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Looking for ways to help missionaries? Here are some practical ideas…
One key lesson that God taught us on deputation is that we can’t be missionaries on our own. We need help from God and also from the people He brings into our lives.
Throughout deputation and our time here at Missionary Acres, here are specific events and actions that greatly encouraged our family. These experiences bolstered our faith and provided practical help in a time of need.
Of course, the examples we share aren’t the only ways we’ve been helped. They’re just ones that worked well for the purpose of this blog post.
To everyone who has helped our family through this process, in any way, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
7 Ways to Help Missionaries
Here are some practical ways that people have helped our family:
1. Keep In Touch
Sometimes when you’re discouraged on deputation or on the mission field, you might start feeling like you’re all alone. On those days, one of the best remedies is a personal note, card, or email from someone.
It always amazes us how God sends these bits of communication at just the right time. Often right on the very day we’re struggling, we receive a card or email. And when we open it and read it, it lifts our spirits and helps us to remember why we’re there.
So if God lays it on your heart to write to a missionary, submit to His leading. You never know how much your words will mean.
You don’t have to write much. Just a quick note that you’re thinking of the missionary and praying for them can be so encouraging. Don’t worry about not knowing what to say or saying the wrong thing. The very fact that you cared enough to stay in touch is a huge blessing!
Here are some of the ways that people in our lives have blessed us through communication:
- Replying to our email newsletters
- Sending a birthday or anniversary card
- Sending a picture that a child drew for us with a quick “We’re praying for you” note
- Emailing a note “just because”
- Sending a hand-written note or card to let us know you’re praying for us
- Sending a letter or a note for one of our kids (they so love getting their own mail!)
2. Offer Suggestions While They’re In Town
While on deputation, the majority of the towns we were in were places we’d never been in before. Often we were far away from home and had no idea about the lay of the land so to speak.
It helped so much when someone local took the time to write down a few suggestions for our family. Here are some of the best tips we received:
- Ideas for free family fun in town
- Directions to parks in a safe part of town
- A note about which grocery store had the best prices
- A list of local restaurants where kids ate free
These “insider” tips were so helpful to our family. When you’re trying to rely on Google for this information, you never know how reliable the results are.
So if you’ve got a missionary coming to town, take a few moments to jot down some tips for them. They may not try everything on your list, but they will appreciate the information, and that you took the time to put it together for them.
3. Provide Snacks
Road trips with kids can be a challenge. Snacks help. We’ve been blessed with many different types of pre-packaged snacks that we could pull out along the road.
We had people reach out and ask about favorites and allergies. We’ve had others who provided a basket or shopping bag filled with a few different options. It’s always a blessing (and really helps us to save money on the road!)
Here are some of our favorite snacks we’ve received. These were all easy to eat on the road, were somewhat healthy, and weren’t overly messy when eaten by kids on the go.
- Beef jerky
- Granola bars
- Small packs of nuts
- Prepackaged servings of crackers
- Packs of trail mix
- Juice boxes
4. Send Money
As we’re working on our house remodel here at Missionary Acres, we’ve had some unexpected expenses come up.
One day recently, we were praying with the kids for a specific need in the kitchen. Do you know what came in the mail that day?
An unexpected gift for exactly the amount needed to cover that expense.
God is so faithful! And He uses people like you to meet needs in His perfect timing.
And when you give to missions as a family, you help cultivate mission awareness in your home.
Also, consider joining a missionary’s financial support team and giving to them on a regular basis. If you’re interested in partnering with us, you can find more information here: Support Bryan & Lisa Tanner
5. Pray for Their Kids
Being a missionary kid is hard. While on deputation, the kids have to adjust to a different church each week. They spend hours in the car instead of running around playing. And they’re leaving behind everything familiar to them.
Once the family arrives on their mission field, the kids have to deal with culture shock (this even exists in the US – Missouri is SO DIFFERENT from Washington State!) They also have to try to make new friends. It’s a hard time of transition.
Missionary kids need your prayers – please remember them. And let them know you’re praying for them. We’ve had people tell us that they pray for our kids on a certain day each week. Or that they use our prayer card to pray for them by name.
Some people may feel like prayer is just a little thing, but let us tell you – that is not the case. Prayer is one of the most valuable things you can do. So please pray for the kids of missionaries around the world.
6. Have Them In for a Meal
We met so many amazing people while we were on deputation. And while you can say hello and do some small talk while standing at the church, you really get to know people when they invite you over for a meal.
We were blessed to join families across the country for some great food and some wonderful fellowship. Each meal was a huge blessing to us.
As a missionary family, going into other people’s homes can be a bit nervewracking, especially when you’re bringing ten kids. Here are a few things that really helped the experience go more smoothly:
- Asking about allergies and food preferences beforehand
- Showing the family where the bathroom is right away (so when it’s needed they can find it again)
- Having a few toys set out for the kids to play with
- Heading outside to visit so the kids can burn off some energy
- Ensuring there was a way to get our son in his wheelchair into the home
Don’t have to worry about things being perfect – missionaries are just regular people. So prepare a simple meal and enjoy some great fellowship together. Your hospitality will be appreciated.
Here are a few of the meals the kids thought were the most memorable while we were on the road:
- Ham and cheese sliders with chips
- Hamburgers and french fries
- Lasagna and garlic bread
- Sloppy joes
None of these were overly fancy, but they all tasted great and after eating take-out on the road, there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal.
7. Go Visit Them on the Field
There is a ton of work to do on the mission field. Missionaries often can’t keep up with everything that needs to be done.
If you can plan a mission trip and go work alongside them on the field, it would be so encouraging for your missionaries.
You don’t have to have special training – just show up ready to work. You will be a blessing and will come away blessed. You’ll have a better understanding of where your investment in missions is going, and what the needs are on the field.
Who knows – God may even use this experience to help you surrender to full-time service.
Other Practical Ways to Help Missionaries
Here are a few other ideas for ways you can help missionaries.
- Send a care package of items from home that may not be available where they’re serving (just make sure you check with them first – some countries have really high fees for customs or restrictions that it’s important to know about before shipping things.)
- Actually read their prayer letter and faithfully pray for them
- Use your talents to help in creative ways – volunteer to help with their website maintenance, design their next prayer card, take a family photo, etc.
- Let missionaries stay in your home when they’re on deputation or furlough. It’ll save them a lot of money on hotel costs.
- Email a gift card to Amazon or some other store so your missionary can pick up some necessities
- Encourage them – let them know they’re not forgotten. Reach out and check on their mental health and see how they’re doing spiritually. Missionaries often have prayer requests that they don’t feel comfortable sharing with all of their supporters. Be a confidential prayer partner who they can turn to when a need arises.
- Share your prayer requests with them – missionaries want to feel connected to the people on their support team, and being able to pray for timely, specific needs can really help with that.
What Other Ways to Help Missionaries Can You Think Of?
This isn’t an inclusive list. If you have other ideas for ways people can help missionaries, please share them in the comments below.
And if you’re looking for a missionary to present in your church, get in touch. We’re still trying to raise the final bit of our support so we can serve at Missionary Acres full-time.