Thursday, February 23, 2012

Questions and Answers, Part III

-          I have no problem supporting individuals, but I don’t feel comfortable supporting organizations, what makes your different?

o    The MAF staff (those who serve overseas) all raise an equal amount of support (one level for individuals, a higher one for families). 100% of the funds we raise go to cover staff needs ONLY. All overhead costs (utilities, cost of office supplies, cost of running headquarters etc.) and cost of operating the aircraft come from other sources. These funds that are generously provided for the staff cover basic needs like housing, medical, children’s education, retirement, and cost of living adjustments. We will also receive an adequate salary so that we can pay for any food, clothing, or other needs we might have. Will it cost Kevin and Tasha $7,200 a month to live in the Democratic Republic of Congo? Possibly, most likely even more. Will it cost Jane and John Smith $7,200 a month to live in a country such as Haiti? Not as likely. It is for this reason we use a pooled system for staff financial support. This way the organization can maintain an equal standard of living (within reason) for their staff across the world, without some needing to raise more than others. 

-          What natural disasters will you experience?
o   Considering that the Congo has the 2nd largest rain forest in the world, I am sure we will experience a stampede or two by a pack of rogue monkeys (just teasing, but seriously). While the area is not close enough to the coast to experience tsunamis. There have been a few earthquakes, the EARS, East African Rift System, runs through the Congo. The number of earthquakes has been very few and the number of causalities has remained very low, much much lower than other issues in the DRC such as viral epidemics and poverty. So to sum up, we won’t be experiencing a lot of “natural disasters.”

-          What foods are naturally farmed? Will you farm or teach farming?

o   The DRC is very rich in minerals, and because of the warm climate, many different types of agriculture are produced:  cassava, yams, plantains, manioc, corn, sorghum, peanuts, bananas, sweet potatoes, bananas, pineapples, sugarcane, as well as coffee, palm oil, cocoa, and tea. Here is the problem… Tasha can kill a plastic house plant and Kevin won’t have much time for farming. Although, many of the MAF family’s grow gardens for fun as well as for the fresh produce. As far as farming being taught as a skill, I am sure it is a ministry that is utilized, but I am afraid to say, we will not be ministers in this project. Instead, we will more than likely have to learn from scratch how to keep house plants alive.

-          What happens to our money if you quit?

o   If we have to leave early, the money will continue on until you stop your funding. But let me assure you, we are committed for the long haul. It was a long journey (3 years of active preparation, a lifetime of God preparing us without us knowing it) just to get where we are today! When MAF interviewed us, we went through psychological evaluations, personality testing, intense review, etc. Our lives were under the microscope simply because MAF has been doing this since 1945 and they are aware of the unique challenges faced by each person as missionary. We are aware of the difficulties of our specific region and we are committed to these changes. When Jesus called His apostles to make disciples of all nations, they went, understanding the personal challenges. Granted, we are not one of the Twelve Apostles, but we have made this commitment with God and ourselves. Aside from medical or family emergencies, once we arrive in Africa, we are staying our full term (3 ½ years). Right now, we will do this until God directs us elsewhere. We know things will be difficult and like Jesus missing the passing of his friend Lazarus, we know we will miss many things here in the US (births of nieces/nephews, friend’s marriages, deaths, etc.) But when God asked us to be missionaries, we didn’t say sure, but if something happens, we are going back. Kevin and I have decided that as missionaries, we will not be here for many milestones, but we will be with our family and friends in prayer.

-          Can I send you care packages?

o   As much as we would love to receive care packages, things work a little differently in the Congo, DRC. This country has had a traumatic past and currently lacks ways of enforcing law and order like we know it in the States. Even with the improvements made with their government since it became a "democracy", corruption is still prevalent. (ranked one of the top 5 worst countries for corruption)While a care package might seem like a good thing, one cannot guarantee receipt. If you really would like to send us something while overseas, there are other options. Simply contact us and we can discuss alternate ideas. For example, many friends and family members have already made plans to visit us and we could get you in touch with someone making a visit to deliver a package.

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