Marina’s devotionals have really blessed me this month. Today’s as well. She talks about caring for those on the mission field. This subject is dear to my heart because my daughter was on the mission field in Peru for ten years. For the month of July, she’s in Poland ministering to the people.
On Caring for the Ones that Go
By Marina Bromley
Do you know a missionary currently living in another country? Perhaps they are living someplace “closed” or dangerous for the Gospel to be shared. Whether they are serving “here, near, or far away” there are things we can do to partner with them in their ministry, and encourage them as they do the work that God has called them to do.
- You can pray for them.
I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. Philippians 1:19 NLT
I speak to many missionaries every month that say that they never know if people READ their newsletters or pray for them!
Do you get newsletters or monthly prayer updates? Pray for them as you read it, then tell them in a short email that you have prayed for them. Use caution if you are corresponding with a Missionary in a “closed” or dangerous country. It’s best to use “code” and not use words like “missions,” “church,” “work,” “God,” “Jesus,” or even “pray.” Instead, say something like this: “Today I thought about you and your many needs.” Give your note of prayer as a gift of encouragement that doesn’t need to be responded to.
- Gift them a gift card via email, for no reason at all.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17 NLT
Using their favorite music app, gift the new favorite worship cd you’re listening to, or make a playlist of music they might enjoy. You’ll want to be sure to ask for the best email and program to use. E-books are great too! Consider an online retailer gift card if they can receive mail deliveries where they are. This will take a little bit of planning, but once you’ve got the proper information it’s easy to do and greatly appreciated! You can ask them to create a “wish list” or just give the card online so they can choose what they would like (or need).
- Provide for their needs when they are state-side on furlough.
Do not withhold good from those who deserve itwhen it’s in your power to help them. Proverbs 3:27 NLT
Arrange for a rental house (stocked and clean), loaner car, gift cards for gas or groceries, and for a few fun things (movie and dinner out). Yes, they could stay with family members, but that’s not always relaxing. (If they prefer to stay with family, offer to give them a weekend (or a week) away ALONE, no strings attached.)
We often think of their time stateside as “vacation,” but it’s often the time they work the hardest. Every week they are speaking to family members (some who may not be happy that they live overseas), catching up with supporters, and giving presentations to sending churches. It’s good to allow them to have a little room to breathe.
- If you’ve committed to support them financially, DO IT.
For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Hebrews 6:10 NLT
Before a Missionary goes on the field, they put together a budget and submit it to their agency (or sending church, depending on the situation). If your situation has changed, give them a head’s up so they can pray for you, adjust their budget in time for the decrease, or raise new supporters.
We all understand that life happens, and hard seasons come. Don’t be afraid to explain to your Missionary what you are going through, and let them know that you need to suspend your support for a season. I know that they are happy to pray with you, and for you, as you are a vital part of their ministry. Don’t stop praying for them as you can still be a vital part of the team!
- Encourage them spiritually.
TheLord is a shelter for the oppressed,a refuge in times of trouble.Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. Psalm 9:9 NLT
Take time to pray beyond the newsletters, letting God lead you to pray for things they may not even sense approaching. Pray for the people they are trying to reach, and follow what’s going on in that part of the world with current events, weather, disasters, etc.
Praying Scripture over them is a powerful way to pray, especially when you don’t know what to pray. There are many effective prayers in the Psalms and throughout the New Testament that make fitting prayers for people we care about overseas. Once you select a Scripture, pick out a card of encouragement and send it to them with that scripture written out. If you cannot mail it to them, scan it and email it to them as a secure attachment.
Some of these ideas are more involved, and may be more fun to do as a Sunday School, small group, or Church. Still, there are many meaningful things that can be done from home as an individual. As you begin encouraging your Missionary, I pray that God will use you to share these ideas with others in your Church, so a culture of Missionary Care will begin to grow around you, blessing your Missionary and their family.
©2018 Marina Bromley, Marina’s Kitchen Table. Used with permission.