funaddict wrote:I've never been completely comfortable with the Stake sweeping surplus "Ward Missionary" funds. When members of the ward donate to the Ward Missionary category, I feel that they have an expectation that that money is specifically going to assist missionaries (and their families who are supporting them) from their own ward. Otherwise, they would donate to the 'General Missionary" category if they want their donations to support the missionary effort in general.
There are two "missionary" funds. The Ward missionary fund is used to support missionaries in the US and Canada that are on the equalized program where the same amount (currently $400) is used each month to support those missionaries. The General missionary fund is used to support missionaries throughout the world from countries that are not on the equalized program.
So it is not really true that the Ward missionary fund supports missionaries from the local ward and the General missionary fund supports other missionaries in general.
And the stake does not sweep the funds for stake use. Church Headquarters asks the stake to collect excess Ward missionary funds and send them to ChQ for use within the Ward missionary fund (equalized US and Canada) system. This allows the Church to maintain the current monthly rate longer and make more effective use of these missionary funds.
Finally, while it is nice to think I am supporting a specific missionary when I contribute to the Ward missionary fund, this is not the case either. All donations to the Church's missionary fund become the property of the Church to be used at the Church's sole discretion in its missionary program. This is a very important statement with grave tax implications for the Church in the US.
Yes, we do ask the family of a missionary to contribute a certain amount each month to the Ward missionary fund to fund the Church's missionary work. When the family cannot, we ask others to help. Strictly speaking, however, the contribution is a contribution either to the equalized Ward missionary fund or to the General missionary fund, and not for a specific missionary.