“We want the workers we send to know that we continue to care about them.”
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” – Oswald Chambers
Jan Thompson, head of the Prayer and Care Correspondence (P&CC) Team for OMF (U.S.) and former OMF missionary to Japan, has experienced how prayer is a necessity to the Christian faith and our mission as Christians to spread the Gospel. With such importance, prayer has become the primary focus of the P&CC Team.
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(Audio version of this article:)
By Hannah Porter
When Jan and her husband, Bryan, were serving as OMF missionaries in Japan, they would send out prayer updates to their partners and supporters. They sometimes noticed responses would be few and far between, and they would wonder if anyone read their updates.
However, Jan remembered there was always one man who would respond to their updates. Sometimes it would be a short “Hello! I read your update. Know that I’m praying for you!”, sometimes a longer response of encouragement. Hearing from the man made an impact on them.
Jan and her husband weren’t the only ones with the question, “Does anyone actually read our prayer updates?” The director of the Personnel Department for OMF (U.S.) received similar feedback from other missionaries. In 2016, after moving back to the States, Jan was asked to lead a team that would intentionally read the missionaries’ updates, pray for them, and respond with a note of encouragement.
Care for the Workers
The mission of the Prayer and Care Correspondence Team is to care for missionaries by reading their updates, praying regularly for them, and providing encouragement through correspondence such as email, Zoom calls, or even physical letters.
Jan describes her team of volunteers as “a way to bridge the gap between OMF (U.S.) and the workers we send overseas.” Jan wants to see missionaries thrive in their ministry. Of course, the workers have many resources and teams they work with in the countries they serve, but it makes their day a bit brighter when they see someone from home is being attentive to their updates and prayer needs.
Jan shared a response from one of the workers overseas:
“What a blessing our great prayer warrior (prayer and care correspondent) is for all of us. We are eternally grateful. Prayer is our greatest tool against the enemy of Truth.”
As head of the P&CC Team, Jan also ensures that OMF is informed and caught up with urgent prayer needs or any assistance a worker may need from the U.S. Team. She highlighted the fact that it’s important for staff in the States to stay connected with the workers they send because “we want the workers we send to know that we continue to care about them.”
A Responsibility for Those Who Stay
The P&CC Team currently has eleven volunteers. Most of the volunteers are assigned to 3-5 workers, but some have chosen to connect with as many as 12 workers. Jan’s hope for the team is to see every worker sent by OMF (U.S.) connected to a P&CC volunteer.
Serving as the overseer and coordinator of the P&CC team, Jan has the joy of seeing the blessings it brings to the worker as well as to the volunteer. She shared that being a part of this team is a good reminder that we all, as Christians, have a role in the Great Commission. Many are called to other countries to serve, but not everyone is called to go. There are people who stay, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Jan emphasized the fact that, “Those who stay have a vital role to pray.”
A great resource for anyone who would like to dedicate time to pray for East Asia, we recommend the OMF Prayer App in the Apple or Google Play stores. It’s free and an easy way to stay updated on the prayer needs of a certain country or people group.
If you would like to intentionally invest time into a specific worker on the field and join the Prayer and Care Correspondence Team, please visit https://omf.org/us/job/prayer-and-care-coorespondent/ for more information.
Author Bio: Hannah Porter was born in Nanchang, China, but grew up in Morrison, Colorado. She studied at Colorado Christian University and graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. The command of the Great Commission to go into the world and share the Gospel has always been a presence in Hannah’s life. She’s had the opportunity to spend multiple summers on short-term missions in the Philippines and Cambodia. Currently, she resides outside the United States with her husband. Together they volunteer with the ministry Josiah Venture at their local church in Eastern Europe. Because of Hannah’s experiences, East Asia still holds a place in her heart, and she enjoys using her free time to volunteer with OMF.
This is SOOO important. Missionaries can feel so isolated, lonely, and discouraged but can’t really write that in a newsletter. A few words of encouragement go A LONG WAY!
We pray for an OMF family in taiwan,…in Taiwan people use the Line app… so the OMF family posts prayer needs on the app and we can read… it shows how many people saw the post…sometimes we respond, but if not they can still see that we read the prayer post.
It’s amazing what technology has allowed us to do… from complex tasks to simple apps to communicate better. Thanks for sharing!
Hi, Today our church, First Baptist Church in West Bend, WI had a missionary Sunday. The speaker in the morning service was Bryan Lenartz who is a missionary on his way with his lovely family to Japan. Lenartz2Japan.org. The wife’s name is Amy, and they have four adorable children. They were in Guam for 13 years. The mission is Baptist Mid-Missions out of Cleveland, OH 44130. I just remember Joe and I meeting Bryan and Jan Thompson at Wood Hills Bible Church in the 1980s. And thought I would look you all up. We also still get your e-mail letters.… Read more »