Caring For Missionaries
You can develop your partnership with your link missionary by providing practical support to them while they are on location or visiting Australia on Home Assignment.
Caring for your missionary on location
What can you do?
1. Keep in touch
- Write a letter or e–mail them
You can encourage your link missionary by telling them about what’s been happening in your family, church, neighbourhood.
When e–mailing check before sending attachments or long messages. In some countries e–mails are monitored. Find out if there are topics that you should avoid mentioning for security reasons.
- Keep them in the loop
Send the parish bulletin occasionally and tell them about what’s going on at church.
- Send a tape
If you prefer talking to writing send an audio or video tape or a CD of you or people at church. You could also send sermon tapes to encourage your link missionary.
|Helen Hoskins checking her mail box|
As well as praying for them on your own you can bring your missionary’s prayer needs before your church. Aim for brief but regular updates.
- Include prayer for your link missionary in services.
- Distribute their prayer points and newsletters to members of your church and small groups. Don’t forget to help your church kids to pray! Contact your branch to receive a copy of the CMS Kids Prayer Diary.
- Collect e–mail addresses so that CMS can e–mail your link missionaries’ prayer points directly to people.
- Start a mission prayer group.
- Encourage people to take part in CMS prayer events.
- Use up-to-date prayer points that are added to the CMS website each week. You can subscribe to prayer points and newsletters online.
- Let missionaries know about your prayers— Returned missionaries Russell and Kay Clark said “the best thing was to hear that we were being prayed for”.
3. Treat them
You can help missionaries to feel cared for by sending birthday cards, videos, magazines, books, or things for their children. Paul and Sandra King look forward to a yearly Postpak of goodies from a link church, and many missionaries enjoy receiving parcels in their locations.
|Shops are a bit different overseas!|
Check first to see what they would like. If you send parcels check that they won’t have to pay heavy customs duties. Mark your parcel ‘printed matter only’ (if that is what it is), ‘NCV’ (no commercial value) or ‘gift’. Tell them that you are sending the parcel and what is in it.
4. Send resources to help with their work
Previous missionaries have shared:
- “It’s most encouraging when link churches send books, ideas and give creative suggestions for reaching activities and presentations for students and children.”
- "craft things, balls and pencils, as well as puppets to explain Bible stories are so helpful in my ministry!"
5. Visit them!
A well–planned visit from supporters can be a great encouragement to missionaries.
Caring for your missionary on home assignment
What is Home Assignment?
Most missionaries spend about three years in their location followed by six months in Australia. It’s a time for refreshment but it can also be demanding as missionaries re–adjust to Australian culture, follow an irregular routine and travel long distances.
|CMS dinners are a great way of catching up with your link missionary|
What can you do to help?
1. Help them to settle in
Coming back to Australia can be a bit of a culture shock.
- Help set up their house
Arrange a welcome home box of basics for the pantry and help to set up their home with furniture. As Frances Boland put it, “When I arrived back, I felt rather like a fish out of water—cards, phone calls and gift baskets of basic household supplies for the first few days helped tremendously!”
- Lend them a car
Steve and Narelle Etherington said, “Supporters have arranged for us to have long–term loans of vehicles, without which deputation would have been very limited!”
- Help settle their kids
Ask your link missionary if they need any help settling their children into the local schools and culture.
Pray that missionaries will:
- Have opportunities to share about their ministry
- Enjoy times with families and friends
- Have stability in family life despite their changing program
- Be refreshed
3. Help missionaries to feel at home
- Visit them
Invite them to join a home group or ask their kids to join Sunday school or youth group.
- Offer a holiday house
Perhaps you know someone who has a holiday house so your link missionaries can get away for a break at a reasonable cost.
- Lend a hand
Think of the things you struggle with during busy periods. Dave and Leoni Painter loved having some meals provided during weeks with heavy deputation loads.
- Treat them
Helen Hoskins appreciated a book of vouchers for kindnesses such as driving her to a deputation meeting, taking her to a concert, and coming around for coffee. Why not shout your link missionaries a family dinner at a local restaurant, hire them some videos, take them to the movies or invite them on a picnic?
4. Make the most of their visit to your church
Arrange for your link missionary to spend a week visiting your church, sharing about their ministry in a variety of meetings. Ask your link missionary for ideas.
Ask your pastor/service leader if you can do a quick skit or quiz on the country of your missionary the week before their visit to your church.
- Cultural Evenings
Organise a cultural night with food, local customs and items that teach how local culture impacts on your missionary’s life and ministry.
- Church services
They may preach, speak about their ministry or be interviewed in church meetings. An informal meeting after church can be a good way of finding out more about them.
- Small groups
Small groups allow a missionary to share at a deeper level.
- Youth groups
- Parish Weekend Away
Invite your link missionary to attend the church’s weekend away—not necessarily as a speaker. This is a great opportunity for building relationships.