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FSM 331 CM Answers to Your Tithing, FAF, HER, Pioneer Gift, and Home Loan Questions.
Copyright © 1998 by The Family--7/98.
A. Tithes 1
1. Minimum tithe 1
2. Is the tithe 14%? 3
3. Exemption of the tithe minimum for pioneer Homes 3
4. Exemption of tithe minimum for hardship cases 4
5. What is covered in the $100 minimum tithe? 4
6. What should be tithed? 4
7. Food stamps in the U.S. 5
8. Tithing all cash income 5
9. Income from sale of equipment or merchandise 5
10. Gifts from other Family members 5
11. Paying tithe in installments 6
12. Seed corn 6
13. Designated gifts 7
14. Gifts from WS 7
15. Gifts from the common pot 7
16. Charter member changing Homes 7
17. Fellow members rejoining 7
18. Required FM tithe 8
19. Giving your full tithe to WS 8
B. HER Funds 8
1. Qualifications for using the HER fund 8
2. Borrowing from the HER fund 9
3. What currency or form to hold HER funds 9
4. How to handle currency fluctuations 9
C. FAF Expenses 10
1. Medical expenses covered by the FAF 10
2. When you can use your HER 10
3. Present status of the FAF and future plans 10
D. Pioneer Gifts 11
1. How pioneer gifts are administered 11
E. Tool Gifts 12
1. How to handle fluctuations in currencies 12
F. Home Loans 12
1. Paying back Home Loans 12
We love you very much! Thank you for so lovingly ministering to His sheep as well as faithfully giving your tithes and offerings to the Lord and His work. We hope that all the Word and tools, as well as the care and shepherding you receive, are a help to you in your big job of winning the world for Jesus.
We know that each of you give your tithe as unto the Lord, knowing that He will continue to open the windows of Heaven and pour out His blessing upon you. Throughout the Letters Dad made it clear that the tithe was used to benefit the whole Family, and that whatever we paid in tithes the Lord would more than repay. Along with the Lord's request that we tithe, Dad's encouragement has given us all the faith that it is the Lord's will and that He will bless us for giving our tithe to Him and His work cheerfully. Some of you, though, have put forth sincere questions concerning certain nuances in tithing that you are not sure how to handle and couldn't find specific counsel on in the Letters.
To give you more direction on tithing, etc., after praying and counseling and asking the Lord to speak to us, we have compiled the following "Questions and Answers" FSM from your questions concerning tithes, the FAF, HER funds, pioneer gifts, etc.
We will attempt to answer (and pass on the Lord's answers to) such questions as: "Does a Home need to tithe gifts received from other Family Homes or members?" "Is it necessary to tithe on a gift received from WS or the FamilyCareFoundation?" "Is it OK to borrow from the Home's HER fund?" etc.
We pray these answers will make it easier for you to know better what the Lord requires in the way of tithes and offerings and the handling of funds. God bless you!
Your WS team
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine House, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Mal.3:10).
1. Minimum tithe
Q: Why is there a minimum tithe of $100 on most fields and $50 on poorer mission fields rather than a standard 10% across the board, regardless of the amount of income?
A: The reason Dad originally established the minimum tithe years ago and the reason it continues today is simply that WS could not continue to provide the many pubs and services you now receive without sufficient income from you to do so. WS provides many publications and services that most churches or denominations never even consider giving to their congregations. "I don't know if you're aware of it or not, but in today's more Bible-believing and practicing denominations, most church members tithe to their churches just like you do. But in most cases, what they usually get for their tithe is their preacher's one-hour weekly sermon, their church building, and sometimes a weekly four-page bulletin, which is often more of a social calendar than a spiritual feeding. That's it! Everything else costs extra! If they want to read a book written by their pastor or by the founder of their church, they buy it. If they want a music tape produced by their church or denomination, they buy it. If they want a video produced by the church or denomination for their children, they buy it ("Mama's News and Views--Part 2," ML #3049:64).
Also read paragraphs 65 through 76 of this same Letter for more details on what your minimum tithe pays for. And since early '96, when this "News and Views" was pubbed, WS has continued to increase the amount of books and other pubs and services you receive, and upped our giving to missionaries, pioneers and structure Homes such as CRO offices, NPCs, LIMs and Lit-pics, music studios, etc.
2. Is the tithe 14%?
Q: If the Bible states that we should give a tenth as a tithe, why do we then pay 14% tax?
