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JLeslie's avatar

When you are a missionary with a church, is everything paid for during your travels?

Asked by JLeslie (54594points) February 10th, 2013

I know people who have done missionary work for their church who have travelled to Latin America, Africa, China, and I was wondering if their housing, food, transportation is all taken care of? Do they earn money as well?

I guess maybe it varies by religion, so if you have an answer please specify if your knowledge is regarding a specific religion.

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22 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I totally read this as ‘when you’re doing missionary in church’ and was like ‘Well, now we’re talking..’ Then I re-read and realized it’s time to go to sleep.

Judi's avatar

My daughter and her family are just entering into the mission field. They have to fund raise in order to do this. They saved several thousand dollars for their training and now that they are being commissioned they have to rely on the Grace of God through others. They have no debts and live day by day.

El_Cadejo's avatar

The missionaries I met in Belize raised all their own money. The one couple I met that was super nice and built an orphanage down there opened up a restaurant to raise money for the whole project.

Aqua's avatar

It depends on the church. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the cost of a 1.5–2 year mission for the 18–26 crowd is equalized no matter where you’re serving, and you pay the monthly cost yourself. This makes it so that, despite the differences in cost of living, missionaries in Toyko, Japan and Quito, Ecuador pay the same amount.
Sometimes, relatives or your local congregation will help fund you, but it’s strongly encouraged to save up enough money and pay for it yourself. Once in the mission, you are given a monthly stipend that covers food & transportation. Housing was usually paid for directly by the mission office. Senior couple missionaries are required to pay for everything themselves.

P.S. Missionary work in China is illegal. Anyone you know who went to China to do missionary work does so at a risk.

Ron_C's avatar

I dislike missionaries. They feel free to interfere with local customs and many of them have no practical skills like medical or social work.

I like China;s attitude, they arrest them and throw them out of the country. Too bad that the indigenous tribes in North and South America didn’t do the same thing. If I was an Indian in Massachusetts, the Puritans would be back on the ship before they had a chance to touch ground. A U.S. without a Puritan heritage might have been a great place to live.

Seek's avatar

In my old church, it was the missionaries’ job to fund their work. They were a little like local rock bands: tour the churches selling cheap merch at high prices, begging for tips, holding two or three ‘love offerings’ a night, and trying to get people to sign up for a monthly sponsorship program. Don’t forget the predictably bad music.

Judi's avatar

@Ron_C, my daughter hopes to change that stereotype. Her mission is not to change anyone, just to love and care for people. I also dislike missionaries that go out to “save souls” and keep a tally.
She plans on spending the first few years listening to see what people need then trying to fill their needs.

Ron_C's avatar

@Judi it sounds like a good idea but I doubt that anything can be done unless she has some other skill than that of a missionary. What undeveloped countries need are engineers, not zealots.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Ron_C You wrote:“What undeveloped countries need are engineers, not zealots.” I was thinking the same thing. I was also thinking they need birth control.

Remember the old Sam Kinnisen World Hunger routine? There’s a lot of hard truth hidden there.
That kind of missionary would make a difference.

Judi's avatar

Actually she’s going to Scotland.

Seek's avatar

Scotland? I’m pretty sure Jesus took Scotland over almost a thousand years ago.

Judi's avatar

Yeah, but the devil has taken it back in the last few. ~ ~~
They are really not trying to push the American brand of Christianity on another country. Just building relationships and maybe reclaiming Jesus good name in the process.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Ron_C I don’t think they’re all like that. I mean some sure and in those cases, I agree with you, but those I met in Belize weren’t like that at all. They were very religious, but they didn’t push their views on anyone. They were just trying to make a difference and providing a home and love to children who weren’t getting it before.

GracieT's avatar

@Judi, I attend an evangelical church that supports missionaries in several countries. Like you mentioned ours are not out to make people Christians and leave. Rather to become part of the area that they are a part of- to help with feeding, educating, medical care, and most importantly build relationships. We also have places to live and communities to be a part of for people who have been abandoned by the surrounding communities. They are there to help with day-to-day lives. The only thing that they do with Christianity is to introduce it. They offer it as a choice, they do not force it on people to “pay” for the help that they offer.

JLeslie's avatar

Very very interesting. Thank you for all your answers. I had assumed the church funds these things so I am surprised to find out many times the people themselves have to raise money to go.

A woman at my gym did mission work in China. When she was talking to my dad about it she said, “they are all atheists there.” In a disgusted tone. My dad spared telling her heis an atheist himself. I wonder what religion specifically she is, I know she is a Christian. Knowing China doesn’t permit it, I am shocked people take that risk.

@GracieT I think if they are introducing the religion it is hard not to say they are not trying to persuade people into it. I guess it depends what “introduce” means. Many Evangelical Christians eat, breath, and talk the talk in all parts of their day. They sound like they are preaching even when they aren’t trying. I do think missionaries also care about helping in a tangible way, not just spiritial, but I think the majority of the time there is a bit of wanting to bring people to the faith. Maybe I am wrong, but that is how it seems to me. Although, some religions I feel that more than others.

I have one more question: faiths that have an expectation of their followers doing mission work, is it required they go out of the country?

Judi's avatar

My daughter could have chosen to stay in the US.

Aqua's avatar

@JLeslie For the LDS Church, only the men are expected to do missionary work (it’s seen as a duty and responsibility that comes with the priesthood), but women are welcome and encouraged to go on missions as well.

Going out of the country is not required, but mission assignments are given by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Missionaries cannot choose where they are sent.

JLeslie's avatar

Interesting again.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie I agree, the whole thing is fascinating to learn about.

WestRiverrat's avatar

It depends on the church the missionary is associated with. Some will cover all the expenses while others cover none. Most will partially fund a mission with the missionary having to come up with the balance.

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I’m glad you are still following.

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