Make a Difference in the Life of Your Missionary
It’s easy to forget the needs of missionaries beyond prayer and financial support. But simple expressions of thoughtfulness go a long way to refresh a missionary’s spirit and let them know they’re remembered.
4 Minute Read
By Wendy Marshall
There are many ways to support missionaries, whether they’re on the mission field or back home for a time. Each person will gravitate toward different ways of caring for their friends who are serving overseas. To get you started with some ideas, here are six practical options you might like to consider.
1) Let Them Know They Are Remembered
Missionaries love to know that you’re thinking of them. Being far away from family and friends, they appreciate the small gestures that communicate they haven’t been forgotten.
- E-mails and Facebook messages are great but what about real letters and postcards?
- Phone calls or Zoom calls might be more difficult with busy lives, but they can be especially encouraging.
- Tell them what you prayed for them. Paul models this in 1 Thessalonians, telling the church, not only that he was praying for them, but what he was praying for them.
2) Keep Them Informed and Included
- Keep missionaries informed of significant changes within the church, like changes in leadership or direction.
- Don’t assume they know about changes in contact details. When sending out prayer letters each month, it can be a pain to find many e-mails returned.
- Include the missionaries in the church directory and ensure they get a copy.
- Let them know what is happening in church: events like church camps, baptisms, births, deaths and marriages. These things may also make it less of a shock to transitioning into the church when they’re home.
- Ask your missionaries for photos or a PowerPoint presentation to show at church during a missionary spot or prayer time.
- Ask them for advice and ideas for Bible studies or home-group study ideas via e-mail.
3) Visit Them
Would they enjoy a visit? Send one or more members of your church or leadership team to spend time with them. Here are some tips:
- DO consult with your missionaries first. People have different coping thresholds when it comes to house guests. It can be easy to become overwhelmed with visitors.
- Be aware that they have busy ministries to attend to, as well as potential limitations in providing you with accommodation.
- Ask them when a good time would be for you to visit.
- Be sensitive about the length of your visit.
- Be considerate about their finances too. (Don’t be a burden by cleaning out their pantry without helping out with the expense.)
- Travel light so you can take goodies from home to them. Maybe take things back from East Asia for them to give to their supporters at home.
- Babysit the kids so a couple can have a night out.
4) Care for Them With Gifts
Love can come in care packages, too, especially ones that have been thoughtfully put together. A surprise is good, but a care package is even better if it contains items that your missionary especially wants, so feel free to ask them what they’d like.
5) Show Loving Concern for Their Wider Family
Caring for missionaries’ families at home can be a way that churches show their love and support. We have a colleague whose father became a Christian after their home church showed care for him and drew him into their church fellowship.
6) Helping When They Are Back in Your Country
Missionaries appreciate practical care when they’re transitioning in and out of the country. A full pantry speaks volumes when you’ve just landed back in your home country and cannot face grocery shopping yet!
You Can Make a Difference
There are many ways to go about supporting missionaries and it’s okay to feel comfortable with supporting them in different ways. However, it can really help when church leadership initiates the effort. If the leadership of a church is mission-minded, it is easier for the church to be mission-minded.
You may never know until heaven the difference your care might make to someone having a tough time.
It is easy for missionaries to feel that they’re out of sight, out of mind. But missionaries are still a part of the body of Christ — they’re the hands that are overseas. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:25, “There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.”
Wendy Marshall is an OMF Australia missionary in Japan serving with her husband David and their three boys. She blogs about her life in Japan at: mmuser.blogspot.co.uk