I often wonder what life would be like if we lived in the middle of nowhere. The past three weeks have very eye-opening; however, I know I will never fully understand their lives.
I have been spending lots of time with one of the assistant teachers. He oversees the electrical things at the school: the generator, the wireless router, the printer, and a number of batteries. He makes sure everything is charged and the students have access to internet and electricity for a few hours each day. He also teaches Karen, but he isn’t right now as Kelli is teaching all day.
Today I learned that one of the teachers at this school gets paid $100 for nine months of work teaching and living at this boarding school.
I was overwhelmed at the difference of income.
For this teacher work isn’t a 9 to 5 ordeal, but it is a life. He wakes up at 5:30am to start work and finishes at 11pm. He wasn’t able to go to a wedding this past weekend because it interfered with his weekend responsibilities!
His sustenance is taken care of. His basic needs are met: food, shelter, water & social interaction. But what about the everything else?
The conversation continued, and I learned that he spent the first 30% ($30) on clothes. And I don’t intend to be rude, but I want to point out that I have only seen three sets of clothes. His most worn shirt has a huge hole in the right armpit.
The first day he asked me if I could find him an ESV Bible in Thailand. I said I could mail him one. Kelli’s parents are on their way to visit, and we emailed them to bring one. I told him about the Bible coming, and he got really excited. He said he has found the ESV to be the closest to the Karen translation, so he can understand it more. I was surprised by his determination to read his Bible and practice his fourth language. I was then in awe as he offered to give me another 30% of his annual income to pay for the Bible! He offered $30, which is honestly not a lot when it comes to buying a Bible. Sometimes I am shocked at the prices of Bibles: leather-bound, cross-reference, study notes; some are very expensive. I am even more shocked when it you put it in terms of of his income. I assured him we would send it to him as a gift.
I was thinking he might want to spend some more on clothes, since these are wearing out. He said his family lives far away–two weeks of travel–and he is going to visit over the school break, so he needs to save the money.
I am still amazed at how much of his annual income he was willing to give up to buy a Bible.
Earlier this week I listened to a podcast by Louis Giglio about leveraging your money for the Kingdom. As I think about it, I wish I could spend my money like this individual. I wish I had a mindset of what is really important – the most important book written on the most important subject – and be willing to spend whatever it takes to get my hands on one.