Living on Support // Pt 2. FAQ

Many people have questions about what it is like for us living on support. I wanted to answer some of the most frequently asked questions as well as some that you may be thinking but not asking. Feel free to ask any other questions that come to mind.

  • Why do you raise support? 

    For the spiritual motivation behind support raising, please check out this previous post. As for the practicalities of the matter, EMI serves the poorest of the poor around the world (mostly living on less than a dollar a day). The ministries and beneficiaries we work for do provide some financial investment into these services, but it is generally not anywhere near the market value of the services we provide. These contributions and other general donations go towards EMI’s operational expenses and future growth initiatives. Therefore, EMI does not have the financial capacity to support having 100+ design professionals on staff. In order for EMI to operate, its staff must raise support. For more details about EMI’s finances, check out EMI’s Financial Report, Charity Navigator’s Report, and ECFA’s Report.

  • Why can you not earn a salary elsewhere to do this work? 

    There is certainly biblical support for missionaries supplementing their support income with other gainful employment. Most notably was Paul who made tents for a period of time to not be a burden to one of the churches he was serving. Paul also used tent making as a means of ministry. For me, engineering is my primary “tent making” skill that I use as a full-time means of ministry. While doing that through EMI, it is not possible for me to also use that as a means to generate income. The time that would be required would be too much to do either one effectively. Sarah has had some part-time employment through our church during our time in Colorado, but her first priority is to our home and our kids and not to providing financially for our family. I have also done other things to supplement our income such as coffee roasting. You can go to chandlercoffee.com and order some if you would like. While this does bring in a little money, it mainly just pays for my side coffee roasting hobby and is not a means to support our family at this time.

  • Is it more difficult to raise support to live in the USA? 

    I’m not sure of the statistics, but it seems that people are generally more willing to give to someone who is going to live overseas in conditions they wouldn’t want to live in than they are for someone who lives in the US. Colorado is also a vacation destination for many, so I believe that makes it even harder for us.

  • Do you have any plans to live overseas? 

    We believe that God has specifically called us to our community in Colorado right now as a place we can be most effective in ministry. At some point He may call us back home to Alabama, or to Africa, or anywhere in between, but right now He has called us to be in Colorado. We do feel like God is leading us to visit one of EMI’s field offices for a few months in 2017, but not a long-term move at this point.

  • Does the financial support you receive go directly to your family? 

    Yes. Everything donated to EMI on our behalf goes directly to our support account.  EMI does not take anything off the top.

  • How does your support account, taxes, and budget work? 

    Donations made to our support account are tax deductible for the donor and are held by EMI as designated funds. Each month we receive a paycheck from these designated funds based on an amount set for our budgeted living expenses. We pay taxes on this as income just as anyone else would receiving a paycheck and the net income is what our family lives on each month. EMI does not take anything off the top, but they also do not add anything to that either. This means we also must raise any employer taxes, insurance, savings/retirement contributions, etc.

  • What happens if you do not raise the support you need?

    If we do not raise the required support, we will not be able to continue working with EMI. Currently our support account has been allowed to go negative for the first time. Being near the end of the year, we are hopeful it will be back above zero soon. However, if it does not rebound substantially by the end of the year, we will be forced to find other means to earn our required living expenses.

  • Do you ever get tired of begging for money?  

    I hope the previous post answered this question, but if it were simply begging for money I would have never started.

  • Why should we support you specifically? 

    Each person has to do what God leads them to do when it comes to giving. I personally believe the restoration work that God is doing through EMI is a tremendous Kingdom investment. I am not asking anyone to donate to anything that I have not already given my time and finances to support.

  • Can we sign up to support you for a defined period?

    Yes. If you are not comfortable signing up for donating for an indefinite period of time, you can choose to make recurring donations that automatically end after 12 months or another period of time of your choosing.

  • Can we give as a lump sum at the end of year, as a one time donation, or annually? 

    Yes. We accept and appreciate donations of any amount at any time. We understand that some people would prefer to give this way based on their known income. To help us plan better, we would greatly appreciate knowing if we can anticipate receiving a donation from you, but we also recognize that isn’t always possible.

  • Does it offend you when friends and family don’t support you financially?

    God must lead us all in our individual giving. If someone chooses not to support us, it is ultimately not me they are rejecting. (Well, maybe it could be me, but I try not to take it that way).

  • Do you get the majority of your support from churches, corporations, or individuals? 

    Every person living on support will likely have a different make-up of supporters. Ours is predominantly individuals supporting us between $25-$200 per month.

  • Do you ever feel bad about posting on social media about family vacations while living on support?  

    Not really. We definitely try to attribute any gifted vacations to the donor (usually our parents). But, we all need some amount of fun and rest in our lives and we do not apologize for that. While we do want to invest in fun for our kids, we are always budget conscious and are simply not able to afford extravagant vacations on our own at this time in our lives. We do the best with what we have and we do not say no to any offers if we can make it work. It does help to live in a vacation destination, but the beach is also nice if anyone wants to help us not feel so land locked.

  • Aren’t you afraid that you will lose support in uncertain ecomonic times?

    While we never want to lose supporters, we recognize that things change and sometimes supporters are not able to continue. We will also be continually inviting new supporters to partner with us. This enables a healthy support level to remain somewhat stable even in uncertain economic conditions.

  • How long do you plan to live on support?

    We have not heard clearly from God as to when/if this season will end for us. We will continue to live on support either here or wherever He calls us until He leads us in a new direction.

  • Would you rather not live on support?

    At times it is difficult and I really wish I had a paying job (quite honestly). Other times (when my perspective of support raising is in the right place) it is a tremendous blessing. Even beyond the financial support side of things, I know that my family and I are being covered in prayer by hundreds of people. That is something that is absolutely priceless that I wish every believer could experience. In addition to that, God has used this season to grow my trust in Him and to stretch me in ways that I never would have thought were possible.

  • Where do I sign up?

    I’m glad you asked!

    You can set up a donation to our support account on EMI’s website. Select the STAFF donation category, and then CHANDLER-2126.
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