Friday, March 13, 2009

Where have all the missionaries gone?

Dear friends,

So now that you have heard my openion on the importance of the name 'missionary' I would like to turn your attention to an issue that is much more imediatley impacting to the Episcopal Church missions - Lack Of Funding!  

A friend turned my attention to this issue.  While the discution of the name does have its place and importance  what should be focused on at this moment is the fact that mission personel is scrapping the barrel to provide rescources to missions.  In fact , as of recent,  mission personel had to make the decision to only send Young Adult Service Corp missionaries out into the field, leaving out volunteers in mission and long term missionaries.  Those who have already been placed will remain in their host countries but no new applicants are being accepted.  


This is a real shame.  Once again I call attention to the fact that we call ourselves a Mission church (If you didn't know that, be assured your not the only one - but yep that is what we are considered)  And yet, where are our missionaries?  We are not so very small of a faction within the U.S. Christian world and yet we are only capable of sending out a dozen or so missionaries.  

It takes rescources to care for and manage Missionaries, they don't just give us a plane ticket and say good luck.  I am being watched over by a team of very capable and caring individuals.  This is not a pleasure cruz to be a missionary, there are real dangeres and needs, so there are real precations that must be taken.  We are provided excelent insurance to cover any health need, we are provided a stipened for language aquisition, there are emergency procedures inplace that among other services will provide for us to be able to return to the U.S. and many other services that insures, to the best of the ability of Mission Personel, that we are healthy and well equiped to give of ourselves to the countries that take us in.  

In this time of economic stress I was blown away by God's grace through individuals generosity.  As missionaries we are expected to fundraise for half of the cost to send us out for one year, this minimum sum is $10,000.  On top of that we must fundraise for all extra expenses that  will be needed in our ministry.  Let me tell you the fundraising process is no simple task.  Since the fall, untill I left for Colombia, I was basically working two full time jobs, as can atest my coworkers and anyone else who is envolved in fundraising.  It is a shared partnership between the missionary and Mission Personel.  So we aren't just sighning up to recieve a free ride to a cool country.  We take great responsibility in our own needs as well.  This to say that the funds that Mission Personel needs is no extravigant request.  It is a basic need for rescources to fulfill this ministry.  

I want to share this with you so that it can be spread to those voting in General Convention.  Hopefully the experiences of your missionaries can give rise to new energy to expand the mission team, to nurture and grow this ministry - TOGETHER!  We must all be together on this for mission work to come full circle.  We go out bringing with us, you, our loved ones and the experience we shared to form who we are; in turn we will return with what we have shared with our host county to give to you.   Without you, this process just doesn't work.  

Please support missions.  This is a very real call that needs very real support.  

1 comment:

Jesse Zink said...

Hi Laura-Catherine,

I think you bring attention to an important issue - no more new non-YASC missionaries - but I also don’t think it’s more important or less important than the question about what missionaries are called and call themselves, as you suggest. They are intimately related. How we describe and talk about ourselves is a first step towards fundraising and raising awareness. That’s why we need more people writing more posts like your earlier one about how important the word “missionary” is to you and how you came to be one yourself. And we need more posts like your other ones about your mission being and doing in Colombia. Great stories, by the way!

Hope you are well.

Jesse Zink
Episcopal missionary in Mthatha, South Africa