The Weakened Dollar and Missionaries

When I came back from Prague I meant to write about the drastic effect of the falling dollar on missionaries serving overseas. To give some perspective, the first time we went to Prague (November 2006) the exchange rate was 24 Czech crowns to the dollar. Now it’s about 15, which means the dollar is about 30% weaker than it was 18 months ago, which means everything costs about 30% more if you’re being paid in dollars.

Anyway, I now no longer need to write this because Sunday the Charlotte Observer beat me to it, profiling none other than my future boss Phil Davis, pastor of Faith Community Church in Prague. Read the article, and be sure to look at the pictures— the Davises are a good-looking bunch.

For those of us in the States, a few action items to think about:

  • Pray (regularly!) for the dollar to regain its strength. This is affecting lots of missionaries all over the world, and they’d rather be focusing on ministry than trying to build their support back up.
  • If you have missionaries you regularly support, consider trying to raise your monthly pledge to help with their added costs. Where could you trim from your budget to help them out? Think of it as a move of wartime efficiency to get the troops in the field what they need.
  • If you’re not regularly supporting any missionaries, this would be a great time to start, as nearly all of them are feeling the crunch.

Our God is sovereign over all things, including currency exchange rates. Let’s pray that he will work quickly on behalf of his workers in the fields.

Worship Night

Monday night Jessica Forbes and I led a night of worship for Faith Community Church. We were joined by Ondra Riegl on fiddle, which was awesome. It was a great, extended time of worship, for us and for the crowd. Set list:

  • I Exalt Thee –> Let us Love and Sing and Wonder
  • Come Fall On Us
  • Forever
  • Praise Awaits You
  • Wonderful Maker
  • I Will Bow
  • How Great is Our God
  • O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus
  • God Be Merciful to Me
  • Poor Sinner, Dejected with Fear
  • Here is Love
  • The Love of God is Greater Far
  • When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
  • Hungry (Falling On My Knees)
  • It Is Well With My Soul
  • Before the Throne of God Above
  • When I Think About the Lord –> I Exalt Thee

Back

So we’re back, and you can see how well the occasional posting went while we were in Prague. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But I’ll probably have a few things to talk about for the next couple of days.

First: a list of things I absolutely did not miss, some to my surprise.

  • Blogs (really, the internet in general). No offense, everyone whose blogs I read, but I never once thought, “Man, I feel so out of the blogosphere.” When I went through my hundreds of unread posts I skipped most of them and didn’t feel like I was missing anything either. This means I’ll be cutting some subscriptions and spending less time on the constant flow of words.
  • The presidential race. Good gravy. I moaned out loud when CNN was still talking about Hillary and Obama in Atlanta yesterday. How many more months of this?
  • Driving. I’m now an even bigger fan of public transportation. You just get on and get off. I wish light rail came to my house.

Second, a random thought, perhaps even a theory: Most products and services you pay money for get better over time, because the suppliers want to win more customers and make more money. This is not true for air travel. Air travel has gotten progressively worse over the years, and will probably continue to do so. It used to be (I’m told) a pretty classy affair: people dressed up, there were nice dinners and drinks, etc. Now they shove as many people as possible into the smallest possible space, throw you a bag with three peanuts in it, and the prices certainly aren’t getting any better.

There are a couple of reasons for this, if you ask me, which you didn’t. First of all, the airlines are all losing money hand over fist. So they’re not looking to cut prices. Second, they know people have to fly. It’s not that much of a luxury anymore, it’s just the only way to get to places some people have to go. So you don’t really have a choice, and if it’s important enough to you to be comfortable you can pay three times as much for your ticket and go first class. They’d much rather you do that, so I’m not really expecting the coach section to improve.

I don’t say this because we had terrible flights or anything, it’s just that air travel isn’t a whole lot of fun.