Through Gods grace, we have reached an amazing milestone and that is being involved in Gods ministry for 25 years. It has been an absolutely amazing journey, from Bible School to youth worker, to support missionary and now church planter amongst the Mengen for the last 12 years. God has used you guys to keep us in the ministry, and so I would like to explain more about the financial support side of things. I will share some of the most common questions people ask us and answer it for you. Read through this and see if there is a way that you can make this known to someone who might be able to help!
Here are a few typical questions people ask us.
1) Who pays you guys?
– We have never been paid a salary by the organization we work with.
– We are solely dependent on looking to God in faith for our personal and ministry provision, who works in and through believers to send, support and go to the unreached.
– In other Words, everything that has happened among the Mengen and other works we are involved with is due to Gods grace, and the prayer and financial support of people like you.
2) You are missionaries, living in the jungle, so why do you need money?
Basic expenses – We have all the same basic expenses any average family in South Africa or any other country has. For example, utilities, groceries, clothing, traveling (by plane or chopper), schooling, communication (via satellite), retirement (we take shortcuts here) and medical insurance (required by our organization). The difference would be that whatever you pay for in South Africa is about a third of what we pay in Papua New Guinea, due to terrible inflation and extreme logistics.
Maintenance – Maintenance is another major expense that is over and above your general expenses. This would include buying and upkeep of our bush house, solar system, and airstrip.
Ministry – Then over and above these general expenses, we also carry all the expenses for our ministry which has now grown and expanded into 3 local church plants and a few more on the horizon. These expenses include printing of literacy curriculums, teaching curriculums, Bible portions, and many other ministries helps. The greatest costs again would be for logistical support. (Through Gods grace, we have received some support through from Canada that has helped us this past year to carry most of these ministry expenses!)
Social projects – Then we have a few social projects that we support for example a cacau project where we introduced cacau being planted, harvested, fermented, dried and exported. This generates a bit of an income for the Mengen people and we teach and disciple them into being Godly stewards of their finances. But the startup costs are very much provided by us.
New Expenses – A new expense would be paying for Madeleen (our autistic daughter) to stay in Camphill Village (http://www.camphill.org.za). Even though she receives a small grant from the government, we will need to pay a monthly amount for her lodging at Camphill Village. Another “new” expense would be to pay school and boarding fees for our older kids as they now go to a school on our main island. And also to start preparing for Naomi leaving in 2 year’s time and starting her journey into adulthood.
So the answer is yes, we are missionaries living in the jungle and we need a lot of money.
3) Living in Papua New Guinea means that our South African support goes a long way in comparison with PNG kina right?
The short answer is no, not at all!! The PNG Kina is worth three times more than the South African Rand. So it costs the South African supporters three Rand to buy one Kina, which even gets worst if you reckon in banking costs.
But please read the longer version answer to this question:
I don’t have to convince the guys in South Africa about the situation in our country, but for the sake of our international friends here are some details.
A) South Africa is in a Recession – Our country is not doing economically well in comparison with the first world. It has experienced multiple recessions and has been floating in and out of a recession since 2009 again and currently we are in recession again. Check out this graph, with all the yellow lines showing when our country has been in recession.
Basically, this means we are declining economically, which influences our inflation and our income in Papua New Guinea.
Inflation – On average the South African inflation rate has been about double that of the USA and the UK. Which means a great increase in prices and a major fall in the purchasing value of money in our country. Which again means a cut in our support from South Africa due to money having less value.
Rand/Dollar exchange rate – All our support from South Africa gets transferred into US dollar to be used in Papua New Guinea. So due to our declining economy, just between February and August 2018, the exchange rate has changed from about 11.5 to 14.6, so we have lost about 23% of our support in just this year. Here’s another graph, showing the low point being about 11.5 to the dollar and then falling to about 14.6 to the dollar currently (Its been close to 16 earlier this year).
And since 2006 the rate has declined from 6 to 14.6 which is close to 60%. check out the graph again, showing the decline from 2006 to now. Even though through God’s grace the exchange rate strengthens from time to time, it’s in a continual and drastic decline.
Sooo what I’m saying is – All in all, its truly a miracle that we have managed to personally survive and continue to minister for 25 years being supported in faith by you guys! But I’m also making you guys aware of our situation. We are praying and trusting God to open doors for us to raise more support.
Pray with us and if you can, then jump in and support the Mengen Work.
4) What is the “returns” on this investment
Ok, I have never had anyone ask me this question in such a direct way, but I have learned that good stewards are wanting to invest wisely in His Kingdom! I have heard many stories of people investing in missions and missionaries, without exercising due diligence, resulting in major disappointment and eventually a distrust in missionaries. So people have the fullest right to want to know who we are and what we are doing and are to want to check us out and our track record.
So if you would like to know a bit more about our the Mengen story over these last 12 years and what God has been doing amongst them then check out this link @: Who are the Laureti’s and what are they doing?. Also check out our YouTube channel with clips of us and our work @: Laureti’s Youtube channel
For interest sake, we have been in PNG about 12 years, with a total of about 300 believers amongst the Mengen, and 6 young and growing leaders, working in 3 locations. If we add my co-workers into the equation then a team of 8 believers has grown 3670%. The growth we are seeing on New Britain Island is also amazing. We recently had a meeting with representatives from all the language group churches on our Island, totaling about 120 leaders representing 22 tribal groups. Let’s be very modest and say they present, 130 leaders, and 15 000 believers. I’m really modest, as churches such as Mouk, Lamogai, Asengseng, Ata and Mamusi, has a few thousand believers in each. The total amount of missionaries involved with these works since 1989 was 176, which means we are seeing 8440% growth!
I’m not a mathematician but I do now that multiplication is better than addition!
This might sound impressive, but numbers are not Gods goal! Jesus said, “….make disciples…. teaching them to observe all that I commanded you….” (Matt 28.18-20). Paul says, “We proclaim Him and admonish every man, and teach every man that we may present every man complete in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28). In a way, sharing the gospel was the easy part. Making disciples and teaching them to observe all that Christ commanded them, in order to present them complete is long and hard labor! And it’s a task that stretches far beyond initial salvation.
So if you are thinking of investing in this work, then I would think its worthwhile. Not because of who we are but because of who God is. Recently at our missions conference, I heard how Dr. David Brown shared a bit at our home church about mission work and eternal investments. Check it out @: Eternal Investments
4) How can we support you:
Here are a few ways how our support gets channeled to Papua New Guinea:
South African Supporters can support us into our South African Standard Bank account at:
Account number: 238403122
For different options such as EFT etc click on https://ethnos360.org/give or for a direct contribution to our account click on : https://ethnos360.org/missionaries/lourens-and-marie-laureti
For options such as EFT etc. or a direct contribution to our account click on https://ethnos.ca/missionaries/lourens-marie-laureti/.
For options such as EFT etc. or a direct contribution to our account click on https://crossview.com.au/give/online-donation/
5) Can you come and get to know us and share about your ministry?
This is one of those questions we missionaries love! Yes, we would love to come and share with you guys, where ever you might be at. Yep we are planning some international trips if needed, so contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org