You may have seen me mention a “launch fund” in one of our previous posts or newsletters, and you may be wondering, What exactly is a launch fund? To clear up any confusion, I wanted to explain what a launch fund is and what sort of items fall under this label.
Simply put, a launch fund is the amount of money needed to get missionaries established on the field. In other words, the monthly support keeps a missionary on the field, but the launch fund covers the initial expenses to get to the ministry location. Reaching and Teaching will not authorize us to purchase our plane tickets until we reach 100% of our launch fund and monthly support goal. Just to get a little more specific, here are the items that fall under our launch fund:
- Plane tickets– Airline prices are fluctuating quite a bit right now, but you can imagine that buying five plane tickets to Kenya is not exactly cheap. As soon as the Kenyan border opens again, I think the prices will go back up a bit, but we cannot buy the tickets until we get the green light from RTIM. I’m expecting the total price to be in the range of $4,000–$6,000.
- Shipping Container/Replacing Furniture– We’re willing to sacrifice for the gospel, but we’d prefer not to sleep on the floor. Therefore, we need to figure out a way to ship our possessions over or to have some funds to replace furniture and appliances. I recently talked to a shipping company that works with missionaries, and they estimated that sending a shipping container from New Orleans to Nairobi would be over $6,000, plus any taxes and fees to clear customs. That’s a lot of money, so we are leaning towards paying for a lot of extra checked luggage and then purchasing furniture when we hit the ground. That would reduce the cost, though purchasing things like this in Nairobi can be expensive.
- Language School– In order to effectively minister within Kenyan culture, we think it is important to learn Swahili. Thankfully, there is a Swahili language school on the seminary campus, so we will do six months of full-time language acquisition when we get to Kenya. That’s all day for five days a week for six months. (Pray for us.) For all of us (except Levi) to complete the language study, it will cost a total of $6,000.
- Ministry Vehicle– While Nairobi is a major city, we will also be traveling around the country to establish pastoral training sites, which will require a dependable vehicle. Especially while traveling in rural parts, having a 4-wheel drive is important. Kenya attracts a lot of outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers, so finding a vehicle that can handle the terrain won’t be difficult, though it’ll come with a price tag. Finding a decent, used 4-wheel drive that can fit our family and handle the roads will likely run between $13,000–$18,000.
- Funds for Emergency Evacuation– Lord willing, we will never have to use this part of the Launch Fund, but RTIM requires missionaries to have sufficient funds to purchase one-way plane tickets to a safe location, such as Europe. We have to estimate on the high end of the budget since purchasing tickets in a tight timeframe can be costly. Therefore, we will likely need about $3,500.
As you can see, it takes a lot to get a family of five established in Kenya, so we are dependent upon the Lord to provide roughly $30,000–$40,000 to fully fund our launch fund. That’s an intimidating figure. Would you please pray for the Lord to provide abundantly? Also, if you or your church would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to our launch fund, you can follow this link.