Most students headed towards missions these days end up with debt that needs to be paid off before they can be accepted into the mission agency of their choice. More and more this is the case, and the debt is most often seen as a barrier or hinderance that sometime, more often than not, stops them from ever reaching their goal of missionary service. I recently listened to a webinar regarding this called the Debt Advantage. Let me share some of the highlights of this seminar in three parts over the next three weeks. If you're in this catagory, or will be, take heed!
So you have some time in which you will have to pay off debts. How do you navigate this successfully with out getting "off track" and never making it to the field? (Many do, so pay attention!) One of the first things is to remember that if you have been following God faithfully during your training phase, going to the school He has lead you to, then debt might also be part of that plan, not that God looks favoriably on debt, but in our American school system, debt is almost ineffitable as schooling has to be paid in full on the schools time table, not yours in a four year degree program. So, how can you best take advantage of this time in which you are paying off those debts? Since debt is part of your journey, you must seek God's plan in how to best use this time. Getting to the mission field must remain primary in your focus and goals, but just like training took time, so will debt reduction. Just like you maintained focus throughout your training, you will have to also remain focused, probably even more so during this phase, because life itself will take on more challenges to stay focused. In the past four years or so of training, the curriculum and school schedule kept you on track, but now it's going to be more up to you to stay on track and make the best use of this time. Your #1 priority during this time is to set yourself up to make the debt go away as quickly as possible. To do this, you will need to seek out the best paying job you can find and budget yourself to make at least double payments if not triple on the school debt after your living expenses. You cannot pay the minimum and ever get to the field. Some criteria for your job should be one that is not overly stressful as it will rob you of energy to stay focused and involved in ministry and other training options I will mention later. Do not work on Sunday so that you can regularly be involved in and participate in Church, building relationships and gaining ministry experience that will later benefit you on the mission field. Look at your current job as your current mission field and training ground for such. Here again let me emphasis that this in itself can easily become a distraction thinking that this current ministry is your future ministry, when in reality it's just the training ground for your future ministry. Stay focused on God's call on your life, and use this time to fully prepare and get some good experience.
More next week on more advantages to the debt payoff time period!
Perry Pust - MAF NW Recruiter