1) Letters to Missionaries
Many of us receive letters from missionaries through church or as acquaintances. It's good to write back, sending richly encouraging and personal letters:
"'I cannot overemphasize how critical your letters are to missionaries,' said Linda Grow, a former mission president's wife...
"One of Burgess' innovative ideas was for a family to write to a missionary whom they don't know. The family could separate a sheet of paper into four or six squares and each family member could share a short message of their testimony or favorite scripture in each square."
Quoted with Permission from http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/44018, BYU.edu NewsNet
Families or Sunday School Classes/Youth Groups could keep track of who they've corresponded with by pinning the missionaries stats to a map, in the location they are serving.
2) Adopted MKs and Missionary Families
Your church may have "adopted missionaries" to which they send funds. This can be more personal by having families voluntarily "adopt a Missionary Kid" or a "Missionary Family" as pen pals, sending gifts and supplies at the Holy Spirit's urging.
3) A Missions Spokesperson for your Congregation
You may suggest your church recruit someone from the congregation who's on fire for missions; to coordinate missionary fund raisers, collect offerings, organize special events, and give thought provoking updates to the congregation. Even if you already have a missions board, having a passionate spokesperson may jump start more interest from the congregation.
4) Plant and Water Missionaries
Nurture church members who feel lead to be involved in missions: help them prepare and get their feet wet. They could even be sent to aid missionaries affiliated with their own church.
Luke 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.
5) Meet Missionaries Face to Face
There are many benefits to having missionaries visit. Just hearing their stories, in person, can stir a lot of hearts for missions. Encouraging hospitality in the congregation, in regards to inviting visiting missionaries into their homes, can make for Christian friendships they'll treasure forever.
6) Increase Missions Awareness
Include an insert in your church bulletin, or website, of links to respected missions organizations like GFA and VOM. They often run mailing lists, prayer lists, and innovative programs for supporting missions.
7) Affiliate with Self-supporting Missionaries
There are missionaries who don't need financial or material contributions, but still appreciate letters of encouragement. The apostle Paul was a self-supporting missionary, but of course he maintained personal relationships with people all around Asia Minor.
8) Don't Forget Those In Prison
Organizations like Voice of the Martyrs can put churches in touch with missionaries who have been arrested for running churches, for their evangelism, or because of false accusation. In some cases you may also be able to get in touch with family members of those imprisoned, and help them get through difficult times with both spiritual and financial support.
Matthew 25:36 Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me.
9) Pray for Missionaries
An obvious but nonetheless vital way to support missionaries is through prayer:
1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
10) Ask Missionaries Directly
Directly ask missionaries what you can do for them, and let them know they may get in touch if any specific needs arise.
If you can add anything to this list of ideas, or have a related experience you'd like to share, please contact me!
Serving As Senders: How to Care for Your Missionaries While They Are Preparing to Go, While They Are on the Field, When They Return Home
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