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. 😊

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.

 

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!

How to Bless a Missionary – Loan them Something (Week #12)

Have you ever traveled somewhere and had to rent a car when you arrived? Or have you had to figure out how to get a car seat once you are there?

Many missionaries travel long distances to return to the United States, and then they travel again and again while in the U.S. Most don’t own cars in the U.S., and some will not have access to a car seat once they arrive.

One way you can help is to loan them something like a car or child’s car seat. These things are bulky or cumbersome and they might need them while in your area. This could save them hundreds of dollars. They might only need to use it for a weekend or a week, or they might need it for the whole summer. Find out their needs are and see how you can help. Even if you can only help part of the time, this can still be a huge help. This also helps the missionary family be good stewards with the money they are receiving from donors. They don’t need to waste donated money on a rental car if someone local can let them use one for a few days.

If you think about it, you might even be able to figure out some other things that a missionary could use. All you probably need to do is ask them. Do they need a saw, a blender, a ladder … I bet you could think of other ideas. Share them with us!

How to Bless a Missionary – Take Them Shopping (Week #11)

Taking a missionary shopping may sound a little overwhelming, especially if you are an introvert or if you don’t know them well. BUT, believe me, this can be a huge blessing!

There are two ways that I have seen this happen:

  1. Organize a shopping trip as a church for multiple missionaries visiting at the same time. I know a church that does this every year during their missionary focus week/month and it works well. They assign a designated amount of money for each missionary family, and assign church volunteers to accompany them to the mall. It is an event for all the missionary families and church volunteers to participate in at the same time. They take pictures and then share them on Sunday with the congregation. Many times, the missionaries will buy things like tennis shoes, pants, and bathrobes. You’d be surprised how grateful they are to buy some of these things they have been needing, but unable to afford.
  2. Take them individually. If you are meeting them for lunch or hosting them in your home, you can figure out a time to take them shopping while you are with them or while they are in town.

Things to consider:

  • Decide ahead of time if you’d like to surprise the missionary or let them know ahead of time. It might work best to plan the time, since most missionaries have a schedule to keep when they are back in the United States.
  • You don’t have to go to a huge mall.  Pick a smaller store if time is short.
  • You also need to decide what you want to take them shopping for.
    • Are you going to let them buy whatever they want?
    • Are you going to ask them to identify something they need?
    • Or are you going to offer to spoil them by buying an expensive perfume or makeup?
    • What you are shopping for will determine what store you need to go to.
  • Do you need to set a budget?
    • If you have limited funds, you need to decide ahead of time how much you are willing to spend.   If you only have a specific amount to spend, you can let the missionary know how much or just give them the cash and let them spend it.

Have you ever taken a missionary shopping?  Consider giving it a try!

 

How to Bless a Missionary – Buy A Magazine Subscription for Them (Week #10)

Contact your missionary friend and find out what kinds of magazines they might enjoy reading. Learn about what interests they have. What do they like?

  • Parenting
  • Homeschooling
  • Photography
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Carpentry
  • DIY
  • Travel
  • Aviation
  • Children’s interests

You’ll also need to find out if they prefer to read it electronically or receive the paper version in the mail. You might check if they can even receive paper versions through the mail…. you’ll also have to check with the magazine to see if they ship overseas (it might cost a little more for overseas shipping). You’ll either need an email or a street/PO address. Look up a magazine that matches their interest and order it for them or their children. Missionary kids usually have less access to many English reading materials.

You can do this on any budget! Many magazines are available at steep discounts at different times through the year. If you participate in the Recyclebank recycling program, you can use reward points to order magazines for other people and it won’t cost you anything!

This is a great idea for a gift that is not a one-time thing…they will keep receiving new issues throughout the whole year.  By the way, this is a great gift for anyone!

Here are some links to a few magazines to get you started…just click on the image!

            Focus on the Family Magazine Subscription - 12 Issues Clubhouse Jr. Magazine Subscription - 12 Issues

Family Fun All Access                     

Practical Homeschooling              HGTV Magazine

world-subscription-kit

(Some links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.)

 

 

 

How to Bless a Missionary – Care for Their Elderly or Ill Family Member (Week #9)

Source Images: DSC_0457.JPG (Av: F3.0; Tv: 1/4000 sec.; ISO: 200; FL: 20.0 mm) DSC_0458.JPG (Tv: 1/500 sec.) DSC_0456.JPG (Tv: 1/2000 sec.) Processing: Fusion F.1 (HDR; Mode 1)

Overseas workers, just like us, have family members that get sick or need extra care from time to time. The difference is that they are not always able to be present to care for them. Many missionaries struggle with being far away from a family member when they are sick. Some have elderly parents that are not acutely ill, but need some extra help with certain activities. Some missionaries are forced to return from their ministry if someone is not available to care for their family member.

