“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” — Hebrews 11:24 (NLT)
If you know a missionary serving in another country, chances are you’ve wondered exactly how you can encourage them or connect with them when they’re miles — maybe even oceans — away from you.
Well, wonder no more because we’ve come up with a few creative and practical ways you can! There are even some fun things that you can do to make them feel blessed and encouraged all year round.
Send Christmas and birthday cards.There are times throughout the year where a missionary might begin to feel a bit homesick. If they’re serving away from their friends and family during Christmas, a birthday or an anniversary, this may be especially true.
Take note of your missionary’s birthday and send them a card! Even if it’s not possible to send a physical card, e-cards are a great way to let your missionary know you are thinking about them and care about them. If your missionary has children or a spouse, send cards to them on their birthdays too!
And when Christmas rolls around and you're preparing to mail out your annual family Christmas cards or letters to loved ones, consider addressing an extra one and sending it to your missionary.
Write an email, text or a physical letter to let your missionary know you are thinking about them.
Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make a huge difference. Dropping your missionary a quick email, text, handwritten card or letter could be the very source of encouragement they need during a particularly challenging day or week.
A creative way to do this? Consider drafting sealed “themed” letters to send to your missionary with instructions on the front of the envelope for when to open. For instance, you might write a letter to them containing encouraging Bible verses sealed in an envelope that says: “Open when you are feeling discouraged.” Or you might write a letter of praise and rejoicing in an envelope that reads: “Open when you are celebrating a victory from God.”
These little notes of encouragement, celebration and wisdom will help your missionary feel like you are walking right alongside them in their journey, even if you’re thousands of miles apart.*
Send care packages.Before you mail any packages or items to your missionary, it’s always a good idea to check with them first. If you can mail care packages to your missionary and their family, do! It’s helpful to ask your missionary what items they need or miss from home that are difficult to find where they’re serving.
Sometimes missionaries will request things you might not expect — like boxed macaroni and cheese or chocolate peanut butter cups. Or they might need sweaters, socks or other apparel depending on the area of the world where they live. Come up with creative and fun tokens or mementos to send along in the package. Invite your family, friends or a group at church to help you make and deliver care packages as well.
Ask them for prayer requests, and tell them your prayer needs too!Asking your missionary how you can best pray for them is a perfect way to encourage them. It’s likely that your missionary has specific prayer requests regarding their work and the community they are living in. Whenever you pray for your missionary, be sure to let them know. This is a huge source of encouragement for them, especially if they are encountering physical or spiritual obstacles in their work.
Don’t be afraid to share your own prayer requests with your missionary as well. One of the best ways to care for your missionary is to allow them to become a part of your own personal and spiritual journey. Asking them to lift up your needs or the needs of those around you in prayer is a great way to strengthen your relationship together as part of the body of Christ.
Finally, celebrate praises together. When God works through answers to prayer, reach out to your missionary and rejoice!
Video chat with them, if possible.Your missionary might live in areas where this isn’t possible or where Internet connection is scarce, but if it is possible, consider setting aside time to video call with them. This will allow you to build a personal relationship with them — you can actually see one another face-to-face, instead of swapping emails!
This could even be a cool way for your missionary to show you more of the area where they’re serving or introduce you to members of the community. And it would be a great way for them to see the friendly faces of those praying for them. Using technology is a great way to grow your relationship with your missionary in a fun, creative way.
Above all, be sure to enjoy cultivating your relationship with your missionary! You might just find that God will work in amazing ways in both of your lives through this partnership.