There are seasons in every Christian life that might see us going out into the world to share the love of Jesus, and there are seasons where we might be called to stay home while others go. For those of us that remain behind, it is important to note that we are still called to serve. But our service might look different than the missionary in Africa.
Our service might appear to be quieter, but it is certainly no less significant. For every missionary called abroad, many more of us are called to work that is just as important: supporting the people in our lives as they serve on their mission trips.
Support comes in many different forms. Today, I want us to look at a few ways we can support the missionaries in our lives.
We often hear the phrase, there is power in prayer. While we believe there is power, it isn’t in the prayer itself, it is in the God to whom we pray. This is the God who shaped the universe, set each star in its proper place, and crafted the mountains. This same God not only created you, me, and every human being throughout history, but He also ordained the times and places in which we would live so that we might find Him (Acts 17:26-27)
It is this God that people serve when they embark on their mission trips. They seek to bring His truth to those who need it the most and to love them in action as they live out the gospel. Remembering them in prayer as they do this important work is to hold them in your hearts and to connect to their work in the best possible way.
Help With Fundraising and Communication
This is an often overlooked area for many Christ servants who need support from their loved ones and their communities.
Samuel Werner, guest posting on Sharon K Hoover’s blog, wrote about the importance of assisting missionaries with things like setting up websites, creating fundraisers, tracking donations, etc… Most who choose to serve have limited time to keep track of updating supporters or fundraising. Taking a little time out of your day, week, or month to assist them with these things would be a greatly supported gesture.
“A huge help for me in the past was I had someone help me with my mailing newsletters. I would send them an email with the writing and a few pictures. They’d take it and form a pretty little newsletter to send out to my supporters. They’d even keep track of the mailing list for me. That was a HUGE blessing. There is a lot more to being a missionary than just ministry. Offer your services. Just ask, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”Samuel Werner
Do you have organizational skills or the ability to help set up a GoFundMe? You can put those skills to work by supporting your missionary loved one.
This is perhaps the most common way to support those who are sent out into the world to share the love and gospel of Jesus. But it remains one of the most important forms of support. Without the generosity of believers, like yourself, many mission trips just could never happen. It costs money to travel. It costs money for lodging. It costs money for supplies.
Arrange Housing For Furloughs
For those who serve on a full-time basis, furloughs are a big part of their work. Popular to popular opinion, furloughs aren’t just a break from being in the mission field, although that can be part of it. Furloughs are also important for recruiting new people to the team, fundraising, and more.
Dr. Don Sisk explained how furloughs are often misunderstood in his Ministry 127 blog post from 2014,
“Even though it is good to separate for a time, furlough is not vacation. I remember my wife Virginia sharing a conversation that she had with a pastor’s wife during our first furlough. The pastor’s wife said to her, “I wish my husband got a year of vacation after every four years.” Most of the time, a furlough schedule bears little resemblance to a vacation since missionaries must travel from city to city visiting potential supporting churches or participating in mission conferences.”Dr. Don Sisk
Often, those who return home on furlough, need someone to help them secure housing for themselves and their family for the length of their stay. As you can imagine, this can be a difficult task when you’re not even in the same country where you will need to find a home. This is where the support of their loved ones and community can be extremely helpful. You can check out potential rentals on their behalf or you can go through your own list of contacts to see if anyone has room to spare.
Perhaps you, yourself, have a guest house or spare room and can offer to host?
Stay in Contact With Loved Ones Serving On A Medical Mission Trip
Being a missionary can be rewarding work in many ways, and yet it can also be lonely and exhausting. Hearing from loved ones back home can be a great way to feel supported while in the mission field. Just knowing that your community is remembering to include you, in some way, in their lives is a great encouragement.
This can include letters, video chats, care packages, and more. Even picking up the phone to send a quick, “thinking of you” text is sure to bring a smile to the face of your beloved missionary.
Hear Directly From Those Who Serve
Youth With A Mission (YWAM) created their own video back in April 2020 to discuss what ways of receiving support from their communities have been most meaningful for them. Take a look now in their video, “How To Support A Missionary Without Money”
Did you learn something new about how to support the missionaries in your life? Leave us a note in the comments and let us know!