Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching. Before you put your holiday stupor on, you should purposefully remember to remember your missionaries. It’s generally the off-season for our concern for missions work, and we need a reminder that our dear friends are spread abroad doing beautiful work, laboring for Christ’s sake.
Here are some practical ways that you can love your missionaries:
1. Pray. Make it regular, specific, and important. This is your best work for them.
Don’t blow past this. Commit to pray for missionaries and tell them so. Tell them what hour or what day you will commit to praying. List for them the things that you pray for them about.
Pray for their kids by name, their co-laborers (or for some to come), their parents in the States. Pray for their financial burdens. Pray for the names of those they are ministering to.
I have always said that I have no idea how or why God has carried me over so many funny and hard places, and made these hordes of people submit to me, or why the Government should have given me the privilege of a Magistrate among them, except in answer to prayer made at home for me. It is all beyond my comprehension. The only way I can explain it is on the ground that I have been prayed for more than most. Pray on, dear one — the power lies that way. — Mary Slessor
2. Send them something.
Emails are great. They are encouraging and welcomed. But send your missionary something tangible, too. Add them to your Christmas card list. Send them birthday cards (send them to their kids, too). Send them a thank-you letter for sharing the Gospel.
Send the missionary something special. Special doesn’t mean rare, expensive and exotic. It means here, “hard to procure in their area.” It could be an ingredient or mix or candy. It could mean a small board game, a CD or movie, or something homemade. Be creative.
If you need ideas, ask them! Or call their sending church and ask their secretary, or find your missionaries’ mom–she knows what they would like.
It takes about 10 days to deliver a letter or package to New Zealand or Poland (by way of examples). Get it in the mail early.
3. Send them something intangible, too.
Missionaries love Amazon Gift Cards, iTunes Gift Cards, Audible.com credits, and other online gifts. Gifts from these vendors can arrive instantly and be instantly useful. This is very simple, but these are a joy to receive. Amazon especially offers such a wide range of choices (from instant downloads of music and Kindle books to books, gifts for the home, tools, and much more).
If you purchase a card in your own name, you will need to accurately copy the code when you notify the missionary of his gift.
Amazon gift cards are my preferred gift. Nothing says, “thank you for bearing the Gospel on my behalf,” like an Amazon gift card. — William Carey
Donating frequent flyer miles, restaurant gift certificates (they don’t all live in the bush, but you will have to check to make sure it will work globally) or Skype gift certificates are also often helpful.
A lot of missionaries enjoy the advantages of electronic book readers. You could offer them a lot of convenience if you sent them one of these beauties.
4. Up your support.
Christmas is a great season to receive a financial bonus. Missionaries have higher expenses during December just like you do. Cash is a simple gesture that can be used in so many ways. Sending cash through PayPal can be done with no fees to the sender or receiver. Proper protocol would usually have you send the support to their sending agency.
You can also lend support by “friending” them on Facebook. Join their ministry fan pages, visit their websites, leave comments and encouragements for them…but send money, too.
5. Encourage them in the Gospel.
Let the words that you pen and type and say to your missionary friends ring full of Gospel. Remind your missionaries that the Gospel is true and it brings new life and hope. Exhort them with your strength to maintain their strength in Christ.
6. Envy them.
You know what I mean, I hope. You have your calling and they have theirs, but theirs is such a special and radical departure from your sort of normal. They have struggles you cannot know, unless you’ve been there [visiting your missionaries would make a great #7]. The support structure you enjoy to help you with your burdens, babysitting, encouragement needs, shoulders to cry on is almost always not there for missionaries.
In a way, they have forsaken everything. Their parents, friends and church home are so far away.
So why envy them? Because Scripture honors them (and their beautiful feet) so highly. Honor them for the joy that is theirs and the promises they have to claim as they go.
I cannot tell you what joy it gave me to bring the first soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have tasted almost all the pleasures that this world can give. I do not suppose there is one that I have not experienced, but I can tell you that those pleasures were as nothing compared to the joy that the saving of that one soul gave me. – C.T. Studd
There are so many more ways. Some of them are things that may be better done by the local church collectively. Leave your comments. What are more ways to encourage our missionaries in this coming season?