By Eric Chow
“So when are you going to find a REAL job?”
This was one of the questions asked of me soon after signing up to work as a missionary with CCO in 2004. I was just starting to build my financial support team.
Caught off guard I said, “Well I’m planning to work for CCO for the next three years then I’ll see.”
11 Years later I’m still working for CCO.
Throughout the years the following questions have also come up:
“So do you have a real job on the side?”
“When do you plan to use your engineering degree?”
“How long do you think you could afford to work for CCO?”
“Is it really smart to work for CCO, with a family to support?
These questions are no doubt asked by people who care about me and my family. They want to make sure that, financially, our family is taken care of.
CCO Missionaries raise support. That’s how we get paid. We take the time to invite people to join us in the mission. We are missionaries through our time and talent, our supporters through their treasure.
So here are a few thoughts and clarifications about working for CCO and our approach to support raising:
Working for CCO is a real job. It is also an important job. I get to spend my days telling people about Jesus. I get to build missionaries so that they can lead people to an encounter with Jesus. And just like any other organization, CCO needs people in full-time positions. I work 9-5, evenings, and weekends. I travel. I have many responsibilities. I work alot but I also take appropriate time off for my family.
Working for CCO pays the bills. Yes, I could be making more money elsewhere. But our family has never been left wanting or needing. God is generous and he has proven it to us time and time again. I’ve often heard people in full-time ministry say “the pay isn’t that great but the benefits are out of this world.” You know what? It’s true! I have witnessed so many miracles in my life through my work with CCO. Our family has grown in faith through our experiences working with CCO. And while not all experiences have been easy, I can say that they have led us to encounter Jesus.
Working for CCO and raising support provides security. How, might you ask? If God confirms my missionary work with CCO, then He will provide support for me. And He has. I also have many people financially supporting my missionary work. Missionaries can each have between 80-150 financial supporters. You could say that each supporter keeps me employed. If one supporter is unable to continue giving, I still have many more “employers”. Working elsewhere I’d have one employer and losing that means I would be out of a job and a paycheque.
Working for CCO has helped me save money. Yes it’s true. Because I don’t have a lot of it I’ve learned to live simply and save what I can. I’ve learned how to be thrifty (NOT cheap) and I’ve learned to accept hand-me-downs and live with what I have. When Vanessa and I got married and our family began to grow, so too did our expenses. But our habits of learning to save and live simply set us up well in managing our money.
Finally, working for CCO has taught me how to be generous. Raising support means I am on the receiving end of generosity. I am often in awe of how generous people can be. It challenges me to think how generous I can be through my time, talent and treasure.
Can I afford to work for CCO? I have worked 11 years with CCO, relying on a team of financial supporters. Living by providence has taught me even more than what I’ve just shared. I think a more appropriate question might be “can I afford not to?”.