A group from our church recently had a discussion about how to encourage Christian missionaries.
Here is some of the fruit from that evening:
1. Read their updates. Like, actually read them.
2. Reply to their newsletters, even if it’s just one line, to say, “Thanks for the update.”
3. Pray for them. Set aside a specific time, maybe one evening a week, that is specifically designated for praying for certain missionaries and their work.
4. If you have prayed for them, tell them. It can be encouraging to hear, “I’ll pray for you,” but how much more so to hear, “Our family prayed for you last night,” or “Our Bible study group prayed for you at our last meeting.”
5. Send them a birthday card, care package, magazines from home, books you’ve enjoyed, treats they can’t get on the field.
6. Recommend missionary biographies that might be an encouragement to them.
7. Share snippets of spiritual food you have enjoyed — a verse that encouraged you during your quiet time, or an anecdote from a sermon that made you think of them.
8. Be willing to be a sounding board, a confidential source to whom they can vent and on whom they can rely when things are challenging.
9. Let them know it’s okay to take vacations, both on the field and on furlough. Not only okay, but essential.
10. Give their kids grace when they’re on furlough. The whirlwind of meetings, houses, people, services, food, conversations, adjustments, etc. etc. etc. can take a huge toll on adults and kids.
11. Listen to their stories.
12. Pray some more.
13. And an added bonus, straight from someone on the field: “Of course, the absolute cherry on the cake would be coming to visit us!”
Photo credit: Free Grunge Textures