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7 Things All Missionaries Should Know How to Do (Finance Edition)

November 19, 2020

One of the most common things that missionaries can struggle with is finances. Yet God calls us to put our hope and faith in him and to not worry about tomorrow! Here’s an overview of 7 practical things all missionaries should know how to do in the area of finances.

Whether you’re contemplating joining missions or you’ve already been a missionary for some time now, chances are you’d probably like any help you can get when it comes to finances. And we’re not just talking about receiving donations (even though that’s a large part of it)!

A leather Bible laying on a beautiful wooden table

1. Pray and trust God

What kind of YWAM blog would this be if we didn’t first talk about praying and putting all our trust in God? After all, we’ve all become missionaries because God spoke to us about it, not “just because”. If God wills, then he pays the bill!

Before you read any further, ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart for any doubt or unbelief in his ability and desire to provide for you. Make that right with him, then pray and ask him to reveal his faithfulness to you in the area of finances. Good to go? Now you can keep reading.

Read more: Learning to Hear God's Voice

2. Write a support letter

Every missionary should know how to do this, whether you're doing a DTS for the first time or you've been on the mission field for years. It’s good to practice writing and editing support letters to help strengthen your writing.

Learning how to communicate your financial needs to your friends, family, and peers is absolutely essential if you plan on having enough money to make it through your outreach, let alone long-term missions.

3. Make a budget...

It’s no secret that being a missionary means you’ll be depending on God for all your financial provision. In fact, you might even be a little concerned about the area of finances.

Besides learning how to raise support, knowing how to make a budget will be a skill that serves you whether you’re on the mission field or not.

4. ...and stick to it!

It can be tempting to spend money on little things here and there. But those little expenses add up and can ruin your budget! Coffee, snacks, and tacos are all great things, but when you don’t keep track of how much you’re spending on them, you might find yourself in a tight spot.

Missionaries need to know how to stretch that last $10 donation and prioritize the important things. Having a documented budget will help you thrive on the mission field as you steward what God provides for you!

Man withdrawing cash from an ATM

5. Access your bank account from anywhere in the world

As a missionary, it doesn’t take long before you realize you need a cheap and easy way to access your funds from anywhere in the world. Most banks love to charge you hefty international transaction fees, especially at ATMs, making it expensive to send or receive funds.

Many banks nowadays have their own app you can download so you can access your account from anywhere in the world. These apps can help protect against fraud, as well as direct you to the closest ATMs with the lowest fees for withdrawing cash.

Oh, and one more (very important) thing: don’t forget to let your bank know you’ll be traveling abroad so they don’t freeze your card!

Read more: 21 Things All Missionaries Should Know How to Do (Outreach Edition)

6. Make international money transfers

It’s possible that one day you might find yourself needing to send money to a friend in Germany, or receive a donation from someone in Brazil. Knowing which international money transfer services to use is key in avoiding massive wire fees, bank fees, and currency commissions.

WesternUnion is a common way to send money internationally, but isn’t always the easiest. Many people turn to PayPal, yet often don’t realize how much money they’re losing in conversions. We recommend using TransferWise because of its transparent fee structure and ease of sending money all over the world.

When it comes to sending money internationally, you’re going to have to accept the fact that there are going to be fees no matter what service you use. It’s just a matter of finding the cheapest one!

Birds eye view of preparing tax returns

7. File your taxes from abroad

This one might not apply to you if your home nation doesn’t make you pay taxes from abroad. However, this can be a big one if you come from countries like Canada, the U.S., or Eritrea, where you’re required to file taxes regardless of where you are in the world.

Unless you happen to be a tax expert, your best bet is to find a professional accountant to help you file every year. Or if you’re willing to try it on your own, services like TurboTax can be useful! You don’t want any tax trouble from your home government while you’re on the mission field!

Conclusion

When it comes to managing your finances, there can be no room to doubt God’s ability and desire to provide, especially as a missionary.

We hope this list will enable you to be proactive when it comes to your personal finances and hopefully avoid those pesky bank fees as much as possible!

If you’re looking for more resources on fundraising, make sure to check out these 14 Tips to Start Fundraising for Missions!

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