05 March 2009

Sustainable Missionaries – The Pros

Didn't want to keep you waiting long... here's the list of "pros"

1. I enjoy business and dreaming about ways to ensure that we can stay in Uganda for the long haul! ("pros" deserve exclamation points instead of "...'s")

I’ll be the first to admit that my job requires to much thinking… so every once in a while it is nice to defrag my brain and to fire up a business brainstorming program rather than the overused theology and school admin programs my mind… it sure beats retreating to tetras and solitaire…

I like dreaming of a business that could keep us here no matter what happens with the US economy or the generosity of our supporters…I'm really into end of the world scenarios and the idea of keeping gold bars hidden below my bed incase the world banks fail - although I am curious how you slice a gold bar when purchasing smaller items? ... maybe you just buy in bulk?

2. I think it is a great model to my students who often are convinced that finances from the US are the only way to accomplish their ministry goals…

This last week my students began asking me about my car and why I was walking and taking taxis… when they discovered that I was renting it for 100,000 shilling a day they were shocked and impressed… knowing that I was already in the business of selling chicks and rabbits my office was suddenly swamped with students wanting me to advise them on their business plans and to help them with different investment schemes…

Even better the students are no longer lining up at my office to complain about school fees… in fact they avoid talking to me about this subject because they already know what I will say… “Get a job and pay your fees!”

3. Business has allowed me to enter Christine’s world

I do want to support Christine but the extend of my animal knowledge is that a cow with one utter is called a bull… this leaves me in the dust during many of her Ag meetings or when we are hanging out with different Ag people...

Fortunately, as Christine boasts… I could sell a dead horse to a cowboy… which means I can enter her world by helping her with the marketing and networking necessary to sell her product… I also have dramatically improved my home improvement skills… I can now climb a latter while holding a hammer and I am now hitting the nail at least 50% of the time!

4. There is biblical evidence to suggest that it is better for missionaries to be self-supporting so they are not a burden to their sending churches

2 Thessalonians 3:8… basic summary… Paul didn’t want to burden his supporting churches so he worked night and day… preaching the gospel and making tents to sell (although personally I am a bigger fan of renting)…

I can’t think of a time that supporters have treated us like a burden but I can’t help but feel like a burden each round of fundraising… call it pride or fear of rejection but between supporting a family and a bible college I am looking at raising a quarter million USD per year, plus I could easily spend another one million US for the land and buildings necessary to take GBI to the university level…

That is a ton of money for a guy who still orders water when he knows he has to foot the bill at the end of the meal….

This pro / con talk has been rather self focused and some poor missionary out their probably googled this topic hoping to get some advice so I better finish this off with a general overview of the topic… you never know I might get paid some day to write this stuff???

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