Vacation? No. Blessed time? Yes.

We’ve passed the halfway point of our furlough in the US.  It’s a busy time, full of planning visits, putting material together, redesigning, updating, visting, and presenting.  It is also a time to try to visit with friends and family.

It is worth noting that one of the main reasons we come to the US this time a year, is so that we may attend the ICOM (International Conference on Missions) while we’re here.  This happened last week, and we’d like to take some time to tell you a little bit about this conference.

We arrive on Wednesday, when they have events and workshops tailor-made for missionaries– to encourage and equip.  This year we arrived too late for this, but it has been a blessing in past years.

Thursday kicks off the conference, and as the hall begins to fill with people, the excitement grows.  People of all ages talk to missionaries and their representatives.  Old friends find each other, new friends are made.  Children race down the aisles, stealing candy and freebies from every table.  Clusters of teenagers amble through, joking and taking interest in whatever mission catches their eye.  College students wander the halls, some of them looking for internships.  Friendships begin, projects are broached, and information is traded.

Although it is a big expense for us, we always get a booth.  Tabi sets it up to look and feel as cosy and homey as possible, to welcome people in.

It is a wonderful, busy, tiring time for all of us.  And we love it.

We’d like to encourage you, if you’ve never been to it, to try to attend some year.  There’s LOTS to do, and people to meet, and missions to see.  If you feel like the Kingdom is being crushed under the foot of the World, this is a place to see how strong the Call is, and how hard we are working, and how vast HIS Kingdom is.

Supporting Your Missionary: Exchange Rates

By: Mike and Tabi

P1350678Let’s talk money.

We aren’t complaining or suffering. Things are a little tighter right now, and we thought we would explain something most missionaries deal with.

But why?  You send your money to our sending church, and they pay us our salary.  It’s always the same amount, and no changes are made unless they’ve been discussed in full by our missions board.  We’ve been doing fine so far, so there’s no reason why we should be struggling now, right?

Well, not necessarily.  Because the salary we get paid does fluctuate; not in dollars, but in pesos.Supporting your missionary coins

To get an idea of how exchange rate impacts our budget. Earlier this year we were near 700 pesos per dollar. We recently dropped to near 610 per dollar. Now it has rebounded a bit to about 630 per dollar. Below I use 690 for the before and 620 for the after.

Our rent costs 253000 Chilean pesos (this is really, really good!). A couple of months ago it was $370, now it is $408

A monthly grocery shopping trip might cost 100000 pesos. It has gone from $144 to $161

All our utilities together come to about 100000, so about $144 to $161

Our health insurance costs about 170000 pesos a month, so $246 to $275

IMG_20171003_101508417_HDROur public transport, cellphones, gasoline, doctor visits, clothes, diapers, and other expenses all do the same thing. We are easily looking at a 10% variation in monthly expenses. We also had a stretch for a couple of years after we got to Chile where it was at or below 500 pesos per dollar.

Let’s pray it doesn’t go back there!