Junior saves money all year to pay for mission trip

Junior+Emily+McMaster+spent+none+of+her+own+money+all+year+in+order+to+save+for+a+mission+trip.+Even+though+her+savings+have+already+covered+the+cost+of+the+trip%2C+she+still+saves+money+to+donate+to+charities.+

Photo by Dawson Kelley

Junior Emily McMaster spent none of her own money all year in order to save for a mission trip. Even though her savings have already covered the cost of the trip, she still saves money to donate to charities.

Story by Emily McMaster, staff writer

Going out to eat, investing in new clothes and splurging on the latest makeup trends are few of the things I have restricted myself from doing since December 2015. Since then I have yet to spend any personal money.

Some may say it is impossible to do this, but with a set goal and the generosity of my family helping me out on necessities and a few few fun treats, I never thought twice about breaking open my wallet.

My main motivation to start this challenge was the opportunity to participate in an international mission trip during the summer of 2017. For years, I have pleaded with my parents to let me go on one, yet was always told, “Not yet.”

I never gave up on wanting to go, so in 2015 I started contacting missionary groups to get as much information as I could about their trips. After finding one that most suited my interests, I proposed the idea to my family. This time, I received a, “Maybe.”

The main catch was that I would need to raise the cost of the trip, which was about $2000. With my schedule I knew getting a job would not be realistic, but I was determined to have the money raised in one year, just in time to sign up for the missionary group.  

Over the year I placed any money I was given in a Mason jar labeled “Mission Trip.” For Christmas and my birthday, I asked my friends and family for only money to go towards my trip. During the summer I earned money through babysitting and working at a church camp; all of those earnings too went straight to the Mason jar.

Through this process, not spending became easier. I realized that  getting to interact with and help a less fortunate culture would be far more valuable than anything that caught my eye in a store. When I reached the costs this past December, all I thought about was the trip, not everything I had wanted over the year.

I have learned the true reward of giving instead of receiving this past year. Although I can pay for the trip, I continue to place my money in the jar. Not only did I find the importance in giving, I learned the importance in saving up for larger and more important investments.

Not everyone is called to a foreign country, but after this experience I believe that everyone should attempt giving up something personal for a good cause. This could be donating old clothes or donating money to a charity. Odds are that someone in the world is more needy than our society.

This is not to say one should never buy something for himself; it’s good to treat yourself after earning money. However, spending without good reasons should never become a habit.

Step away from the world saying people need this new technology or the latest fashion trend and take notice of someone who needs medical attention or cannot afford an education. The smallest acts can go a long way, and you will learn that giving is receiving.