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.

 

 

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

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

 

Brazil Resources and Printables

Looking for ways to teach your kids about Brazil?

Check out these printables from Homeschool Creations.  They are FREE!

Homeschool Creations also has a great post with a lesson plan for how to study Brazil in a homeschool family!

You can also check out my post with activities about Brazil here.

The National Geographic Kids Brazil page has lots more info, too.

Need some ideas for books about Brazil? Here are some links:

Missionary Kid Stories by [Brannon, Jennifer]           

 

     

     

      

 

These are only a few of the books available.  You don’t have to spend a fortune either…check out your local library to find free books and resources to check out!

 

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

 

 

Types of Missionaries – Medical Missionaries

Imagine… people lined up before dawn, waiting for their turn to see a doctor. Some of them standing in line for hours on end. By noon, those able to see the doctor that day have been signed up and the rest are sent away to try again tomorrow. Some have simple problems like a skin disease or ingrown toenail. Some have large hernias or female problems that require surgical correction.

I have participated in several short-term, medical mission trips, and I am always amazed at the amount of people that come for help. I also am amazed by how “simple” some of the “cures” are.

There are millions of people around the world that have medical needs that are not fixable in the area where they live. There may be a lack of doctors in their area or they may not have money or transportation to get to one. Many people suffer pain or disability with no relief in sight. Sometimes this interferes with their ability to make a living and work.

One important type of missionary that requires some training ahead of time is a medical missionary. All different kinds of people can do medical missions.  Some are full-time missionaries and some do short-term mission trips:

  • Doctors (surgeons, pediatricians, family doctors, ob/gyn, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, etc)
  • Physician’s Assistants
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Medical assistants
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical therapists

Many of these people have spent years in training to learn how to diagnose and treat patients well. Medical missions can also use people without training, though. Many people can be trained to weigh and measure a person and take a blood pressure. This can be vital for checking a patient in.

In my opinion, for a medical mission trip to be the most successful it can be, it needs to have two main components:

  • A team of people, some of whom are not medical. People are needed to manage people in line or waiting to see the doctor, entertain children, fix food for the medical team, clean the operating room, organize supplies, and count medications in the pharmacy.
  • A local missionary or local church as a partner. Healing and fixing medical problems is very rewarding, but unless it is combined with telling the people about how Jesus can be their Savior it is missing the most important part of missions.

There are many medical mission organizations, but not all of them have a goal of telling others about Jesus.  You can go to the following websites to read more about some that do:

Want ideas for how to get your kids involved?

  • Get out the toy medical kit and help them play doctor or nurse with their stuffed animals or dolls. Let them “doctor” you. Pretend you live somewhere where there are no doctors.
  • Read stories (age appropriate) from missionary blogs or websites about doctors and medical professionals overseas.
  • Find some books to read about medical missionaries.  Check out: Ida Scudder, David Livingstone, or On Call (for older kids).  Here are some images to help you as you search.  (This is not an exhaustive list…there are many more books available as well.)
  • On Call (Jaffray Collection of Missionary Portraits) by [Thompson M.D., David C.]    Ida Scudder: Healing Bodies, Touching Hearts (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) by [Benge, Janet, Benge, Geoff]        David Livingstone: Africa's Trailblazer (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) by [Benge, Janet, Benge, Geoff]

 

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

 

Family Activity – King Tut and Ancient Egypt

My oldest child is learning about Ancient Egypt and at the same time reading through Genesis and Exodus at school.  This has been a great way for her to learn about the environment and culture during the time of the old Bible stories about Abraham, Joseph, and Moses.

Our whole family has learned a lot during this time, and we have watched several interesting documentaries about Egypt during our family movie nights. Here are some links to some of the videos we have watched:

  • A Film about how Egyptian chariots may have been constructed
  • A Documentary about how the pyramids may have been built
  • And this short video about where the Israelites most likely crossed the Red Sea

NOVA (PBS) also has a neat interactive feature on their website where you can explore many different historical sites in Egypt.

We also read a book about King Tut,

and checked out another book at the library. 

We have mummified a chicken leg and have built a pyramid with sugar cubes, too. 

I recently found another neat project at a local thrift store.  I thought it would be a fun thing to do with my kids, and they loved it.

We spent several days painting the different parts of the kit and putting them together.  They were able to make the mummy and decorate the coffin with all the supplies included.  My kids thought this was great and plan to take King Tut’s coffin to school as “show-and-tell”.

If you want to purchase a similar activity for your kids, you can find one on Amazon here.

We have used this to talk about Ancient Egypt, but also to learn a little about modern-day Egypt.  Currently, Egypt is a country rich in history and with many popular museums and historical sites.  It is an Islamic country where Christians seem to be facing more and more persecution.  We can pray for missionaries there to be brave in sharing the Good News about Jesus.

We can also pray for ministries like SAT-7 to reach many more people. This is a Christian television ministry that shares about Jesus in Arabic and other languages all over the Middle East.  They even have a SAT-7 KIDS channel that broadcasts children’s programming in Arabic!

 

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

How to Bless a Missionary – Pray For Their Kids (Week #13)

You might be thinking, “Didn’t we already have a post on praying for a missionary?”. And yes, we did. If you’d like to read it, you can go here.

But praying for a missionary’s kids can need a little bit of a different focus. So, today we are going to talk about specific prayer needs for missionary kids.

  1. Adjustment to new situations – Missionary kids are exposed to many new situations, both in their host country abroad and when they come back to their passport country. Some adjust very easily, but some struggle with each change. Prayer for easy transitions is important.
  2. Language acquisition – Some languages are easy to pick up and learn, while others are very difficult. Some children learn languages quickly, while others seem to struggle. Younger children tend to pick up languages more easily and also seem to have a better “local” accent. Pray that they learn the language quickly.
  3. Salvation – This should be the most important thing that we pray for…and the most important for the missionary parents.
  4. Health – We need to pray for general medical health. They need protection from illnesses and injuries. Many children also have learning or physical disabilities, and we should pray that God would provide the appropriate medical care, therapies, and help for their them and their parents.
  5. Safety – This kind of ties into the health request, but missionary kids can be exposed to many different safety hazards. They may travel more often than other kids. There may be people around them that are against Americans or jealous of their family and would like to harm them. There may be wild animals like hippos, spiders, etc. that could cause them harm. They may live in a village with difficult terrain that makes them more prone to broken bones and falls.
  6. Schooling – Choosing how to educate their children is one of the biggest decisions that a missionary family will make. They may choose to homeschool, attend a local school, or send their child to a boarding school. Each of these choices will require a different way of praying, but we also should pray that the child is able to learn well in any circumstance.
  7. Friendships – Missionary kids need prayer to make friends, but not just any friends…the right friends. When they are little, they need good friends to play with. As they get older, they need friends that will not influence them wrongly. We should pray that they do not choose to follow pagan or evil local practices. We should pray that their friends would help their faith grow.

Here is a link with a great article (with scriptures) for you to pray for your own children as well as missionary kids that you know.  Click here to read it.

Let your missionary know what you are praying for their kids!