A: You don't! -- You only pay a 10% tithe. The 1% FAF contribution goes directly to the FAF, which is not used for WS expenses (see below). The 3% common pot gift is given on a voluntary basis through a Home referendum. The 10% tithe is not a "WS tax" seeing it belongs to the Lord: "All the tithe of the land … is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord" (Lev.27:30). Actually, tithing is not even originally from the Mosaic Law, because Abraham first paid tithes to Melchizedek (Gen.14.20; Heb.7:1-2) and Jacob also tithed before the Mosaic Law, showing that it was a gift of the heart to God and not done because of a law mandating it (Gen.28:22).
"I am absolutely convinced that God will take care of you and more than return your tithe and more than bless you for it and take care of you in many ways that you cannot take care of yourselves! We've had many testimonies along this line, we receive them all the time from many of the Family, that even when they thought they couldn't tithe, they started tithing anyway no matter what little bit it was, and God more than multiplied it and more than abundantly restored it!" (ML #928:47).
The 1% FAF is not a "WS tax" either, but was almost unanimously voted in by all Homes as a fund to help Family members in time of emergency. As mentioned, it is not used for any WS expenses, but is solely to provide Family Homes and members with funds in the way of pioneer gifts and HERs for new Homes, Home Loans, baby bonuses, Tool Fund, "passed on" [Homegoing] gifts, and emergency aid. WS also gives its 10% tithe to the FAF.
The 3% common pot contribution is also not a "WS tax," but an area gift that perhaps is similar to a "national or state service tax," seeing the funds go towards upholding the local infrastructure within your CRO area. The 3% is voted on and ratified by you Homes worldwide in Home referendums, and fulfills a vital role in supporting your area's infrastructure, including the VSs, ABMs, FEDs, media teams, local language productions, camps, as well as providing aids to families in need. Without a functional infrastructure in such large and complex areas, it would be very hard to effectively distribute gifts to the Homes, help with local language tool and book production, disseminate phone messages, and answer your many questions, or provide other administrative services to you. In addition, there are also VS visits, fellowships, JETT and junior teen camps, pro-active media work and many other benefits to you supported by your common pot.
3. Exemption of the tithe minimum for pioneer Homes
Q: I know there are good reasons behind the $100 minimum tithe required for all Homes now, but it's been tough to come up with it every time. I don't think we are the only ones, and that it is particularly true with pioneer teams and small Homes. We find ourselves working hard to try to get the minimum tithe together at the end of every month as though it'd be another bill that needs to be paid, rather than the actual percentage according to our income. I wonder if it would be possible (or a good idea) to lower the amount of the minimum tithe required at least during the first three months or so as a way to help pioneer teams make it. In Mexico it is not very easy. The economy is bad. This past month was particularly hard. We barely had enough to cover our living expenses, neither could we come up with the minimum tithe required. I'm working on it and I'll be sending as much as possible.
A: We understand that it can be hard to meet the minimum tithe of $100 during the first months pioneering a new Home. Any pioneer Homes such as the one above may appeal to WS via their CRO office for an exemption from the tithe minimum of $100, and tithe only their actual income for the first three months if they are unable to meet the minimum.
4. Exemption of tithe minimum for hardship cases
Q: In November we had no actual cash income. We had a baby coming, so couldn't get out much, lived on reserves. So we sent $50 from our cash for our tithe. Well, the mailings were great, but the fact is that we had to cough it up. I know the Lord will bless and we have no problem with this. I like to give, I'll give my all, if I have it. It's expensive to have a Home here in the EE. We can cope with the rent, but then it's also the tithe, as for us nationals raising $500 a month doesn't happen, so our $50 minimum tithe [minimum tithe for this poor mission field] is well over our actual 10%. To raise $500 is the equivalent of 23 monthly salaries here. If we talk about having indigenous works and Homes, especially in CIS countries, where nationals would be taking care of everything themselves without foreigners, like we do now, the minimum tithe is a heavy burden.
A: Again, Homes facing such hardships can appeal to WS via their CRO office for exemptions if unable to cover the tithe minimum; if granted permission, they would only need to tithe their actual income. "WS may lower the minimum [tithe] in hardship cases."
5. What is covered in the $100 minimum tithe?
Q: The Charter states that the minimum tithe is $100. Does that include the 1% FAF gift and 3% common pot gift as well?
