Types of Missionaries – Hotel Worker/Manager/Tour Guide

Some cultures are not open to the gospel, and some countries do not allow Christian missionaries to come into their country. A type of missionary that is very useful in these situations is a hotel worker, manager or tour guide.

(Photo courtesy of Skitterphoto.com)

I know a missionary that serves in a predominantly Muslim country. They cannot openly go as missionaries, so instead they went as a manager and tour guide for a local hotel. They are there to do a job, but also to be salt and light in a dark culture. By working there and forming relationships they are able to share the hope of the gospel with some who might never have heard of it. People in these cultures are much more likely to trust in Jesus if they have a relationship with a Christian that they trust.

Do you like to travel and learn about other cultures? Do you enjoy spending time with people? Maybe you have thought you could never be a missionary because you haven’t gone to seminary or Bible School…but this is one job that you could do without that training!  Just think of the possibilities…you could be a hotel manager, tour guide, chef, nanny, tutor, personal shopper, etc.

Is this something you could do?

 

How to Bless a Missionary (Week # 17)– Have a Garage Sale

Have you been feeling like your house is a mess? Are you on board with the recent trend for downsizing and decluttering? Do you need a great way to get rid of extra stuff?

Use all those extra items to hold a garage sale to benefit your favorite missionary!

A garage sale is a great way to make a little bit of extra money by getting rid of all those unneeded items that are lying around. You can organize this on your own or join with a friend or several families. Sell your items for specific prices or just ask for donations…you choose what works for you!

Use the proceeds from your garage sale to:

    • Send a one-time donation to your missionary. You can probably do this online very easily.
    • Donate the money to the missions fund at your church.
    • Purchase a certain item that your missionary needs or wants. When I was a Senior in high school, a donation was given to our family by a Sunday School class for us to be able to purchase a clothes dryer. We had wished for one for years, but hanging clothes out to dry was our only option since we didn’t have funds to buy one. This donation was a huge blessing to me and my mom.
    • Give your missionary a special Christmas or birthday donation. They might wish they had enough money for gifts at Christmas, and your donation may be the only way that they are able to purchase these. Just imagine the joy the parents will feel when their children are able to open some packages!
    • Support someone going on a short-term missions trip.

 

Another way you can make some money if you don’t want to hold a garage sale is to put some items into a consignment sale. There are some relatively new consignment sales for kids’ items, and these are a great alternative for people who don’t want to sit for several days watching a garage sale. Search online for a consignment sale in your area.

Most consignment sales have options where you can tag your own items or have them tag them for you, and then you take home a certain percentage of the sale amount. (I recently consigned my kids’ outgrown clothes in one where I earned 70% of what things sold for.) I tagged the items myself and dropped them off. Then, I picked up what was left over 4 days later. 😊  (Items typically sell for higher prices at these sales.  Something you might only sell for $1 at a garage sale might sell for $3-4 at a consignment sale!)

Either of these options is great for people who don’t have any wiggle room in their budget. If you have been wishing that you could do more to support a missionary but every last penny goes to feed your family and keep a roof over your head, this is a great way to be able to do something amazing and help!

Have you ever had a garage sale to benefit a missionary? I’d love to hear how you did it and how much you were able to donate!

Types of Missionaries – Dentist or Orthodontist

As I was growing up, my family was richly blessed by a man named Dr. Schaffer. This man was a dentist/orthodontist based in Florida, and he decided to help missionary kids be able to have straight teeth.

Every three months, this man and his wife would load their supplies up and fly to southern Mexico where I lived. He would then spend 3-4 days doing orthodontics for missionary kids. His wife was his assistant on the trips. They would stay in a room at a local Bible seminary, and the local missionary community would organize whatever he needed. I lived in a large city where several missionary families were based, and we would sign up to provide lunches, dinners, and provide transportation to and from the airport and wherever he needed to go. A missionary mom organized the schedule of patients prior to his arrival and made calls to each family. He required no payment for his services.

This was a huge blessing to me! My family did not have enough support (like many missionaries), and braces would have likely been too expensive for us to afford. And my teeth were horribly crooked!

