Preaching and Money
W. C. Hinton, Jr.
Yes, I thought that title would catch your eye. Now, while I have you, please think with me just for a moment. When is the last time you took a cut in salary? Probably a long time. Most of us hold our breath hoping that the elders will not forget that annual or biennial raise, while in other areas folk seem to be getting raises every time you turn around. I heard the other day of some railroad groups getting a 42 percent increase in the next 42 months! Man! Oh well, back to my subject.
Brethren preaching overseas are a peculiar brand. They learn to adapt to strange ways of living, converse in a once-to-them unknown tongue, learn that a work can exist without "American ways", brotherhood papers, lectureships, preachers meetings or even gospel meetings as we know them here! They pay taxes twice, that is to two governments; cannot vote in local elections; find the pressure of the work and "performing for brethren in the States" difficult; discover that salaries cannot be aided by palming off Amway, Nutralite, Impact, or books on brethren; or indeed have no other source of income except a merciful, concerned brotherhood "back home." Now, Im getting to my subject.
Usually a brother going overseas works for four or five years at the same salary with no increases. He would feel very uneasy, if, after the first year he said in his report: "Brethren, Im giving myself my annual raise of 10 percent!" First, brethren wouldnt like it; second, where would the money come from; third, it might invite a salary reduction. So, I say, God bless the congregation or eldership that sends a man an increase without his having to be $900 in debt to get it!!
Still thinking? Now, couple the above thought with a fluctuating currency exchange that stateside folk dont worry about. Sometimes your dollar is worth 95 cents of the foreign money and then other times it may only be worth 75 cents. But your income is fixed in dollars, so, you are never getting the support that brethren say they are giving you. In other words, $100 does not always exchange into a $100 worth of value in the foreign country. I think this is true in most countries, at least I know it was and is in Japan! While I was there, the government established rate was 360 yen on the dollar, but we never got it. Usually it ran from 355 to 358. Just recently the world money problem caused the rate to become 310 for the less valuable dollar. This means that a man in Japan on a fixed salary from the States has lost 16 percent of his salary!! Brethren that would hurt me badly!
I call upon every congregation and eldership that is now sending money outside the United States to check on the current exchange rate and the rate a year ago and increase your support of that man to make up the loss sustained in exchange. Brethren, we must decide if we are going to support men simply for X number of dollars or for enough dollars to maintain that many dollars when it is exchanged. Brethren, consider one another in this matter, too.
While we are talking about those peculiar fellows overseas, why not drop them a note ... about anything! They will certainly appreciate hearing from you. You see, I know this from experience. Contacts from home are great! Remember to pray for them and their work specifically!!
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 27, pp. 12-13