A: Charter Homes are required to give their 10% tithe, or a minimum of $100 if their income does not exceed $1,000. This does not include the 1% FAF donation or the 3% common pot gift. (Note: Please check your local currency exchange rates to be sure that you are meeting the minimum in U.S. dollars when sending your tithe.)
6. What should be tithed?
Q: Should we tithe material gifts and provisioned items or only our cash income?
A: Only cash gifts. In Old Testament and Early Church periods the tithe was 10% of everything that the Lord supplied. In other words if someone donated a plot of land or a herd of cattle, you were to give 10% of the land or cattle to the temple. However, WS has exempted you Homes from this requirement to make it easier for you and does not require that you pay a tithe on your material gifts or provisioned items, but only on all your cash income. The Charter says a Home should be "tithing on its cash and monetary income" (The Charter, Basic Responsibilities of the Charter Home, point C).
Actually, you might be interested to know that provisioning is the ministry-supporter checked the most on the TRF by the Homes worldwide, meaning it is, on the average, the top support source of the Family. So by tithing only your cash income, the Lord and WS are requiring far less than 10% of your total income, and WS does not benefit from 10% of your provisioning.
7. Food stamps in the U.S.
Q: Some brethren in the U.S. who receive food stamps believe that they do not need to tithe them.
A: Food stamps in the U.S. are not cash. So unless you can somehow legally convert your food stamps to cash, it is not necessary for you to tithe them.
8. Tithing all cash income
Q: My family and I were recently planning to go back to the West to visit our relatives. This was quite costly. Our relatives were going to pay for it and we tried to get the cheapest flight possible. I had a question of whether this money should be tithed or not. The question I had was because this was a lot of money for the relatives to get together and it was not a donation to the Home or something the Home was going to benefit from. It was like asking the relatives to pay the tithe. If they bought the tickets for us in the West or if they sent the money straight to the Airline Company for the tickets, they would not have to pay the tithe, as we don't pay tithe for gifts received in kind. So doing it that way would save our relatives a lot of money. At the time I was having a battle about this, and I went to the Word and used the HomeARC to find out what the Word said on the subject. What I found was how all through the Letters, the tithe was something that was used to benefit the whole Family and that whatever I paid in my tithes, the Lord would more than repay. This gave me faith that it was His will and that He would also bless our relatives even though they had to pay a bit more.
A: Yes, all cash gifts should be tithed. However, since Family members have traveled extensively over the years, many have had experience finding good discounts on flights. So perhaps your finding cheap airfares will more than offset your tithe, and the resultant expense to those who would have purchased the tickets for you will be even less. And, amen! We agree that He will more than repay in every way. God bless you!
9. Income from sale of equipment or merchandise
Q: Is it necessary to tithe the money we receive from selling our car that we intend to use to purchase a new car, even though we tithed the original income used to purchase our first car? And what if when I sell the car I make a profit on the original price I paid for the car, do I tithe the profit?
A: The Lord certainly blesses giving, but the answer is no, you are not required to tithe again on the sale of goods purchased with funds you previously tithed. However you should tithe any profit made from the sale. Also, if the car was originally donated to you and you sell it later, you should pay your tithe on whatever amount you receive for the car before purchasing a new car. The underlying principle is that any new cash income should be tithed.
10. Gifts from other Family members
Q: Do we tithe income that was a gift from other Family Homes? Some say no, because the Family member who gave the donation to you had already tithed it. Others say yes, because it is your personal income and therefore as such should be tithed.
Q: Another question came up about the money that a Family member gets each month from one of the CM Homes for "rent" on the house they are using that is in his name. To make a long story short, this member's mother gave him a house some years ago and it's been used by the Family ever since. He has now asked the Home to pay him rent each month (which is still fairly cheap by System rent standards). However, since this CM member is getting this money from a CM Home, he reasons that he doesn't need to tithe it since the Home already tithed their income.
A: Any new cash income your Home receives should always be tithed. Just because another person, be they Family member or not, has given their tithe to the Lord from their income, that doesn't free you from the obligation to give your tithe.
11. Paying tithe in installments
Q: A couple received a large gift to buy a trailer and rather than pay the full tithe on that income at the time, they planned instead to pay off the tithe in installments over a period of time. So they used all the original funds and then worked on paying off the tithe on a monthly basis. Is it OK to do that?
