The New Economic Reality in One Caribbean Country
Editor's Note: This letter is from Juan, the director of Adelphos Chilean Missions Agency, in regards to the difficult Caribbean country their missionaries are working in. It's been edited only slightly for English language comprehension and security.
My Dear Brothers and Churches:
Please receive my affectionate greetings in Christ along with my sincere appreciation for your deep commitment to missionary work. Without people like you, it would be much more difficult to accomplish the work of the Lord.
I want to encourage you, in the midst of the difficult circumstances that the pandemic has given us, to continue moving forward with that same passion
for reaching those who are lost without Christ.
For a long time I have said, “With just a few resources we can do great things in [the Caribbean.] However, the day is coming when that will change and it will be more difficult to do the work there.” That day has come. The government has recently announced that, beginning on the 1st of
January, 2021, their economy will go through huge changes – salaries will be greatly increased for those who work for the State; and that means that the cost of living, especially for basic needs, will increase.
Right now, minimum wage is the equivalent $10 US Dollars per month. This is going to be raised to the equivalent of $87 US Dollars. And the cost of basic needs will be raised to the equivalent of $62 US Dollars per month. People who do not work for the State will be left on their own to find a way to obtain the resources necessary to get basic needs and services covered.
THE ECONOMIC REALITY OF OUR 32 MISSIONARIES
At present, by the Grace of God and your efforts, we are giving an average $40 US Dollars per month to each of our missionaries. This support
allows our missionaries to live at the “average” level of the population, which is approximately 4 times the minimum salary. “Average” does not mean they live “well,” just “less bad” than others. However, as you can see, with the change in minimum wage and cost of living that will start in January 2021, our missionaries will suffer a considerable loss of buying power…they will be below the minimum wage of [this country], and not even able to cover the cost of basic needs and services.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? HAVE WE COME TO THE MOMENT IN WHICH WE SHOULD CLOSE THE DOOR IN [THIS COUNTRY]? OR IS GOD CHALLENGING US TO TAKE STEPS OF FAITH TO CONTINUE HELPING THEM?
One solution is to continue with the support we receive monthly from individuals and churches like yourself and cut the number of missionaries we support in half. That is to say, of the 32 we are presently supporting, go down to 16. But this implies that the work of the 16 that we no longer
support will be greatly impacted, because they would have to seek secular work, in order to just cover their basic needs.
In order for the continued expansion of the Good News of Salvation through our Adelphos ministries, I believe the better solution is to make a great effort that would allow us to continue supporting all of our missionaries 100%. That is our desire and I believe it is yours as well – from the moment you became part of this work, you have wanted our missionaries to continue working 100% in the harvest. The ideal would be to raise our monthly support for each missionary to at least $60 US Dollars.
And I will personally seek other ways to cover the deficit that even support increase would produce. I would ask you and your church, to consider this request and, in complete freedom, to make the decision you consider best. I would just ask that if you consider it impossible at this time to raise your support, please communicate that to me. I will understand and make the necessary adjustments.
2 Corinthians 8:3: “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord.”