Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ten ways you can support your missionaries, besides sending money

Of course your missionary wants -and needs- the funds that are donated. Most can't live on the field without ongoing financial support, and they also need funds for various ministry projects. Sometimes, however, you aren't in a position that allows you to support a missionary in this way. Here are ten other ways you can support your missionary.

1. Pray! 


There's no doubt that this has to be the first, and most important, item on the list. We need prayers during the times when we put out prayer needs, and prayers when you aren't hearing anything from us. Pray as often as you desire, pray when the Lord puts us on your heart, pray everyday as part of your schedule . . . just pray!


2. Let us know you're praying! 



I can't stress enough how much it encourages us, when people tell us that they remember to pray for us and for our ministry. If you want to make your missionary's day, tell them you're praying for them!


3. Take the time to read the information your missionary sends out and/or posts on the internet.


This is huge! Stay informed about what your missionary is doing. It will help you remember to pray for them, and to know better how to pray for them.


4. Post a comment! 


I, personally, spend a gigantic amount of time writing blog posts and Facebook posts and emails and newsletters . . . and sometimes, when no one responds, I feel like I've just thrown all of that out there into the wind. It's discouraging. If it is your desire to make your missionary grin, write a comment on their blog or Facebook post, or write a quick response when they send out an email newsletter. It will mean a lot to them!

5. Ask us what we need . . . 


. . . and then ask us about what we don't need, but would make us feel happy, and help make that happen! Some missionaries live in areas where they can't get certain comfort items, and these missionaries might love a care package, while others live in cities where they can purchase the same items anytime they want. Some missionaries would love to receive Christmas cards. Someone might enjoy having a video of their home church's Christmas pageant . . . but you won't know what your missionary needs or wants, until you ask.

A friend of mine wanted to give me a Christmas gift, and she asked what I'd like . . . and she asked on the same day that I was debating whether or not to spend some money on a service that would allow me to listen to music from the US over the internet. The cost of the service was exactly what she'd hoped to spend on a gift (around $50), and so, when she asked me what I wanted, and I told her about my desire, she was delighted to pay for me to have access to this music for a year. It was a much appreciated gift, but she wouldn't have known to give me that perfect gift, if she hadn't asked.


6. Start a conversation with us about life on the field . . . and then listen to our response. 


Life on the mission field is a complicated mashup of blessings and challenges, excitement and discouragement, triumphs and embarrassments. When people ask us about it, we often don't know if they want to hear the details or not, so we'll likely feel them out with a short answer like, "Oh, we're keeping busy." If you want to do something which will absolutely warm your missionary's heart, take the time to have a real conversation with them (face-to-face when they're home, or talking by phone or internet when they're far away), about what their life on the field is like, and how they're handling it all. (As a side note - be careful about making suggestions to help resolve your missionary's on-the-field problems. People who haven't lived in a particular culture have been known to make completely inappropriate suggestions. Feel free to suggest ways we might communicate better with folks in the home country, though.)


7. Ask us about the ministry . . . and listen to that information, too. 


As a rule, missionaries are passionate about what they do, but they know that sometimes people avoid the subject because there is the chance that the conversation will turn into a request for money. Ask the questions and listen to the answers anyway. I can't guarantee that the conversation won't come to the point where funding needs are discussed, but you can always tell us you can't help with that, if you need to. You wouldn't be the first to do so, LOL. We can handle it, and we'd still love the chance to talk about the ministry to someone who shows a real interest.


8. Tell us what's going on back home


This may be more pertinent for the newer missionaries. After a while, the new place often becomes home, but even then, it's always nice to hear the news from the old place. What's happening back there, while we're here? It feels good to be kept in the loop . . . as long as you let the missionary have a chance to share about their life, too (see numbers 5 and 6).

9. Become an ambassador for the ministry


Our organization, The Foundation for Missions, has an official ambassador program that our supporters can plug into . . . but if your missionary doesn't have this available, you can still be their ambassador, by sharing your excitement about their ministry with others. Share their posts on FB, pass along their newsletters, talk to your friends about what they're doing. Frequently, special projects (like our annual Gifts for Gracias project) are the ideal time to get your school, church, club, etc, involved with a ministry you support. The people who help our ministry in these ways, as official or unofficial ambassadors, are invaluable! See what your missionary is doing, and see how you can help!

10. Pray some more!


Okay, I know that's a repeat, but really, that is the single most important thing you can do for your missionary, so I want to make certain that you hear and remember it!


Not everyone is called to be a full-time missionary, but everyone can help the full-time missionaries survive and thrive. There are lots of additional ways that you could support your missionary, so if you've got a suggestion, please share it in the comments. Not only will we all benefit from your idea, but you'll have completed number 4, as well! 

3 comments:

Stephen Smith said...

I enjoy reading your blog and love the details of life in the hinterlands of Honduras where I once lived. If you're ever in San Pedro you're cordially invited to breakfast at Denny's.

Steve

Trish said...

Thanks Steve! I always appreciate your comments! I'm actually going to be in San Pedro tomorrow, LOL, but not in time for breakfast! Thanks for the invitation, though. :)

Matthew Cushman said...

Trish, thanks for your blog posts. I know from experience that it is often hard to share how God is working in our lives, especially when it appears that no one may be listening. One thing that I have learned over the past year or so, is that God is anything but convenient, and Satan will do whatever he can to silence anyone who loves the Lord. Just know that you are being heard; you and your family are doing a good thing, a “God” thing. While this is the first time that I have read any of your blogs, I have found myself going back to prior ones. So even if it appears that no one is currently paying attention, we never know when someone will look back to see what they missed :-) .

On another note, I met Allen when he was in Florida. I was hoping to join the team for the bridge-in-a-week in January, but through prayer and much consideration I have determined that it is not yet my time. My family is not yet in a sufficiently stable position (after our loss), but God will let me know when the time is right (hopefully on one of the next few projects). Until then, I will continue to pray for your mission, for your vehicle fund, your pastoral training program, and everything else that God has you doing. Thank you for your dedication, love, and service to Him. Thank you for listening to His calling, and spreading His love, glory, and grace to others. May God bless you, your family, and the entire mission in all that you do! Take care, and as I have found myself in the habit of saying, LUBASAAR (Love you Brothers and Sisters, Ask and Receive).