But, thanks to Dr. Schaffer and his generosity, I have straight teeth!

There are many ways that dentists and orthodontists can be missionaries.

  • They can travel and work alone, like Dr. Schaffer.
  • A group of dentists and/or orthodontists can plan to come together.
  • Sometimes they accompany a medical caravan. In addition to medical care, people can have their teeth checked and receive fillings and tooth extractions. This is a great way to help poor indigent people that cannot afford dental care or don’t have a dentist close. This is a great way to partner with a local missionary or church to reach out to their community and teach more people about Jesus.

Have you thought about becoming a dentist or orthodontist? Share this post with your own dentist or someone that you know that is planning to become one!

 

When Illness Changes Your Plans

It has been several weeks since I have posted here at FamiliesForMissions.com.  This was not part of the plan, of course.  But sometimes illness sidelines someone with the best of intentions.

I have an illness called Meniere’s disease.  This is an inner ear problem that causes vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). I was diagnosed with this a couple of years ago and suffered quite a bit with weekly vertigo episodes.  I was able to receive steroid shots through the affected ear drum, and these shots gave me some relief from the vertigo for a little over a year.  I still had the hearing loss, ringing in my ear, and unsteadiness, but I was able to function well.

Several weeks ago, the vertigo returned.  When the vertigo happens, it feels as if the entire world is spinning around me for several hours, and it is impossible to do anything but lie in bed with my eyes shut.  Then, I typically have several days of marked unsteadiness.  I can’t drive, and I need help watching my children and taking care of them.  There is no cure, but there are a few medications that can help with symptoms.

Needless to say, this makes writing and editing blog posts very difficult.  I am making plans and will be posting more regularly now.  Thanks for your patience!

I look forward to sharing more great missions ideas with you and your family!

How to Bless a Missionary – Organize and Host a Dinner for Them at Your Church (Week #16)

Recently, one of our church’s missionaries was back in the United States for a visit. A lunch meeting was planned, and the church was in need of volunteers to buy and prepare food for a meal after the morning services. Our missionaries were going to share their story, ministry, and vision with anyone attending the lunch meeting.

A simple way that we were able to help was to purchase supplies for the lunch. We decided on a “make-your-own-deli-sandwich” buffet. This only required a little bit of time to go to the store, set the supplies up on trays, and make sure that the food was ready. About 40 people were able to eat sandwiches, fruit, chips, and cookies…and they were able to get to know the missionaries better.

Now, we know things to pray for. We know specific needs. We know what their kids look like. We will think of them when we see certain things. Our kids were able to listen to them and will remember meeting them and hearing about where they work.

I would encourage you to look for opportunities like this! Your kids will talk about it for days. 😊

Types of Missionaries – Seminary Teacher

As you can imagine, there are not enough missionaries to care for and disciple all of the people that have newly trusted in Jesus as their Savior. Some of these new believers have a desire to continue to spread the good news about Jesus, and some even want to become pastors. But where do they get training to do this? Many are very poor and there are not enough seminaries or theological colleges close to them.

One kind of missionary that many people do not think of is a seminary teacher. There are some people that travel from the United States to another country to teach for a few weeks each year. Most of these missionaries go to another country and live in that culture and environment. They learn the language and cultural nuances by immersing themselves in the local culture. Instead of being a pastor of a local church, they spend their time teaching people how to become a pastor and how to study the Bible and explain it to others.

Some of the goals of a seminary teacher are:

  • Provide quality theological teaching
  • Equip local people to teach the Bible
  • Answer questions about difficult passages in the Bible
  • Train local pastors and teachers
  • Teach people to recognize false teaching
  • Provide scripturally founded local teachers for new believers in Jesus

One location that has seminary teachers is Harare Theological College in Zimbabwe, Africa. You can read more about it here.

There is also a seminary in Puebla, Mexico (where I grew up) called Seminario Biblico de Puebla. They have a boarding school and evening class options, and many local Mexican people have trained there.

