The first real, check-paying job I had as a teen was babysitting in the childcare area of a Jazzercise center. I watched Finding Nemo on repeat while moms (and the occasional dad) sweat it out next door to pop music. The work wasn’t especially difficult and the money was good. Really good. I loved that job, not because of my love of animated movies and dance aerobics, but because of the pay. So if you had told me seven years and a college degree later I would be starting my third year as a full-time missionary, I would’ve said you’re crazy.
As a missionary, I raise all my own funds. This means that to a good portion of society and my own relatives, I am basically unemployed. By most of my peers’ standards, I am poor. I don’t drive a nice car. I get more new clothes out of the lost and found bucket at Covecrest than from a retail clothing store. I live on left-overs even when I don’t think I can eat pulled pork and potato salad one more time. Still, I wouldn’t trade my life as a missionary for a six-figure salary with benefits. As a missionary, I work for free.
I am FREE
When I say I work for free, I mean that I believe as a missionary I work in complete freedom. As someone who only has a hundred dollars a month to spend, I am free from being a slave to money or material possessions. I have found it’s easier for me to tithe when I can’t even begin to afford some things that might otherwise tempt me to spend my tithing money. I know that my money comes from someone else, so I am more free to return their generosity and give my money away. I don’t own a lot, and as a result, things don’t own me.
A Generous Boss
I depend completely on God and His providence to decide how much money I make. I invite people into the mission and ask them to support what God is doing through me and through Life Teen Missions. Still, my trust is in the Lord that He will move in the hearts of my family, my friends, and even complete strangers to provide for me to continue as a missionary. Rather than having a set salary that depends on my performance or the market or sales, my income depends completely on God and His generosity.
One of the best parts of raising funds and prayers as a missionary is that I am never in the mission alone. On a Friday, I might take teens out for ice cream and a bible study while my mission partners in Indiana will say a prayer that the teens are open to God’s Word. In holy hour, I could pray for a college student who is struggling to live a holy life in a tempting environment while that same student skips coffee one morning a week to be able to send me a small check each month. Mother Theresa said, “Some give by going and others go by giving.” I firmly believe this because I’ve seen the miracles in my own ministry with teens and the lives of many of my mission partners over the past two years. All of us are a part of what God is doing.
If you’re interested in supporting a Life Teen Missionary, check us out at donate.lifeteen.com/missions. It really is a blessing to work for free, and I’d love for you to be a part of this mission!