We had no idea that when we became missionaries we would be so interested in international currency. We know very little about economics…especially when it comes to currency, but we do know it affects us everyday. Let’s play with some numbers…
Hypothetical Paycheck = $1,000
Current Paycheck Amount in Yen (This is the exchange rate – fees) = 78,972.37 yen
Most Favorable Amount we’ve Experienced happened in April = 84,122.94 yen
As you see the same paycheck isn’t really the same. In June our pay was really worth 6.1% less then in April. If you look over the past year it’s even worse. Last year the paycheck was worth 91186.77 yen and the year before (2009) it was worth 96767.88 yen. So currently we have a 13.3% decrease from 2010 and a 18.4% decrease since 2009. Pretty substantial if you think about taking a pay cut each year and doing nothing differently.
So what does this mean and why do we write about this topic?
Currently our support account is healthy and we have been blessed to be able handle the decrease. (MTW does take into account currency changes and has various ways of helping.) The reality is the money raised isn’t going as far as it used to because of the currency exchange rate. Other missionaries on the field are currently struggling because the dollar just isn’t worth what it used to be.
Our part as missionaries is to keep an eye on the market and try to exchange money at “high” times to be the best stewards of our account. (So practically speaking when we see spikes we try to withdraw and put money in Japanese banks.) Most importantly we as Christians believe this is something we and our partners should be praying about. What do we pray and ask others to pray?
- Pray for a stronger dollar worldwide.
- Pray for wisdom for the missionaries in how to be good stewards of the finances God has blessed us with for ministry.
- Pray for missionaries who are struggling financially because of factors such as these.
- Pray for the generosity of the church to support missions world wide.
Ultimately we believe God is in control of not only financial matters but he’s in control of everything. We don’t fear and know God provides and ultimately God is growing His Kingdom everyday!