 

Activities to do with your kids:

  • If you have young kids, let them set up a podium or desk and pretend to be a Bible professor.
  • Read more about Zimbabwe and being a Bible professor. Check your local library for great books on travelling to Zimbabwe.

 

 

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Need Ideas for Travelling with Kids?

Here is a link to a great series of videos about a family that travels with their kids.  You can get some great ideas or just watch for fun!  These are free right now with Amazon Prime.  (Pricing on Amazon changes frequently, so make sure you double-check the price before watching!)  You may also be able to find some episodes on your local PBS station. 

Season 5: Includes videos about Cabo Mexico, Wales UK, Rome Italy, Churches of Rome, Tahiti French Polynesia, Moorea Island French Polynesia, The Yangtze River and 3 Gorges Dam, Vietnam – Hanoi & Ha Long Bay Adventure, Bangkok, Jungles & Elephant Adventures, Hawaii – Oahu & Honolulu for Kids, Park City Utah Ski Family Adventure, South Africa Safari Family Adventure, South Africa Cape Town and Sharks.

Season 6: Travel With Kids takes you to the Big Island of Hawaii for Families, Los Angeles California with kids, South Africa’s Garden Coast, South Africa’s Wildlife Adventures, Bora Bora Island French Polynesia, Cancun Mexico With Kids, Huatulco Pacific Coast of Mexico, Belize Islands and Jungles With Kids, Belize Caribbean Coast With Kids, Beijing & The Great Wall of China with Kids, Fiji & Castaway Island, Botswana, Africa Safari Adventure, Maui Hawaii For Kids.

 

(This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on a link and make a purchase, familiesformissions.com may receive a small compensation.)

 

How to Bless a Missionary – Provide a Vacation Home or RV (Week #15)

Vacation season is approaching fast, and many families are making plans for trips during the coming months. Missionaries usually have to travel quite a bit, but it is not usually for pleasure or a vacation. While in the United States, they are tasked with traveling to different churches and visiting different supporting individuals. Their schedule can be exhausting, and staying with strangers can be very stressful. Sometimes, they long to “go home” to the country where they serve to be able to rest a little bit.

You can help provide a much-needed rest in the midst of this chaos. Do you have a vacation home, timeshare, or RV? You can offer this to a visiting missionary and give them an option of a way to get away for a few days. Due to financial constraints, this may be the only way they could ever experience something like this.

Now, you may be thinking, “My timeshare isn’t anywhere exotic”. While this may be true, and it may be in the middle of the United States in a “boring” location, the missionary can still get away to rest and recharge.

Make sure you know the exact dates that the home or RV is available.  Also, make sure you know any rules about who can stay there or use it, and pass these on to the missionary.

If you don’t have a timeshare or RV, you can still offer to help the missionary rest. Offer to pay for a night or two in a hotel or bed and breakfast somewhere along their travels. You could even buy tickets for them at an attraction close-by. (I would recommend coordinating this with your missionary friends, as they may not have extra days available for other activities or they might rather just choose to actually rest!)

 

 

How to Bless a Missionary – Donate Money (Week #14)

Did you know that you can donate money to a missionary without giving it through your local church? One of the most obvious ways to be a blessing to a missionary is to donate money to their ministry. This can be a great way to feel more involved and connected to them. (This should not take the place of your normal tithing to the local church, but should be in addition to it.) 😊 You can choose to do this:

  • One time – give a one-time gift when you have the money available or choose a special occasion like a birthday or Christmas. (This can bless the missionary by supplying some extra funds for something they have been needing or wanting.)
  • On a regular schedule – monthly is the most common, but you could choose quarterly or yearly. (Giving on a regular basis is a huge blessing! This helps the missionary to plan ahead and know how much income to expect on a monthly basis.)

How do you do this?

  • You can give money directly to a missionary that is visiting. (Doing this means you won’t get a receipt for a tax-deduction, but you’ll get to give it to them personally!)
  • Send a check to their stateside mission address or P.O. Box.
  • Sign up for automatic donations online from your bank account or credit card. (This is the easiest! You won’t forget to send in the money that they are counting on if it happens automatically.)