A: No, your tithe should be paid first. Here's Dad's comment on this subject:
"How the hell do you think He's going to let you get away with giving less than 10%?--And that not even on time!--Because you're paying your other bills first and you're putting other people before Him, and other gods before Him!--And that's what they become if you put them first!" ("God First," ML #934:38).
12. Seed corn
Q: Up until this point we have been tithing the full amount from the sale of tapes and videos. If we sell a video for $12, we tithe on the $12. We are of the understanding that it is scriptural, according to the Old Testament to tithe on the increase of something you are selling? With the tapes and videos we seem to be tithing on the full amount (gross income) that we receive for them, even though a part of that is really not income (the seed corn) as this goes straight back into buying more stock. Would it be fair to say that we could tithe only on the increase (net income), as otherwise it seems we are tithing on money that is already tithed on (the seed corn which bought the tools was tithed money).
Perhaps we should deduct the seed corn from the gross income first and only then tithe on our net income. Otherwise the seed corn money gets tithed over and over again. Here is a model of how it would work (See box below):
Gross income: $20 Gross income: $20
Tithe (10% of 20$): $2 Seed corn: $5
Seed corn: $5 Tithe (10% of 15$): $1.50
Net income: $13 Net Income: $13.50
A: Deut.14:22 says, "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year." So we agree that it is scriptural for you to tithe the profits on the tools and not the seed corn, if the original funds used to purchase the tool stock were originally tithed (which they should be, since all cash income should be tithed). In other words, in calculating your tithe on income received from tool distribution, you may subtract the seed corn first, and then tithe 10% on the rest.
13. Designated gifts
Q: I was about to tithe a cash gift, which was a designated gift to buy a certain object (a radio, or TV). A sister told me that I don't have to tithe such money, as it's for a designated purpose, and we don't have to tithe material gifts, such as food, or furniture, computers, etc. She even mentioned that brethren ask their sponsor to designate it so that they won't have to tithe it!
A: As mentioned earlier, according to the Bible, you should be tithing on everything you receive and not just cash. But WS is exempting all Homes from having to tithe on material gifts as a form of help to all the Homes in general, and because it would be difficult to administer collecting tithes of material goods. But it doesn't say anywhere in the Bible or the Charter that designated cash gifts should not be tithed. The best thing to do would probably be to let your donors know that you are very religious about giving your 10% tithe to the Lord--that on any cash gifts they give you for the purchase of food, utilities, furniture, vehicles, computers or whatever, you would have to give God His 10% before you purchase whatever it is they are giving you a donation to buy.
"I'll guarantee you right now, as I've told you before, that if you will put God first and put His tithe first, He will see to it that
"'The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail'! He will 'pour out such a blessing there will not be room enough to hold it' and you'll have no complaints because you had to pay God first (1Kgs.17:14; Mal.3:10)" (ML #934:7).
14. Gifts from WS
Q: Do we need to tithe WS missionary gifts--such as WS unit budgets, WS gifts to Homes, or FAF gifts such as pioneer gifts, baby bonuses, Tool Fund or "passed on" gifts, mission aid, HERs, medical emergencies, etc.?
A: No, because that would only necessitate WS having to give you a 10% larger gift so that you could pay your tithe back to WS. So to simplify WS sending you more money and then you sending part of it back, it is not necessary for you to tithe gifts from WS.
15. Gifts from the common pot
Q: We know that WS/FAF gifts don't need to be tithed. However the question comes up whether gifts from the common pot need to be tithed since they have already been tithed once.
A: No. So as to not take money out of your common pots, WS has waived the tithe on gifts you receive from your common pot. So if you need $200 from the common pot, you don't have to ask for $228 in order to pay your tithe, FAF contribution, and common pot gift.
16. Charter members changing Homes
Q: If a CMer changes Homes should any savings he brings to his new Home be tithed since he has been tithing his income all along?
A: No. If these funds have already been tithed once, it is not required to tithe them again, because they are not new income for him.
17. Fellow members rejoining
Q: When an FMer rejoins the CM Family should his savings be tithed since he has been tithing his income while still an FMer?
A: Same answer as question above.
18. Required FM tithe
Q: Are FM Homes only required to tithe $100 regardless of income?
A: No. FM Homes are expected to tithe 10% of their cash income, just like CM Homes. The $100 is the minimum amount to be tithed if monthly income is less than $1,000.
