Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Creative Ways To Support Missionaries

            Missionary support; it seems like tricky business but in all actuality it can be quite practical if you know how and A LOT OF FUN!!!  Many people believe that if they don’t have money they can’t support missionaries!  They want to give financially but something seems to always get in the way (debt, car or house maintenance, cost of raising a child, etc.)  While money is EXTREMELY HELPFUL, it’s surprisingly not the only thing we missionaries need. 

Often we as missionaries feel forgotten by friends and family at home as we watch children we love grow up on facebook or friends we love accomplish milestones or set off on new adventures.  We also get homesick, especially during major holidays and birthdays. 

There are simple things you can do that will help us as we live and serve overseas.  Many friends have asked how they can support missionaries and so in this blog I am going to give you some creative ways to do so!

1. Pray for missionaries regularly, AND TELL THEM WHEN YOU PRAY or that you are praying!!!

            Being a missionary in another country can be difficult.  Depending on where you are there are spiritual strongholds and darkness that we have never encountered until entering that country or region. Prayer is so important, especially during the first 2 years because not only are you learning a new culture, and language but you’re also are learning how to survive and understand a different tactic of spiritual warfare.

            We know that you are praying for us but hearing that you are praying can be such an encouragement!  Ask us how you can pray for us.  Also, let us know how we can pray for you!  Then pray together with your missionary.  Which brings me to my next creative idea…….

2.  Video calling dates

            Skype, Facetime, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, etc, there are so many different apps for video calling these days!  Video calling is a great way to keep in touch because you can talk to someone as if they are right there in the room with you!  This is also a great way to share with one another about the struggles in life.  We as missionaries want to know your struggles as much as we want you to know ours.

            One of my favorite ways to use this idea is setting up a coffee date.  You could also do this over a meal as well.  Each person prepares their meal or drink before the call and then enjoys it together while talking to one another.  It’s like being in a café!!!!  These types of video dates are a lot of fun and a creative way to help ease homesickness!!

3. Write encouraging emails or “snail-mail” (postal letters).

            Who doesn’t love to get cards in the mail?  Who doesn’t love to get email that isn’t junk?  EVERYONE loves mail!!!!  Send us a word of encouragement!!!

            Missionary friends this goes for us too! One of my favorite things to do is send postcards from the country I’m in!  My supporters really love this and it doesn’t cost much! 

            One of the best things about Smart Phones is all the free texting apps.  Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Kakao Talk, Line, WhatsApp, I could go on and on!!!  This is a great way to send a quick, “I’m thinking of you” Or “I love you” note that can really encourage someone.  My sister-in-law uses this method whenever my niece does something for the first time or is being funny!

Also I like to send funny memes or videos that I know will make that person laugh!  You never know when someone is having a bad day so a quick text could make all the difference.  Laughing is medicine for the soul!

5.  Coordinate a care package

            I know it costs a lot of money to ship a package across the Pacific Ocean but there are things from home that can easily be shipped!  Favorite snacks, candies, or Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing packets ;) can make a world of difference when battling homesickness.  If you get together with a group of people, it won’t cost as much to ship.  You can put some pictures and handmade cards from your kids in the package too!

Even small things like Apple gift cards or Amazon Gift cards to buy the latest music or books or movies can be a big help.  We are missionaries so we don’t have much spending money!  These are a nice treat for us. 

            Don’t send too much though!  Some countries charge a fee if the package contents are over a certain dollar amount.  This charge will be put on the missionary and can be pricy depending on what is sent.

6.  Read and reply to missionary’s newsletters

            We spend a lot of time writing our newsletters and thinking of creative ways to share what we are doing!  For missionaries like myself who use MailChimp, we can see who opens the newsletter and who doesn’t.  I send my newsletter to over 200 people. But only 55-60% of people open my newsletter.  Of that percentage I’m lucky if 5 people message me back.  That’s really discouraging!

            I’m grateful that people support me on the mission field but to be honest, newsletter time is seriously one of THE MOST DISCOURAGING times for me!  Even if it is just a quick, one-line word of encouragement, hearing back from you means a lot!  When I say, “I want to know what’s going on in your life so reply to my newsletter,” I mean it!

7. Commit to regular financial support!

            I know some of you may be thinking, “I thought this blog was not about money?”  Well I didn’t say that.  I said simple ways you could help!  Some people think they have to give a lot of money to missions in order to be effective.  But I’m here to tell you that thinking is a lie! 

Remember the story in the Bible of the boy with the loaves and fish and how God used it to feed thousands of people?  Well, even if you just gave $10 or $25 a month, you would be surprised about how far it goes on the mission field.  God has multiplied my money so much this past year and used the little bit I have been given to help not only myself but other missionaries in need as well. 

We as missionaries are grateful for whatever you can give.  Don’t let the small amount you are able to afford prevent you from being a blessing!  God can use that small amount in a mighty way!!!  You would be surprised!  Read any one of my newsletters and you can see how God has multiplied that money. 

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