by Jac La Tour
Since you and I share a passion for missions work around the world, I’m passing on this information I recently read in Mission Network News online. As we go into 2011, may we remember to pray for those God has sent “into all the world.”
As if a national rise in downturns wasn’t enough, the U.S. dollar could now be facing a significant depreciation. In an attempt to boost the failing economy, the Federal Reserve has vowed to print $600 billion and pump it into the country by purchasing Treasury bonds—an initiative they’ve dubbed Quantitative Easing 2 (QE2).
Part of the reasoning is that with more money in the system, the dollar will essentially cost less to purchase, so foreign investors may purchase more in U.S. exports. Interest rates in the States will also go down, hopefully encouraging more small businesses to start, and thus more jobs to be created.
There’s another side to this coin, though. The devaluation of the dollar hurts the cause of Americans living in foreign countries, such as the missionaries with Pioneers USA. If the dollar-to-foreign-currency ratio is lower than these missionaries originally anticipated, the support they raised may no longer be enough.
The weakening of the dollar comes at an already tough time for foreign missionaries. Many, especially those funded mainly by ministries rather than personal donors, have already suffered as job cuts have forced some long-term supporters to cease their giving. Missionaries seem to have adjusted to those changes, but QE2 will raise the need for additional compromises.
“We’ve kind of come through that phase of ‘tightening belts’ already, because of the downturn,” says PIONEERS president Ted Esler. “Now with the fall of the U.S. dollar, those who are living in some of these various places around the world are really feeling the pinch at this time.”
…Already, missionaries have had to make compromises by eliminating project ideas so they can simply have enough to live. Others have come home early. What kind of effects will we see in the future?
Esler says, “[It] probably won’t be people that come home from the field and don’t go back. But you’ll see missionaries who are on a schedule to return home to work on support raising, who will move that schedule up so they’ll be back earlier. And it may take them a little longer to raise additional funds than it would have in a different situation.”
More time spent raising funds means less time on the field, less time spent spreading the Gospel to those who are most desperately in need. Please pray that the Lord would provide missionaries with all they need to be most effective in spreading the Gospel across the globe. Pray that economics would not be a big enough obstacle to keep the Gospel from moving forward.
How does your church or ministry plan to support missionaries in the coming year? Are you doing anything differently in light of the changing economy?