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Career Missionaries? Who Knew???
Old 10-13-2010, 12:42 PM   #1
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Career Missionaries? Who Knew???

When visiting a really poor country awhile back I found myself interacting with several career missionaries. These guys were living it up! I mean eating out almost every day at places the "locals" would never dream of being able to afford, having servants, and basically living the life of Riley......

I asked them how they were able to afford such a life and they told me that the organization gave them a good living wage plus lots of benefits such as paid housing, travel expenses etc etc. I was told that the average missionaries cost is over 100K a year. I thought that they were pulling my leg, I mean, really?? really?

I asked around and seems this is not far-fetched at all, more the norm than the unusual.

Someone just sent me this link:


http://www.crcna.org/site_uploads/up...ts_2009-10.pdf


Perhaps it is me? But something just really rubs me the wrong way about this!! I mean these were nice people and all but this just seems excessive for some reason to me
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:55 PM   #2
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I read the explanations provided and they do seem reasonable. I think the costs are comparable to what overseas teachers from the States would be paid. Maybe not what the Peace Corps "pays"...
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Old 10-13-2010, 01:18 PM   #3
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I've know Missionaries that have lived and worked in Latin America (mostly Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Brazil) and none of them fit that description. Not saying it's not true, just that the ones I've known personally were more of the "doing difficult work, living below the standard they left behind and terribly worried about their children's schooling". I've also know some who chose to work among the indigenous population, which entailed health, safety and political risk.
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I think the costs are comparable to what overseas teachers from the States would be paid.
This is quite likely. Interesting point that the missionaries could never afford to put their children in schools where overseas teachers teach - far too expensive. Schooling for children in developing countries is about as stressful as it gets.
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Old 10-13-2010, 01:33 PM   #4
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Have always remembered Mitchner's Hawaii in which he told of the early Hawaiian missionaries -
They Came To Do Good, and Did Right Well


"There is an old saying in the Hawaiian Islands about the original missionary families that went there in the 1800's and stayed there. To this day descendants of those families still control a lot of the shipping, land use, banking, etc. in the Islands........................the saying of course is "they came to do good, and did right well".

I'm sure it is a test of the gentle spirit of truly caring missionaries to have those sorts thrown up - just as it is with crooked cops, quack doctors, shyster lawyers, slumlords, and all the others who give their professions a bad name.
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Old 10-13-2010, 01:48 PM   #5
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The range of salary is no different than the range of salaries paid to ministers here in the states. For example, the average is 147,000 with the range going from 40,000 to 400,000 (details here). Salaries for missionaries probably fall into a similar range (not including expenses)
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:04 PM   #6
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It might just be me..... but the only number that I would care about is 'salary'.... and that looks low to me...

I worked for a year in London at mega... the cost of housing was about $90,000... the cost of living was about $6K, the cost for me to keep up my house that I had back home another $6K... so I am over $100K 'cost'.... but that did not go into my pocket... I had to pay higher prices for food, I had to take care of my house that I would not have IF I were living at home, I had to live somewhere.... and I can say I would not have gone if they wanted me to pay for a place there....

Also, (just to be more fair minded)... the admin costs are not something they are responsible for creating... every company has admin costs on employees... most do not calculate that as a cost of employment... and what is OTHER So I throw that out... travel do you want them to pay for themselves to get where they are wanted

Soooo, throw out about $40K of expenses that are not to them.... and it does not sound as outlandish as you first thought....
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:30 PM   #7
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The average daily wage in this country is less than $3/day. I think what it was that bothered me the most was the fact that the missionaries were living soooo far above the means of the local population. I mean the 6 weeks I spent there they went out to eat and drink at the finest restaurants in the city night after night.

No one that I met kept a home back home and I was told most were planning on "retiring" to a low-cost country where they could continue to live the high life. I saw no evidence other than having servants and leaving large tips at the high end restaurants that they were doing anything to help out the locals. Most of them taught a few classes a day at a private school where all the cities wealthy sent their kids for an education. None had any real interaction with the average joe/juan for the most part I was told.

Perhaps this is the exception rather than the rule for missionaries. Or perhaps I simply misunderstood the role of a missionary??
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:51 PM   #8
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The average daily wage in this country is less than $3/day. I think what it was that bothered me the most was the fact that the missionaries were living soooo far above the means of the local population.
What makes this your business? Do you contribute to their churches? Or are you just short of things to complain about?

Ha
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:58 PM   #9
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What makes this your business? Do you contribute to their churches? Or are you just short of things to complain about?

Ha
Most things I notice in life are not really my business

but

I suppose I just needed something to complain about
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Old 10-13-2010, 03:44 PM   #10
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Most things I notice in life are not really my business

but

I suppose I just needed something to complain about
I can surely appreciate this tendency in all of us.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:14 PM   #11
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I suppose I just needed something to complain about

I see your point. Complaining about missionaries will likely not get you into conflict with mods, whereas complaining about something relevant to our lives, like politicians for example, could.

I just wish you had told me about this earlier. Perhaps I would have joined them.

Ha
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:41 PM   #12
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The average daily wage in this country is less than $3/day. I think what it was that bothered me the most was the fact that the missionaries were living soooo far above the means of the local population. I mean the 6 weeks I spent there they went out to eat and drink at the finest restaurants in the city night after night.

No one that I met kept a home back home and I was told most were planning on "retiring" to a low-cost country where they could continue to live the high life. I saw no evidence other than having servants and leaving large tips at the high end restaurants that they were doing anything to help out the locals. Most of them taught a few classes a day at a private school where all the cities wealthy sent their kids for an education. None had any real interaction with the average joe/juan for the most part I was told.

