Washing Their Feet- Caring for missionaries and their families

By Paul.

Paintbrushes, art paper, ribbons and a parcel tag- these are just some materials we use to craft our notes to the missionaries that come packed along with a brand new pair of masks designed with pictorial icons of OMF  by some of our staff, snacks and a book or two. Sending care packages has been something that we’ve been doing for our co-workers in the field from time to time. But last year, sending care packs became something more significant to us because of COVID; in the few months before the end of 2020, we sent these care packs to all our missionaries in the field. By Christmas, most of them had received them with much gratefulness.

Care package we gave to our missionaries

Also, every year during the Lunar New Year festive season, the OMF Singapore staff would pay a visit to our missionaries’ families to bless and reconnect with them, especially those with aged parents, encouraging them and send our missionaries pictures of home. Sometimes we partner the sending churches to visit them too. Their families are often thankful for the times when we visit them in their homes.

At times, it comes with opportunities to share our faith with those who have yet to receive Jesus, and it is by these kind of love that some eventually come to know God. This year, while we were not able to make any visits to them, the Member Care Team called them up to find out how are they doing, sent them blessing cards, wishing them 身体健康(good health) and 一帆风顺 (smooth year ahead).

These are just a couple of ways that the Member Care team at OMF Singapore does; it is doing what we can in our capacity to ensure our missionaries and their families feel cared for, well-supported with the resources to be effective on the field and for self-care. Whether married, with children, or as singles in the field, Member Care is called on to meet their different needs, so that they can fulfil God’s Call from start to finish. But it is not just left to them alone, we can volunteer our time and effort too to support this labour of love as well.

When I think about this, I am reminded of what Jesus modelled for His disciples at the Last Supper (John 13). It is almost unthinkable that the Master would wash His servants’ feet, but to show that this extreme act of servanthood illustrated the true greatness He spoke of (Matthew 20:26-28). As Jesus wrapped up His loving, voluntary task, He then commanded His disciples to wash each other’s feet likewise (John 13:14).

An illustration of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. (Source: Owlcation)

For us today, sending notes to our missionaries, catching up with them over the phone or visiting them in their field, talking to their family members, attending certain special occasions when invited, organising annual Family Appreciation Lunches are how we ‘wash’ their feet. It is one way we serve people in missions apart from our day-to-day work. Pandemic or not, there is a never a lockdown with God’s Work.

*This article first appeared in East Asia’s Millions (May-Aug 2021).

 

Paul is a designer by profession, serving full-time in Communications with OMF Singapore. For him, words make beautiful stories come to life. When he is not at work, you would probably find him playing his guitar or doing food experiments.