With the mission age change announced by President Thomas S. Monson at the October 2012 General Conference, young women have responded in a tremendous enthusiasm with thousands of application that have boosted the number of women serving as missionaries from 8,055 at the end of 2012 to 21,695 at the end of 2013. This is truly a remarkable and historic feat that is pushing the work forward. However, before there is one knock on a stranger’s door or a friendly conversation takes place on a bus, there is the responsibility on missionaries, men and women alike, to fund their missions.
The Brethren have counseled the young people of the Church for years to save whatever money they can for their missions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always put forthright and firm in its dedication to helping members understand the principle of self-reliance in their lives and a mission is no different. But before you start worrying about your finances, look inside yourself. Have an open and sincere discussion in prayer and pondering with your Heavenly Father and pour over your scriptures and patriarchal blessings for guidance in making this important decision. Don’t allow previous financial preparations overshadow your decision of whether or not you should go on a mission. This decision is between you and your Heavenly Father. If other circumstances arise take them into account and feel comfortable in the fact that you have some money saved up to help you wherever life takes you, whether it’s a mission or a wedding or a study abroad. As President Eyring said in our last General Conference in the beginning of April 2014, “Don’t worry. It’ll all work out.”
Heavenly Father expects his children to do everything they can as far as their particular financial circumstances permit. If your financial circumstances are such that you’re not sure if you’ll have enough money, don’t panic, these difficulties will not disqualify you from serving a mission but the Lord wants you to do and contribute as much as you can. Young women should counsel with their families concerning their finances and discuss any questions or concerns with your bishop and stake president. There is never any shame in asking for help especially when all of these individuals often have much better experience with finances. Here’s some general information that will help you to get started!
The costs for mission have been generally equalized to make it $400 per month per missionary. This does not include the money need to purchase such necessities as clothing, luggage, scriptures and other materials you’ll need. That cost largely depends on what you have already but it would be a good idea to plan for about $1000 for those expenses. Beat that number if you can but don’t scrimp on those things you’ll actively be needing and using such as shoes, comfortable and durable clothes, etc. Start looking into those things that are on your missionary “To Get” list and getting an idea for now much certain things cost and budget accordingly. In total, your 18 month mission will most likely cost $9000 and it is an investment in your spiritual future.
Some missionaries have some concerns about any sort of debt they might have from credit cards or the like. Credit cards are important to have as tools to help you build credit, but do everything you can to pay off those bills so that you are not forking out money paying interest when you could be using that to help you save for your mission.
The timeline of deciding to serve to when you put your papers in to getting your call determines how much time you will have to save money. If you decide sooner rather then later, you’ll have time to save more money but don’t be discouraged if you have a relatively short amount of time because saving any money is better then none. Being realistic in setting your financial goals is essential based on the time you have to prepare.
The ways to earn the money you need are really as endless as your creativity and desire. If you’re currently in college, look for student jobs on campus that can help get you the money you need. Looking into your local community, seeing their needs and starting your own business doing yard work or the like. Looking at community pools for lifeguard positions, restaurants for serving positions or even local tourist sites (also available in other states if you are adventurous and interested in working for a summer). Seasonal positions whether in retail or camp counseling or even coordinating a ward yard sale where ward members can donate to your cause. All in all, jobs are everywhere so get excited and get creative and work hard.
Keeping the financial commitments you have already made are very important and this includes spiritual financial commitments of tithing. As a missionary, you’ll be preaching about the necessity of keeping all the commandments of God and as representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you have the responsibility to maintain that commitment to the Lord. Doing these things allows for a wealth of spiritual blessings to abound in your life along with the temporal blessings when you need them most. Have faith and trust in your commitment to the Lord and things will work out.
Now you have some guidelines that can be adjusted to your specific needs so don’t worry! Do everything you can and your Heavenly Father and his servants will take care of you. Good luck!