What should you do?
Missionaries and other voices weigh in.
“I had to make some sacrifices to pay off my loans quickly.”
“Follow a loan repayment plan or include loan payments in your mission budget.”
This was the best plan for me. A loan amortization computer program can calculate a specific schedule for paying off the loans. This plan can include how much to pay and for how long.
Stick to that plan as if your life depends on it. The people I knew from college who had no loan repayment plan never made it overseas.
Without a plan, they lost focus when the debt wasn’t easily paid off.So make a budget that first deducts your tithe, housing, and food, then pay more than your plan calls for each month.
Pray for bonuses and raises, and when they come, apply the extra to paying off debt.
Finally, stay involved in short-term missions so that you don’t forget what God has led you to do.
- include loan payments in your mission budget and go now
If this second plan is best for you, start packing your bags and get moving towards raising support.
Don’t be ashamed to add a certain amount of money into your budget to repay student loans, and don’t hide behind a rock when people ask about it.
For most students coming out of college, I recommend this plan. Here’s why.
In my experience, many mission-minded people are not able to land jobs that pay enough to kill debt fast (because their degrees are not in demand). While the ideal is a high-paying job, many end up working in a position that pays barely enough to live on.
Lest you feel guilty for asking others to pay your school debt, never forget that God wants you to go!
-from Kyle, a missionary with Pioneers, serving in Asia with his wife and two children.
“Obey God’s guidance, and he will provide.”
I think the key issue is being sensitive to God’s will for each of us. When we are faithful to do our best to obey, God will provide for our needs.
We learned an important principle: when in doubt, DON’T! If you don’t sense the clear guidance of God in a decision you are making, the best advice is not to act until you know in your spirit what God desires you to do.
Don’t get impatient and react on emotion. Trust and wait on the Lord.
-from Kelly, serving in Southeast Asia.
“Work hard. live frugally. pay the debt.”
While God has the ability to provide everything immediately, he may well have practical and academic lessons for you to learn.
Some mission agencies, including WEC, are making provision for student loans. If the missionary candidates present to WEC a letter from a supporter (person or church) promising to pay down the student loans for as long as the missionaries are with WEC, then we ignore the debt. This provision applies only to school loans.
Credit-card debt must be paid off before applicants can become candidates.
-from David, director of mobilization with WEC International. David has been a missionary for twenty-five years as a field worker in West Africa and at WEC USA headquarters. Check out WEC’s Meet an Agency page here!
“Ask God to help you get out of debt before you go.”
When we decided to go overseas, we owed a mortgage on a house in a section of town where property was devaluing quicker then anyone could have expected. We put our house on the market and began praying.
Our house sold in one month. We made two thousand dollars on the house. That may not seem much, but the house next to us took two years to sell and the owners lost ten thousand dollars on the sale. Our houses were identical.
God does take care of us. During the three years we were overseas, we never lacked for funds. While we did not have abundance, God took care of our every need. He also gave us some of our wants.
-from Karin, who served as an English teacher in China for five years.
“Look into income-based repayment of Debt.”
–from John McVay, who has served in missions mobilization for more than twenty-five years.
“if yoU’ll be a medical missionary, Look into MedSend grants.”
-from David, executive director of MedSend. David served with TEAM in South America for six years.
“Apply for loan repayment with The GO Fund.”
Student debt is the greatest enemy to modern missions other than Satan himself. The Educational Loan Repayment Program can help you to get to the field sooner.
-from Luke, who works with The GO Fund.