19. Giving your full tithe to WS
Q: I've met a few FM families that mentioned that they send WS the $100 tithe minimum and the rest of their monthly tithe to CM Homes as a gift. Could this be one reason that WS' funds are sometimes lacking?
A: Yes that could be. The Bible says that a full 10% tithe should first be given to the Levites (WS) for their upkeep and to be used in whatever way He directs them to use it. Each Home and disciple--whether CM or FM--is on the honor system with the Lord, and we're sure will be blessed for giving their tithe to the Lord.
"But God expects at least the minimum required tithe of 10% of your income, to go directly to His temple services only, which is in this case, as a member of this congregation, your World Services. That is the absolute minimum that you can get by with God! But even then, He's promised to more than bless you for it, and pour out such a blessing there will not be room enough to hold it!--100 fold! 1000%! Since you're keeping 90% of it anyhow, you're already getting nine times or nine fold as much, and He will at least give you back the 100-fold of your 10%, if nothing more--1000%!" (ML #928:210).
B. HER Funds
1. Qualifications for using the HER fund
Q: It seems that some Homes confuse the Charter clause allowing the Home to use up to $1,000 of their HER for emergency expenses, with a Home Loan. In other words, without reporting it, the Home takes out an unofficial Home Loan from their HER, promising to pay it back within 10 months. Some Homes use part of their HER to pay for a vehicle breakdown or an unexpected customs bill, visa or legal expenses, etc. Are these expenses legitimate?
A: No, we're sorry, they are not. The HER is strictly for emergencies only. While Home Loans are a part of the FAF, they are to be applied for through the Continental Office and not taken from the part of the HER that a Home is holding. If you were to use part of your HER for a Home Loan, then should an emergency arise necessitating the valid use of the HER funds, you would not have them on hand for that purpose. That's why the HER should be kept intact at all times, except in case of dire emergency when no other recourse is possible.
According to the Financial Rules, point B, in the Charter, the Home must decide by a 2/3 majority (of voting Home members age 18 and over) whether a certain situation constitutes a sufficient "emergency" to warrant using up to $1,000 of HER funds (cumulative total, not $1,000 each time). However, the Continental Office reserves the right to overrule the Home's decision, in which case the amount used from the HER would become a Home debt and subject to repayment by the Home within the time period specified in the Charter.
As far as auto repairs, visa, legal and other expenses, please understand that the FAF, from which the HER is drawn, is a limited fund set up to help the Family with genuine emergencies--primarily in times of persecution, as well as for pioneer gifts, Tool Funds, Home Loans, baby bonuses, and when funds permit, medical emergencies. If we were to try to start paying for car breakdowns, etc., it would be very expensive and we'd deplete our present FAF in short order, leaving us with nothing when true emergencies occur. Thanks for your understanding. The FAF has proven to be a major help and blessing to many Homes in their time of need, and we pray it will continue to be so. God bless you!
2. Borrowing from the HER fund
Q: Some Homes who had some financial difficulties and wound up in debt had been "borrowing" the HER funds to cover immediate bills in the hopes of being able to repay it later within the month. Is that OK?
Q: A Home put their HER funds into a finance company scheme that was yielding a high interest per month, however the company folded and they lost their HER funds. What are the guidelines on what they can or cannot do with their HER?
Q: Some Homes use their HER like their own personal bank, or like a buffer and borrow funds from it and pay it back before the month is up and they have to report on their TRF if it is intact. Is this legitimate?
A: No to all three questions. In the Charter under Financial Rules, point B, it is strictly forbidden to use HER funds for these purposes: "The Home Emergency Reserves (HER) are WS funds, which a Home has been given to keep on hand to use solely in case of a serious and genuine emergency, other than normal daily living. (For example, they're not to be used for the payment of rent, etc.)" Failure to comply with this rule by "borrowing" from the HER fund to pay immediate bills or use in investments will result in Probationary Notice for being in debt as outlined in the Charter, Financial Rules, A.
3. What currency or form to hold HER funds in
Q: Some Homes have asked if they could change some of the currencies they have for other currencies. Homes in SEA have been encouraged to keep their HER funds in stable foreign currencies for the most part due to the Asian currencies being weak currencies.
Q: In one situation a Home took the cash from their HER fund and replaced it with dress jewelry, watches, etc. They ended up not being able to pay this cash back.
