Campus Crusade for Christ missionaries to France Dan and May Workman ended their October newsletter with a prayer request for a strengthened U.S. dollar. But in November, the dollar hit an all-time low. It traded at $1.4641 to the euro.
The dollar's falling value translates into a pay cut for many American missionaries, who receive funding for their work from church and denominational budgets and from the gifts of supporting Christians. According to the U.S. Center for World Mission, many are finding their dollars worth 8 to 12 percent less than they expected this year. In Europe, dollars have lost 45 percent of their buying power since 2002.
"I've been watching with dread as our account has dwindled," Dan Workman said. "We have two growing boys to feed. I spent this summer working on our support, but it still isn't sufficient."
It's not that donors aren't giving. From 2001 to 2005, there was a 6 percent annual increase in overseas ministry income reported by 700 U.S. Protestant mission agencies, after adjusting for inflation. But the dollar's steady drop in value far outstrips the increase in support.
According to Scott Moreau, a Wheaton College missions professor, "This is the first time the weakened dollar is hitting American missionaries over a longer timeframe. It's rough when you add inflation into it."
Since 2004, Leanne Dzubinski, a missionary in Barcelona with Greater Europe Mission, has experienced a 40 percent loss of buying power. Even with a moratorium on nonessential expenses, there's not enough money for all of her ministry costs. "We're in the States right now because we have so much money we need to raise," she said.
Jesse Marcos said it's taking longer for new staff to raise the support required to join him in ...1