Today’s article is a guest post by Samuel Werner of the Missions Manual. Serving as a missionary, Sam interacts regularly with supporters. Pause and read his words to learn the best ways to care for your missionaries. Share his words with your church and friends who also seek to encourage, sustain, and strengthen those in the field.
Unless you’ve been overseas or have been a missionary yourself, you probably have a lot of false, preconceived ideas of what missionaries actually do. We do a lot, but mostly we just try to survive. What we do changes all the time too and mostly what we do is fight through the difficulty of not having the conveniences of the West. Just getting groceries can be an all day event….
….We come home at the end of the day with two bags of vegetables, no money, and covered in monsoon rains, but at least we have food to eat now. That doesn’t sound so glamorous does it? So if you’re supporting a missionary and you want to know how to really bless them, I got some tips for you that go beyond than than just sending money. Through all we go through, we need more than just money to survive.
Missionaries love packages. When a package comes in the mail, we try to get it as fast as we can. Once I received several packages in one day. I spent the next 4 hours going through customs filling out paperwork just so I could get them faster. And I love getting snacks from our homeland. Pictures of familiar faces, friends, and family are always treasured. Ask your missionary what they like or what is difficult to get where they are. Find those items, send it to them, and you’ll have one happy missionary.
Missionaries love it when people pray for them. We do love financial support, but prayer support is our secret weapon of support. If you send your missionary an email saying you’re praying for them and you regularly get together with others to intercede for their ministry, that will make your missionary’s month.
Assist with communications. Yes, money is a way to support your missionary. But, what blesses us is helping us get those finances. There are a lot of little details when it comes to raising funds. Details like a website, snail mail newsletters, where donations are sent too, and who’s keeping track of what is sent is a difficult process. 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?”
When we come home from the field, we usually need time. Offer a little refuge. If you have a quiet room or a spare cabin out in the woods somewhere, that would be like soothing water to our souls. You would think that missionaries would want to see everyone right away as soon as they get back, but culture shock is intense and having a peaceful, quiet place to process is a huge help.
Lastly, one way to really bless a missionary when they’re home on holiday or vacation is to invite them to speak at your small group or church. We love talking about our experiences, but trying to visit every single person on our furlough would be insanity. If we had a place where everyone could gather and we could talk about our life overseas to everyone at once, that would be awesome. So open your home up, your church, or your small group to a guest speaker.
So, these are a few tips on how you can support your missionary. We love support. We love your prayers and practical help. There are a lot of ways to support a missionary if you don’t have the finances. I hope this helped. Thanks.
Sam and his wife, Ana, have served in several missions organizations. YWAM, IHOP, Iris Ministries, and Bethel Church in Redding, California are some of the places they’ve learned about missions and ministry. God has used them in children’s ministry, technology, healing prayer, and in everything practical that comes along with ministry. Their heart is to serve and see God move in the nations. You can follow him on his website, MissionsManual.com or through social media on Twitter and Facebook.