A: Your HER fund should be held in the form it was given to you unless you get express written permission or instructions from your Continental Office to change it to some other form, or have been instructed by the CO to convert the currency in which the HER funds were given into a more stable currency. (Of course, if part of the HER funds are used for a genuine emergency as per the Charter guidelines, then the amount needed could be changed into the local currency and then later replaced by the Continental Office with a more stable currency.)
4. How to handle currency fluctuations
Q: It would be helpful to know should a certain currency devalue, if the Home is responsible to make up the difference in the devaluation?
A: No. A Home is only responsible for the amount given to them by their Continental Office, in the currency in which they received it. In other words, if you are given ¥200,000 as your HER, which at the time is equivalent to $2,000, and the value of the yen later drops and your ¥200,000 becomes worth only $1,800, you are not responsible to increase the yen in your HER. Your only responsibility is to make sure you still have the ¥200,000 intact.
The Homes should be responsible to hold the HER in either the currency in which their HER was given, or in the currency they have been instructed by their CRO Office in which to hold their HER.
This same principle applies if the yen gains in value against the U.S. dollar or whatever currency you are measuring against. If the value of your ¥200,000 goes from $2,000 to $2,200 you should continue to hold the ¥200,000 as your HER. You may not use the amount above $2,000 for non-HER expenses.
C. FAF Expenses
1. Medical expenses covered by the FAF
Q: Does the FAF cover all medical bills that the Home incurs?
A: No. The FAF definitely does not cover all medical expenses (it would soon go broke), but can only help with some unexpected emergencies, funds permitting. The FAF was set up to cover these four things: 1) each Home gets a $2,000 HER and is backed by a further $8,000 for genuine emergencies as approved by the Continental Office; 2) $1,000 pioneer gift to new Homes; 3) Tool Fund gift; and 4) Home Loan fund. Any additional expenditures from the FAF would only be considered if the funds were available, such as for medical emergencies. So though we're hoping that medical emergencies can be covered, and some have been, it is not guaranteed.
2. When you can use your HER
Q: What is a "genuine emergency" and what is not?
A: We have left it up to you Homes to take up to $1,000 from your HER for emergencies and have given the Continental Office the authority to decide whether it was a legitimate emergency, and if so to pay back your HER from the FAF. Of course, such things as a serious accident or sudden illness requiring immediate medical care or need for an unexpected C-section could be considered bona fide emergencies. (In the case of an unexpected C-section, the FAF could, God willing, help with the part of the bill that could not be provisioned that remains above the funds that you had set aside for a natural delivery.)
You are allowed to use up to $1,000 from your HER for anything that you consider a genuine emergency (by 2/3 Home vote of those age 18 and over) that you are unable to cover through provisioning or other means. But you will have to be prepared to pay back your HER if your CROs decide that it did not qualify as an emergency. In some cases you might qualify for a Home Loan to cover the expense if your CROs deem it a legitimate cause for a Home Loan, which you could then pay back over a period of time. So the Home Loan would not be automatic but would depend on what the HER funds were used for and/or any special circumstances.
3. Present status of the FAF and future plans
Q: All the Homes have been paying into the FAF for a couple of years now, and there should be a substantial sum of funds built up in the fund by now. We are wondering if the FAF is to be an ongoing program or if there is a set amount that the FAF will be built up to and then the program put on pause or what? And why can't we use the FAF for doctor bills other than emergencies? We have lots of kids and sometimes need to go to the doctor for checkups and other medical needs. And even if it's not a big emergency that costs a lot, it still costs some. We are paying into the FAF every month, so we wondered why we shouldn't benefit from the FAF more than to only be able to use it for big emergency hospital bills.
A: The FAF is a limited fund, and for 18 of the first 20 months of its operation gave out more money than it took in, just in keeping up with the ever-growing number of new Homes, which to date has grown from about 275 to over 750 Homes. In other words, it was operating in the red. At that point, after those 20 months, as you might remember we had considered lowering the pioneer gift from $1,000 to $500, due to the FAF's inability to pay out the higher amount. But the Lord told us to wait, so we did. In the 12 months since then the FAF miraculously recovered due to the Family's increased income, and brought in more money each month than it gave out for 11 of those 12 months.
So while it is now back in the black and growing very slowly, it has not gotten to the point where it can cover much more than the 5 guaranteed benefits of new HERs, pioneer gifts, Tool Fund gifts, and Home Loans, plus baby bonuses and "passed on" gifts which were added later, as well as emergencies.
