June 19, 2018 | Karen McCarty

“Who would have guessed…a Financial Missionary?”

Construction work, vacation bible school, giving medical help or assisting in English as a second language was my idea of a short-term missionary trip-but a “FINANCIAL MISSIONARY”…what???

Yet as a former certified public accountant, that was the opportunity that was presented. Would I be interested in serving as a budget coach in a pilot program for Young Life Africa to assist the “3-legged stools (3LS)” (bookkeeper, logistics specialist and country leader) develop their first budgets? Previously, these budgets were developed by the Young Life International Service Center. This time, let’s empower the local countries in the process. I immediately knew I wanted to be IN!!

After numerous emails, Zoom calls and preparations, we arrived at the Young Life Training Center. I was “matched” with the Malawi Team-and it was a match made in heaven! (Quite literally!) We started the day with Discovery Bible Study-our passage being Matthew 25:14-30. Could my knowledge as an accountant somehow be a “talent” that could be multiplied for the Master?

As we set to work with spreadsheets opened, I was amazed and impressed with every member of the team. Each person was knowledgeable of their area and eager to gain a new perspective of their entire country ministry. I knew in God’s “economy” I would be blessed more than I could ever bless my Malawi Team! This trip was no exception. As a thank you, my Malawi 3LS washed my feet and prayed over me. I couldn’t stop weeping. I was so humbled and honored.

Lest you think this trip was all work, and no play or worship—rest assured this IS Young Life. What a fantastic experience to be worshipping with my African brothers and sisters! No translation was needed to see the joy of the Lord. No translation was needed to laugh at the competitive experience of the lawn game “Kill the King”. No translation was needed in our team building exercise that included jumping in banjajis-off to spend EXACTLY 6,000 TSh ($2.64) for 4 ice cream cones.

As an added bonus, several of the US budget coaches and 2 of the country leaders made a quick trip to the island of Zanzibar. What a treat!

Imagine being guided by a Young Life leader who became a “follower of Jesus” in a country that is 98% Muslim after being prayed for multiple times by Young Life teams when he served as their tour guide. Many in our group considered his testimony as a “high” of the day!

So what’s next? That is the question. My heart has been knitted to Malawi and Africa. I am excited to be on their team in whatever ways the Lord sees fit!!!


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