How do you find someone to send it to?

  • Ask your missions pastor.
  • Ask a friend if they have a missionary that they donate to.
  • Read about missionaries online and pick one. Make sure that their mission agency is a reputable one (read about their mission statement and core values, find out how they manage their money, etc.) Find a ministry that sounds interesting to you and your family.

Need some help? Try these links:

Jacob and Gina Anderson (Wycliffe Missionary Pilot in Brazil)

Daren and Elissa Tompkins (SIM Physician in Zambia, Africa)

I can tell you, from personal experience, just how much of a difference a donation by a family can make. My parents support (a.k.a. money) came from several churches and a large list of supporting couples and families that made it a priority to send money every  month. Some sent only 10 or 25 dollars per month.  This may seem like a very small amount of money in the big scheme of things, but it all added up. If it were not for these families, we could have never gone to the mission field.

 

Types of Missionaries – Printer

Many people live in parts of the world that are difficult to get to. And many people do not have money to buy books or literature. Some don’t even have any available for purchase due to their remote location or government controls. So, when they receive a Bible, book, or pamphlet, they treasure it and read it many times.

One type of missionary work that is near and dear to my heart is printing because this is what my dad did as a missionary. Although my dad did not have a seminary degree, he had a servant’s heart. When he heard that there was a ministry that needed someone fluent in Spanish that also knew how to design and layout documents for printing, he knew that he had to help. Eventually, he learned how to run the 2-ton printing press by himself. Printing Biblical tracts and parts of the Bible were not what he had gone to college to do, but he learned how and he spent many years of his life serving in this capacity. He always loved hearing the stories of how people had read the literature he printed and came to believe in Jesus as their Savior.

Some of the steps traditional printing might involve include:

  • Translation of a document into another language
  • Creating artwork
  • Layout of the document                                              
  • Making a negative or plate to use in printing     
  • Running the printing press
  • Checking printed papers to make sure they are being printed correctly
  • Cutting the large paper into smaller sections
  • Folding the document
  • Compiling the document with pages in order
  • Stapling, gluing or binding the document

Here are some finished tracts and the Gospel of John in Spanish:

There are many ministries that use printers and people that know about laying out documents. The Bible is constantly being translated into more and more languages. And someone needs to print those new Bibles! Maybe you could help with this someday! You might even be able to get an apprenticeship somewhere local to learn more about printing.

Another new exciting development in recent years is P.O.D. (Print-on-demand). This is revolutionizing the ability to get the printed Bible to people as fast as possible. They don’t have to wait months or years after the translation is finished to actually get a paper copy anymore! Programs like Wycliffe Associates are raising money to buy more P.O.D. systems around the world to facilitate this. A full-scale P.O.D. system costs around $15,000 USD, and there are smaller systems available for remote areas that are less expensive.

Want to find out more about printing ministries? Check out these links:

How can you get your family interested in this?

  • Watch a video about how a printing press works or this one
  • Talk about the first printing press: Gutenberg
  • Fold and staple some papers together and have your kids write their own book or tract to tell others about Jesus.  Make sure they include some artwork.  🙂

 

I’ll leave you with this interesting quote I found:

The Printed Page is a Missionary

The gospel in print is a “missionary”. It neither flinches nor shows cowardice. It is never tempted to compromise. It neither tires, nor grows discouraged. It travels cheaply and requires no hired hall. It works while others sleep. It never loses its temple. It continues to minister long after the present generation has passed on. The gospel in print is effective. It gains entrance to both the lowly hut and the lofty palace. It speaks to a man at the right time, only when he is reading it. It sticks to what it says and never answers back. It reaches those who otherwise might never be reached. It carries the only authoritative answers. It points the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ. The gospel in print is far-reaching. Through reading a tract, Russell H. Conwell was led to Christ. A pamphlet . . . fell into the hands of John Bunyan, and by this means he was converted. Pilgrim’s Progress came from his pen, and through that excellent work thousands were saved. This missionary – the gospel in print – should have the prayerful support of every Christian. Those who make it possible become Missionaries of the Printed Page.

– Author Unknown