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To parents of missionaries


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19 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Here’s a tip if you are supporting a son or daughter on a mission. Do not make payments to his/her Church mission fund account in advance of what (s)he needs. You will not get money returned to you that your missionary ends up not receiving. The best you can expect is that the surplus funds will be transferred into the ward’s general missionary fund. 
 

This means you should keep careful track of the balance in your missionary’s account. There should not be a carry-over from month to month. 
 

Periodically — maybe once a month — ask your ward assistant clerk-finances to pull you a printout or send you a PDF reporting your missionary’s account status. Check to see if there have been others making donations to the account. If so, only pay enough for the respective month to total the $400 monthly commitment. 
 

Don’t be shy about asking the assistant clerk for this report. Accommodating you in this manner is in line with the duties of his calling. 
 

Also, postpone paying for the last month of the mission, particularly if you expect the missionary to be there for only part of the month. The Church will likely charge you for only a partial payment commensurate with how much of the month the missionary was in the mission. You can pay any remaining balance later, after the accounting shakes out and you can see what the remainder is. 

Why won't the church make this information available without having to ask the clerk?  It's very annoying not to know what is in your missionary's account without having to track someone down and request it.

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4 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Why won't the church make this information available without having to ask the clerk?  It's very annoying not to know what is in your missionary's account without having to track someone down and request it.

That would be nice. 
 

But I don’t set policy for the Church. I can only share my experience as a father of a missionary and an assistant ward clerk. 
 

My guy has been very responsive thus far. I’ve only had to send him a text, and he gets back to me promptly. I’ve also set the stage, telling him I’ll be asking for periodic reports for the rest of my son’s mission. 

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31 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

That would be nice. 
 

But I don’t set policy for the Church. I can only share my experience as a father of a missionary and an assistant ward clerk. 
 

My guy has been very responsive thus far. I’ve only had to send him a text, and he gets back to me promptly. I’ve also set the stage, telling him I’ll be asking for periodic reports for the rest of my son’s mission. 

How very kind you are for alerting those with missionaries out, Scott. :) Also, didn't know you had another child on a mission. Or correct if wrong and you have the same one on the mission and I misremembered and thought that your son was back, could have got it mixed up with another poster.

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2 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

How very kind you are for alerting those with missionaries out, Scott. :) Also, didn't know you had another child on a mission. Or correct if wrong and you have the same one on the mission and I misremembered and thought that your son was back, could have got it mixed up with another poster.

This is my second missionary. He’s been out just over a year. My first one returned about five years ago. He was in Sweden — as I was. 

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22 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

This is my second missionary. He’s been out just over a year. My first one returned about five years ago. He was in Sweden — as I was. 

How much is the monthly amount these days? IIRC it was $350 or so when we paid for my wife’s niece’s mission. 

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Finance clerk here - @Scott Lloyd speaks the truth.  Although I'd add one thing:  Parents sending missionaries on missions - pay your bills, or make arrangements early.  There's nothing wrong with "Bishop, my kid is ready to serve, but I don't know how we're going to pay for it."   I've seen a handful of cases where parents just let things slide and end up owing several grand.  At best, you're asking for an awkward meeting with the Bishop after your kid comes home, and you've turned him into a bill collector.  I mean, why bother raising your hand to sustain someone you're gonna do that to?  Deal with your embarrassment please - it's only going to grow.   You may get called to do time as one of his counselors for a few years.  The principle of service is alive and well in church welfare programs, and you've just back-ended yourself into needing church welfare because you couldn't deal with a little embarrassment earlier in the process.  You're better than that.

 

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
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We were able to roll over the surplus payment for our oldest to kid number two. Number three leaves next summer. Assuming four and five follow suit we’ won’t need to worry about losing a surplus for another six years. 

Edited by Buckeye
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Just now, Buckeye said:

We were able to roll our the surplus payment for our oldest over to kid number two. Number three leaves next summer. Assuming four and five follow suit we’ won’t need to worry about losing a surplus for another six years. 

I feel for you. Putting 6 kids through college was hard enough without missions on top. 

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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

That would be nice. 
 

But I don’t set policy for the Church. I can only share my experience as a father of a missionary and an assistant ward clerk. 
 

My guy has been very responsive thus far. I’ve only had to send him a text, and he gets back to me promptly. I’ve also set the stage, telling him I’ll be asking for periodic reports for the rest of my son’s mission. 

I realize that and didn't mean to shoot the messenger.  It's good advice for those who aren't aware of how it works.  I know I was really confused to learn that I wouldn't get a monthly bill or reminder or anything to pay.  Not a single thing that ever even said how much we would owe each month (or for the entire mission, whatever). 

They have a very odd system.

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23 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

Finance clerk here - @Scott Lloyd speaks the truth.  Although I'd add one thing:  Parents sending missionaries on missions - pay your bills, or make arrangements early.  There's nothing wrong with "Bishop, my kid is ready to serve, but I don't know how we're going to pay for it."   I've seen a handful of cases where parents just let things slide and end up owing several grand.  At best, you're asking for an awkward meeting with the Bishop after your kid comes home, and you've turned him into a bill collector.  I mean, why bother raising your hand to sustain someone you're gonna do that to?  Deal with your embarrassment please - it's only going to grow.   You may get called to do time as one of his counselors for a few years.  The principle of service is alive and well in church welfare programs, and you've just back-ended yourself into needing church welfare because you couldn't deal with a little embarrassment earlier in the process.  You're better than that.

