into play. For instance, many missions agencies require that thier missionaries be debt free. And even if you are with an agency/group that allows missionaries to carry debt, any debt (even acceptable debt) on the mission field can be a considerable burden. Often missionary incomes are less than consistent, thus making it difficult to properly budget for monthly bills. And even with all of the internet management options available, it can be very difficult to manage accounts from another country. Hope this gives you some good food for thought! Good luck & many blessings in your journey.

Reply by Craig on 10-09-08.

Debt free is the best. Go to your local library and find one of two books. Total Money Make Over or Financial Peace Revisited. Both are by Dave Ramsey. Both these books can help you if you commit to being debt free. If you do, you will be free for real. When you have debt you are tied to it, or rather a slave to it. Also, we need to consider the testimony it is to others around us.

Reply by Belinda Lacey on 11-11-08.

Hello Emilie, I may have solution to reducing your debt and raising funds for missionary work. I am involved in this unique fund raising system. You can contact the company for further research and you can also email me for any questions or suggestions. Check it out here: God Bless.

Reply by Oladejo Felix on 05-15-12.

Staying debt-free is the culture of the Bible.A borrower is a servant to the lender,the Bible says.Getting into loan to finance whatever project could be a western culture but where is faith?If God actually wants u to do something He pays the bill. As missionaries we look unto God alone to meet the needs(including academic pursuits) and He never disappoints us.Kenneth Copeland says"borrowing is a replacement covenant".Remember,you shall lend unto many but you shall not borrow(Deut28:12)

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