So, an out-of-the-box way that you can be a blessing to a missionary is to offer to care for their family member. Examples of family members that may need extra care include:

  • Elderly parents
  • Sick parents, siblings, or children
  • Missionary kids that have returned for school in the United States or are at boarding school

Ways that you can be helpful might include such things as:

  • Taking them to doctor appointments
  • Sitting with them in the hospital
  • Driving them to church, Bible studies or book clubs
  • Making meals to take to them or inviting them over for a meal
  • Going grocery shopping for them
  • Cleaning their house
  • Mowing their lawn or doing yard work
  • Respite care (sitting with an ill person while the primary caretaker gets a break)
  • Giving a care package

A great way to be an encouragement to the missionary is to send them an email or call them on the phone to give them an update about their family member. They will feel relieved and grateful to know that their loved one is being checked on and looked out for.

 

How to Bless a Missionary – Send them Christmas Gifts (Week #8)

gift-picture

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about Christmas presents for missionaries. I know it seems early, but it is not!  You might want to send a package or you might want to donate a special amount of money for them to use in buying Christmas things for their own family.

Sending a package to a missionary with Christmas presents in it is a great idea, but it requires a bit of forethought. Contact the missionary you would like to send something to and find out what they might need or like. Also, find out about how to send a package or what you may not be able to send. It may take weeks or months for them to receive it. For more information on sending a package to a missionary, read: how-to-bless-a-missionary-send-them-a-package-week-5/

Sending money as a Christmas gift is also a great idea. This may allow the missionary to buy Christmas presents for their family that they otherwise couldn’t afford. They might be able to purchase something they have been needing or wanting that wasn’t in the normal budget. Find out how to send them money – usually there is a way to make a payment online through their ministry website, but you may have to send in a check. (An added benefit for you – sending money is usually tax-deductible.)

To make an even bigger impact, join together with your Sunday School class, homeschool group, extended family or neighbors and participate together to give an even bigger gift. Your missionary may be able to purchase the washing machine, motorcycle, or car that they have been needing!

What have you sent to a missionary?

How to Bless a Missionary – Host Them in Your Home (Week #7)

lovely-house-in-the-forest-free-license-cc0

One way that we have chosen to bless missionaries is to host them in our home. This also has proven to have an added benefit – our kids see the missionaries and get to know them and their children, even if only for an evening. We have been able to host several missionaries for dinners and lunches in our home. This is a great way for a whole family to be involved, and it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money if your family happens to be on a tight budget.

So, how do you do this if you don’t know any missionaries or don’t know when they will be in town?

  • Contact your local pastor and find out what missionaries will be coming through your area. Have your church put you on a list to be contacted when missionaries will be coming.
  • Find out when a missionary that you have befriended might be coming through. We had started following the newsletters from, and had written several emails to, a family in Brazil. We soon found out that they would be coming to the US and we offered to feed them or have them stay with us if they were around our area. They ended up driving through for supper on their way to another destination. We might not have ever met them if we had not contacted them and invited them to come.

Growing up, my family benefited from staying with many different people. We had people in different states and cities that we got to know because we ate or stayed in their home. This was a big blessing to us because we did not have extra money to pay for frequent hotels during our travels. We had many people that hosted us for meals, but we also stayed overnight with many people while travelling. We stayed for several weeks one summer in the basement of a family that offered to let us use it. I also benefited from a family that let me stay with them for 2 weeks one summer until my parents came back to visit churches that summer.

Here are a few things to consider in order to be a GREAT HOST:

  • Make sure that you have a private area for the missionary and their children to sleep. You would think this would not need to be said, but I’m going to say it anyway. Not everyone seems to know this. You don’t have to have a basement or private apartment…. a normal bedroom will do. It is just awkward if there is no way for them to close a door for privacy or if you expect their children to sleep with yours. Remember, they are strangers and may not feel comfortable with this.
  • Find out about allergies. Many people these days seem to have allergies to all sorts of different things. You’d hate to serve spaghetti and find out that they can’t have gluten, prepare food with nuts when they have a life-threatening allergy, or put them in the room the dog normally sleeps in if they are allergic to dogs!
  • Prepare your Wi-fi password. Most missionaries these days are very globally interconnected. They may not have a data plan or internet access, and they will likely be very grateful to be able to use your Wi-fi.
  • Prepare a gift bag. This can be anything your family would like and can afford. Maybe it’s a collection of travel-sized toiletries for them to use while in your home and take with them. Maybe it has travel activities and snacks for the kids. Maybe it has an item for a home (if they are on home assignment). Maybe you can afford to put some gift cards in. Use your imagination and get the kids involved!

Have you hosted a missionary? Share your ideas with us!