Perhaps this is the exception rather than the rule for missionaries. Or perhaps I simply misunderstood the role of a missionary??


Are they missionairies It sounds to me what you are describing are teachers... they at not the same as missionairies.... at least IMO... they seem to be expats in a low cost country.... maybe it is the definition of missionairies that you are using that is the problem...

An example is someone who goes to Japan to teach English... or to Russia or Poland... it is a teaching job... nothing more, nothing less... if a teacher here did the same as they did, would you have a problem with it

I had a niece that did law work at a third world country.... she did not get paid much... but she ate out everyday like you describe... because it was cheaper to do than to buy her stuff, cook it, clean up etc. etc.
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:03 PM   #13
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Are they missionairies
Are you asking about their position?
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:20 PM   #14
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I grew up overseas 3rd world as a child of missionaries. My family was NOT well off. We just got by financially. Yes, we had a part-time maid, as did most households as labor was very inexpensive, but we could only afford to eat out as a family at most once a week and with "no frills". There was no life of Riley other than living in paradise LOL! It was wonderful - but no luxuries.

All their lives my parents had to be very frugal to make ends meet. At least my Dad got decent retirement benefits.

I guess it really depends on who is funding the missionaries.

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Old 10-13-2010, 06:17 PM   #15
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We contribute toward some missionaries who are our friends. We took into account the level of lifestyle funding into our donation decision. And since our contributions are tax deductible, in a sense, it is everyone's business.
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:50 PM   #16
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One more reason why we need a flat tax and no deductions. We are turning into a nation of nanny busybodies.

Ha
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:01 PM   #17
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To make this amount of money in a really poor country is obscene, especially when preaching the word of Jesus who had an acute sense of mission to the poor and oppressed people. I have volunteered as a healthcare provider in poor countries also, giving vitamins to malnourished patients while those preaching the word of Jesus (often the best fed ones) would be watching.


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When visiting a really poor country awhile back I found myself interacting with several career missionaries. These guys were living it up! I mean eating out almost every day at places the "locals" would never dream of being able to afford, having servants, and basically living the life of Riley......
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:13 PM   #18
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When visiting a really poor country awhile back I found myself interacting with several career missionaries. These guys were living it up! I mean eating out almost every day at places the "locals" would never dream of being able to afford, having servants, and basically living the life of Riley......
I asked them how they were able to afford such a life and they told me that the organization gave them a good living wage plus lots of benefits such as paid housing, travel expenses etc etc. I was told that the average missionaries cost is over 100K a year. I thought that they were pulling my leg, I mean, really?? really?
Perhaps it is me? But something just really rubs me the wrong way about this!! I mean these were nice people and all but this just seems excessive for some reason to me
This post isn't about me, but I've certainly taken this type of occupational comment personally before.

If missionaries are overpaid, then wouldn't more people try to be missionaries?

If they're paid just enough to be satisfied but not gleeful, then how would they treat their congregations? Then would you feel you were getting your less money's worth?

Would this third-world environment include risks that are perhaps uncommon in their home countries like terrorism, violent crime, racism, loss of other civil liberties, exotic diseases to which they have little immunity or vaccinations, celibacy, or other occupational hazards?

If they were paid less, then would there even be any missionaries?

Maybe the missionaries are just getting high on hallelujah Jesus their occupation and blissfully ignorant of their long-term environmental risks... but I suspect it ain't all the life of Riley.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:23 PM   #19
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Are they missionairies It sounds to me what you are describing are teachers... they at not the same as missionairies....
They were missionaries. They were sponsored by churches in the states. Several of them told me that every couple of years they would fly back for speaking engagements to raise funds to continue their mission.

A few of them quite blatantely told how they would increase donations by going into the streets to film street children to show the folks back home. Children they would never interact with otherwise. Most of the ones I spent time with taught at the school part time, however, it was not a Christian school, just a private school and none were paid to teach there, this was there mission.

I still do not understand the "mission" but like someone pointed out: it was nor is really my business. I did not donate to them, and after seeing what went on..... Never would.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:50 PM   #20
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To make this amount of money in a really poor country is obscene, especially when preaching the word of Jesus who had an acute sense of mission to the poor and oppressed people. I have volunteered as a healthcare provider in poor countries also, giving vitamins to malnourished patients while those preaching the word of Jesus (often the best fed ones) would be watching.
I have been to places so poor in the Andes that some malnourished "toddlers" were just learning to walk- they had such poor muscular and nervous development that they could not yet walk. Catholic nuns, some local, and some from international missionary orders were running orphanages, feeding these children back into life, and doing their best to care for them. They also ran schools and clinics.

An older cousin of mine was a Maryknoll nun in China when the nationalists fell to Mao's army. She got out, dressed as a male peasant. She spent her entire life serving as a hospital administrator in Asia. Growing up I met many fine Filipino doctors and nurses who got scholarships to continue training here in the US. Due to family wealth, this cousin would have been living a very comfortable upper middle class life back in the US.

I also had a college friend who was born to missionary parents in Asia. After her junior year she went to Africa for the summer with a mission. She contracted amebiasis which led to an amebic liver cyst and her death from a rupture due to no diagnosis pre-mortem.

Remember Dr. Schweitzer of Lamberene? How about Mother Teresa?

You may have seen some missionaries behaving in ways that you didn't approve of, but there are very many doing very important work and giving their lives to it. Kind of strange to have one who aspires to quitting working criticize a group which has many members who do little other than work, and for the benefit of others who are not even of their own culture.

So while there may be missionaries who are not serving, there are a very large number who give their lives to very arduous service far from their homes.

In a way, the US is a beneficiary of mission work from Africa, as more and more Catholic priest are Africans. Catholic priest sdo not get rich.

Ha
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