 

What exactly is the bishop going to do if someone refuses to pay?  

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I agree. As a ward clerk I had to deal with a family member who wanted to pay for a nephew's mission. I told him to just make the monthly payment when they became available. I advised him he would NOT BE reimbursed if the missionary returned home early for whatever reason. He told me he believed in his nephew and did not want to deal with the hassle. He then wrote a check for almost $10K to the church to cover the cost. I brought the bishop in to explain to both of them. The bishop told advised him to do what I previously told him. He told the bishop he believed in his nephew and insisted we take the check. We did. Three months later the missionary returned home due to being home sick. For six months the bishop tried to get him to go back or to take up a local service mission for the rest of his time. The missionary refused. The uncle returned and asked for a refund of his donation. We reminded him of the talk we had nine months earlier. Surprisingly he asked if we had any other missionaries in the ward. We did. He asked to speak with their families. We told them the two we had out were from the same family. He told them with encouragement from the bishop that his donation would cover a large portion of their mission costs. This turned out to be a blessing for a struggling less fortunate family. 

 

Bottom line: All members should know the rules for donation, especially the clerks and bishops. Their responsibilities include explaining those rules to faithful members who donate to the work.

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23 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I feel for you. Putting 6 kids through college was hard enough without missions on top. 

Thanks. We’ve been planning for years and sister buckeye works outside home (I’m actually the stay at home parent now since I’m fully remote) but it’s still a load.

The way I see it, missions cost about the same as byu tuition. Most kids these days take six years to finish college (if they do). So if a mission sets them up with good study habits and drive to apply themselves it sort of pays for itself. 

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1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

How much is the monthly amount these days? IIRC it was $350 or so when we paid for my wife’s niece’s mission. 

$400. 
 

Pre-pandemic, it was announced the amount would be raised to $500, but then COVID hit, and they suspended the increase. I’m whistling past the graveyard, hoping it won’t be reinstated until after my son’s return next year. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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54 minutes ago, Buckeye said:

We were able to roll over the surplus payment for our oldest to kid number two. Number three leaves next summer. Assuming four and five follow suit we’ won’t need to worry about losing a surplus for another six years. 

I did that too, but I’ve recently been informed that is no longer permitted and that any surplus is to be transferred to the ward missionary fund. 

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11 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I did that too, but I’ve recently been informed that is no longer permitted and that any surplus is to be transferred to the ward missionary fund. 

What is the purpose of the ward missionary fund nowadays? I’m out of the loop.

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50 minutes ago, PeaceKeeper said:

I agree. As a ward clerk I had to deal with a family member who wanted to pay for a nephew's mission. I told him to just make the monthly payment when they became available. I advised him he would NOT BE reimbursed if the missionary returned home early for whatever reason. He told me he believed in his nephew and did not want to deal with the hassle. He then wrote a check for almost $10K to the church to cover the cost. I brought the bishop in to explain to both of them. The bishop told advised him to do what I previously told him. He told the bishop he believed in his nephew and insisted we take the check. We did. Three months later the missionary returned home due to being home sick. For six months the bishop tried to get him to go back or to take up a local service mission for the rest of his time. The missionary refused. The uncle returned and asked for a refund of his donation. We reminded him of the talk we had nine months earlier. Surprisingly he asked if we had any other missionaries in the ward. We did. He asked to speak with their families. We told them the two we had out were from the same family. He told them with encouragement from the bishop that his donation would cover a large portion of their mission costs. This turned out to be a blessing for a struggling less fortunate family. 

 

Bottom line: All members should know the rules for donation, especially the clerks and bishops. Their responsibilities include explaining those rules to faithful members who donate to the work.

Agreed. And we all should spread the word. Hence, my starting this thread. 

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57 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I realize that and didn't mean to shoot the messenger.  It's good advice for those who aren't aware of how it works.  I know I was really confused to learn that I wouldn't get a monthly bill or reminder or anything to pay.  Not a single thing that ever even said how much we would owe each month (or for the entire mission, whatever). 

They have a very odd system.

I had pretty much resigned myself that we’d be covering the cost of my son’s mission ourselves, but a couple weeks ago, I asked the assistant clerk for an accounting and learned that my boy’s  fund had been carrying a surplus for about five months. Someone, probably a benevolent ward member, had donated $25 to it back in May. 
 

So I’m a case study in following my own advice. 
 

I used to be able to go in and check it myself, but I lost my access to the finance functions in Leader and Clerk Resources recently when they changed my status to membership clerk. 

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3 hours ago, bluebell said:

What exactly is the bishop going to do if someone refuses to pay?  

 

2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

What is the purpose of the ward missionary fund nowadays? I’m out of the loop.

These are awesome questions.

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3 hours ago, bluebell said:

What exactly is the bishop going to do if someone refuses to pay?  

Probably pull money from the Ward Missionary Fund. If that is empty ask the Stake President for help. I doubt most Bishops are going to harass someone to pay.

2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

What is the purpose of the ward missionary fund nowadays? I’m out of the loop.

Cover shortfalls in paying for missionaries and assisting with or covering entirely missionaries whose family cannot or will not support them. It varies by ward. A lot of wards have five figure amounts or more in the fund.

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