In July we paid our missionaries 100 percent of their target allowance. This marked the 24th consecutive month in which full allowances were paid, overseas and in the Home Office. This is the longest period of “full allowance” during my time of service as Business Manager, and we are all very thankful for God’s provision. Here is a quick look at what it means to pay full allowance and how it happens.
In a typical month we need about $150,000 to meet all of our missionary compensation needs. About $77,000 of that is used to pay allowance directly to our people. This puts bread on their tables and gasoline in their cars. Allowances are determined entirely by family size; years of experience or job title are not considered. We are all “missionaries,” and the mission desires to provide enough to meet our family needs.
The remaining $73,000 is used to pay for “benefits,” which include health insurance, housing, social security taxes, and so on. You will notice that we consider housing a “benefit” rather than a part of allowance. This is due to the fact that housing costs vary so much from country to country; it would be difficult to include housing in an allowance based simply on family size. When reporting to the IRS, of course, housing is included as income. But for our internal accounting, we consider it a “benefit.”
When we talk about paying “full allowance,” we mean family allowance calculations; benefits are considered separately, as fixed expenses that must be paid each month. This monthly family allowance is not guaranteed: it depends entirely on designated gifts. Health insurance and housing may be paid in full, even if allowance is not.
When you give $100 to a missionary’s Support Fund, your entire donation is applied to a missionary’s monthly family allowance and corresponding benefits. We consider missionaries “fully supported” if they have received enough donations to cover both of these amounts – allowance and benefits for the month. Paying full allowance in any given month, however, does not mean that all of our missionaries are “fully supported.” Missionaries who have not received donations sufficient for their allowance and benefit needs may have their needs supplemented by our General Fund or our Estate Fund. We use our General Fund, if available, to supplement allowances, and our Estate Funds, if we have them, to supplement benefit expenses. So far this year, our General Fund has covered 49% of all missionary allowances, and our Estate Fund has paid for 55% of benefits. To date this year, donations to missionary support funds have paid for 48% of total missionary compensation.
In July donations to missionary support covered 52.9% of all support expenses; $37,277 was used from the General Fund to supplement missionary allowances, and $35,740 was transferred from Estate Funds to supplement benefit expenses for the month. Let me know if you have questions about a project or missionary you may be praying for in particular.
Thank you for your ongoing support!