3 Ways to Love Our Missionaries
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,"
penned an anonymous person, but what if absence makes the heart forget?
Moving to a different country presents wonderful opportunities and unique challenges.
As our missionaries move cross-culturally, how can we support them?
From our personal experience and asking several missionary friends, three ways to love missionaries are by supporting, communicating, and visiting them.
First, all missionaries covet prayer, financial, and friend support.
As missionaries relocate to unfamiliar places, loneliness sets in. As they begin work, opposition arises. As they adjust to a new culture and language, prayer support is essential.
Pray specifically for the missionaries. Ask them for prayer requests and schedule a time to pray for them.
Usually missionaries' budgets are tight and offer little wiggle room. If you are able, faithful give to God's work. Missionaries depend on their monthly support like you depend on your paycheck. As you give, God will bless you.
Offer to be their friend. Missionaries are people just like you. Sometimes we expect them to be perfect, but give them grace. How would you want to be treated? Ask them how they are and listen. Don't judge. Let their kids be kids.
Secondly, love them by communicating with them.
In our technology-driven world, communication is easier now than ever before.
Send a message through Facebook, or talk a few minutes using FaceTime.
Seeing a familiar face always boosts spirits.
When a newsletter is sent out, respond!
Take a minute to read it, pray for them, and send a quick email back.
It doesn't have to be long. Even a couple of sentences say, I haven't forgotten you. I still care about what you are doing.
If you, your family, or small group can send texts, letters, or packages, the missionaries will appreciate them. A small act of kindness speaks volumes.
Familiar items from home can be scarce or very expensive. People sent our kids boxed mac 'n' cheese, chocolate chips, and fruit snacks, which our kids rationed to enjoy as long as possible. We couldn't find tortilla chips for a while, but when we did, the snack reminded us of home.
Written ideas: tell them about your family, local news, blessings, and burdens. Missionaries feel disconnected being miles away and love hearing news from home.
Package ideas: iTune gift cards, online gift cards, DVDs, magazines, books, personal care items, and special snacks. If they have kids, ask about toys, shoes, and clothes.
(Check to see if there is a fee to pick it up from the post office.)
Other ideas: purchase a hotel night for them and send extra cash for fun.
On furlough: set up housing, provide a vehicle, and ask about needs
Finally, go visit them.
When you see the missionaries' work first hand, it opens your eyes. You know how to pray better. You understand electricity shuts off at 3:00 so supper needs to be cooked before then. You understand you take toilet paper and hand sanitizer because there is no water or toilet paper.
Your visit encourages the missionaries because you cared enough to come.
You can meet new people, eat traditional food, and hear the local language. You can listen to the missionaries share petitions and praises.
As we love each other locally and abroad, may we remember how Jesus treated others. He loved them in word and action. May we too love our missionaries through support, communication, and visiting.
As missionaries go yonder sharing the Good News, may we grow fonder of showering God's love on them.