Tuesday, July 22, 2014

     I would like to share some points of reality that I am learning.  As a somewhat complacent member of the church I never took time to think about the General Missionary Fund or its purpose.   I always placed my emphasis on Tithing and Fast Offerings, mainly because those were the questions being asked.  Making a donation here in Bujumbura, Burundi is a major sacrifice no matter how much the donation is or what category is chosen on the donation receipt.   
The average worker here will earn in a day about 5000 Burundian Francs.  Converted to dollars, that is $3.26.  Multiply that by 6 or sometimes 7 days it will be $19.56 a week or $78.24 a month.  That is if they are lucky enough to get a job.  Most of the students when they graduate our equivalent to high school or college will not get job.  
We are currently working with 22 young Elders and Sisters in Bujumbura and 14 in Uvira/Kulundu to prepare them for missions.  We received from Uvira/Kulundu alone this Wednesday 9 missionary applications.  Included on the application is the amount they or their families will be contributing on a monthly basis to support the missionary.  Also included is the amount of contribution the Elder or Sister will be making as a one time amount in preparation for the Mission.  We have yet to see any monthly amount listed from any family and usually the candidate will make a one time donation of 20000 to 30000 BIF or about $13.00.  So in this area the missionary candidates are completely supported by the Mission.  We will provide them what they will need to get to the MTC and all the clothing that is needed.
The full time missionaries,  most of them are in the same position though I know a few come from families capable of handling the monthly expense.  We support at the moment 10 full time missionaries.  They receive average 220,000 BIF ($144.00) each a month. That covers food, personal items, phones.  Which by the way is more money than they earned when they were working at home.  So where does the money come from to support these and many other missionaries in Africa and the world?  As I am learning, most comes from the General Missionary Fund.  If that fund was not there the 36 missionaries here preparing for missions would have no way of serving and most of the full time missionaries would not be here.  The 15 baptisms that were performed in the last two weeks would not have happened. The work would be left up to the members here which would probably be very few.  If it were not for the faithful members through out the world that truly understand the doctrine, truly love the Lord and support him in his quest to bring all his children back to the fold,  none of these members would have the chance to serve.  You need to thank all of them and remind them how appreciative the members out here are.  How appreciative we as support missionaries for the Branches are.  And how their contribution has and will continue to effect the growth of the church here and everywhere else the support is needed.  They, the members there, literally have a direct effect on the growth of the church here in Burundi.  I do not have words to express completely how wonderful the members there are and how deeply we love them for their choice to help in the Lords work. To truly bring salvation to every kindred, tongue and people.  Sorry to be gooshy, this really isn't me.  But I had to do this so I could get over it and move on.  Love to all.  Gary


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