We are amazed at the various ways the Lord finds to channel his gifts to us, but the principal means is through our praying membership. Once again, we thank the Lord for meeting our financial needs throughout the year 2017. We also thank you for responding to his prompting and being the vehicle by which he did that. Once again, you were the answer to our prayers.
In 2017 Missionary Support payments were down from the year before, meaning that there were short allowances for a few months. We thank God for a special gift from one of our supporters that allowed us to finish the last few months of the year with full allowances.
We are also exceedingly grateful for those supporters who had the foresight to include us in their estate planning. Those gifts go into our Estate Fund, which provides for special projects and missionary benefits such as health insurance and retirement.
A study conducted by the Finance Committee in 2016 determined that we were not doing enough to help our missionaries prepare for retirement. Consequently, we implemented a 50% matching contribution to their retirement funds. The objective was to encourage each missionary unit to save for retirement and to increase the amount available. At the same time, the Council approved a one-time “catch-up” contribution to retirement accounts based on the number of years of service. This latter action was fully funded by a large gift to the Estate Fund and the special help of a regular contributor to missionary support.
We mentioned last year that Jeff Dahl and Dave Leeman will be leaving us in the months ahead. The Lord, in his impeccable timing, has blessed the Business Office with Ann Goettsch, a degreed accountant, who joined us part-time last September and became full-time on January 1.
A few years ago, Estate Funds were set aside to upgrade our accounting software. We decided that it would be wise to make the change now while Jeff and Dave are still here to help with the changeover. We have recently entered into contracts with providers to replace our database and accounting software systems, as well as outsourcing our payroll processing. While this represents a significant investment, we believe it will reduce our future costs and improve system usability.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.