Since the FAF was established in May 1995, 612 HERs have been paid out to new Homes, 695 pioneer gifts to new Homes, 594 Home Loans, 1,692 Tool Fund gifts, 689 baby bonuses, 173 partial HER reimbursements, and 39 gifts upon request for other needy situations such as medical emergencies, accidents, etc. As we mentioned in our original Home referendum concerning the FAF, we plan to expand the uses for the FAF when the fund grows sufficiently to allow for it. But as you can see, the number of HERs and pioneer gifts alone have kept the fund from growing very fast. In 1995 we averaged 34 new Homes a month, in 1996 20 new Homes a month, and in 1997 16 new Homes a month. Should the trend continue of less new Homes opening, we hope the fund will build up faster and that we will then be able to consider other usage of the fund. However this still remains to be seen, though we are hoping for the best.
D. Pioneer Gifts
1. How pioneer gifts are administered
Q: Shouldn't we get a pioneer gift if we open a new Home in a new city (even though this is the 3rd time we moved within the country this year)? There's nothing in the Charter and/or the LNF that states to the contrary, as long as we follow the procedures for closing our previous Home before moving.
Q: Is it up to the CROs' discretion whether a new Home receives a pioneer gift or not? Shouldn't the Charter guide this?
Q: If we move to our home country and open a new Home in order to raise support to move on to our next field, are we eligible for a pioneer gift? We might end up staying in our home field for up to a year, so shouldn't we get a pioneer gift?
A: Due to the limited amount of funds in the Family Aid Fund, pioneer gifts need to be limited to Homes establishing a new work. New Homes in home fields that are planning on moving to the mission field within a few months' time can collect their pioneer gift in their new future field, where they'll need it more. If it doesn't work out for you to move on to your new field and you decide to stay and establish a work where you are, you can apply for a pioneer gift for your new work in your present field.
Our reasoning in holding off on the gift in these instances is because the intent of the pioneer gift is to try to help Homes to open up in new fields or areas or cities at their destination of choice, and not their in-between destination necessarily.
So with this FSM we'd like to acknowledge that your CROs will determine eligibility for pioneer gifts in these situations.
E. Tool Gifts
1. How to handle fluctuations in currencies
Q: Due to currency fluctuations Homes ask from time to time about the Tool gift of $50 per member, and whether they need to continue to match this amount in their local currencies. For example, the Thai Baht was recently (early 1998) devalued by 40%. That has meant that a Home consisting of 10 adults (who originally received a total of $500 worth of tools) needs to raise about $200 to come up with the equivalent of $50 tool gift per member, as required in the Charter.
A: Homes should strive to keep the Tool Fund up to $50 per person, or the equivalent in tools or another currency. To hedge against currency fluctuations, you could consider holding your Tool Fund in U.S. dollars, so that it will always be at $50 per person, or in a currency that you are fairly sure will not depreciate greatly.
In cases when your Tool Funds are held in the local currency and the currency rapidly devaluates, you may not be able to bring the Tool Fund up to the $50 equivalent within the month. However, it is in your interest to eventually build your Tool Fund back up to a $50 equivalent--even if you do so over a period of time--so that should you move to another country you would still have $50 worth of Tool Funds, rather than possibly much less.
F. Home Loans
1. Paying back Home Loans
Q: With currencies fluctuating quite a bit of late, Homes have asked whether their loan could be paid back in the currencies of their countries as opposed to having to pay it back in U.S. dollars or SF, which would require them paying back quite a bit more.
A: Allowing you Homes to pay back your Home Loans in the local currencies in time of devaluating local currencies would in effect reduce the amount of FAF funds available for future loans. The idea of the Home Loan program was to have a replenishing fund, so if Homes are allowed to pay back a lesser amount than they borrowed, the fund in effect would deplete. So, if the Continental Office issues the loan in dollars or the local currency equivalent, a Home is required to make the repayment either in dollars or the current dollar equivalent at the time of repayment.
God bless you Homes worldwide for so faithfully paying back your Home Loans. The CROs report that very few Homes have ever defaulted on their loans. What a testimony! And thanks for so faithfully tithing and giving to the Lord and His work! What a Family! We love you and pray we in WS can continue to be a blessing to you all! Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!
Copyright (c) 1997 by The Family