1. Write a 1-2 sentence response to their prayer letters. Every time.
Our newsletter goes out to 360 people. 1 person responds. Sometimes, if we're lucky and had something really, really interesting to say, we might top out with 5 responses. Look, we know it seems super impersonal to get a mass email update like that. We get it. But please know we put a LOT of time and energy and heart into those newsletters and include things we truly want you to know! And sometimes, our needy missionary hearts crave words of affirmation and encouragement. We fear being forgotten. And guess what - this idea is super easy and quick! The 1 person who responds to every single prayer letter ? All it says is, "Thanks for the update about ____. I prayed for you today." That's it! But it means the world to me, every single time.
2. Send them a Christmas card. Birthday cards if you're really on top of things.
We do not get mail like you do. We don't even have mail carriers or often a house number or home address. I sometimes even miss junk mail! So in October (yes, October), find out your missionaries mailing address. This may take a while between different time zones and unstable internet to reply , etc. In early November (yes, that early), send a card (with a handwritten note). It will likely take that long to get to us, and if it arrives early - wow - your missionary will know you were thinking about them already and will feel twice as loved! This is so encouraging, especially around the holidays when it's likely been years since they had the joy of celebrating with their families. It will mean a lot. Our family often displays our Christmas cards throughout the year and use them as a prayer guide.
|Our Christmas Cards from 2017|
Before we moved, I remember wanting to connect with some of our churches missionaries while they were on home assignment. They were working in East Africa and we knew we would be heading there in a few years. We feared them being too busy and not having time to connect with us. We were so wrong! Now, when it's our turn on on home assignment, it really can be busy, but we do want to connect with friends and partners in ministry! We feel very honored when we get invited over for dinner or coffee or even just to meet at a park!
4. Home Assignment - Gift Cards.
I hesitate to write this one, as it seems us missionaries are always talking about/asking for money, but I've heard other missionaries talk about how helpful this is. Now, hopefully when missionaries go on home assignment, they have some money set aside. Our mission helps us budget for these things and we do plan in advance. However, things happen- support decreases, emergency medical situations have used up what was saved, your home assignment needs are greater than what you planned for, etc and money gets tight. This idea is a simple "welcome home" to your missionary with a few small gifts cards. Many missionaries travel to visit their supporters and churches, so having a few food options is great while travelling. Missionaries connect with supporters over coffee dates, so those are good. Sometimes missionaries need date nights also. And finally, some missionaries may be craving something specific that they haven't had in years!
5. Send your missionaries YOUR prayer requests.
Missionaries to NOT want to be in a one-way relationship with you. Our lives are not in any way more special than anyone else's - we don't want to just sit back and enjoy the benefit of having a team of people praying for us. We love to pray for our supporters as well and feel connected in an important way! We want to know about significant things happening in your lives - joys, challenges, sorrow, praises. We love to know HOW to pray specifically for you. We pray for you anyhow, so you're just helping us be more accurate in our prayers. :) I don't know about you, but I feel very honored when someone personally comes to me and asks if I will pray about something specific. Please, give us the honor of praying for you!