Ideas for Missionary Care
By Beth Reese
1. Pray for the missionary by name and tell them you are doing so.
2. Subscribe to magazines for them – such as Christian Woman, 21th Century Christian, Power for Today, Abundant Living, Teenage Christian
3. Give them a big spiritual send-off. Have a time of prayer and fellowship. Go to the airport to see them off.
4. When they return, meet the plane en masse. Sure they will be exhausted, but your love showered upon them will lift their spirits and make them feel worthwhile.
5. Take every opportunity when the missionary family comes home to help them feel “special.” Have potlucks, fellowships, invite them into your home, etc.
6. Understand that all cultures are different and the ease of converting people will vary from country to country.
7. Send the church bulletin. Also send occasional tapes or CDs of the congregation’s services.
8. Become a ‘mentor’ and share ideas with them on your best area.
9. Insure that regular prayers are lead in the local congregation for the missionary family.
10. Pray for the whole family and not just the paid missionary.
Help for the Mission Work
1. Grade Bible correspondence courses for students in their area and send them the results; e.g. World Bible School (But when asking them to do follow-up on your student think about how far away or how accessible your student may be.)
2. Provide money for babysitting to allow the missionary wife to accompany her husband at times.
3. Make visual aids for children’s classes or send idea books and some basic supplies.
4. Send the lady any new ladies’ books on the market – especially those good for ladies’ classes.
5. Send the man new religious books, especially those written by Christians. (These are almost impossible to buy overseas.)
6. Sometimes there is a need for English song books, Bibles, communion cups, etc.
7. Some missionaries would like supplies of resources like WBS courses to use in their local work.
8. Download helpful or interesting information, programs, etc. and send via CD or DVD. (Sometime download speeds in other countries are too slow to make it feasible.)
9. Send Bible software.
10. Plan a campaign to help your missionary with a special outreach.
11. Help send an intern to work with the missionary.
12. Go on a campaign or help support someone else to go.
13. Host small group discussions while the missionary is on furlough so he has opportunity to tell others about his work.
1. Write them emails or even letters.
a. Tell them about the latest trends here: e.g. fashions, child rearing
b. Tell them who won important ball games (including the score) and even send a video, radio commentary, or newspaper clipping.
c. Tell them about things happening in politics.
d. Tell them about your local congregation, your family, your home, etc.
e. Tell them about the latest issues being discussed in Christian circles – especially nationwide.
f. Don’t expect an answer – or at least a prompt one.
2. Write or call at special times of the year like Thanksgiving and Christmas when they will miss being with their family.
3. Buy phone cards and call as a class or just call to chat and let them know you love them. (Do pay attention to time differences so you are not calling to chat at 3 a.m.)
4. Have different groups choose a member of the family to remember at birthdays, Christmas, or any special time.
5. Make videos of the families the missionary knows best (See how the children have grown!) or the new addition to the building.
6. Offer the use of your lake or ranch house for a get-away while they are on furlough.
7. Go visit them – remembering to take them out to eat, cook meals for them, stay in a hotel. (Don’t just add another burden.)
8. Help form support groups for the extended families of missionaries, returned missionaries, missionary kids, etc.
Just Being Kind and Showing Your Love
1. Subscribe to magazines for them (especially in countries where English material is hard to come by) such as Reader’s Digest, ladies’ magazines, children’s magazines.
2. Young children could save their pennies to provide a special treat for the missionary’s child, e.g. a tricycle.
3. Don’t forget the children with books (in some countries it is hard to buy English books), toys, new outfits.
4. Send them small seemingly mundane items they cannot purchase in their adopted country.
a. Some suggested food items (these will vary with different parts of the world): jello, peanut butter, Kool-aid, tortillas, chili powder or Mexican food type products, pinto beans, cake mixes, American style mustard, chocolate chips, favorite candy bars, vanilla flavoring, maple flavoring, Dr. Pepper, root beer.
b. Sometimes other items are needed, such as colored markers, Elmer’s glue, construction paper, packing tape, scotch tape, duct tape, etc.
5. Good used clothing is appreciated by most (make sure they are still in style and in good condition – not just anything from the ‘missionary barrel.’) Of course new outfits are always useful.
6. Video children’s programs, good movies, documentaries and send them.
7. If your missionary has to teach his own children (home schooling), send books, educational videos, etc. Even if the children go to local school, interesting books on American history, holidays, and geography would be great.
8. Buy phone cards that the missionary can use to phone those he loves. (Pay attention to buy the card to be used from another country to theUS.)
9. Find out if they have a special need for something they are not likely to buy themselves, e.g. clothes dryer.
10. Send “love” gifts to the missionary’s college kids that are away from their family.
11. Help in caring for aging parents of missionary.
1. Provide a bonus of some kind to ensure that the family takes a proper vacation or attends a nearby lectureship so they can keep up their best work.
2. Send some extra money at the couple’s anniversary and insist they have a special time out with just the two of them.
3. An occasional shower would be a good idea. Tupperware is a very good item, or extra sheets, towels, etc. Many missionary’s host a lot of people and tropical climates are hard on keeping things in usable shape.
4. When a loved one dies or a sibling is getting married and one or more of the missionary family must return home, remember the added financial burden the airplane fares will cause.
5. Have a Bible class project to send $5, $10, $20 a month for ‘special’ needs.
6. Remember – it is very important to check with the missionary on customs regulations in their country before you mail anything.
a. US Post Office limits package size according to destination.
b. There is no more surface mail. Everything must go airmail, priority mail, express mail, or by courier.
c. Customs value declarations should be the resale value, such as at a garage sale. All items should have any new tags removed, possibly clothing could even be washed.
d. If your missionary will have to pay customs on the gift you send, please send them the money for it. At least make sure they want it enough to pay the high custom price.
7. Make sure their support is adequate for the adopted country. Keep up with the exchange rates and the inflation rates in the country in which they live.
8. Lend, lease, or buy a good car for the missionary to drive while on furlough. Remember the number of miles the family may have to drive and provide a car that you would be willing to drive those distances.
9. Loan car seats for the appropriate age children.
10. Loan winter clothes for children who live in warm climates if they are on furlough during the winter months.
11. Promote to the congregation the activities of the missionary.
12. Put announcements in bulletin keeping the congregation up to date on the missionary family.
REMEMBER: The missionary and his family do not feel like they are sacrificing. They can get along well without you sending them anything, but the “uplift” they will receive from anything you do could not adequately be described. You can do much to help the missionary continue to preach the Gospel effectively and with the knowledge he is loved and not forgotten.